Letters – by Our Readers
Dear Ty Mellott,
I am not only new to the Delta (Sacramento area) but also quite new to boating. I purchased a used 18-foot open bow Sea Ray. We have been out once after launching at the boat ramp near the Sacramento Marina and I am a bit ashamed to say that might be it for us. I need help and was curious as to where I can get it?
I originally wrote this letter as I was interested in your letter from Oct that was supposed to be continued in the Nov issue. Did I miss something?
It was a pleasure speaking to you and I hope the recommendations for training were helpful. Boating is a tremendous pastime and one of the best family bonding activities I know of. In any case, I do not like to hear when someone is feeling intimidated regardless of reasons. Pat Carson is more accustomed to working with clients in larger boats but if the other suggestions regarding trailer boating do not pan out, at least give him a call.
The continuation of the letter to Terry… uh, well as much as I hate to admit it, that was my fault. In covering for staff on vacation I completely forgot to have that submitted for the Nov. layout. I would like to say you were the only one that noticed but I received quite a few messages, all nice but still made me feel bad.
So, enjoy the continuation and I hope in my rambling you find some useful info.
Good luck with the new to you boat, your family will thank you later for sticking it out and I hope to one day cross paths on the water.
I’m a lifelong sailor and all-around boating enthusiast for most of my 63 years. I have always liked the opening day festivities, the 4th of July, Christmas parades, etc. My politics aside, I’m also a very safety conscious mariner and when I see overcrowded boats with minimal to no PFDs being operated in an unsafe manner I’m not impressed. I’ve witnessed the rules of the waterways including right of way, minimum wakes and just plain no courtesy for anyone not participating in “their” parades for no reason other than to forward a personal agenda and not the sport. I love a parade but a safe, well attended one and how about in the time of pandemic, a socially distanced parade that can be fun for ALL and not ride rough shod over the safety and pleasure of others? As a sailor, I have to put up with ongoing bias from power boaters and specifically wakeboard boats and jet skis all the time and having to deal with an armada of boats operated more than poorly is a bad day, not just for me but all the boaters that try to do the right thing. I wish you fair winds and safe fun times on the water.
S/V Blue Moon
Thanks for the note Jim. I and my friends are also very safety conscious. I always wear a PFD when I am underway on my boat. I have been in many parades too, and I think overall folks are pretty safety conscious. What I see is sometimes there is a big influx of boaters to the Delta from the lakes and reservoirs like this year when many recreational areas were closed. Many of them do not understand the Delta and that there is not a ranger every few hundred yards to rescue them. Overall it seems the majority of accidents involve people in the region that do not have a lot of experience. Well, alcohol is probably a factor in some cases too. Law enforcement, while stretched pretty thin, does a good job when they see a violation. The California boater card will ensure that people at least have minimal training when they go out. I have seen sailors and powerboaters do really stupid things. It is up to the rest of us to help educate them.
Correspondence from the Oct ’20 Issue Continued…
Thank you for the comments on the piece that was supposed to print in the August issue. It came down to a matter of economics more than anything else. Maybe one day it will be printed but for now just shared with a few.
Yes, I am familiar with Whiskey Slough. Did the café there ever take off? It has been a few years since I have been there in person, but I knew at one time they were trying to launch a café and bar I think?
I meant no offense in checking new areas and using the word “Chicken.” I should replace the word with cautious of course but in any case, do not worry of feeling that way. The Delta can at times be very intimidating for sure. It was no line in my saying that the majority of the Delta I have become accustomed to; I really found my way by just going out and getting lost.
When in unfamiliar water just use logic as to where you feel the shallows are and of course reduce speed and monitor depths continuously. Having a chart of any area wishing to travel is always a good idea as well. Not just a map as the Delta Map or Hal Schell Map (if you are able to find one), as both are helpful but not exactly charts of navigable waterways. Using an actual paper chart such as the Bay & Delta Yachtsman’s Northern California Chart Book or an electronic chart app can both be a godsend for sure. Check out the ad this month for the charts that are on sale.
Stern tying! Congrats! It is at times not an easy task for even the most experienced boater. Windmill is for sure the one area that more times than not, it is mandatory due to the amount of boats in there. (Lost Isle, it was a Must when they were open and quite the challenge at times) There are many rules to boating but one I like to keep in mind at any point and time is keeping EGO in check and if needed, asking for help before things get out of control. There are always plenty of people that will assist when asked and think nothing of it. At any rate, a small bruise on the ego beats a huge bruise on the boat.
I love docking at Moore’s and once you become more familiar with the water there, I am sure you will too. Current… yes there is current there but believe it or not, the docks are tucked back in off the main path of current and generally has no huge effect. The water is shallow however and depending on your draft and time of tide it can be a little tricky. There is also a u-dock area to the left of the main docks and at times it is easier to just pull into that area and tie up. Words of advice for Moore’s regarding Low Water however… When pulling into the docks, do not pull into the docks coming directly from the Willow Berm side. Always pull into Moore’s straight on and never from an angle.
Going upriver on the SJR out of Stockton… I have only been as far as Haven Acres and it is a nice little ride, but I cannot comment on anything past there as I have never been.
Antioch and Pittsburg are to the West, but depending on the size of the boat will determine if it is a smooth or rough ride. Even trips to SF are enjoyable if the wind does not pick up too much. Before you head that way in taking new people out, here is a little trip that is nice, enjoyable and will give you more confidence in longer trips. Head West on the SJR until you get to 3-Mile Slough, past the now defunct Outrigger Café, past the Brannan Island State Park and Launch Ramp and under the bridge at 160. You will find yourself in the Sacramento to head north towards Rio Vista. I like to use the Channel Markers in that area as I know that area is deep. Remember in using Channel Markers ~ Red RIGHT Return. I do not know your knowledge in nav so excuse me as I have no intention of talking Down. It means keep the Red Channel Markers on your Right side at any point in time while you are heading UP RIVER or Inland.
Once you clear the Rio Vista Bridge about a mile or so up on the right will be the entrance to the actual Sacramento River marked by a green nav “1” and red nav “2.” Should you continue to go north it takes you up the Sacramento Deep Water Channel used for shipping… (Note from experience, it is a fun ride but once into Sac at the working turning basin, there is NO Way to get back over to the actual Sac River) I know of a cross over prior to the turning basin, but it is not advised so I will not even detail. A chart and preplanning are good ideas regarding any new destination.
Once on the Sacramento River, you will pass Vieira’s Resort , through the town of Isleton and continue on to Walnut Grove. This stretch is unlike most, as the sides are tree lined and they give a very appealing view to the trip.
Once you Reach Walnut Grove you have options in getting back to the South Delta by use of the Georgiana, South Mokelumne or the North Mokelumne. The use of a chart will explain in much better detail than my ramblings.
There is plenty to see on this venture and I hope to hear of your experiences should you decide to do so. Eats along that route: The Point Restaurant in Rio Vista, the restaurant at Vieira’s Resort, and at KoKet there is a little restaurant where they serve some of the best wings around. While in Walnut Grove, the Public Dock can be used and across the street is a pizza place, ice cream shop and another block in is Tony’s which is really good. If daring enough to walk about a mile or so north, into the town of Locke, there is the famous Al the Wops. If you go down the North Mokelumne, right after the Walnut Grove Marina is Giusti’s Place and if you go the South Mokelumne you will find Wimpy’s. Two famous Delta stops for sure.
Regarding the Tinsley Island Lagoon (St. Francis YC), yes I know it well. I have not been told straight out, even though knowing many of the members, but I can only assume that normal boat traffic through there is not smiled upon. It is nice and if you enjoy going through with friends and have not been told otherwise, then have fun.
Thank you on the advice regarding Bethel Island as I have been aware of the Delta Coves project for some time now and until they actually gained some traction I waited. But you are right, I think it is now safe to add to the 2021 Marina Guide.
Thank you for your wonderful email with all the great ideas and advice. Do you realize that what you wrote me would be a great article in the magazine?
After you wrote before, I made it a point to go by Korth’s, Moore’s Riverboat, Willow Berm and Lighthouse Marine by water. I didn’t dock at Moore’s Riverboat because the slips were completely packed. I think I found some of that shallow water on the Willow Berm side of Moore’s. I didn’t run aground but I stirred up some muddy water.
And then on a second trip I went from Whiskey Slough, filled up with gas at Turner Cut, stopped for a quick refreshment at Windmill Cove. I then went downstream on the San Joaquin, went by Herman & Helen’s, and then around Venice Island back to the San Joaquin. I kept going downstream and did indeed go through Three Mile Slough and by the very sad looking Outrigger. I went under the 160 bridge and popped into Delta Marina, and then went under the Rio Vista Bridge and cruised by the Dutra facility. And then back to Whiskey Slough via Middle River and Empire Cut. A long way on the water for me.
Thanks for the encouragement to go farther and do more exploring. My next trip I’m going to try the Georgiana Slough and Sacramento Loop you mentioned.
You mention staying in between the channel markers, and that is what I’m trying to always do. Red Right Returning is my main claim to boating navigation.
One suggestion for your writers when they mention a Marina, if I may be so bold, is to have them also mention where the Marina is located. I cannot be the only reader who doesn’t have all the marinas memorized. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to stop in the middle of an article and look up the location of the Marina being discussed.
Thanks again for your wonderful email.
It sounds as if you are on your way to seeing more of the Delta and for that I am genuinely happy. I love the Delta and I always enjoy hearing of others who explore and find the same love of it as I do.
Should the day ever come that I get the feeling the Delta is “Old Hat” it may be my time to say goodbye, but I do not see that happening, in the simple fact that every time on the Delta, it still continues to feel like the first.
At present we are in-between big boats, yet we still get around in a red and yellow Baja that is quite hard to miss. Should you see it, please wave me over as I would enjoy meeting you.
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