Delta Rat Scrapbook - December 2018


The ol′ Ranger had a nagging leak for quite a while. Naturally it was in an area of the boat that is the hardest to get to from the inside. I ripped out my bridge deck which was the original tongue and groove planking covered with linoleum from when she was built. This gave me access to the holding tank, which I had drained the last time I bought fuel. After I got to the holding tank, which was on the very bottom of the boat, I saw the leak was actually coming from under a fuel tank which I was not going to remove.

I decided to take her over to Ladd′s in Stockton. Ladd′s is a family business and when you are there it is just like you are part of the family. The coffee pot is always on and usually there are some pastries around that the folks share. Ramon Mata is a friend of mine and has his Pacific Boat Services at the boatyard too.

I wanted to get her there first thing in the morning, so I left Ox Bow at the crack of dawn to be there when they opened. Since I live in Sacramento, 50 miles from Ox Bow, I had to get up at 0330 hours, an ungodly time to be up and around. After a quick cup of coffee and putting a couple of cups in my thermos, I made it to the marina and warmed up the motors. I cast off before sunrise and had a beautiful cruise down Georgiana Slough to the Mokelumne and then up the San Joaquin River. It was low tide, so I was able to make it under the Mokelumne River Bridge with inches to spare.

It was 0900 when I arrived at Ladd′s, but the crew was ready and had the old girl hauled out by 1000 hours. It took Ishmail about five minutes to find the soft plank right in the area I suspected. Wooden boats do not do well out of the water especially if the weather is warm. As luck would have it, after a warm spell, the day I brought her in the weather was overcast and it remained that way the entirety of her haul out; it even rained one day while I was there.

Under the fuel tank James Ferguson cut some new planks, crafted butt blocks and laminated some replacement frames within a couple of days. Jackie went to work with a caulking gun and rebedded the keel and many of the seams. A couple of coats of bottom paint and she was ready to go.

These folks went all out to complete the job and get me back in the water. When she first went back in the water she was leaking like a sieve and my several bilge pumps were barely keeping up with the flow. They kept the sling under her for a day and after about 24 hours the planks had swelled, and the leaks slowed down considerably. We kept the old girl tied to the dock for another day with an external sump pump standing by (it was not needed) and at 1000 hours I fired up the Harvesters and on a beautiful day with narry a breath of breeze I made the few hours journey back to Ox Bow. Okay, I was still taking on water and I stopped a couple of times along the way to let my pumps dry the bilge. It was also a good chance to just sit back and enjoy the scenery, the autumn colors were just starting to appear, and birds seemed to be out in force. I saw a couple of sea lions that were dining on striped bass. I pulled into Mandeville Reach and just drifted for a while. I think I could have taken a nap for an hour or two but felt I should move on. I made it back to Ox Bow in the early afternoon and secured her in her slip. 


A Day In The Delta

I have been communicating with Ben Harris and his team at Lunar Cow Publishing for several years. The company is based in Akron, Ohio and Ben is a boater there on the many lakes. Lunar Cow did an outstanding job creating the latest Delta visitor guide for the Delta Chambers. This was a situation where I had spoken with someone on the phone and emailed back and forth so many times it seemed like we were old friends by the time we met. Ben and his friend Lisa Hagee make a trip to the Napa wine country every year and this year they decided to make a side trip to the Delta.

Sue and I met Ben and Lisa at Delta Marina in Rio Vista and since I was fresh out of Delta maps we dropped by the store and picked one up. Brian and Monica were on duty, so I introduced them to Ben and Lisa. From there we drove up Highway 84 and took the Real McCoy II ferry over to Ryer Island, we drove to the east side of the island and caught the J-Mack ferry there for the short ride to Grand Island.

We headed to Locke and did a short walking tour, checking out the visitor center and then walking down to Al the Wop′s and checking out the dollar bills stuck in the ceiling. As luck would have it my friend Martha Esch had her Lockeport Grill & Fountain open, so we stopped in for an ice cream and a cold soda. Martha took us on a tour of the place and told us of the history of Locke, we played the piano, put on some wacky hats and had a great time. We had to take leave shortly as we had a reservation with Emil Gagliardi and the Sacramento River Cruise a few miles up the river in Clarksburg.

Emil had the boat all warmed up when we arrived so after introductions we went onboard, and Emil explained the operation of the boat and the location of life jackets and other safety gear. As on my previous trip with Emil we headed upstream and Emil pointed out many spots of interest. We enjoyed a flight of wine on the trip and snacked on cheese, nuts and bread.

After Emil dropped us off back at the Clarksburg Marina we continued upstream a few more miles where we had reservations at John and Marnie′s Freeport Wine Country Inn. We had an excellent dinner of steaks and ribs along with another glass or two of wine. We were all too stuffed for dessert, so we headed back to the Delta Marina to pick up my car. Ben and Lisa were leaving out of the Sacramento airport first thing in the morning to continue their trip this time heading for Cabo San Lucas! We had a great day together and I look forward to spending more time with Ben & Lisa in the future.


Lockeport Grill & Fountain

We had a great time at the Lockeport Grill & Fountain. Martha has fixed it up like a turn of the century soda fountain. Now she has just opened the upstairs as the Locke B&B with six bedrooms and two baths. For the grand opening she had a local Model A automobile club stay for the weekend. She is planning to have a Thanksgiving to New Year′s weekend open house and serve her favorite beverage, wassail, to guests. Martha has the only B&B license in Locke, check it out, she is a lot of fun. Call her at 916/776.1000 the address is 13959 Main Street, Locke, upstairs.



Areias family′s Orchard Gables estate lends itself well for a Gatsby-style party. The stately home and beautiful grounds are where you would imagine Jay Gatsby and his friends would hang out. Couple that with the Areias yacht, Miss 102 and their private landing on the Sacramento River and you have a perfect setting for an elegant gathering of beautiful people.

Rusty and Julie very generously offered the use of their home and boat as a fundraiser for local Sacramento television station KVIE. Rusty also recruited another beautiful classic Stephens yacht for the occasion The Easy Way. She is owned by Rusty′s friend Jonathan Perkins. She is a 56-foot, 1970 model originally commissioned by Richard Swig of the Fairmont Hotel and named Rosalyn (hull M-159) for his wife. She was reportedly a regular in both Cabo and Puget Sound in her early years.

We met on the Areias dock for a glass of champagne before boarding the boats. The boats were idling, and we quickly boarded, the lines were cast off and we headed downstream. We cruised a few miles downstream on the Sacramento River. This was a beautiful fall day with the colors just starting to turn and an ever so slight breeze that barely stirred a ripple on the water. This had to be very impressive to the folks that were not boaters. It was just a perfect day out on the water.

After the cruise, the guests headed up to the estate for a round of croquet and a cocktail in the Hemingway room. We dined on roast pig, salmon, flat bread, and other delicacies. Rusty and Julie went all out on this event and the guests were very appreciative of their support.






Cruising Guide To The Hawaiian Islands

I don′t review a lot of books but if it is a subject that is very interesting to me I will consider it. Bob and Carolyn Mehaffy sent me a copy of the third edition of their excellent publication Cruising Guide to the Hawaiian Islands. I spent seven years in Hawaii from 1968 to 1975. Naturally, I did a lot of boating while I was there. In fact, one of the main reasons I moved to Hawaii is because I was a sailor, and these are some of the best sailing waters in the world.

Bob and Carolyn retired from American River College in Sacramento and became full time cruisers and started a new career as free lance writers, chronicling their adventures in Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, Central and South America, as well as San Francisco Bay.

I recommend the cruising guide to anyone thinking of sailing to Hawaii, local island sailors and boaters, and even non-boaters interested in Hawaiian history and the lore of the islands. At times I was overcome by nostalgia when I was reading the book. Places like Molokini Island, La Perouse Bay, Manele Bay and Lahaina Roadstead brought back fond memories. In some ways, things are the same but there have been some dramatic changes. We used to cruise to Lanai from Maui to go diving. At the time Manele Bay had no infrastructure and it was a great place to stop for lunch, now there is a big resort there. In 1970, Bob Chatfield and I hiked into the Kalalau Valley on Kauai. It was wilderness back then until you got to the end of the trail about eleven miles in. Back then there was a hippie colony living there. Now you must make a reservation a year in advance for permission to traverse the trail and you can only stay five days. We would go diving at Molokini Island almost every weekend back then and maybe one or two other boats might visit in a day. You could anchor in the protected area inside the crater, the bottom was sandy in the shallow areas. Now the state has installed mooring balls underwater around the crater (you must dive down to them to attach your line). This is good as there is a lot of coral at the island and it is easily damaged by an anchor. Molokini now is a seabird sanctuary and the waters surrounding the island are a Marine Life Conservation District, so you can look at the wildlife but not take any. We used to use the island as our supermarket for lobsters. At about 100-feet you would find a lobster in a hole maybe every 20-feet or so. We would pick up some black coral at the same time. Back then the Coast Guard would come to the island to service the navigation light and they would shoot off their machine guns while there, so we would find spent shell casings laying on the floor of the lagoon.

The book is rich, not only in advice and tips for cruising the major islands, it talks about many obscure anchorages, some of which I was unfamiliar with. It tells you how to find the moorings and how to approach them as well as how to contact harbor masters and where to anchor or tie up. There are also sidebars that explain the amenities available such as fuel, groceries, showers, restaurants, Wi-Fi, laundry, banks, etc.

The book is divided into three sections. The first part “The Hawaiian Islands” covers the geologic, human, and political history of the island chain. Mitchneresqe I would call it. It is a pretty basic history, but I think even those experienced in the lore of the islands will find something new and interesting. This section also talks about preparing for the cruise, provisioning, equipment and how and when to make the trip from the mainland. There is plenty of good advice in this section about cruising even if your destination is not Hawaii.

The second section gets into the actual destinations in Hawaii. The first island discussed is Hawaii the big island as it is generally the first island you will encounter sailing from the mainland. You will learn more lore about the history of this island. The first destination discussed is Hilo on the eastern side of the island. You are told what NOAA charts needed as well as the latitude and longitude of the harbor. There is a good discussion of how to approach the harbor and where to anchor as well as what is available facility wise in Hilo. From Hilo anchorages and harbors are discussed as they appear in a counterclockwise direction around the island.

Traveling west, Maui is the next island encountered and the same format is used visiting harbors in a counterclockwise direction around the island. I spent five years on Maui so this section including Lanai, Molokini, and Molokai was of interest to me. I have visited many of the anchorages discussed and sailed and cruised these waters. It is different now. When I lived on Maui, it was possible at times to get a slip in the Lahaina Yacht Harbor and there might be one or two boats anchored in the roadstead. The last time I was there, there must have been 30 boats anchored off the town. This is another spot where the state has installed underwater mooring buoys. This is a good idea, it saves further destruction of the coral and the buoys are invisible from the shore.

If you had only one area of Hawaii in which to cruise, Maui County might be the best. There are plenty of spots within a day′s sail and this book covers many of them. Maui, Lanai, and Molokai form three corners of a triangle. The Kalohi and Pailolo channels separate the islands and both are noted for being rough at times, but these are still great cruising grounds. The Kaunakakai channel between Kahoolawe and Lanai is translated as “the road to Tahiti” if you sail south through the channel eventually you end up near Tahiti.

Kaunakakai Harbor on Molokai is the only place on the island where you have any kind of civilized facilities. There is a grocery store, post office, restaurants, banks, showers, laundry and fuel. The Mehaffys describe Kaunakakai thus: “This town is one of a kind. Its one block main street lined with old buildings with dilapidated wooden false fronts is the urban center of Molokai.” This is exactly the way I would have described it on my last visit there in 1974, almost 45 years ago. You can visit any of these islands in Maui County and not feel like you are in some tourist mecca. Lahaina is the most bustling city in the triangle and it is far from bustling most of the time.

From Maui County the next stop in the book is Oahu. There are many harbors and anchorages in and around “the gathering place.” The population of Oahu is bigger than all the rest of the islands put together by far. My favorite spot for sailing around Oahu is Kaneohe Bay and the writers cover it extensively. It is a large bay protected by a reef with a dredged channel down the middle and exits in the north and the south. There is a large sandbar and island in the middle of the bay that makes a great day sail destination. Oahu has several safe harbors but, unfortunately, they are frequently filled with boats. There is a large boatyard on the island too at Keehi Marine Center.

The Kaieiewaho channel separates Oahu from Kauai. Kauai is the oldest of the major islands in the chain and possibly the most mysterious. The Mehaffys point out that Kauai was possibly the first inhabited Hawaiian Island maybe dating to 200 AD. The legendary Menehune, little people, are thought to possibly be the earlier settlers that were later subjugated by later arrivals. Manehune is a term Tahitians use for commoners. Back in the 1820 census, 65 Menehunes were listed as living on the island of Kauai. Once again, the book covers a circumnavigation of the island and tells of places to get needed supplies and attractions on the island to visit.

Section three, the appendix, has a good piece on the history of the Hawaiian language since European contact and a list of common Hawaiian words and their English translations. There is also a bibliography, which if you want to learn more, should pretty much cover most questions you might have about the islands.

As I said in the beginning, this would be a great book not only for folks planning to sail to the islands but also for those that are cruising, landlubbers that want to find some interesting places to visit and just anyone with an interest in Hawaii. You can order your own copy from or call 800/736.4509. Don′t forget, Christmas is right around the corner.


WaterFraud Update

Assemblymember Jim Frazier, of Discovery Bay, has asked that the Delta Stewardship Council reject the Department of Water Resources′ Certification of Consistency for the state′s twin-tunnels project. Frazier′s legislative aide, Charles Dulac made the request during a Delta Stewardship Council meeting to, as he states in a press release, “protect the Delta and its residents.”

The Certification of Consistency for the California twin-tunnels project submitted by the Department of Water Resources was subject to nine separate appeals from Delta interests. These include Solano, Contra Costa, Sacramento and the other Delta counties, environmental groups, the city of Stockton and local water agencies. A public hearing on those appeals was held on October 24-26.

“We cannot wait until shovels are in the ground to realize that vague assurances will not serve in place of concrete and binding commitments to reduce reliance on the Delta,” Frazier said in a prepared statement. “The Delta Stewardship Council must reject the Certification of Consistency for WaterFix to protect the Delta, its residents and the coequal goals.”

Well, it will be interesting to see how the Stewardship Council vote goes in December. The idea that taking 9,000 cubic feet per second out of the Sacramento River at Hood will somehow help restore the Delta is just ludicrous. Likewise diverting the river through two 44-foot diameter tunnels held together with gaskets and dowels is somehow going to create a more reliable water supply is just nuts. If the council votes to accept the Certification of Consistency, it will demonstrate that this process is unbelievably corrupt and should be stopped by any legal means possible.

At the Stewardship Council meeting many representatives of Southern California water agencies spoke about their need for a more reliable water supply. Obviously, they were provided with the talking points by the DWR as they were using the same verbiage the DWR has used for many years. Can′t these people at least come up with some new material. At least they could quit saying “the Delta levees are one earthquake away from disaster.” That bit has been debunked numerous times. Gloria Gray, the Metropolitan Water District board chairperson said that: “Only by building the project can we stop reverse water flows in the South Delta.” Most people think the project will make reverse water flows worse and cause salt intrusion much further upstream than exists today.

Luckily there were many people from various Delta interests expressing their concern that the twin tunnels will be allowed to go forward. Dan Bacher, Jan McCleery, Mike McCleery, Jamie Bolt, Barbara Daly and Michael Brodsky to name a few, gave impassioned arguments against the giant boondoggle. You can help the fight. Make a donation to the Save the California Delta Alliance here: or send a check to: STCDA P.O. Box 1760 Discovery Bay, CA 94505.


Meeco Sullivan

Ralph Morley, Senior VP Sales and Business Development for Meeco Sullivan, The Marina Company, announced that Meeco Sullivan′s parent company, Tuckahoe Holdings has acquired a majority ownership interest in Wahoo Docks, effective September 18, 2018, making the combined companies the #1 manufacturers and installers of galvanized steel, timber, glulam, and aluminum dock systems in the United States.

Tim Osby, President of Wahoo Docks, noted, “We have always taken great pride in designing and producing the highest quality aluminum dock systems and we are excited to be joining forces with an industry leader like Meeco Sullivan. When you add Wahoo Docks state-of-the-art dock manufacturing facility to our Meeco Sullivan manufacturing facilities, we have more production capacity and expertise in galvanized steel, aluminum and timber dock systems than anyone in North America,” said J. Mills, Meeco Sullivan Western Region Sales Manager.

With over 135 years of combined marina dock engineering, design, manufacturing, installation experience and thousands of marine installations worldwide, Meeco Sullivan can provide the best marina dock solution to meet nearly every marina environment, design, and return-on-investment requirement with exceptional quality and value for our customers.

For more information about Meeco Sullivan and Wahoo marina dock design, manufacturing and installation services visit and contact James “J” Mills, Western Region Sales Manager at jmills@meecosul or 209/452.2475.


Irish Pennants

Do you want to own your own boat slip? There are a few spots around the Bay and Delta where you can own your own slip with a fee simple title. Glen Cove Marina in Vallejo has just announced their “Dockominiums” and you will be able to purchase a slip there in the $1,000 per linear foot range. I am not an expert, but I think you might be able to deduct the loan interest as a second home. For more information check out page 32 of this month′s About The Bay by my colleague, Kim Haworth.

Don′t miss the Village West Marina Resort/Bob′s at the Marina lighted boat show on the guest dock Friday, November 30 starting at 1700 hours. The next evening is the Lynn Hahn Memorial Delta Reflections lighted boat parade. Call the Stockton Yacht Club at 209/946.9259 for information. 

The Marina West Yacht Club is planning their holiday lighted boat parade on December 15th, 1630 hours at Ox Bow Marina with a nice cruise on Georgiana Slough. Contact them here:

Howard Branton of Rio Tees sends a photo of his wife Anne with a twelve-pound salmon caught off the public dock in Rio Vista.

I hope you get that new signal cannon and a box of ammo for Christmas. Stay in touch, or 916/869-9141. H

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