By Bruce A. Smith
AHOY, all DB Cooper enthusiasts! You will have a chance to sail on the Columbia River past the primary DB Cooper landmarks next Saturday and Sunday, June 29-30. This includes Tina Bar, where some of the ransom money was found in 1980, and Portland Airport where the skyjacking commenced.
Leaving from Tomahawk Island and the Jantzen Beach complex just north of Portland, Oregon on the I-5, the voyage – on a pontoon boat skippered by a licensed and Coast Guard-certified captain – will first motor near Portland International Airport, which is where this iconic skyjacking started on November 24, 1971. Since then, nothing definitive from the hijacking has ever been found except for three bundles of twenties from Cooper’s $200,000 ransom, which was found in 1980 at the trip’s next stop – Tina Bar.
Each sailing will be hosted by noted DB Cooper researcher and author, Eric Ulis. Due to Coast Guard regulations, only six passengers will be allowed on board each trip, giving each excursion an intimate opportunity to voice one’s opinions about this unique slice of American history and to hear Ulis’ considered responses.
Sailings begin at 10 am, launching from the Yacht Harbor dock, and last for approximately 75 minutes. Subsequent sailings are at 11:30 am, 1 pm, 2:30 pm, and 4 pm. Cost is $49.
Because of snafus with Coast Guard regulations, these boat tours were postponed from their original dates of June 22-23, and the thirty-seven folks who signed up for those sailings will be able to shove-off next weekend at the “early-bird’ rate of $35. The Coast Guard requirements have added hundreds of dollars to the expense of the tour, thus necessitating an increase in ticket prices.
In addition, the boat will not be able to land at Tina Bar, but passengers will be able to see exactly where the money was found, a location that has been lost through the decades inexplicably until Ulis’ meticulous research has identified the convergence of old jeep trails along the shoreline and triangulated them to FBI pictures from the money retrieval during their dig from February 12-14, 1980. This was two days after initial discovery by Brian Ingram and his family on a Sunday picnic.
Additional information can be gained at https://DBCooperBoatTour.com .
Pictured below is Eric Ulis, right, standing with Mark Metzler, (c), and Bruce A. Smith, (l) at the Victor-23 pub in Vancouver, WA during the 2018 DB Cooper Conference.
Note: UPDATE June 30, 2019
The Boat Tours for June 29 have been canceled, and all tours will be held on Sunday, June 30th. In addition, Eric has decided to make the sailing free, thus releasing him from governmental oversight and regulations. As a result, the need for a Coast Guard-certified skipper is canceled. As a result, I will not be participating in this adventure.