Delta Rat Scrapbook – by Bill Wells
Village West Marina And Resort Holiday Village
There was an excellent event at Village West; several decorated boats were on hand for the kick-off of the Christmas season. Santa was there and a festive crowd descended on the marina. I tried to get close to Santa but there was a line of kids about a block long that were waiting for their personal consultation with him. I did get a photo after he finished as he walked back to his sleigh.
Sue and I popped into Garlic Brothers for a bite to eat. They were packed but the service was still spot on and we got our meals in short order. It was snowing at the marina, and a lot of Santa’s helpers were on board too.
It was a very pleasant surprise to see recently retired marina manager Vickie Baumann and her husband Jim at the party. Then, the next thing I knew, there was another great surprise; Samantha Schleder and her family, Tyler and Aubrey, showed up. Sam has been off on maternity leave for a while, but she is back now charming everyone at the marina. Their daughter Aubrey appears to be headed for a career of charming folks too.
Lynn Hahn Memorial Parade
This year marked the 42nd Lynn Hahn, Delta Reflections Christmas Parade in Stockton. Jim Kopshever invited Sue and I to join him, his family and friends aboard his boat Final Final. She was the Grand Marshall’s boat leading the parade. Tracie Glaves, a Stockton area community activist who has done much to help clean up local waterways, address the unhoused problem and started the San Joaquin Delta Neighborhood Watch Association was the 2023 Grand Marshall. Tracie is very deserving of this honor; she works tirelessly to support the Stockton area. Her hubby Jeff came along as her escort.
We met at the Stockton Yacht Club Boathouse, where many other folks were putting the last-minute touches on their decorations for the parade. Jim Kopshever welcomed Sue and I aboard his boat Final Final. We were joined by Jim’s son and daughter in law Tony and Andrea Kopshever, his daughter Michelle, Yachtsman publisher Ty Mellott, Marc Bay of Bay Yachts, Inc. and a gaggle of children. The boat was skippered by Captain Pat Carson. Jim provided enough beverages and food to outfit a small Navy task force. We did our best to consume as much as possible but barely made a dent in the provisions.
We pulled out of the boathouse shortly after 1600 hours and cruised down the Mokelumne passing the Weibel, McDonald, Stephens, Farrow and Faso estates to the confluence with the San Joaquin and from there to marker 34 near Windmill Cove and Fourteen Mile Slough. We waited while the rest of the fleet assembled and presently headed upstream towards downtown Stockton trying to maintain a 50-yard distance between vessels. I think there were 34 boats in the parade; most of them were elaborately decorated, a credit to the crews. Jill and Richard Stevenson win the event frequently with their yacht Martini Shot because of her creative decorations. This year it looked like many others got the hint and there were some very creative efforts put forth.
Adam Farrow’s Joker won first prize; she was beautiful. Adam credits Debi Wells with the idea and Debi and numerous friends from Riviera Cliffs helped put her together. Congratulations Adam and Debi! San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol deserves special recognition. They were not only working keeping order at the event, but they also captured the grinch while they were at it. It was a chilly evening but no rain or fog so it was… well, a perfect night for the parade.
The team of Jill, Roger Hahn, Suzie Bowers, Lisa Boje, Denny Trinchera and Melissa Marvin worked hard to pull off this annual, traditional event. Lynn Hahn would be proud to see what they have accomplished. Lynn has been gone for a few years now. I think of everyone I have ever known, Lynn loved Christmas the most. If you ever went to the Hahn home around Christmas you would be amazed how the interior would be transformed into a living display with Santas and decorations everywhere.
After the parade, we headed back to the clubhouse for cocktails, followed by dinner served from the galley. After dinner the awards were presented.
Jill Stevenson collected the information from the judges and forwarded it to me. “Congratulations to the 2023 winners of the Delta Reflections Lighted Boat Parade! There were so many amazing entries this year our judges had to work hard to choose the best of the best! The winners are: Hal Schell Award/Judges Choice – Leo Conn – San Joaquin County Sheriff – Munson; 36 feet and up: First Place – Adam Farrow/Debi Wells – Lodi Marine – Joker; Second Place – Terry Medeiros – Stockton Yacht Club – Sunbow; Third Place – Eric Koster – J&H Marine – Delta Protector; 23-35 Feet: First Place – Manny Mo Reno – Stockton Sailing Club – Windseeker, Second Place – Trisha Cote – J&H Marine – Doral, Under 23 Feet: First Place – Ralph Benson – Wreck-It Ralph, Second Place – Jill & Dick Stevenson – Stockton YC, SJDPS, Delta Outlanders – Cobalt.”
Jill says, “Thank you to everyone who entered the parade this year and also to everyone that came out to watch and cheer us on! Beautiful weather made for a picture-perfect evening on the Delta. Hope to see you all in the parade next year! Invite all your boating friends.”
This is a great event and a treat for folks who line the parade route to cheer the entrants on. Windmill Cove is a great vantage point as is Riverpoint Landing and many places along the riverbanks. 5 Star Marina had their annual party going on full blast and Weber Point was packed with folks. Kids especially enjoyed the fun.
Roving Reporter Update
Daniel Witte has not been lying around counting his Christmas gifts. He is always up for something new. Here is his latest dispatch: “After much searching our family has recently purchased Tuesday, a 53-foot Navigator, but will be changing the name to Blue Skies. She has three staterooms, Cummins engines and comes with a dinghy equipped with a 40-horsepower outboard motor. The dinghy will be especially handy since it will allow us to keep up with our club’s fast dinghies when we go on lunch or afternoon excursions with them.
Tuesday is currently berthed in Oxnard, California, but we will be bringing her up to the Delta as soon as the recommended work is done and it is safe to transit the coast. This will be my first voyage up the coast and I imagine it will be very exciting.
Since my family will have a bigger boat, I will be able to live out my dream of living aboard a boat. I will be purchasing my family’s 39-foot Sea Ray, Integrity and living in the Bay at either Marina Bay Yacht Harbor or Emery Cove. Living in the Bay will allow me to go to events down there with my friends and family regularly. I look forward to this new adventure and will hopefully have a piece about my trip up the coast in a future issue.” We look forward to a full report about your trip up the coast Daniel. Congratulations to you and your family.
Delta Chambers Christmas Party
Once again, we met at the Stockton Yacht Club, this time on a chilly Wednesday evening. The place was filled with club members, chamber members and guests. The bar was open and Commodore Marina Faconti announced that hors d’oeuvres were coming out from the galley. The famished crowd descended on the food like a hoard of locusts. It was all excellent, many of the members brought a dish. There were about 100 folks there and the Christmas Spirit prevailed. Several members received awards and there were plenty of prizes that were distributed. The Stockton Yacht Club is a great spot for a party anytime, but the clubhouse is especially warm and inviting in the winter. You can come by car or boat. The clubhouse is just a few hundred yards up the beautiful Calaveras River from where it joins the San Joaquin at Point Faso. Just be careful of objects coming down the river in the winter.
The Delta Chambers got together with the Greater Stockton Chamber, the Hispanic Chamber, the Central Valley Asian Chamber and the African American Chamber for a joint Christmas and holiday party at the Haggin Museum. Each chamber brought food to serve so the evening was like a gourmet food tasting event. The Delta Chambers struck it lucky with their godmother, Lisa Hallow who volunteered to bring food. She is an artist at anything she does. She prepared a delicious Thai chicken salad with noodles; she even brought those little cardboard containers that you get to go in Asian restaurants to serve it in. It was a real hit and we ran out just as the mixer ended.
I thought there were about 300 people there and everyone was in a holiday mood. Marines representing the well-known Toys for Tots collected a pile of donated toys for their Christmas drive.
Tim Quinn and his team from the Stockton Chamber spearheaded this great party and all the chambers did a great job with their respective pieces. Being at the Haggin was an added treat as we got to look at the exhibits too. The Haggin Museum is one of the best in Northern California. It is packed with the history of the area including Stephens Brothers boatbuilding. It has some beautiful artwork too.
Grand Island Mansion
Dave and Linda Breninger hosted a brunch for some of us December Sagittarius birthday people. Many luminaries were born in December. Beethoven is dead naturally, Keith Richards had another engagement, so it was left to Cindy Breninger, Pat Carson and yours truly to be the birthday people. Sue and I attended and Cindy’s adult children, Ashley and Brandon were there also. Cindy’s sister Monica and her daughter Hannah were there along with Leslie Carson and her mom.
We had a great time exchanging gifts and catching up on what we had all been doing all year. Dave and Linda have a new yacht, and Pat and Leslie have been having adventures delivering boats all over the West Coast. The rest of us didn’t have any exciting tales to share. Well, Cindy did show off her beautiful designer shoes; they are very holiday-looking and stylish.
The brunch was awesome as usual; I can’t list all the menu items, but a couple really stuck out though. The salmon was fantastic so I had a couple of helpings, the oven roasted herb seasoned prime rib was exceptional too, there were eggs benedict, Italian toast with toasted almonds, honey butter potatoes and plenty of exotic desserts including Sue’s favorite – Crème brulée. This is not even the whole menu but you get the idea, it was a great meal. Thanks again to Dave and Linda for a very pleasant Sunday.
People frequently ask if the mansion is accessible by boat. Yes, it is and they have about a 200-foot dock. Naturally you need a reservation to moor there, call 916-775-1705. No boat? No problem! The mansion has a classic Chris Craft yacht available for rent. The estate is located on beautiful Steamboat Slough just a short 2.8 miles from the Steamboat Slough Bridge. The estate was completed in 1920 and designed by J. W. Dolliver for the owner Lewis W. Meyers. The grounds included 800 plus acres of stone fruit trees and asparagus. Lewis Meyers unfortunately crossed over the bar two short years after the mansion was built.
Pacific Coast Water Rescue (PCWR) Captains and Swimmers On Call
I pulled into the parking lot of Tower Park Marina, and it seemed like every fire department in Northern California was there. It was State Fire Training (SFT) Open Water Rescue, Vessel Regional Search and Rescue (SAR) Exercise, hosted by the Woodbridge Fire District. John Garza and the whole team were there.
I walked out onto the fuel dock, and the first thing I saw was what I thought were two cadavers lying on the dock. As I got closer, I realized they were rescue dummies being used by the teams to practice rescue retrieving out of Little Potato Slough. There were several boats in the water practicing search and rescue operations. It really makes you feel good to see these folks in action. They are very professional and give you a feeling of confidence that they would have just about any emergency situation under control.
John gave me a summary of what they were up to. Did I ever mention that John retired after a 30-year career in firefighting and now devotes his time to community service?
On this day, they were conducting training for Open Water Rescue Boat Operator – Large Vessel Operator/Coxswain Skills Task List Open Water Rescue Boat Operator – Small Vessel Boat Operator. Tuesday Dec. 12 was a highlight for PCWR Captains with over 12 years of teaching firefighters Rescue Boat Operations. On this date, we had 20 firefighters on six rescue boats, with several rescue drones used for search operations.
Woodbridge Fire District hosted the 40-hour State Fire Training Course with five members completing over 33 rescue boat competencies. On the last day of class, several search exercises were performed with assistance from several local agency partners including the San Joaquin Sheriffs and surrounding fire agencies. Congratulations to Woodbridge Fire Boat Coxswain Trainees. You can contact PCWR Captains and Swimmers On Call at 925-337-2294.
John is working with Woodbridge to help them get a Moose boat equipped for firefighting. They expect to take delivery early this year. John is forever grateful to Eric Koster of J&H Marine who always helps to get these vessels outfitted and ready for use.
Water War Update
Wade Crowfoot, Karla Nemeth and Carrie Buckman launched the Newsom regime’s Christmas offensive against the people of the Delta at a media only virtual press conference on Dec. 8, Hanukkah. “The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is today releasing the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to public agencies that commented on the Draft EIR, per the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).” They made the announcement on a Friday when fewer people would be paying attention to news events. Then, two workdays before Christmas on Dec. 21 they released “Notice of Determination” accepting the EIR, it was signed by DWR Director Karla Nemeth.”
This is the latest iteration of Newsom’s plan to divert the Sacramento River around the Delta. It seems the proposed tunnel inside diameter would be 36 feet and 40 feet outside diameter. This is a little smaller than the previous version of the tunnel at 40 feet inside diameter. The two 3,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) intakes would be located on either side of the tiny community of Hood for a total intake capacity of 6,000 CFS. The proposed underground tunnel would be 45 miles following the so-called “eastern alignment.” It would feature two new intakes on the Sacramento in the North Delta near Hood with a capacity of 3,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) for a total capacity of 6,000 CFS. A new pumping plant in the South Delta would connect the tunnel to the existing Bethany Reservoir and from there to the California Aqueduct and send the water south.
The coequal goals for the Delta in the California Water Code section 85054 state:
“Coequal goals” means the two goals of providing a more reliable water supply for California and protecting, restoring and enhancing the Delta ecosystem. The coequal goals shall be achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place.”
This latest boondoggle flies in the face of the coequal goals. It is just another attempt to put lipstick on a pig and trick the public into going along with a stupid idea. Gavin Newsom and Wade Crowfoot have no background in water management. Crowfoot was senior environmental advisor to Gavin Newsom from 2004 to 2007 when Newsom was Mayor of San Francisco. You decide, did their team make the city better?
I attended the virtual press conference and got to ask Crowfoot if he could give a few examples of where a project like this did not destroy the original waterway. He gave a rambling non-answer about how there are plenty of in-use water diversions around the state. Well, he should go take a look at Owens “Dry” Lake, Mono Lake, Buena Vista Lake, Tulare Lake and San Joaquin River as just a few examples of bad water policy in California where a diversion has destroyed the waterway. I and others have been asking this question for at least fifteen years and still have not gotten a straight answer. One time at a meeting I got to ask then DWR Director Grant Davis for a few examples. He admitted that there were none but we could trust the DWR to manage the water properly. Well, we do not trust the DWR and if this project is completed, they will take every gallon of water they possibly can out of the river. Davis left the job after a short tenure and Nemeth moved in. Karla Nemeth was the understudy of the then Deputy Secretary at the California Natural Resources Agency, Jerry Meral, a colleague of Jerry Brown dating back to the Moonbeam days. Meral, who at times has been seen dressed in white bed sheets, is quoted as saying: “BDCP (the tunnel plan) is not about, and has never been about, saving the Delta. The Delta cannot be saved.” Getting back to the question about examples of a major diversion not destroying the parent waterway, it is a trick question as there are no examples. Dan Bacher, myself and others have been asking the same question of DWR officials for 15 plus years and they continue to give non-answers. Why not just be honest and admit that there are no examples?
The other thing the Crowfoot/Nemeth team keeps bringing up is the earthquake risk in the Delta. They cite the United States Geological Survey that concluded that there is a 72-percent probability of at least one earthquake of magnitude 6.7 or greater striking somewhere in the San Francisco Bay region before 2043. Crowfoot uses that figure to claim “that could cause levees in the Delta to fail.” It is possible but unlikely, so far in human history there has never been a levee failure in the Delta caused by an earthquake. The 6.9 Loma Prieta quake in 1989 that damaged much of San Francisco and nearby areas caused no damage to Delta levees. If the San Andres Fault or the Hayward Fault were to have a 6.0 or bigger quake the Delta would be the least of concerns; much of the infrastructure in the Bay Area would be destroyed. The USGS document at https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2016/3020/fs20163020.pdf does not even mention the Delta. As I have mentioned before, the DWR once brought in a vibrating machine that was going to demonstrate how an earthquake would destroy a levee. The levee held fine and the machine broke down.
Well, basically these people are recycling previously debunked ideas from the last 15 years. They have been beaten in the past and I am confident that common sense and what is right will prevail this time too. The idea of diverting the river will be a stupid idea no matter who is in office. The government needs to get serious about the water situation and develop methods to create new fresh water.
Scott Artis, the Golden State Salmon Association’s Executive Director had this to say, “The salmon industry is already suffering from the Newsom shutdown; California salmon fishing is completely closed in 2023 because the Governor mismanaged our rivers during the drought.
“Having spent five years blocking new State flow protections for salmon, he’s now dancing hand-in-hand with water districts on the aching backs of the fishing industry, California residents and the environment by trying to build one of the biggest salmon killing projects in state history. We don’t need a 1950s-style water project to help California meet 21st-century water needs – especially one that looks like an extinction plan for salmon.”
The following was provided by Still Stephensen. “Kathy McCoy was called home by the Lord on Dec. 19 after a brief battle with cancer. Kathy was the wife of Pete McCoy, current Commander of the San Joaquin Delta Power Squadron. We all loved Kathy! She was always someone you enjoyed spending time with. Kathy enjoyed boating and fishing on the Delta and loved the Lord. She also ran the membership program for the Power Squadron and did an excellent job. Kathy’s passing leaves a huge hole in our hearts. We will never forget you dear friend. Until we meet again.”
The Classic Yacht Association was incorporated in 1970 in Southern California with eighteen charter members and has grown to be an international organization with several hundred members.
In 1969 Anne and her husband Buzz were moored at Catalina when another boater, Bob Ekoos rowed his shore boat over to admire their boat. Bob and Buzz were plyed with food and drink by Anne. The three of them decided to start a club for owners of old yachts and the rest is history. Bob Ekoos was the first Commodore of the club in 1971 – 1972 and Buzz was the second in 1973. Anne never held office but she was always active in the Southern California fleet and was definitely one of the founders. Buzz and Anne’s boat is lost to history but Bob & Cherry Ekoos’ boat was a 36-foot Stephens, sistership to my Ranger. She is in a museum in Michigan nowadays.
On Dec. 30 a 17-foot runabout sank at a local Stockton marina after filling with rainwater. They called River Pirates at 1030 hours. River Pirates sprang to the rescue and used Carter airbags to raise the vessel. They had the boat out of the water and on its trailer at Buckey Cover by 14:30 hours. A happy ending to the year 2023 for a lucky owner.
Speaking of the Classic Yacht Association our International Commodore Gerry Kamilos recently entertained a group of retired Secret Service agents aboard his Trumpy yacht Aurora V. It was a surprise birthday party for Clint Hill. Clint was the Secret Service agent who jumped into President Kennedy’s limousine when he was attacked in Dallas. Clint rode with the president and Mrs. Kennedy to Parkland Hospital to protect them. Twelve retired agents were aboard for the cruise out of Tiburon. Come to find out, the presidential yachts Sequoia and Honey Fitz are Trumpys also.
My Stockton correspondent Ed Farrell was riding his bike along Pacific Avenue where it crosses the Calaveras River and spied a good-sized salmon stuck in a landlocked pool. He estimated it at about 20 pounds. Yes, Wade and Karla, this is one reason we need more water flowing through our Delta.
Terry McDonald headed for La Paz for the winter. He shipped his new boat there and found a slip in the Cortez Marina right outside of his condominium. She was christened, launched and driven around the bay for her shakedown cruise. He calls her Bubbles Up, and on the first day of fishing they did quite well. I can’t keep track of these people but I think Thom and Wendy Foulks were there with him and maybe some other folks. Terry says, “The first fish on was a beautiful sailfish that Wendy hooked up. It completely breached the water, came off the hook and got away. We ended up with two Sierra mackerel, which were our dinner… The bearded lad is captain Mike! It is looking like a brilliant winter season ahead in La Paz.” I predict we won’t see any more of Terry until springtime.
Fred and Ida Weibel have recently returned from their winter trip to Tahiti. They report fantastic weather and great fun.
J Mills after completing the Baja Ha-Ha is continuing his adventure in the Sea of Cortez and singlehanding to other ports in the area.
I predict a great year, despite our beloved Delta being under a withering attack by the Newsom/Crowfoot faction. Tell me what you are up to. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-869-9141.