I had to make a trip to Honolulu for some family business, so I made reservations for Sue and I on Hawaiian Airlines out of Sacramento. My brother has lived in Waikiki the last 50-plus years, so we found a hotel right across from the Hawaiian Village and a few hundred yards away from my brother′s condominium, right on Ala Moana Boulevard. I had it all planned out that I would sleep for five hours on the flight over and be ready to hit the ground partying. Unfortunately, Hawaiian Airlines is not like the old days, we were crammed in like sardines. I got no sleep and I could hardly walk when the plane arrived in Honolulu but that was okay, I caught my second wind once I smelled the Plumeria blossoms when we got off the plane.
My niece Debbie picked us up at the airport and we kicked things off after checking into our hotel by going across the street to the Ilikai Hotel for a cocktail and some food. I decided to have a Mai Tai every day that I was there, so I ordered one to go with my meal. We reminisced and watched the action at the yacht harbor just a few yards away. Somehow food tastes better in Hawaii so we sampled a few dishes. They were all great and washing mine down with a Mai Tai was extra special.
We caught up with my brother and spent the evening with him. The next morning, we met for breakfast at one of those Hawaiian icons, IHOP. Well, it was next to our hotel and the food is always predictable. After a hearty breakfast (I had an omelet) we headed over to the Hawaiian village to check things out. When I lived here back in the 60s and 70s, we would spend time at the Hawaiian Village, especially the Garden Bar where the coeds would hang out. We wandered around on the beach and walked through the parking lot of the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor. It looks like they have cleaned the marina up since the last time I was here. One of the local residents told me they have a private vendor managing it nowadays. I met Dragon/Mojo Nui, a local massage therapist and surfer. He has an office in the Hawaiian Village and walks out to the beach between clients to do some surfing. He says it is a pretty good life.
Later we met up with Debbie′s friend Del and headed to the Waikiki Yacht Club for dinner. It is right on the water at the Ala Wai. The club house is beautiful and filled with history. We wore our Hawaiian attire and Del gave Sue and I each an orchid lei. I had called ahead to make a reservation and told them I was with a yacht club on the mainland. When I got there, they gave me a pass to the club for a week. I wish I could have stayed longer as I would have gone there every day.
We had an excellent dinner, I enjoyed my daily Mai Tai, and had a ribeye steak served pupu style, it was delicious. The ladies all had some exotic fare featuring local seafood. You can check out the club′s menu online. After dinner we admired the trophies in glass cases, many of these date back to the 1800s. While we were there, we got engaged in a conversation with some folks working on the next Transpac race, how is that for cool?
We were looking for an adventure the next day, Debbie and I wanted to go sailing. Unfortunately, Sue is troubled by motion sickness, so she opted to sleep in. Debbie and I decided to take a ride on a sailing catamaran off the beach in front of the Hawaiian Village. We met in mid morning at the boat and went aboard. We all went into the saloon and received our pre-sail instructions like where the life jackets were, how to find the head, and general safety instructions, along with what they were serving in the bar. They gave us each a ticket for a cocktail so I decided this would be my day′s Mai Tai. When I gave them my ticket, they told me they did not need it and said I could have all the Mai Tais I wanted. I know you won′t believe this, but I did manage to limit myself to one.
We headed out over the reef under power and once we made it through the surf the crew raised the sails. We turned east and headed towards Diamond Head skirting along the coast. Once we got offshore, the wind picked up considerably and it felt like we were doing fifteen knots. We followed the coast as we clipped along and were joined by some dolphins that raced us for a mile or so. We also saw several sea turtles; the water is beautiful here just like it was 50 years ago when I would surf and sail off Waikiki. You can see the bottom at least 25-feet down and the water is a beautiful powder blue. We cruised by the major hotels and Queens Surf almost to Diamond Head, it brought back a lot of memories, eventually we came about and headed westerly.
When I lived in Hawaii, I had a 16-foot beach catamaran that I kept at my friend′s beach house at Kaneohe Bay. If I wasn′t sailing over there, I would go to the Ala Wai yacht harbor. If you could walk and looked like you could handle a main halyard, you could just stroll through the harbor and someone would ask you if you wanted to crew for the day. At some point my brother and I met Bart Jenkins a construction superintendent working on the high rises that were going up all over. Bart owned a beautiful 27-foot sloop, he lived with his wife right in Waikiki, so we started sailing with him after work during the week. Bart was literally a madman, even before he started drinking for the day.
This was great fun until one evening we were out after dark and could not make out the range markers guiding you into the Ala Wai yacht harbor and we ran aground on the reef in front of the Hawaiian Village destroying the boat. My brother and I were on the foredeck as lookouts. When we saw the surf breaking around us, we yelled back to Bart that we were too close to shore. He responded by yelling back “don′t tell me how to steer my boat,” a few seconds later we hit hard aground and when the boat came to a dead stop the sails ripped out. We all made it off okay and no one was injured, the boat was a total loss unfortunately. This happened on Easter Day 1970.
Our catamaran made it back to where we started and after we got off the boat we wandered around the grounds of the Hawaiian Village; my memory was rusty coupled with a lot of new buildings that have gone up in the last few decades. I tried to find the Shell Bar at the Village another place where I would hang out in the late 60s. It was the bar featured in the early 60s TV show, Hawaiian Eye. I think watching that show when I was in high school was the first spark that made me want to move to Hawaii someday. At some point in my teen years I met the show′s co-star Connie Stevens, she struck me as so beautiful and she autographed my student i.d. card. Anyway, we could never find the Shell Bar we did find a storeroom about where I thought it was, but it had been a few decades since I had been there.
Later on in the afternoon Debbie and I were picked up at our hotel and taken out to the airport for a helicopter ride. We met some great folks including a pilot named Merle who told me the story of the first Hawaiian Airlines plane which was on the tarmac just outside the office where we were waiting for our flight. It is a 1929 Bellanca CH-300 Pacemaker seating 8. It was used for sightseeing trips flying around Oahu charging passengers three dollars per person for a ride. It was fascinating to see it up close. At some point it had been retrofitted with a larger engine when it was fitted with floats for water takeoff and landings (the floats have since been removed). The canvas fabric has been replaced with some modern plastic material. They use it today to take their employees on rides around the island.
They took us by golf cart out to the helipad. When we signed up, they asked if we wanted to ride with the doors off the helicopter. Debbie who is very adventurous made the decision to go doors off. Okay, we were strapped in and there was no danger of falling out and the doors off gave an extra thrill to the ride, albeit the extra wind.
We took off and headed towards Waikiki flying over the seaplane runways where we used to waterski back in the 60s. We flew just offshore following the coast going past the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and along Waikiki beach. At Diamond head we circled the summit a couple of times. There were a handful of people at and near the summit.
I have climbed Diamond Head maybe twelve times in my life, it is much tamer now than it used to be. When I first started doing it back in the early 70s you had to climb on some old rusted stairs and use a path that I don′t think was maintained at all. Now it has been sanitized with concrete steps, hand rails, and paths with gentle slopes. It is still a great hike and the view from the summit of Diamond Head would even impress a great adventurer like Liz Zamora. I think you now must make a reservation and get a permit to make the trek.
The tunnels were originally part of the military fortifications on Diamond Head. The government purchased the crater in 1905 and installed guns on the floor. At and near the summit lookout positions were carved out of the rock. I think at one time there was a gun installed on the rim of the crater. I don′t think any of this armament was ever fired in anger. They say the guns in the crater could be fired over the mountains and into Kaneohe Bay if needed.
We continued along the coast past Koko Head and Hanauma Bay, another great spot for snorkeling and swimming, we had many picnics there. Next was Waimanalo Beach where we spent many weekend days. After flying over Lanikai and Kailua we arrived at Kaneohe Bay where I did a lot of sailing. I kept my catamaran at my friend′s house at the south end of the bay and we would cruise from there up through the bay. Moku Manu Island is just offshore from the bay and it looks like two big rocks from a distance. There is a sea cave a couple hundred yards long in the bigger part of the island that you can take a boat in. It is pitch black inside and we were told it was inhabited by hammerhead sharks, I never went in the water in the cave so I can′t verify that.
We flew over Mokolii Island, a cone shaped island at the northern end of the bay. This was another destination we would sail for a picnic. There is not much of a landing, so we would generally anchor and wade to shore. The island is about 200-feet high and I climbed to the summit one day to impress my girlfriend. It is still a beautiful area and the water looks a lot better than it did 50 years ago. Back then they were building houses all around the bay and the water runoff from the construction sites was killing the reef. Flying over it now the water is clear and the bay seems to be making a comeback.
Continuing around the coast we came to Sunset Beach, then the Banzai Pipeline. Waimea Bay was just a little further along the north shore. When I lived there Waimea Bay had about the largest rideable surf in the world.
We turned inland and fly over some beautiful rainforest with spectacular waterfalls and lush jungle. When you are in Waikiki it is hard to imagine that there is so much open space on the island with nary a person for miles. We cut through the middle of the island over the pineapple fields and the Dole visitor center and after passing over Pearl Harbor, the USS Missouri and the Arizona Memorial, we landed back at the airport. This was a spectacular ride and I recommend it to anyone visiting the island.
The two rides brought back a lot of good memories from my time in Honolulu in the late 60s and early 70s. It was party city back then. I lived right in Waikiki. You could walk to the major hotels and resorts. Live entertainment would include acts like Emma Veary, Liz Damon and the Orient Express, and Don Ho naturally.
Opening Day In The Delta (Stockton Yacht Club)
The Malmquist family once again invited Sue and I to join them aboard their boat Justavacation for the opening day parade in Stockton. Seventeen boats officially participated. San Joaquin County Sheriff, Patrick Withrow, served as Grand Marshal and was aboard along with his lovely wife Kathy. We cruised the standard route from Windmill Cove upstream to McLeod Lake passing by the judges at the Stockton Downtown Marina and then racing back to the club.
After the parade we met at the clubhouse for a delicious dinner prepared by Vern and Jenise Vierra who also provided some outstanding St. Jorge wines. The awards ceremony winners for Best Participation were Jim Kopshever, Catherine Gibson and Lucy Hamilton - Final Final. Size Class Winners were Randy and Linda Welch - At Last, Cliff and Sally Kenst - Nirvana and Robert Willis - Auri Ana.
The Areias Family Easter Spectacular
Rusty and Julie Areias hosted their annual Blessing of the Dogs, dog show and Easter party on Easter Sunday. This was the nineteenth annual dog show at Orchard Gables. Giancarlo and his friend Emilio were slaving away preparing the meal in the kitchen of the Hemingway house when we arrived. When I first walked up to the bar, I thought the bartender was the real Ernest Hemingway, it ended up his name was Tom and he was a great bartender that looked a lot like Ernest.
We got to meet some of the canines and their owners. One dog was 100 plus in human years. One fellow had an invisible dog, and all the entrants could do some amazing tricks.
Violet Kinney and her beautiful Yorkshire Terrier won best of show. Violet had been working on the project all year ever since she won second place last year and vowed to win this year. Her father was a speech writer for Gray Davis when he was governor, I am confident that Violet will have an illustrious career ahead of her in the future.
Many of Rusty′s and Julie′s family members were there, all charming and interesting folks. Giancarlo announced dinner was served and a crowd of 100 dined on lamb chops, leg of lamb, a few kinds of pasta and salad.
Tom, the Hemingway look-alike bartender, was on his way home after the party and low and behold he spied a little dog running loose along the road near Walnut Grove. He picked the poor thing up and returned her to the Areias home. The pooch had no collar or visible ID, but she looked well groomed. Rusty′s cousin Pat volunteered to take her in as a foster parent until the owner could be located. She took her up to Sacramento where she was staying. At some point the owner was located and drove to Sacramento to retrieve her. The owner mentioned that the dog was pregnant and promised to give one of the pups to Pat as she had recently lost her dog. It was all well, and another miracle out of the Areias family.
National Heritage Area
The legislation proposed by Congressman John Garamendi and Senator Dianne Feinstein to create the first NHA in California was signed into law by President Trump. This has been a ten plus year project for the congressman and senator. Many local people were involved too as well as the Delta Protection Commission. The NHA should help with heritage conservation and economic development in the Delta if it is managed correctly. NHAs have no effect on water rights, property rights, or hunting and fishing rights within the designated area. Hopefully it will bring some needed recognition to the Delta and it comes with $10 million in federal funds spread over a ten-year period.
The Delta Protection Commission along with Chair Oscar Villegas, and Vice-Chair Don Nottoli held a reception at the restored 1875 home of home of Cathy and Doug Hemly on the Sacramento River. John Garamendi was a special guest and recognized commission members for their hard work. It was a perfect day, fitting for the kickoff of this new program which will bring the start of a new era for the Delta.
Sea Ray Club
Sheila Kelly checks in from the Sea Ray Boat Club with their latest adventure. She says the club gets together frequently, to enjoy their boats on the Bay and in the Delta. “Recently we had our first annual Jellystone Golf Tournament at Tower Park Mini golf course. Even though there were a couple ‘verified′ holes in one, the rest of us had to stay on course while following the Big Horn River, making the jump across the gorge, and if you get to Yellowstone Falls, you have gone too far. If you make it out of the Sequoia Forest, you can play it safe on the fishing bridge. We always welcome new Sea Rays so if you would like more information visit us at srbcnc.org”
Opening Day On The Bay
This is one of my favorite events and Sue and I have participated in it for ten plus years. Once again, we were invited by the Corinthian Yacht Club to attend their annual Blessing of the Pleasure Fleet. We spent the night in Tiburon, so we made it to the club Sunday morning in plenty of time for all the festivities. It started with the raising of the colors by the Petaluma Sea Scouts accompanied by Jon Pankin the bugler. We sat outside and it was rather chilly. When we left Sacramento, it was 80 degrees and I was concerned that my wool blazer might be too heavy but when we were sitting there I was glad I had it. I think the club could have made some money renting blankets.
Jenny Jirousek sang a great rendition of the National Anthem after which we recited the Pledge of Allegiance. The God Squad, Chaplain Jim Current, Deacon Ed Cunningham and Cantor Rita Glassman led us in a worship service, an Eight Bells ceremony and blessed the boats that were in the harbor.
After the ceremony, those of us that were not suffering from frostbite headed inside the clubhouse. I headed straight to the bar for a shot of brandy to warm up. Jim and Bernadette Sweeney invited us to join them at their table for breakfast along with some of their friends and associates. The breakfast buffet at the club is amazing, equal to any great restaurant. We had fresh fruit and melon, eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits, gravy and a beautiful prime rib all washed down with excellent coffee.
Gerry and Karen Kamilos invited us to join them on the blessing vessel, Aurora V. We were onboard along with their friends Charles and Paulette Trainor, the God Squad, Coast Guard Sector San Francisco Commander, Captain Marie Byrd and her husband, along with a few other folks.
The God Squad was doing such a great job that some boats were coming back two, three even four times to be blessed. Captain Byrd needed to transfer from Aurora V to the committee boat, so a RIB patrol boat came alongside and the Captain and party climbed aboard for the ride over. These boats can travel faster than 40 miles per hour, so it was a short ride I think.
I think I mentioned before that Tracie Glaves has been running a San Joaquin Delta Neighborhood Watch on social media. We attended a meeting Tracie organized at the Stockton Yacht Club. San Joaquin County Sheriff, Patrick Withrow and several deputies were present along with County Supervisor Tom Patti and many other local officials. The purpose of the meeting was to address the filth and trash being dumped into local waterways by vagrants. Apparently, a while back the 9th Circuit Court ruled that vagrants can not be forced to move from public property unless an alternative place is available for them. In other words when they are camped on public property they can stay there until an alternative spot is available for them to live. There are laws against dumping things in waterways, vandalism, theft, assault, and other crimes committed by some of these folks so hopefully some of the perpetrators can be prosecuted and removed from public property.
It is important that citizens get involved in matters affecting the public trust in these troubling times. Freedom is not free. Our law enforcement is overwhelmed with these hoards taking over our wild spaces. They need all the help they can get from the citizenry. Attendees told stories about marinas being invaded late at night by swimmers, people being assaulted on bike paths and hiking trails, along with houses being burglarized and vandalized. This is unacceptable and doing nothing only makes situations like this worse. If you see a crime being committed, please report it to your local law enforcement agency. A photo helps but don′t risk your own safety. The San Joaquin County Sheriff′s Office is doing all they can to address this latest disaster, but they cannot do it by themselves.
Ironically during the week of the meeting three major fires broke out in Stockton, the one thing they had in common was that they were all in proximity to a vagrant camp. We can′t allow our open space to be overtaken. Thanks to Tracie for getting the ball rolling on this dire situation.
Adam celebrated his birthday at his favorite restaurant, The Dynasty, in Stockton. Blair Hake reports that many of his friends were there and Debi Wells our local baking celebrity made the Snoopy Flying Ace themed birthday cake. Adam keeps his ultralight float plane tied to his dock on the Calaveras River in case he needs to make a quick escape.
Please be safe out there. I know I am preaching to the choir here but there have already been three fatalities in our waterways this year. The water is running swift and cold. It seems the victims were not too familiar with the Delta. John Garza the Deputy Fire Chief of the River Delta Fire District reminds us that “PFDs are a must along with working ignition lanyards while running a vessel. Also please wear a vest when you are on the rivers as we have increased flows from the snow pack. In some areas we have currents over five knots which can sweep you away. Finally, all vessels should have all required safety equipment on board along with an annual Vessel Safety Check sticker.” Personally, I always wear my PFD when I am underway.
Village West Marina & Resort has a new office assistant. Ebony Johnson started in May. I predict she will become a valuable member of the team. Next time you stop by the office be sure to say hi to her.
Owl Harbor Booklet
Devery and Casey Stockon of Owl Harbor have produced a cute Delta booklet that they passed out at the recent Pacific Sail & Power Boat Show in Richmond. They based it on the questions they got at other shows and from boaters that call the marina. It is profusely illustrated with photos and drawings. It is filled with practical information about water depths, how to hail a drawbridge for an opening, how to find Owl Harbor by following the navigational aids and lots of other interesting Delta lore. It is a good little booklet and totally financed by the folks at Owl Harbor. This would be a great opportunity for one of the government entities charged with “enhancing the unique cultural, recreational, natural resource, and agricultural values of the Delta as an evolving place” to chip in a few thousand dollars and actually do something to benefit the Delta and its people.
Don′t miss the Annual RV, Boat & Tiny House Maintenance Event at Park Delta Bay resort on June 8. The event will include classes/workshops, live demonstrations, lunch (from noon-1 p.m.), RVs, boats, tiny house repair vendors and displays. Call 916/777.5588 for information.
Don′t miss the 18th annual Taste of the Delta at Village West Marina & Resort in Stockton on Saturday August 3. Get your tickets now at tasteofthedelta.com. $30.00 each in advance, or $35.00 at the door.
Let me know what you are up to! commodore email@example.com or 9176/869.9141. H