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Navigating local waves

Looking for raging rapids, serene oceans or picturesque views in the great outdoors? There are several local companies based here in the Portland area who specialize in putting their patrons in touch with nature via water.

Blue Sky Whitewater Rafting, Inc., Portland River Company and the Oregon Ocean Paddling Society are three names in the boating industry that stand far above the rest.

Blue Sky Whitewater Rafting, Inc. specializes in whitewater rafting trips, and will, according to their Web site, “transport you to a world of wonder and beauty.” Blue Sky offers trips ranging from a simple half-day excursion to a full five-day adventure.

The company is based in Gresham and runs regular trips on the Clackamas River as well as the Hood, Lower Sandy, North Santiam and Sandy Gorge rivers. All the outings are guided and cater to every one from beginner to advanced levels.

According to Pete Giordano, Blue Sky owner, rafting provides an escape and is a gateway to the wide outdoors.

“A big population of people … like to get out for the scenery,” Giordano said.

And there is plenty of scenery to go around, with rates for Blue Sky rafting trips starting at $55 per person, and special discounts for groups of 10 or more.

To contact Blue Sky Whitewater Rafting, Inc. call 1-800-898-6398.

Based in downtown Portland, the Portland River Company not only provides white-water rafting trips, but also does some kayaking.

Most of the rafting trips take place on the Deschutes River with almost daily runs during the summer according to employee Annie Brown. The kayaking excursions are usually done on the Willamette and Lower Columbia.

Those looking for more exotic locations need search no farther than the Portland River Company. With a sister company operating out of Baja, Mexico, PRC caters to any adventurer need.

For more information about the Portland River Company call 503-229-0551.

For those with a passion for sea kayaking or looking to get into the sport, the Oregon Ocean Paddling Society has you covered. And, with over 300 members, the organization provides its members many chances to meet and interact with other local kayaking enthusiasts.

The group does about 75 trips a year to various locations up and down the coast. OOCP also puts on clinics and classes, bringing in some of the most widely known and knowledgeable kayakers in the Portland area.

The cost to society members is only $27 a year, but this does not include gear. All OOCP members must have their own equipment.

According to member and guide Steve Nelson, paddling with OOCP provides him with a chance to go places and meet some really nice people.

“It’s more of a mode of travel into some interesting area,” Nelson said. “It’s a way to get together with other paddlers.”

For more information about the Oregon Ocean Paddling Society, log on to their Web site at