We close shop early here on Dancing Dragon. After dark the companionway is locked and shades are drawn. Savvy neighbors know not to knock after the sun goes down unless it is an emergency. That is why we were surprised when we heard thumping on the hull after the boat was closed for the evening. Captain Sweetie growled. “We had better see who it is, it might be urgent.” I said. More rumbling from my sedentary spouse who reluctantly got out of his comfy recliner to lend assistance to whatever new crisis was developing on the home front. No crisis, but instead our nocturnal visitor was Miss Muff who was dropping off a little memento of our mutual friend, Cabo Bob. As a matter of fact, it was Cabo Bob, or at least a tiny portion of his mortal remains in the form of cremated ashes contained within an airline-sized bottle of Tanqueray Gin. Taped to the side of the bottle was Cabo’s favorite saying, “It’s gin o’clock!” After delivering her gift, Muff declined our invitation to come in, bid us farewell and disappeared into the night.
After Muff left we secured the boat and examined the “gift.” Sure enough, it appeared to be exactly what she said it was - a couple of tablespoons of Cabo’s ashes inside a tiny gin bottle. Was this to become my proverbial genie in a bottle? If I rub it three times will my dearest wish be granted? Although I have received many unique and unusual gifts over the course of my life, no one has ever presented me with human remains before. I do have the metal identification tags that went through the cremation process of both mine and Sweetie’s moms but nobody has ever presented me with the “real deal” before. It’s quite a responsibility.
Currently, Cabo’s ashes reside on the dash board nestled among my pet orchids. I hope to reunite him with the rest of himself the next time we take the boat out. A few months ago we attended the formal scattering of his ashes out near Channel Marker 1. My idea is to empty the little bottle approximately where the majority of Cabo Bob had been distributed over the waters of the Bay in the presence of his friends and family.
We have moved, not very far, but it still involved a lot of sweating and swearing. Here’s the scoop. Neighbor and friend, Dean Altschuler, was in the process of purchasing a motorhome to live in. He is making the move to a land yacht because life is short and adventures abound. Unbeknownst to us, Dean was offered a slip in Oyster Point while having some work done in order for Fellowship to show well to potential customers. I had no idea he was moving until I heard the “Hogs,” Dean’s term for his healthy Hino engines, fire up. Dean always performs a monthly engine check so I didn’t think too much about the “Hogs” running until he pulled out of his slip, up the fairway and away. No goodbye, no spit in my eye, nothing! When he didn’t return, I texted him asking where and for how long. I received a cryptic reply saying that he was checking on the motorhome and the boat was at Oyster Point. Silence. Of course all the neighbors wanted to know what was going on with Dean and, as my unofficial auxiliary husband; it was assumed by all that I would know. The next day, Sweetie informed me that he saw Dean in the parking lot and the boat had sold! IN ONE DAY!!!! Not only had the boat sold, but it was coming back into Oyster Cove with a new owner.
Remember how, a few years ago, I had Sweetie move our boat to another slip because Dean had pulled into his slip bow first and totally blocked my precious view of Mt. San Bruno? Well, here we go all over again.
My Sweetie, ever the problem solver, spoke with Harbormaster Tim about us moving into Fellowship’s old slip. “Sure, no problem,” was his reply, “just let me know when you want to move.” There is no time like the present and besides the tide was high so moving any unwanted flotsam up the ramp to the dumpsters would not be a problem. Nothing gets your heart racing like pushing a full dock cart up a steep ramp at low tide.
Sweetie cleared out our dock box, moved the hoses and cables, and without incident, backed the Dancing Dragon out and then pulled into Dean’s vacant slip. Dean always liked to back into his slip because it made his boat much easier to board. We board from the stern. As the tide was still at its zenith I found almost immediately that his abandoned satellite dish, which was mounted on the piling at our starboard stern, was either going to give me a lobotomy or decapitate me. This, perhaps, was a happy thing for Sweetie, maybe not so much for me. So, out came the crescent wrench and after more cursing and sweating, eight amazingly long screws were pulled from the concrete piling and the homicidal satellite dish was removed.
We had been moved and settled for about 20 minutes when neighbor Lucia knocked on the hull asking, “Was it something I said?” We explained the whole ‘view’ thing but I think she still took it a little personally. My beautiful view has been preserved, at least temporarily. The boat next to our new slip is for sale so I might have to do this all over again.
Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch.
Poor Dean was left in the lurch with no boat and no motorhome, at least temporarily. The boat was headed across the Bay for a survey with the broker while the motorhome was in the shop for a little work on the refrigerator. It was imperative that Dean move all of his personal belongings, and his cat Tango, off the boat as soon as possible.
Dean made a few calls and found that he would be able to pick up the coach the following day. I rode with him up to Plymouth where we exchanged vehicles, left his Explorer and headed back down the hill in the motor home. All I can say is that I’m mighty glad I didn’t have to drive it! It’s the size of a Greyhound Bus. We stopped to top off the diesel tank in Lockford. Thirsty beast motorhomes. I thought boats were bad.
Dean borrowed our portable dock cart and began unloading Fellowship as fast as he could. We never know how much stuff we have accumulated until it’s time to move. He rolled back and forth up the dock between boat and motorhome with cart after cart, working until long after dark.
Dean is old, like us. The long day was hard on him but, ever diligent, Dean completed the task. Unfortunately, the previous owner of the coach had 3 boys and traveled around the State to rodeos so the motor home wasn’t nearly as clean as Dean’s boat. A thorough cleaning needed to be done before any of the many boxes and bags could be permanently stowed.
The boat has gone off for her survey; Dean has driven off into the sunset and is staying at a lovely RV park in Ione, where ever that may be. It all happened so quickly and now he is gone and we have moved. Congratulations to Pop’s Yacht Sales on an amazingly speedy deal. A heartfelt bon voyage to our old friend and neighbor, Dean Altschuler.
FYI: I have elected Will Stambaugh to be my official alternative husband.
We are anchored off the Brisbane Fishing Pier as I write this. The weather has been phenomenal and since there is nothing I can do to make it rain I figure we may as well enjoy it in the best way imaginable, boating! After all, you never know what tomorrow will bring.
Writing while at anchor is a pleasure. The music from the radio and motion of the boat add rhythm to the physical process of putting words down. The calming tempo of Beethoven soothes my aching arthritic fingers with the steady persistence of a metronome. Probably that extra-sturdy splash of Cabo Bob’s favorite tipple has slowed me down as well, but we aren’t going anywhere and the view is fine and the world is far away. “It’s gin o’clock!”
When we returned to the marina Sweetie made an expert job of pulling into our new slip. Nothing broke, a few small chores got done, everyone had fun and nobody was injured. A very successful boating weekend indeed!
Later that day my poor Sweetie noticed that his hand was itchy. Then it started to swell. Thinking it was a spider bite he didn’t take too much notice. By the following day the sensation had spread to the other side of his hand. The swelling had gone down but the itching prevailed. He finally deduced that the culprit with the big teeth was something that came up from the muddy bottom on our anchor chain. According to our diver, David Laird, there are many types of biting, stinging creatures that live in the mud and don’t especially like to be disturbed.
Congratulations to the Treasure Island Yacht Club on their new clubhouse! The annual crab dinner was my first visit since their recent move. I was impressed with the amount of ambient light, space and storage that they have utilized perfectly to suit their needs. Mrs. Harper and I drove up to the club in heavy traffic thus what was meant to be a fashionably late entrance had us verging on the brink of missing dinner! God Forbid.
By the time we found a seat and got settled trays of cleaned and cracked crab began to arrive at the tables. You never heard a room full of folks go quiet so quickly. In addition to the mountains of delicious, fresh crab there was crusty French bread, tubs of melted butter and a cold Anchor Steam for me to wash it all down with - heaven! For the people who didn’t care for crab there was a beautifully prepared whole salmon, a trough of tasty Italian rigatoni and a huge kale salad. But really, why would anybody pay to go to a crab dinner if they didn’t like crab? Sort of like going to Charley’s Steak House and ordering the fish, you know what I mean?
After dinner, for those who weren’t groaning in a state of gastronomic bliss, there was dessert. Connie, the World’s Best Cookie Baker, had performed her magic yet again. Snicker doodles stuffed with Snickers candy bars, fat jam tarts lavishly dusted with sugary snow and crispy little peanut butter cookie cups. I don’t know where Connie finds these recipes or, perhaps she is an Evil Baking Genius. Either way, I am a grateful recipient for her talents. After everyone had their fill, the leftover crab was bagged up and sold for $5 per bag, a more than ample amount to relive the experience without witness to my gluttony.
The new headquarters for the Treasure Island Yacht Club is far more comfortable for larger groups than the old facility. Located just a few hundred yards east of the old club house (which has been demolished and is now only a memory), it is still within easy walking distance from the marina so plan a visit soon. For more information on events or membership visit www.tiyc.org
Opening Day on the Bay will take place on Sunday, April 22, 2018 when boaters will gather to celebrate the rich maritime community we enjoy here in Northern California. Originally a blessing was offered to the fishing fleet at the opening of the fishing season but in the 1890’s the event became popular with yacht clubs celebrating the beginning of the spring boating season.
The first PICYA coordinated event, bringing the various clubs together, took place in 1917. The tradition continues and is still celebrated, as if boaters need a reason to celebrate.
There is an annual “theme” for the boat decorations. This year the theme is “Nations on the Bay,” and awards are presented based on yacht club member participation, distance travelled, boats decorated to theme and flags and streamers. Historic vessels and Bristol classic yachts are polished to gleaming perfection, some having attended Opening Day celebrations for fifty, seventy five or in the case of Frieda and the sailing barge Alma, one hundred years.
Opening Day is a colorful event and I can only imagine the people driving over the Golden Gate Bridge looking down at the Bay and saying, “Oh, look at all the little boats!” The Blessing of the Fleet will happen in Raccoon Straight beginning at 10:00 a.m. followed by the parade of decorated boats along the City Front. Yacht Clubs traditionally “get their ducks in a row” near the Golden Gate before they pass before the Judging Committee Boat which is usually anchored near Fort Mason. Participating on the water is fun but not mandatory. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for perfect weather.
I will wrap the column on a sad note. The deal on Dean’s boat fell through. He now has both a boat and a motorhome. His experience with the broker was “uncomfortable.” Thankfully, I don’t know any details of the transaction but I do know that my old friend was very unhappy. After paying for a haul and hang survey and making a new, reduced offer, the buyer unfortunately backed out of the transaction. Obviously the sale was not meant to be. After calling to make sure she was back in the water and ready to go, I drove Dean back over to Berkeley Marine Center to pick up his Fellowship. The freeway trip across the Bay Bridge in my ancient Mercedes 240D was ghastly! I have sympathy for any commuter who has to drive across a bridge to get to work. Fellowship, on the other hand, had an easy trip across the Bay in the capable hands of the fellow who knows her best. Given my druthers I always prefer to travel by water.
Dean and his side-kick-cat Tango are slowly becoming adjusted to their new environment. A new power cord and suite of batteries have solved most of the electrical problems. I wish them both happy trails.
That’s a wrap for me this month. Be safe, have fun and feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or contributions at kim@yachtsman magazine.com H