Delta Rat Scrapbook - August 2018

San Joaquin Yacht Club (SJYC) 70th Anniversary

I do not get to the SJYC as much as I used to back in the days when I would bring my boat to their opening day parades. 2018 is their 70th anniversary and they had a big party to commemorate the event. Commodore Patricia Atkins invited Sue and I to join them in the celebration.

The clubhouse was packed with members and guests, the Diablo Yacht Club cruised in filling the docks with boats. We arrived during the cocktail hour and got to talk to many of the folks I don’t often see. Jim and Katie Senior are stalwarts of the club. Katie is one of the most charming people I have ever met, and Jim is not only a great guy but one of the renowned wooden boat experts in the Delta. Jerry Fisher and I go back maybe 20 years at least when he was Commodore of the Club and would come over to Mimi Miller’s to inspect our boats for opening day. I had my first Mai Tai in about two years and they make a good one. When we got back to Sacramento I bought all the ingredients and have been experimenting with my own Mai Tai’s ever since. I just cannot seem to make them equal to the Club’s.

We were honored to sit at the commodore’s table along with Contra Costa County Supervisor Diane Burgis. Supervisor Burgis is a strong advocate of preserving the Delta from the water fraudsters. I was pleased to meet her and be able to talk about the water situation with her. We committed to keep in touch in the future.

After a delicious dinner from the club galley, Commodore Atkins took to the podium and introduced the guests including Commodore Rusty Martindale from the Diablo Yacht Club as well as supervisor Burgis and yours truly.

Patricia told about how the club began in 1948 as the Antioch Yacht Club and in 1950 changed the name and incorporated as the San Joaquin Yacht Club. 1950 was also the first year they held their opening day parade. The SJYC possibly has one of the two coolest clubhouses in the Delta. Located near the Bethel Island Bridge, Sutter is a former cargo hauling river steamer built in 1925 and served until she was made obsolete by the highways and roads around 1950. In 1961 Captain John Moore purchased her and after renovations opened Moore’s Riverboat in 1966. Moore’s was one of the Delta’s most popular restaurants. I am sure the huge collection of women’s panties covering the overhead was quite an attraction along with the fantastic view.

Moore’s closed after a fire in 1993 and the SJYC purchased her for $1.00 in 1994 and towed her to the current location at Bethel Island and she has been the clubhouse since that time.

As part of the ceremony they rang eight bells for the departed members and recognized them for their hard work and commitment to the club. Then Supervisor Burgis awarded the club a certificate honoring the occasion. The Burgee Dance Squad also came forward and performed a zany ballet for the audience. Next, we were treated to the “River Dance.” The finale was a video of club activities over the last several years. We had a long drive back to the Big Tomato, so we did not hang around for the dancing, but the band was great, and a lot of folks were on the floor. I need to find a way to spend more time with these wonderful folks.

 

Stockton Yacht Club Classic Car And Boat Show

Once again, we participated in the SYC classic car and boat show on Saturday, June 23 at the clubhouse. I told you previously how, at the show three years ago, I had my boat there and when I drove in that morning and could not find a parking spot Randy told me to enter my car and I could park with the show cars. Now I would say my Mustang GT is a good-looking car, not on the level of many of the cars entered, but I had spent a few hours waxing her and she was looking like she was show worthy.

This event is possibly the biggest gathering of interesting cars within a hundred miles or so. Randy and Linda Welch not only have a Pantera but also a late model supercharged Mustang. They are very active in the Pantera Club of Northern California. There were 17 Panteras at the show. There were only 7,200 Panteras produced in the Italian company’s 1971 to 1992 production run. They were mostly powered with Ford 351 cubic inch motors and a ZF 5 speed transaxle. The Italian body with Ford power made for a unique and high performing automobile. Oh yes, you can still get a lot of replacement parts for them as well.

The entire grounds were covered with cars and trucks. David Rajkovich showed up with a barn find, an ancient touring car. It was not drivable and was on a trailer but shows you there are still some oldies out there waiting to be discovered. Bruce Jackson of Lodi Chrysler Dodge, Jeep, and Ram brought a brand-new Challenger Hellcat and Garry Pardini of Chase Chevrolet brought a Camaro LT1. Both businesses made generous donations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

There were a lot of cars from the heyday of American automobiles. The 1950s and 1960s were nicely represented. Some were frame off restorations and some were just kept in good shape since new. I think my favorite car in the show was a 1946 Cadillac Sedan that looked pretty stock on the outside but had been repowered with a 500 cubic-inch late model Cadillac engine. The entire drive train was upgraded naturally including a Turbo 400 transmission, nine-inch Lincoln differential and front suspension and brakes from a Dodge Dakota.

Tony Faso brought a cool Crosley automobile. I was amazed that a lot of folks were not familiar with the Crosley. They were produced from about 1946 to about 1952 and had many innovative features for the time including disk brakes and one of the first mass produced overhead cam engines. Crosley motors were used in sports car racing up to the end of the 1950s.

There were a few great boats, one Cigarette was powered with four 400 horsepower outboards and she looked like a screamer. Contrast that with my boat, twin inboards 120 horsepower each.

A lot of folks visited during the day. Hot dogs and hamburgers were available at the barbeque and a there was a steady line of folks waiting for food.

Randy and Linda Welch spearheaded the event, but they had a lot of volunteers that chipped in and helped. Two unsung heroes at the club are Mary and Don Garcia. They are always in the thick of things helping. It was a hot day and the bar was open, so we stopped in for a drink and to watch the classic car auction that was coincidently on TV. Later when the show was over we headed to the clubhouse once again for an excellent barbeque rib dinner. Guy Wood who works at the club is one of the best bartenders in the Delta and this day he had an assistant that was giving him a run for his money. Come to find out, Erianne Haglund is his daughter. Guy is training her to be as good as he. Now we just need him to train all bartenders in the Delta. It had been a great day, but we were getting tired so after dinner we headed home. We hear the show made $3,500 for Make-A-Wish.

 

Grand Opening Of Tiki Grill
At Tiki Lagoon

Be sure to drop in and check out the newly opened Tiki Grill at Tiki Lagoon. We were there for a party on a recent Wednesday evening. The Delta Chambers held their mixer there and the Delta Protection Commission was there to announce their “Best of the Delta” awards.

The building has been totally renovated with a porch to sit on while you watch the sunset. It is a great place to relax, have a cold drink and enjoy a bite to eat. The grill is open from 1100 hours to 1900 hours Wednesday through Sunday. They have a good selection of beer and local wines. The food is perfect for the Delta. Try the Volcano Burger or Aloha Burger. The Tiki Dog or Outrigger Dog look like winners too. If you are dying of hunger after a hard day at sea, I recommend the Tiki God Burger with a 1/3-pound Angus beef burger capped with fried chicken and pastrami. I think they should call it the Tiki Godzilla burger. They have other entrees in addition to sandwiches. Check out the Street Tacos, Fish Tacos, Fish & Chips, or Tamales. The next time I go I am going to try the Big Kahuna Burrito. Just what I need to keep my energy up.

Bryan Conley, the marina manager and harbor master, cut the ribbon to the new hangout and a crowd of 50 or so stepped in. They had a table of hors d’oeuvres and the bartenders were doing a great job keeping up with demands from the thirsty crowd. The inside has a spacious bright feel perhaps due to all the windows and the light paint. It is very inviting. Stacy Hayden, Public Information Officer with the Delta Protection Commission (DPC), took the microphone and presented the awards. This is the second year the leadership program which is sponsored by the DPC has presented the awards and they are much anticipated by Delta businesses. For 2018 the winners are: Best birdwatching – Dow Wetlands Preserve, Best Brunch – Grand Island Mansion, Best First Date Spot – Lighthouse Bar & Grill, Best Food with a View – Lighthouse Bar & Grill, Best Fruit Stand – Delta Farmer’s Market, Best Lodging – The Bartlett, Best Museum – Locke Boarding House Museum, Best Public Boat Launch – Antioch Marina, Best Trail – Dow Wetlands Preserve. Congratulations to all the winners and we look forward to next year’s competition.

We were pleased to see Jay Sorensen at the event. Jay is one of the great defenders of the Delta and it appears he picks up awards for his efforts almost weekly. He has been somewhat elusive lately. We had to come to the gathering by car as I had to bring the PA system and other items. Tiki Lagoon, Turner Cut, and Windmill Cove are all on McDonald Island and when you drive there from Highway 4 you think you are driving through Iowa however if you persevere eventually you get to the water and the resorts. Many folks came by boat. It is merely a short hop from places like Village West Marina or Korth’s Pirates’ Lair.

 

Ox Bow Marina
Harbor Party

The marina held its annual party for berthers in June. Sue and I arrived late and missed what looked like a great lunch catered by Back Forty Texas BBQ Roadhouse & Saloon. One missed meal is just fine as I am still struggling with my weight. Back Forty is surely one of the best caterers that operates in the Delta region. Ralph the Hat provided his mellow sounds for entertainment and Willie was running the bar. This was manager Ron Duckhorn’s first harbor party and he was having a great time. Ron has fully immersed himself in Delta functions since his arrival at Ox Bow last year. He has purchased a waterfront home at Ox Bow and a new to him boat. He loads the boat up with friends and family and goes cruising around the area. He made his first trip to Mandeville this year for the 4th of July.

 

California WaterFraud Update

The attacks on the Delta are relentless by the Natural Resources Agency and some of its departments. Carl Wilcox of the Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has announced a proposal that looks like it could be the final solution for Franks Tract. He presented the final draft of the project feasibility study during a Delta Stewardship Council (DSC) meeting in Sacramento on June 29. Wilcox says the project will increase “recreational opportunity” around Franks Tract. This is totally at odds with what most local residents say.

The plan is to “restore” Franks Tract by filling in about one third of the water way with material dredged from other spots including possibly tunnel muck from the twin tunnels project. It is like saying we need to kill Franks Tract in order to save it. Luckily at this point it does not look like the $300 to $600 million is available for the project so hopefully it will die a quiet death and of course the taxpayers of the state are still out the millions that has been squandered on this foolish idea to date.

The objectives of the “restoration” project are to: “improve habitat for the Delta smelt, reduce saltwater intrusion into the central and south Delta, reduce submerged aquatic weeds and reduce invasive nonnative fish species that feed on native fish like the salmon and the Delta smelt.” If you reduce saltwater intrusion of course that will allow more freshwater to be exported, submerged aquatic plants were a minor problem until the government caused hyacinth crisis a few years back. Since then invasive plants have exploded all over the Delta. He does not mention what “nonnative fish species” he is talking about but if it is the striped bass, this fish has been in California since it was introduced in 1879. It is not an invasive species and has lived in harmony with other fish species until excessive water exports caused all fish species to decline in recent years. In 2016, Jim Kellogg president of the Fish and Game Commission declared the striped bass a “native species.” This declaration, of course, carries no weight but showed his heart was in the right place. At the time the water exporters were demanding that the striped bass be eradicated which they felt would allow them to export more water.

From the Parks and Recreation Department website: “During the fall and winter, a large variety of waterfowl can be found in Franks Tract. The Delta holds a key position in the Pacific flyway. Year-round residents include gulls, great blue herons, terns, swallows, crows, blackbirds, cormorants and kingfishers.”

If this proposal ever comes to fruition, Franks Tract and the surrounding communities will be devastated and a prime fishing and waterfowl hunting ground will be destroyed. Hopefully this will never get funded, but I urge you to contact your elected representatives and explain to them that this project is totally unacceptable and its proponents like Wilcox should be held personally responsible for the money wasted.

 

Independence Day

Independence Day, the 4th of July is probably the overall most popular day in the Delta. The biggest and most anticipated event of the day is the Barron Hilton Fireworks Extravaganza. 2018 is the 60th year that this fabulous party has taken place on the San Joaquin River. Every year 3,000 to 5,000 boats will assemble at Mandeville Island for a several days’ long party culminating in a spectacular fireworks display held on the evening of the 4th. There were plenty of other parties all over the region at almost every resort. One fellow called me and asked about the Barron Hilton fireworks, he said he had lived in Stockton for 60 years and had never heard of the event. At first, I thought he was one of my friends playing a practical joke, but he swore he was telling the truth and knew nothing about the huge party and fireworks display just a few miles down the river even though over the years it has been featured on national television, radio, newspapers and magazines. Around the marinas and yacht clubs in the Stockton area the Mandeville fireworks are the number one topic of conversation for at least a month before the 4th of July.

Blair and Mary Hake were covering the activities at Mandeville and other spots along the San Joaquin River. He advises the Stockton Sailing Club is celebrating its 85th anniversary this year. After checking out their party they proceeded to Windmill Cove before making it out to the fleet a few miles downstream. We hear a great vantage point to see the fireworks was Mike Garner’s houseboat.

Walnut Grove has a classic community parade every year on the morning of the 4th. It seems like the entire town gets involved and the parade winds around the local streets before passing in review. The fire department had a big presence with several vehicles, you had your basic duck hunters, motorcycles, bicycles, you name it. This is a celebration like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

Just up the road a few blocks is the Areias family’s Orchard Gables estate. John Carlo was serving hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken breasts. This is the first time I have ever had a hamburger prepared by a professional Italian Chef and it was most excellent. The pool and the croquet court were both getting a full workout. Later in the afternoon several folks were going waterskiing on the Sacramento River.

Marina West Yacht Club (MWYC) had a big celebration starting with a boat parade on Georgiana Slough. The River Delta Fire Department was involved and afterwards everyone went to the clubhouse for a big party. Somehow, they were incorporating a dunk tank and I asked Commodore Jerry Tremain if he was going to be the target in the tank, but he professed that it would be some other poor victim and not him. They were filling it with what looked like really cold water from the hose when I was there.

Jerry later sent me an update on the party. “Thank you to new members, Bob and Debbie Steffensen, along with John Romero for helping out. It was a fantastic day. River Delta Fire Department was invited, and all our donations went to them. It started with a decorated boat parade up the Georgiana and back to the marina. The firemen had all kinds of fun and games for the kids, tours of their equipment, putting out fires in a staged house. Firemen took turns in the dunk tank. Even the Oxbow Marina Manager stepped up and took a turn in the tank. MWYC is proud to say we raised $448.00 in donations in a little over four hours. The Fire Deportment will use the donations for more equipment for their recently acquired boat. The hamburgers, hot dogs, and kids were all great!”

Ron Duckhorn, the manager of Ox Bow Marina, reports that he was loading his pontoon boat with crew and heading out to Mandeville for an afternoon trip to check out the water gun activities.

I saw my friend Douglas Hsia at the Walnut Grove parade and he advised me that Locke was having a big party and music jam session on the afternoon of the 4th. I drove by but was a little early. I had had a big couple of days ahead of me, so I headed home. I was kind of worried about our cats with all the firework noise, but they seemed to do great. They have taken to spending most of these warm days under my car looking out towards the street, and this was their vantage point for the 4th of July too. I missed the party in Clarksburg, but I hear they had a large “stop the WaterFraud tunnels” themed parade.

 

Irish Pennants

I’ve received from good sources in the West Delta that Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill at the Antioch Marina will be holding a soft opening near the end of July. I will follow up on this next month after a good sampling of items offered. Stay tuned but if you want more info you can contact the Antioch Marina.

Randy and Renee Trudeau of the Delta Yacht Club announced the launch of the club’s new video, “Welcome to Delta Yacht Club.” They had a showing recently at their island retreat. Randy reports: “The members and guests were delighted to see the three-and-a-half-minute presentation, which highlighted the island, its amenities, and most important, its people. Professionally produced by Accelerated Video of Sacramento, the video included aerial footage, on-the-water shots, and short interviews, all set to music. The video is featured on the Club’s website at www.DeltaYachtClub.org and on the Club’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DeltaYachtClub. It is also on YouTube and Instagram. The Club invites everyone to view the video online and to share it. Located on the Stockton Deepwater Channel, Delta Yacht Club has been on the California Delta since 1941. The Club welcomes membership inquiries. Those interested should visit the Club’s website, www.DeltaYachtClub.org, or leave a voicemail at 209/463.6063.”

 

Words Of Caution

Be careful out there, so far this summer there have been deaths in California waterways that could have been avoided. One child was playing in the swift water of the Sacramento River when he was swept away and drowned. He was not wearing a Personal Floatation Device. One man fell out of his boat and drowned, he was not wearing a PFD, he had a last-minute guest come aboard and was lacking one PFD, so he gave his friend his own.

In another unfortunate incident a family was water skiing and the tow rope fouled the prop on their boat. The father went over the side to try to clear it when (reportedly) a larger boat went speeding by and the wake pushed the ski boat into the proximity of a pipe feeding a farmer’s pump. He was sucked into the pipe and his companions were unable to get him free for several minutes. He was life flighted to a hospital but did not survive. There is no reason for these tragedies to occur, children and non-swimmers should always wear a PFD when playing in the rivers where generally the water is swift and there are often drop-offs close to shore.

Give pumps and industrial equipment a wide berth, agriculture pumps are powerful and can easily suck a person into the intakes. A friend of mine who is a local farmer says he has caught people tying boats up to his equipment and cleaning invasive plants off their props, apparently not aware that the plants are then sucked into the pumps.

A few years back a young college student dove from a friend of mine’s boat that was anchored in the lower American River, he did not realize how chilly the water was during the spring runoff and was overcome by the cold and drowned.

Be careful too if you are swimming anywhere where there could be stray electrical power. Pat Carson has covered this at length in a recent article. A few years back a friend of mine saw a person struggling in the water near some anchored boats. He dove in to help and was instantly overcome by electrical current, apparently one of the boats was running its generator and somehow stray voltage was going into the water. It is not a good idea to swim near a boat with it’s generator running and a bad idea to swim around docks the have electric power.

One final thing, teak surfing has been outlawed for several years since a young lad died hanging on to the swim platform of his father’s boat. Carbon monoxide is deadly, please stay away from motor exhaust pipes, you can be overcome and not even realize it. Your crewmates might just think you are taking a nap when you are unconscious from the fumes.

I don’t enjoy writing about people accidently dying in the water, but all these fatalities could be avoided with some common sense. Be safe out there.

Captain Steve Mannshardt advises us to be aware that there is a structure at the Port of Stockton that juts quite a distance out into the river just west of the I-5 Bridge. You will encounter it if you are going up to the downtown marina or McLeod Lake. There is plenty of room to pass it on your starboard side if you are traveling upstream. It has been there for a while and I have not heard of anyone running into it, yet. Thanks to Eric Koster of J & H Marine whose office is just upstream past the I-5 Bridge for the photo.

The party never ends, it is like the Endless Summer. Let me know what you are up to. Give me a call 916/869.9141 or email commodorewells@msn.com H


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