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Port Kelley
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OR- Gorge East

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This far eastern Gorge sailing site can be incredible with the right combination of wind speed and direction. However this area, known to locals as The Gap, is notorious for supplying shifty and gusts winds due to it's southwesterly cant. Strongest winds usually blow on the far (north) side of the river with the biggest, best formed swells also forming in the main river channel. Sailors usually add an extra 1/2 meter of sail to make sure they can return to the launch area. Watch for quickly shifting winds and fast commercial river traffic in the area. Expect to find a grassy rigging area with a smooth, generally barefoot friendly launch. Parking isn't a problem here and there are no public facilities in this area. Best sailing conditions generally develop in the late fall and early spring with lighter winds through the summer months. When conditions line up in this area, Port Kelley can be incredible with both port and starboard ramps as well as large, smooth swells. When launching from the small sandy beach head north towards the far side for at least 100' before going up or down river, there are sharp shallow rocks just below the surface that extend up to 100' from the shoreline on either side of the launch. Local Expert? edit Edit this Page!
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 Season: Best: Oct-March 
 Water: med-lrg swells 
 Ability Level: advanced/jumps 
 Familiness: none 
 Parking: large parking area 
 Launch: grassy 

From Hood River, drive east on I-84 past The Dalles and continue out to Arlington. Follow I-84 east out to Boardman and take exit 168, RTE 730, towards Umatilla. Proceed on RTE 730 through Umatilla, across I-82 and east staying on RTE 730 towards Lake Wallula. Follow RTE 730 into Port Kelley, turn left onto the grain elevator access road. Park near the water. From Pasco, follow U.S. RTE 12 south and turn right on U.S. RTE 730 in Wallula heading west about 3.5 miles toward Oregon. Turn right onto the grain elevator access road.

The wind sensor is located about a 1/2 mile west of the Walla Walla Yacht Club in the canyon known as Wallula Gap on the WA side. This is about 20 miles east of Umatilla, OR. It sits about 100 feet from the water's edge, 35 feet above it and approximately 100 feet from the sailing site. There are no obstructions blocking the westerly flow to the sensor. Port Kelley generally requires a minimum of 20 mph combined w/ a clean SW direction for prime sailing conditions. <font color=red>Locals have observed over the years that the "gust" reading on the sensor generally correlates with winds in the center of the river.</font> As for geology of the region, it is located in a portion of the Far Eastern Gorge near Umatilla, OR and the ID border. The river turns northward into WA and Port Kelley is located at a spot called the Wallula Gap, a 5 mile narrow canyon w/ 3000 ft rock walls on either side. It is here that geologists have recently postulated that a HUGE dam of rock and ice backed up the mighty Columbia approximately 10,000 years ago. A lake consequently formed behind the dam which pretty much covered all of Montana. When the dam finally burst, a cataclysmic torrent of water, ice and mountains of rock scoured out the Gorge as we know it today in just a few geologic nanoseconds.

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