Delta Rat Scrapbook – by Bill Wells

Delta Rat Scrapbook

41st Annual Lynn Hahn Memorial Boat Parade

Don’t miss this great annual event to kick off the Christmas/holiday season in Stockton. It will be held on Dec. 3 starting at 1700 hours with boats assembling in front of Windmill Cove/Marker 34 on the San Joaquin River. The late Lynn Hahn spearheaded this parade for a few decades until she crossed over the bar. Her son Roger has been involved organizing and pulling off the parade ever since. The entry fee is $25.00 per boat, which is donated to charity. Call 916-847-8959 for more information.

Martini Shot in the 2021 Lighted Boat Parade.

The weather has always cooperated for the day of the parade. The only times it has been cancelled were when the Delta was blanketed with water hyacinth several years ago, and I think one time during the COVID pandemic. It is a great opportunity for a lot of fun and hanging out with your friends. Oh yes, you might win a prize for your decorated boat.

Becky and granddaughter Addi on the deck of Beverly Ann in front of the Windmill Cove staging area.

The people of Stockton love this parade. Some great vantage points for landlubbers to view it are Windmill Cove, Riverpoint Landing, the Downtown Marina, Weber Point and the University Plaza Waterfront Hotel. There are sure to be parties at restaurants and clubs after the parade too.

Passing the Port of Stockton as fireworks light up the foggy night.

Just one more thing, when the parade ends in downtown Stockton some people get the idea that it is a race to get back downriver – untrue! Over the years there have been a few mishaps of boats colliding or running aground after the parade. All these accidents were easily avoidable, so please boat safely.

Locke Vintage And Handcrafted Street Fair

Locke is coming back to life after the pandemic. My ace reporter Morris Lum attended their street fair. Locke is a fun little spot; I don’t hang out there as much as I should. Since Chris Menke and his team have taken over Al the Wop’s it has once again become a great Delta hangout. There are some cute stores and an ice cream parlor, as well as a couple of interesting museums.

Locke Street Fair. Photo courtesy of Morris Lum.

Martha Esch, a local store owner was impressed with the turnout: “What a fantastic Locke Vintage Street Fair that Virginia Giles organized and successfully put on this past Saturday! I’ve been to every Locke, California Main Street event since 1990 and the vintage theme was the best one by far! Such awesome antique vendors and a great variety of musicians keeping the music going all day long. Commendations to Virginia Giles. I was too busy scooping ice cream all day in my Locke shop to get outside to take pictures. While you are in the area stop in to see the Bing Tong Kong building in Isleton. It has recently opened as a museum.”

Sacramento Yacht Club

The Sacramento Yacht Club hosted an event bringing in four different law enforcement agencies which all operate patrol boats on the Sacramento River. Rear Commodore Tim Hodge put the event together with the support of the club board of directors. The Yolo County Sheriff, West Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento Sheriff Department and Sacramento City Police Department were all represented. The club and volunteer members provided the facility, boats and lunch. In addition, each patrol unit was given a club gate fob to enter the property when on patrol to access restrooms or just to take a break. There have been theft incidents at other local area marinas. The board feels a local law enforcement presence around the club may help deter incidents at the Sacramento Yacht Club and enhance the safety of the club. By the way, the club has also installed a new security camera system covering the docks and clubhouse.

PCWR Captains On Call

John Garza reports in from Pacific Coast Water Rescue. As of October 22, they now have a new 28-foot Protector tow vessel for the Delta along with a new available Salvage Trailer in Stockton. Additionally, they have a Protector 38 in Richmond for Bay work. John says they have performed multiple tow and salvage jobs so far this fall.

Protector 28. Photo courtesy of John Garza.

Over the last 10 years John and his people have trained about 250 firefighters and qualified six captains to Coast Guard standards. Please call John directly at PCWR Captains on Call 925-337-2294 to see what he has to offer and how he can help you. Or better yet, call and ask how you can help him with his goal of making the Delta safer for everyone.

Lisa Gets A New Yacht

Lisa Hallow says it was a dream come true for her and her daughter Victoria Velasquez to get their own boat. They have a new to them 28-foot Carver, a nice looking vessel. Glenn Williams says it would be his dream come true if they would take him for a ride on it. I think it will be a dream for many of us if Lisa and Victoria would take us for a ride on their yacht. Hint, hint.

5 Star Marina

It is the end of an era in Stockton; Terry and Bob McDonald have sold 5 Star Marina to new owners. The McDonald brothers owned the marina for 20 plus years. I met Terry and Bob (I think) in 2000 when they were looking for a yacht broker to help reduce their inventory of boats. I applied for the job and we hit it off. We sold some boats and had a good time doing it. We have been good friends ever since.

A classic Stephens Yacht tied at 5 Star Marina.

I think 5 Star was the McDonald brothers’ first big venture in Stockton. The marina property covers an entire block with office and industrial space too. I learned a lot when I worked there. They had one employee who worked there when it was Stephens Marine, and other former employees and Stephens family members would drop in from time to time and pass on the lore of Stephens boats.

Lisa at the helm of her new yacht. Photo courtesy of Lisa Hallow.

When I worked there it was the time of the Silicon Valley high tech bubble. Boats were selling and credit was available to almost anyone with a warm body. Bob and Terry threw some great marina parties and gained a lot of respect from the local community. Rumor has it that they are not leaving Stockton and are in the process of purchasing an office building near the waterfront.

We should have an update on the new owners soon.

Molly, Bill & Mimi on their boat de jour at Globins 1951.

One Thousand Beautiful Cranes

All my life I have pondered what motivates humans to want to travel on water. Some of my earliest memories are playing with a toy boat when we lived in Sioux City. I also have memories of my parents taking me for boat rides before I was two years old. I have literally thought about boats all my life, and I am always interested in my fellow mariner’s stories about how they got into the sport. I had a primitive sailboard starting at about 11 years of age; then when I was a teenager I upgraded to an El Toro dinghy. I was fortunate enough to have friends with boats that would take me waterskiing. Jack Karnes’ father had a 16-foot runabout with a 35-horsepower outboard that he let Jack use anytime he wanted. We were all skinny kids and had no problem skiing behind the rig. We also had family friends at Clear Lake who owned a vintage Chris Craft triple cockpit runabout powered by a Lincoln Zephyr flathead V-12 motor. We would ski all over Clear Lake, and this boat would easily pull two or three skiers at the same time. It threw a large wake which was perfect for jumping.

My friend Molly Culbertson recently passed through town and we talked about when we were children and spent a couple of summer vacations at Lake Tahoe in the early 1950s. Our two families would rent a cabin at South Lake Tahoe. It was just a couple of blocks from Globins Resort at Al Tahoe. We had a great time going to the beach every day. Sometimes our parents would rent us a catamaran boat made from airplane wing tanks. We would paddle it all over the area. Other times we built rafts to cruise around on. It was great fun swimming too; the water was freezing cold but it did not bother us except when our parents would chase us out when we started turning blue. Mimi and Molly Culbertson were like sisters to me – my first (and only) threesome you might say.

Others have similar stories. Don Rienhart started out with a homemade dinghy that he cruised all over the Stockton Area waterways. Blair Hake grew up on boats as did Adam Farrow, Pat Carson and a myriad of other folks I know who have all had the obsession to go out in boats.

What does all this have to do with 1,000 beautiful cranes you ask? Well, Catherine Miskow a friend of mine just published her book of “The Voyages of 1,000 Beautiful Cranes.” It is her memoir of growing up cruising the Bay and Delta aboard her parents sailboat named Chizumi. Chizumi is also Catherine’s mother’s name. Translated to English from Japanese it means 1,000 beautiful cranes (editors note for men: it is never a bad idea to name your boat after your wife.) I think there is still time for you to order the book for Christmas via online retailers.

It is a charming piece filled with stories of boating from the perspective of a young child. The original Chizumi was an Erickson 32, but within a few years her parents upgraded to an Islander Freeport 36 with greater freeboard and easier access via a boarding ladder. Catherine’s dad was a captain for an airline and would spend family vacations cruising on their boat.

Catherine tells the story of her birthday when she turned four. She got a fishing pole and reel, along with a tackle box and lures and other needed equipment. The book is filled with cute photos of Catherine when she was a little girl. They will melt your heart.

I especially enjoyed her story about hanging out at Lost Isle as a child and finding things to do when the adults turned her loose on her own. Well, truth be told, I especially enjoyed the whole thing. She even included a report from her first grade class explaining what she was going to do exploring the Delta by boat during summer vacation.

You will love it, great reading for winter weekends and will help you think of the upcoming season and what you will be doing this coming summer.

Fire On The Stockton Channel

The main building of the former Colberg Boat Works burned on Oct. 18. It started in the afternoon; this is another mysterious Delta fire that we have been plagued with lately. The Colberg complex is located on the north side of the Stockton Channel in Downtown Stockton at 848 West Fremont Street just to the east of 5 Star Marina. At one time it was a bustling center for boat building on the Stockton Waterfront.

Fire at Colberg. Photo courtesy of Blair Hake.

The company was founded by William and Henry Colberg in 1897 and was in business until the 1990s. After World War II, Henry’s sons Wilton, Jack and Gordon Colberg took over the business until it closed. At one time the company had a fleet of launches that would transport people throughout the Delta before roads led everywhere.

In 1925 the company got a contract to build a cable ferry across the Mokelumne River to connect Bouldin and Andrus Islands that helped connect Lodi to Rio Vista. It had a three-horsepower motor to drag the vessel from bank to bank.

Over the years they built many Delta ferries as well as many other craft. When World War II broke out they received contracts to build everything from minesweepers to yard utility boats. After the war they built boats for the San Francisco Red and White Fleet.

The submarine USS Pampanito was anchored in front of Colberg’s for several years prior to it becoming a museum on the San Francisco Waterfront. The company suspended operations in the 1990s.

I spoke to Don Rienhart of the Stockton Historical Maritime Museum. They had been planning to move the building across the channel to their property on Weber Street to be the main structure for their museum. That won’t be happening now. Don did tell me that they had permission several years ago to remove the blueprints of constructed vessels that were stored there.

According to my sources, vagrants and bums had been living in the structure just prior to the fire breaking out. It’s too bad – another piece of Delta history gone.

Village West Yacht Club

The Village West Yacht Club hosted the Delta Chambers mixer for October. They went all out with a feast. The pasta just kept coming, along with plenty of healthy snacks, carrots, celery, cheese, crackers and dips. The piece de resistance was the garlic bread. I think it might have been created by Kimberly Ann Miller; it was perfect. I used to love the garlic bread at Parisi’s Spaghetti House Restaurant in Sacramento but they have been closed for 30 or so years. The Point in Rio Vista has always had great garlic bread so I go there to get my fix once in a while. Now I will have to make sure I go to the Village West Yacht Club whenever they are serving it.

The Smith Family – big winners!

Congressional candidate Tom Patti came and gave a short talk about why he is the best candidate to represent the California Delta in the U.S. Congress. There was plenty of fun and folks catching up with each other. There were plenty of prizes donated by local businesses and lucky winners took home vintage Delta books, Weibel wine, beautiful hand created jewelry from Lisa Hallow, a beautiful Halloween goodie basket from Bill & Laura Smith and goodie baskets stuffed with refreshments from Village West Yacht Club. Chris Menke from Al The Wop’s donated some gift certificates for food and drinks at the restaurant. It was a great party on a beautiful evening.

Tom, Tari, J and Tom at the mixer.

Willow Berm Marina

Zarida Zuniga files this dispatch from Willow Berm Marina:

“Our food truck extravaganza is always a hit for members & their guests. It was catered by The Fry Boys & Daisy’s Desserts; they did an amazing job keeping up with getting everyone’s meals out promptly throughout the day. The crème brulee was to die for from Daisy’s Desserts! Chubby & The Allstars kept us moving and grooving with its rhythms & harmonies. We’d like to take the time to thank each and every one of our members and their guests for joining us. We couldn’t do it without you.”

Nautical ladies of Willow Berm. Photo courtesy of Zarida Zuniga.
Daisy’s Desserts. Photo courtesy of Zarida Zuniga.
Tenants of Willow Berm Marina gather to enjoy the company and food.

Willow Berm continues to be one of the finest marinas in the Delta. It is in a prime location on the Mokelumne River that gives you access to Stockton, Bethel Island, Antioch, Rio Vista and Sacramento without too much of a journey. It is easy to get to by automobile too.

WaterFraud Update

The draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Delta Conveyance Project was released for public review and comment on July 27. The comment period was supposed to end on Oct. 27, but the Department of Water resources (DWR) has announced that the comment period has been extended by request. The new end date for the comment period is Friday, Dec. 16. The document is basically unreadable, someone pointed out that you would have to read 166 pages per day to read this 15,000 page document in the original 90 day period. It is poorly laid out and near impossible to search for something of interest to you.

Dan Whaley of the Delta Legacy Communities organization says: “The provided 90-day comment period is inadequate to allow for public participation and comment. The draft EIR with appendices and attachments is over 15,000 pages long, and so far we have been unable to identify key matters we wish addressed. For example, there is no concise or consistent means of determining where the study area is or how it has been defined for different impact analysis.

“What is further confusing is the Delta Design & Construction Authority (DCA) has not even completed soil test drilling to accurately describe the “project.” Just today we see they are test drilling along Highway 160 outside of Hood on the way to Courtland. For the Project Alternatives, wouldn’t it be important to know the soil at various locations and levels before you select an intake site or tunnel path? Have they mapped all the existing and abandoned gas wells? That difficulty apparently shelved the deep-water channel use concept. Where in the draft EIR are the gas wells identified? How will the gas wells be addressed during construction? Please explain where in the draft EIR we can find this information.”

Jack Hanna from Bethel Island weighs in: “In my opinion, the ‘Reusable Tunnel Material’ is not reusable in the delicate balance of the ecology of the California Delta. 1-DDT was banned a long time ago. Apparently, the stuff has settled in the mud as evidenced by the 2017 test borings reported in the draft EIR. In addition to the brown pelicans of the Bay and seashore, our exotic white pelicans work the territories of the Delta all year long. Migrating species are protected from this banned material. These are but ‘bell weather’ species. Other birds, fish and people would be exposed to this pesticide in levels many times beyond published levels of acceptability. The delicate balance of Delta wildlife is already threatened to the limits of existence by the ‘overdraft’ of freshwater extraction. It is neither reasonable nor acceptable to dig up and disturb the pesticides that have settled in the mud over decades. Note example: The selenium which rested safely in Westlands soil before farming became deadly when disturbed. 2-The EIR is incomplete on the critical matter of additive chemicals for the project. The handling of the RTM cannot be evaluated chemically and statistically for safety until and unless the ‘additive’ material can be identified and evaluated as a toxic hazard (editor’s note: we call the RTM Recycled Toxic Muck.)

“Absent, the critical information about the safety of the so-called RTM, this study does not justify further investment in the project until reasonable proof exists that the excavated material can be safely excavated, transported and manipulated for construction and other distribution. Respectfully, I cannot conscionably ignore the failure of this memorandum to demonstrate a reasonable level of safety to the Delta’s people and wildlife.”

Don’t forget this project was initiated by Arnold Schwarzenegger when he was governor to placate his supporters in Southern California. It has metastasized under the next two regimes – Jerry “I am not a boater” Brown, and now Gavin Newsom have modified Schwarzenegger’s plan to try to gain more support. None of these people have a background in water delivery or environmental considerations. None of them have spent much time in the Delta. As near as we can tell, close to a billion dollars have been squandered on the project so far and nothing has been achieved. Keep in mind that no matter what they spend, the Delta Conveyance creates no new water, it just moves it from one group to a more equal group.

The Algae Situation

For the last several years Stockton and other parts of the Delta have been struck with nasty algae blooms in the spring and summer. The San Francisco Baykeeper organization has filed a petition with the State Water Resources Control Board to increase the waterflow on the San Joaquin River to seasonal flow of water into the Delta from the San Joaquin River to a 40 percent level they allege was laid out in an amended Bay-Delta plan.

According to Jon Rosenfield, a scientist with Baykeeper the algae “produces a toxin that’s acutely poisonous to people and their pets. So, this will kill your dog if it gets exposed to enough of it and can make people very sick if they come in contact with the water, but also the toxins and the cyanobacterial cells get aerosolized in a heavy wind. So, it makes it sort of a hazard even if you’re walking near the waterway.”

Memories of Christmas Past at Orchard Gables.

I remember maybe 20 years ago when the Department of Water Resources (DWR) placed warning signs about the algae at Stockton area marinas. People were calling me and asking about it; I called every number I could find at the DWR and finally reached one engineer that confirmed (off the record) the algae was a danger and people and pets should avoid it.

Later, I went to a presentation at the Natural Resources Agency and they further confirmed that lack of water flow was the major contributor to the toxic algae blooms. You will remember a few short months ago a huge algae bloom in San Francisco Bay killed thousands of fish. This is unacceptable, there needs to be a minimum water flow requirement through the Delta or the entire ecosystem will be destroyed.

Dan Bacher advises that only about 6,000 salmon have returned to the Battle Creek Hatchery (off of the Sacramento River) this year versus 10 to 14,000 fish on a year of normal flow.

Irish Pennants

If you don’t have a VHF radio, please put it on your Christmas list. For some reason there are a lot of boaters out there that rely on cell phones for emergencies. Cell phones are good and coverage has increased greatly over the last 20 years or so, but a marine radio is unbeatable. The Coast Guard monitors channel 16 and if you make a call any boater in proximity will be able to hear you. Your cell phone only goes to one number at a time and you need to know the number of the person or organization that you are calling.

Frozen Bun run.

It’s back, the Frozen Bun Run has returned! After a two-year hiatus, Kim and Rob Brunham have confirmed that they will be hosting the Frozen Bun Run on Jan. 1, 2023 at the Rusty Porthole. Please come down and participate in the first water ski of 2023.

Ko-Ket Resort checks in, the bar and grill will be staying open on weekends during the winter. It is a great spot for a sandwich and to watch the Sacramento River go by. Come by car or boat.

Rumor has it that Liz and Ryan are getting married; we will keep you advised as information develops in this situation.

The television show American Pickers is coming to California in January. They are looking for places to find treasures. It has to be private collections not open to the public, so no stores or museums. I know a few people around the Delta that have a lot of stuff they might be interested in. You can contact the show at: or call 646-493-2184.

If you got a new camera for Christmas please take the time to set it for the highest resolution so you can share your photos with me for potential inclusion in Bay & Delta Yachtsman. Have a great Christmas and holiday season & see you in 2023. Contact me at or 916-869-9141.