Delta Rat Scrapbook – by Bill Wells

Delta Rat Scrapbook

Opening Day On The Delta

The Stockton Yacht Club pulled off an epic event in early April. Jill Stevenson and her team including Theo Garcia, Tony Ehrig, Marc Gabrys, Cathryn Grayson, Lisa Boje and Denny Trinchera put together one of the best events in my 30+ years of actively recreating in the Delta. The opening day parade was followed by the Glitz and Glam Dinner at the Stockton Yacht Club. We met at McLeod Lake and went aboard Jan and Joe Ambriz’s beautiful houseboat Auberge Du Soleil. The parade judges for 2024 were Marc Bay and Richard Schwager, as well as Sue & I. (Marc hosted the prizes for the day.)

Beverly Ann.

Our hosts had a virtual feast to keep us fed and happy during the arduous work we were doing. There were a couple of plates of sandwiches, along with plenty of chips and dips. Wine, beer and even some non-alcoholic beverages were served. I am confident we could have stayed at sea for a week or more without taking on more provisions.

The parade started at Windmill Cove and came up the San Joaquin River going under I-5 and proceeding into McLeod Lake. Things ran a little late as a freighter was turning around at the port and delayed the parade for a short while. We were stationed right by the sports arena, so as the boats turned around at the head of the lake, they would come right by us. We stationed ourselves up on the top deck for a good vantage point and the boats passed right under us. Thanks to everyone who participated in the parade; the decorations were great, and the costumes were too.

Golden Girl.

I have judged a few boating events in my time and have seen a few common things that are easy to correct, but many folks get wrong. #1 Make sure your identification numbers are visible and legible. In every parade there are contestants that don’t put on the numbers or put them on the side away from the judging platform, #2 Don’t be dragging your fenders. This is grounds for losing a few points and #3 Don’t fly the cheap vinyl “gas station” flags, you can get a set of nautical flags for a low price. Alan Almquist advises me that the correct protocol is two rectangular flags then a triangular flag, repeated as needed. You will look like a true mariner. One more thing: we are mariners, not landlubbers, and we have equipment, not “toys.”

I think there were 18 boats officially entered and many had crews dressed to match the theme. After making our choices as judges, we headed back to the club by car.

Elvis decorates the Grand Marshall’s Boat.

We were just in time to make the Glitz and Glam dinner. We walked in across the red carpet and were immediately pulled to the side for a photo op by Joon Lee who I met for the first time that day. He has a beautiful vintage Chris Craft Constellation that he entered in the parade. He is also a member of the Sacramento Yacht Club and was in Stockton especially for opening day.

After our portrait was taken, we sauntered into the bar for a cocktail before dinner. Thank God, Mike Cummings, one of the great Delta bartenders, was on duty to quench our thirst. Sue had her normal Coca-Cola and I had a cold beer. There was an hors d’oeuvres table within arm’s reach for me so I helped myself to plenty.

Marc Bay, Beverly Cain, Bob Cain.

Presently, we went into the dining room for dinner. It was amazing that after filling up on snacks during the parade, we were hungry again. We were served an excellent gourmet dinner of either chicken cordon bleu or shrimp scampi. It was delicious. Then, as if by magic, a table of exotic desserts appeared. There were sundaes, cupcakes and plenty of things I could not identify. I managed to eat only two, plus, take a couple of bites out of Sue’s dessert.

Joon Lee and Marc Bay. (Jill recording the moment).

The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s boating unit led the parade as the Grand Marshal this year. Elvis was singing from the deck to entertain the crowd. The parade winners for 2024 are: 41 feet and over: First Place; Beverly Ann – Bob and Beverly Cain, Second Place; Two Drifters – Bill and Chris Thompson, 40 feet and under: First Place: Golden Girl – Joon Lee, Second Place: Top Secret – Bill and Laura Smith.

Lisa, Laura & Bill.

There were a lot of raffle prizes, mostly baskets of goodies prepared by club members. Sue won a complete – let me say it again, a complete kit for making Bloody Marys including a 750 ML bottle of Vodka, mix, salt, several hot sauces and a few kinds of stuffed olives. Just the thing for a perfect breakfast.

All parade proceeds from Opening Day on the Delta 2024 went to the new Boys and Girls Club of Stockton.

Adam “Mr. Fabulous” Farrow, Debi Wells, Marc Bay.

Who Let The Dogs Out?

Once again, the Areias family hosted the social event of the season in Walnut Grove at their Orchard Gables estate perched on the bank of the Sacramento River. Folks came from all over Northern California to participate in this invitational Westminster West Dog Show on Easter Day.

Rusty, Austin, Julie, Alexis Areias.
Luncheon on the patio.
Bryan, Hillary, Julie, Ted and others.

The festivities started in the late morning after church. Gin Fizzes were served to the adults upon arrival. John Carlo was in the Hemingway Room kitchen preparing a fabulous brunch of lamb chops, roast beef, shrimp, brown rice, fresh asparagus and a selection of wines. Of course, we saved some room for the exotic deserts. I think I have mentioned this before but John Carlo is a longtime friend of the Areias family and for many years had his own restaurant in San Francisco before moving to the Delta and opening a restaurant up here. He had some health problems a while back but seems to be totally recovered. John Carlo is a gourmet chef so you can be assured that anything he prepares will be excellent.

Rusty and John Carlo.
Austin, Terry, Hal, Rusty, Alexis, Mason and his pooch.
Rina Dimare.

It was a beautiful day with nary a cloud in the sky and a gentle breeze. We dined on the outdoor patio and relaxed a bit before Rusty called for the dogs to be presented. There were ten or so entries. Now, many of these dogs are veterans of the competition and likewise their handlers. They are a tough crowd and used to intense competition. The tension of competition builds up in the dogs, but fortunately no serious dog fights broke out. Once again Eva Harris and her dog Beau Harris were the ones to beat in the competition. Eva goes all out, even dressing Beau and herself in rabbit ears. The duo received the award for the best dressed couple. Terri Ostiri and his dog Hal won Best Small Dog, and Mason Phillip and his dog won the Large Dog competition.

Everyone had a wonderful time, and Rusty, Julie, Alexis and Austin Areias deserve all the credit for another wonderful Delta day.

Freeport Bar & Grill

This has always been one of my favorite spots for food or drink. They are close by Sacramento and right off of the freeway at 8259 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento, 95832. They recently hosted a Delta Chambers mixer and we had a great time. They turned the whole back patio over to us and gave us our own private server. They had a lot of excellent snacks and many folks ordered dinner items off of the menu. My favorite entrée there is the Yankee Pot Roast, it is almost like the pot roast my mother used to make. They are open seven days a week and have breakfast and brunch on Saturday and Sunday; you should drop in sometime.

Delta Filmography

The Sacramento River Delta Historical Society put on a great presentation at the Jean Harve Center in Walnut Grove. Sacramento film historian and raconteur Matias Bombal put on a great show discussing the history of film making along the Sacramento River. He had some great film clips that had been transferred from old nitrate film to digital media. The film used in the old days was based on nitrocellulose and did not have much of a lifespan. It was also highly flammable, if not explosive, so many great films were lost over the last several decades. Apparently small clips pop up from obscure places around the world from time to time.

Matias presentation.

Matias started with an early John Ford silent film from the early 1920s. Ford had a long career as a silent film director prior to becoming one of the greatest directors in history. He received four academy awards as best director and many of the actors in his films won Oscars too. There were some clips of Ford interviews too.

Back in the 20th century many films that supposedly depicted the Mississippi River were actually filmed along the Sacramento River. The classic films Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn were both filmed along the Sacramento. Buster Keaton created a huge set on both sides of the Sacramento River where it meets the American River for his film Steamboat Bill in 1919. Numerous versions, silent and sound of Tom Sawyer and Huckelberry Finn were shot around the Rio Vista area.

The Delta stood in for Russia in Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Volga Boatmen,” a 1926 silent classic. “All the Kings Men” with Broderick Crawford was filmed around Collinsville and Birds Landing. It received the Academy Award for best picture in 1949.

Locke has hosted several film crews over the years. Of course, we are only talking about the Sacramento River area. Of course, Stockton and the San Joaquin River were the locations for many films, too. Maybe Matias will come back and continue the story in the future. He puts on a classic film matinee show at the Orinda Theatre on the last Tuesday of every month. Admission is only $10.00 and includes cartoons and a vintage newsreel. Check it out at

Pacific Coast Water Rescue (PCWR)

John “always on the move” Garza brought me up to date on a couple of things. At the Trilogy subdivision in Rio Vista, one of John’s associates had a complete cardiac arrest. His girlfriend called 911 and was guided by Solano Sheriff dispatcher Monica Ross on how to perform CPR. Monica Ross has been a dispatcher with the Solano County Sheriff’s Office for seven years and utilized Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) to guide the girlfriend in performing CPR for the first time ever.

“EMD is a systematic program of handling medical calls. Trained telecommunicators use locally approved EMD guide cards to quickly and properly determine the nature and priority of the call, dispatch the appropriate response and give the caller instructions to help treat the patient until the responding EMS unit arrives. Monica stayed on the line with Paulette, guiding her through CPR the entire time.

“Engine 55 arrived on scene and immediately began performing lifesaving resuscitation measures while the nearest ambulance was over 20 minutes away. Pulses were obtained and he was transported to North Bay Medical Center ER. Guy had suffered a 90% blockage to the heart and received three stents in the Catheter Lab.

“When asked for a statement on the events that happened the victim replied with a smile ‘God Bless the Rio Vista Fire Department Paramedics!’ We commend Firefighter Tony and Dispatcher Monica for their excellent work on this field save.

“The Rio Vista Fire Department remains committed to providing the highest level of advanced life support fire protection to citizens and visitors of the Rio Vista/Delta District.”

John explains that “the irony of the incident is the whole crew who performed CPR and Advanced Life Support on the victim were trained by PCWR in Rescue Boat Operations over the last few years.”

A few days later over in Discovery Bay, John was cruising aboard the tow boat Chief James Scott Martin when they happened on a patio boat that had lost power and was about to go up on the rocks. They threw the crew a towline and pulled them to safety. John says there was a crowd on the shore that started cheering when the vessel was pulled to safety.

John tells me that they are looking to bring another fireboat to the Delta as soon as they can work out some details.

Gerry Goodie Memorial

Sue and I attended Gerry’s celebration of life on April 13 at Wimpy’s. Gerry, who crossed over the bar on Feb. 29th, was the owner of Wimpy’s, along with his wife Nancy, the love of his life. Wimpy’s has been one of mine and many other folks’ favorite places in the Delta for 30 or so years. It has always been a fun, funky, family resort. Gerry and his team took it to the next level bringing in live music and lots of fun. He built some waterside structures, opened the bar on the lower level and brought in tons of sand to create a beach. The restaurant has always been one of my favorites.

Katie Wiley.

Gerry was beloved by all of us in the Delta. He was involved in many civic organizations, including the Delta Chambers and Walnut Grove Rotary Club, coached baseball, was a Boy Scout leader and served on the Delta Protection Commission Advisory Committee.

The Goodie family had some large tents erected to keep people and the band dry on a very rainy day. About 200 folks attended, and there was drizzling rain off and on through most of the ceremony. Gerry’s son Gerry was the master of ceremonies and brought Nancy and other family members up to talk about Gerry.

Nancy and Gerry Goodie.

He is survived by Nancy; his children Jennifer, Janelle, Gerry, Nicholas and Sontaiveus; two grandchildren, five siblings, many friends and his canine pal Ryder.

Tressa performing.

The climax of the event was the release of a flock of white doves. Nancy Goodie released the first one, and then John McCalmon, the owner of Wings of Love, a professional white bird release business, sent the others on their way. After the official ceremony, almost everyone made it to the upstairs bar and packed the place. Many folks stayed later and were treated to dinner by the Goodie family.

Gerry’s passing is a huge loss to his family and friends and the people of the Delta. We need to carry on his traditions and all of us work hard to try to fill the gap he has left.

Jay Sorensen

This year is the 50th anniversary of the California Striped Bass Association. As part of the anniversary, Jay was honored at a ceremony in downtown Stockton at DeCarli Square in front of the state building right on the waterfront. They dedicated a waterside bench to him; it has a plaque with his name on it. The late Bill Jennings of the CSBA was also honored with a bench and plaque. Bill was also a fighter for the Delta and was involved in trying to save the Delta for many years. There was quite the crowd of fishermen there including Jay’s brother and sister, Jim Cox, Roger Mammon, Ken Baccetti and many others.

Ken Baccetti, Bill, Jim Cox.

The California Striped Bass Association (CSBA) was started by Jay way back in 1974 when he noticed fish populations dying since the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project began exporting record levels of water from the Delta. Jay was a lifelong fisherman in the Delta and owned a bait shop in Stockton for many years. He was also a fishing guide in the Delta for a few decades and was an acknowledged expert on Delta fishing even among his peers.

Jay went to that big fishing hole in the sky a few years back in 2020. Jay wrote a fishing column for the Rio Vista “River News Herald & Isleton Journal” for 50 plus years. Maybe 20 years ago he started letting us put his report on the Delta Chambers website. It was quite the process; Jay did not do computers, so he prepared his reports neatly typed (with a typewriter) on 8.5 by 11-inch paper and would mail them to Cici Giacoma who worked for the newspaper. She would type them out in an editable computer format for the paper and send them to me for inclusion on the Delta Chambers website and social media page. The system worked great and his fishing report was the most popular feature on the website.

Jay’s Sister and Brother Mary & Reed on his bench.

Jay was one of the toughest men I have ever known. He was diagnosed with throat cancer about five years before he crossed over the bar. He could not eat solid food but did not let that stop him from doing things. We had lunch or dinner together from time to time and at first I told him that it wasn’t fair that I would sit and eat in front of him but he said it was okay and enjoyed being in a restaurant even if he could not eat. Jay spent many years trying to prevent the Department of Water Resources from exporting too much water from the Delta. He told me that he and Dan Bacher were going to handcuff themselves to the machinery if construction ever started on Gavin Newsom’s tunnel to divert the Sacramento River around the Delta. When he found out his cancer was terminal, he told me that I would have to take his place and be handcuffed to the machinery. I will honor his request if we don’t stop the project before construction starts.

After Jay died in 2020, Ken Baccetti, president of the Isleton Chapter of the CSBA, has taken over the reports. Ken is very computer literate and sends the report and several excellent images to go with it, that you will find on the Chambers social media page. Ken not only carries on the tradition, but has taken the fishing reports to a new higher level. We had never met in person until this day even though we have communicated via email & voice many times. It was good to finally meet him.

Jay was the singular greatest expert on Delta fishing I have ever known. He remembered the old days in the 1940s when the striped bass population seemed endless. Jay appeared many times at hearings trying to protect our wildlife and the environment. Jay was on a first-name basis with most California politicians and officials in Fish & Wildlife.

Jay’s famous quote is: “the San Joaquin River flows by gravity for the first 100 miles and it flows by politics for the remaining journey to the ocean.” It is fitting that Jay and Bill would each have a bench facing the water that they both loved.

After Sue and I left the ceremony, we headed over to Nena’s Mexican Restaurant in the Waterfront Warehouse. We met Ed Farrell, my downtown Stockton correspondent for lunch. It was good to see him, it had been more than a year since the last time we got together and we had a lot of gossip to go over. Nena’s is another great Delta restaurant. They have good food, great service and reasonable prices. The drinks are great too.

WaterFraud Update

In January, Governor Gavin Newsom announced his “California Salmon Strategy for a Hotter Drier Future.” Then, “On Wednesday, April 10, 2024, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) acted unanimously to recommend the closure of California’s commercial and recreational ocean salmon fisheries through the end of the year.” Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Charleton H. Bonham said, “this decision is not an easy one to make.” Well, so far it looks like the Delta Smelt which was once the most populous fish in the Delta that was declared endangered in 2009 has gone extinct in the wild; none have been collected for two plus years. Hopefully, the salmon won’t follow suit. If they can just hang on until Newsom and Bonham are out of office, they might stand a chance to survive.

Electronic Flares

The State Parks Department is asking mariners to consider using reusable electronic visual distress signal devices (eVDSDs). They are not only reusable, but they are also safe to use and approved by the U.S. Coast Guard in place of hand-held flares. So far, over two million pyrotechnic marine flares have been kept out of the environment due to the increased use of eVDSDs. I have never thought about the implications of pyrotechnic flares in the environment. They expire after a few years, and the Boy Scouts, fire departments and others collect them for proper disposal. Some people shoot them off on holidays or throw them in the trash or water. They are hazardous waste, so they should be disposed of properly.

The electronic flares do not replace your aerial flares. I guess it will be a while before they come up with a solution for that. When I was researching this, I found out that not carrying flares or carrying expired flares opens you up to a potential $1,100 fine according to The Code of Federal Regulations (33 CFR 175.125).

Eight Bells

It is with great sadness that we report the loss of Captain David L. McCoy, 56, of Roseville, CA. David was born on April 12, 1967 and passed away due to congestive heart failure on March 28, 2024. David was born in Bayport, NY and grew up in Selden on Long Island. He attended State University of New York Brockport and moved to California in 1988. David was a true entrepreneur who worked in many industries and owned several businesses in his lifetime, including insurance, real estate, property management, boat captaining and yacht salesman. David obtained his 75-ton captain’s license in 1996 and in 1997 started his own dinner cruise company on the San Francisco Bay. He sold that in 2006 and began driving for the Capitol Hornblower in Sacramento in the mid-2000s. David worked for Richard Boland Yacht Sales as a state licensed yacht salesperson and became a member of the California Yacht Brokers Association in 2021. David joined the Coastguard Auxiliary in 2022. David renewed his captain’s license to 100 ton and he and his family planned on moving to Lakewood Ranch, FL this summer where he would continue his love of the water with the Coast Guard Auxiliary and other captaining adventures.

David McCoy April 12, 1967-March 28, 2024.

David is survived by his wife Robin McCoy, his two children Tara and Matthew Mccoy and his mother Terri McCoy. Private services will be held on May 11 at Bayside Church Blue Oaks in Roseville. His family will continue to honor the legacy of David by ensuring the future is filled with many boating excursions and laughter.

Irish Pennants

By the time you read this, Korth’s Pirates Lair restaurant should be open Thursday through Sunday, serving breakfast and lunch from 0900 to 1500. This is one of my favorite spots for a hearty breakfast and some excellent coffee. You can sit on the rooftop patio too and watch the boats go by.

Gene Beley advises me that Randy Fiorini – the guy who had the guts to vote against the water conveyance tunnel when he was Chairman of the Delta Stewardship Commission – has an interesting pet project to get fresh water to impoverished natives in Africa’s Ghana. He just raised over $300,000 from 92 people to help them acquire a mobile drilling rig. Lack of clean water in Third World countries accounts for many diseases. Apparently, there are more than 400 million people in sub-Saharan Africa that currently don’t have access to clean drinking water.

Mark your calendar for the annual Runabouts on the River event coming up on June 29 at the Stockton Sailing Club. The Antique & Classic Boat Society (ACBS) NorCal/Lake Tahoe Chapter is sponsoring the gathering of classic wooden runabouts from 0900 hours to 1500 hours. Besides the boats, there will be food, information booths and vendors.

We told you last month about the classic Stephens yacht Beauty looking for a good home. It looks like she has found one. Alan Helmer acquired her from Spaulding Boat Yard and towed her up to Spud Island. He is looking to bring her back into the realm of the living.

Don’t miss the 21st annual Taste of the Delta coming up on Aug. 10 at Windmill Cove. The festivities start at 1300 hours and end at 1600 hours. This is a great opportunity to try samples from local Delta wineries, breweries and restaurants all in one place for one low price. There will be an auction and door prizes as well as live music. This is a great party and the funds raised go to help fund the California Delta Chambers & Visitor’s Bureau. Do not miss it, you can purchase tickets online at

Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa County is holding their annual golf tournament fundraiser on June 7. Call them at 866-669-6697 for information. MOW has been providing seniors with nutritious meals for 45 years. They “support homebound elders to maintain their health and dignity and enable them to live independently in the comfort and security of their own homes.”

Don’t miss the Big OL River Boat Show sponsored by the West Coast River Outlaws.

It will be a benefit for San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Boating Division on June 7-9 at Wimpy’s Marina. This should be a great show with an eclectic group of boats of every kind. Call Marc Page at 916-296-2326 for information.

Get out to Mandeville/Venice Island early and select your spot as you will not want to miss the annual Barron Hilton Memorial Fireworks Extravaganza! It has been officially announced to be held on July 4 this year. Make it a goal to bring friends who have never witnessed the best fireworks show on the Delta.

Don’t miss the fun, come and join us in the fabulous Delta. or tel: 916-869-9141.