Saturday, March 30, 2013

From the Fleet Captain

Hello Caliente Cruisers.
We had our first "official" cruise-out of the season last weekend. All week long we watched the weather for the upcoming weekend, all the indications looked good. A little rain and then a warm, sunny Saturday and Sunday. Well, there was that little item of wind.
The forecast said "breezy" conditions on Friday. Well, that didn't look too bad. Friday morning broke, I looked out my window to see palm trees bending against a nasty Northerly wind. Yikes! I expected my phone to start ringing, and right about 8:00 the first calls came in. Whoa, what is going on with this wind? Well, we all decided to take a wait and see attitude. Around noon the first intrepid crews set out, followed by the rest
of the fleet later in the afternoon. Mildred Island looked like Suisun Bay on a bad day.
However, by 6:30, all 11 boats were tied to the dock and the party officially began.
We were hosted by the Delta Yacht Club. A beautiful private island right of the San Joaquin
river. Friday night a group of us sat by the fireplace catching up on stories and enjoying
a few adult beverages.

Saturday broke clear, sunny and almost breeze free. We began to explore the island
and check out all the facilities. Before long we had people chipping and putting on the islands golf course. As well as a group of avid bocce players tackling the challenging grass court. After a few throws we learned where all the sprinkler heads were as well as the islands gravitational anomalies which seemed to make the balls change direction for no reason.
Saturday evening came and we had a huge bar-b-que pot luck in the clubhouse. Unfortunately, many of the attendees went back to their boats hungry. As always there wasn't enough food between the appetizers, sides and main courses, I am not even going to mention the deserts.
Saturday evening brought a bunch of good camaraderie and games, Oh, and a few more adult beverages.
Sunday was the best day of the weekend weather wise. That always seems to be the case.
Everyone had a smooth, relaxing cruise home, a perfect day on a boat.
This was a fantastic destination, and a great weekend. I hope this is a portent of things to come for our cruising season. We missed those of you who couldn't make it, so please check out the calendar for upcoming events. Our next cruise is the Asparagus Festival. Unfortunately that is sold out. However, everyone is welcome to come by asphalt slough, go to the festival and hang-out. May's cruise will be to Willow Berm. I will be sending a message out with details, please get your reservations in early, we sold out last year.
Cant wait to get back out and see everyone on the water.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

From Your Vice Commodore

Last weekend 11 boats ventured out on Friday to Delta Yacht Club. The wind conditions were bad but we have some brave skippers, and everyone aboard made it safe and sound. I think everyone was so very ready to go boating, we just had to go.  Delta Yacht Club island is a beautiful location right on the San Joaquin! Some of us enjoyed the pitch & putt golf area, some of us played lawn bocci ball, which was a challenge. There is a great area for the dogs of course. We really enjoyed their clubhouse, I had a birthday party for Mike with bubbly and home made truffles. On Sat night we had a potluck bar-b-que also in the club house. We were also entertained by our fabulous "Bourbon Brothers" both nights. Some of us sang along but I'm not sure how entertaining that was as I was one of those singers. Thanks guys you are wonderful!!! It was a great weekend and it looks like we're booked for next March again.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

From the Commodore

Our first (small) cruise out of the year was to Ox Bow YC. Three of us braved the January temperatures and had a very nice weekend. Happy Clown, Stevara, and Knot Too Fancy greeted the new cruising year with mild temperatures and great food. Several members came by land yacht to partake of the all you can eat crab on Saturday night hosted by Ox Bow YC. I can say that their crab feed was every bit as good as ours used to be when we had the island facilities. And we didn’t have to cook, clean, and do all the other work that goes along with hosting a dinner. Such a deal! It was delicious and I, for one, plan on attending next year if possible.

Discovery Bay Yacht Club played host to us this past weekend for our Commodores Ball. I must say that I have rarely seen so much attention given to us by a hosting yacht club. Port Captain Tami Fanucchi kept in touch with us throughout the day on Friday and into the evening. Those of us who cruised in were greeted with a great little goodie bag that had useful items galore. And they threw us their famous welcome margarita party with chips and salsa. What a welcome! DBYC had their Friday night dinner which was excellent with several choices of entrees. The tables were set aside for us and each DBYC Officer came by our tables and introduced themselves and made sure we were enjoying ourselves. We had fourteen for dinner on Friday and a total of 4 boats cruised in for the weekend. The weather was spectacular and we were able to break out the shorts during the day. Disco Bay is always fun to cruise into since there are so many things to do within walking distance. There is the Boardwalk restaurant, the yacht club, and the shops along the levee.

Saturday night we had another great dinner in the lower levels of the yacht club. Thanks to Shari Peck and Kim Owens for decorating the bilge room and to Shari for setting this all up. Staff Commodore Collette Curtis-Brown awarded the Founders Award to Jack and Rosalie DiBartolo for all their help over the years as she was going through the chairs. The Commodores Award went to Curt & Marsha Hayes for their tireless work on setting up three different cruises, along with plenty of activities to keep us occupied. The order of the Eleventh Board went to the 2012 Board of Directors for all its hard work during a year of transition. Music was provided by my ipod and seemed to be well received. Some people danced, others were content to sit back and chat enjoying the company, while others played pool. We had the place to ourselves till 11pm and many of us stayed until time ran out. Sunday many of us who stuck around, had breakfast at the yacht club which was once again, delicious! It is nice to come to a venue that has so much to offer. We will be returning to DBYC for our Halloween event so we have that too look forward to.

Next event is at the Delta Yacht Club facilities off the San Joaquin River. Should be a great cruise out. You can check out all they have to offer at if you are on the fence about signing up or not. Hope to see you there!

Diane Shoff

P.S. We have a new member of The Caliente Isle Precision Diving Team! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cruise Ship Calls on Herman and Helen’s!!

While we were cruising up Potato Slough last weekend (Feb 22-25), we thought we saw a huge cruise ship on the horizon.  This might be possible we figured if the ship were on the San Joaquin River, maybe a new excursion program or just voyaging to Stockton for some reason.  But this cruise ship looked like it was visiting nearby.  When we got to Little Connection Slough, we could see that it was very close, not on the river, but in fact calling on Herman and Helen’s.  
We were on a our way to our annual winter weekend anchor out at Turtle Cove, just past Tower Park.  Even though we were eager to get the hook down and get settled, there were another couple of hours of daylight and there wasn't a cloud in sight and at 60 degrees it was a perfect winter day.  We turned south to take a look.
As we made the turn onto Little Connection Slough, we could see something else unusual.  A huge tugboat tied to Herman and Helen’s gas dock. I was pretty sure this was all a dream but JoAnne agreed that there was a huge boat. maybe 100' or more tied to the gas dock and, yes, there was a much larger cruise ship tied along the levee just beyond H&H’s berths.

Long story short—some of you will remember an old cruise ship that was moored first in Rio Vista for some time and then in the Estuary across from Jack London Square.  Then it showed up at Pier 38-40 just outside SF’s South Beach Harbor.  Well, now it is back in the Delta.
Now known as the MV Aurora, this ship has quite a history.  It was built in 1955 in Germany, said to be the first ship the country was allowed to build after the war.  As the SS Wappen von Hamburg, it worked the North Sea as a cruise ship till moving to the Mediterranean and many years cruising the Greek islands.  By the 1970’s it was probably pretty tired and time to serve some other purpose.  It ended up in Los Angeles, as the Friendship. Somebody bought it to serve as a Christian hostel. That didn’t work out so well and it was taken over by nogoodnics who wrecked much of the interior.  Several years ago that owner sold it to a man named Chris Willson who has now taken on the seemingly impossible--making something out of this relic.  There seem to be some signs of progress, as in a bad paint job.

 How long will it visit H&H, enjoying the fine food and gift shop?  Who knows but I think it will be there for a while since it is tied to new steel pilings.  And the tug? It is another story. Unlike the MV Aurora, it is in pretty nice shape.  Named the Robert Gray, it has its own history when operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.  The Robert Gray seems to be the mototating force for theAurora so it might not be around as long as the cruise ship.  I think we will be seeing that vessel for many years to come.

If you are interested, you can find a lot of information on all this—Google Wappen von Hamburg and you'll learn about not only the ship but its history of broken dreams—sort of like Herman and Helen’s.

Ted Lyman