32nd Annual Down Bay Cruise:
Notes on a Great Time Had by All
Our intrepid Caliente Cruisers have only recently returned from this traditional outing, getting back into our slips on Sunday, October 9th. The fleet was a bit smaller than usual this year, with a couple of boats dropping out shortly before departure as life interrupted plans as it sometimes happens. But in the end, five boats made the trek. Joining in the fun beside ourselves were the Curtis-Browns on Dream Catcher, the Ritters on Sue ZQ, Joel Panzer with Linda and a couple of relatives on Happy Pappy, and, of course, Vern and Caro Green on Southern Bell -- participating in their 32nd consecutive Down Bay cruise! Over the 10-day voyage, most of the boats had family and friends join in along the way meaning that there were plenty of folks on the docks for the many walks, bike rides, hors d'oeuvres, BS sessions and the like. CIYCers Jack and Rosalie Di Bartolo joined us a couple of times along the way.
No need to go into the daily agenda, but there were a number of very cool sights along the way and visits to interesting spots, seemingly most of them eating establishments. I ease my belt as I write this.
While at Alameda’s Encinal Yacht Club (2 days), we bumped into that club’s annual Oktoberfest event. Lots of German food offered for pretty much small change. Then there was the beer. You could buy tickets in increments that went into large change. The following day we all Ubered or taxied off to spend the day on the nearby U.S.S. Hornet. This ship has a history which took the entire day to soak in and walk through. Adding to the nautical collection, the ship has a growing number of privately-owned, restored, vintage aircraft from the era.
While in San Francisco’s South Beach Harbor (2 days), we bumped into the San Francisco Giants as they played a one-game, do or die game against the Mets, the other wild card challenger for a chance at the World Series. They won and we were 100 yards away at the South Beach Yacht Club, watching TV and listening to the crowd’s frenzied craziness. Earlier, we were watching other, truly crazed fans in the water behind right field chasing baseballs with fishing nets while paddling kayaks.
While in Richmond’s Marina Bay marina, we made our way to the 2-year old Rosie the Riveter Museum. It brought back memories for all of us and the role our parents played in WW II, especially of the work of America’s women in the shipyards. It’s a great story, one well-told at this museum. While at the museum, Colette Curtis-Brown emailed her father, a shipyard worker (as was mine and JoAnne’s) telling him about the collection we were viewing. He immediately emailed back his memories of selling newspapers the day the war ended. “Women were screaming and crying to get a newspaper to read," he wrote, going on to say that "most of their husbands were military and overseas.” That meaningful image of women starved for some kind of really good news after years of war is not hard to visualize.
One of the continuing stories of the Delta shortly before the our departure was the sinking and recovery of the old, 88’ tour boat Spirit of Sacramento. This thing was a wreck before it became a wreck, bought by some hapless soul for $1,000 at auction a couple of weeks before. Several CIYCers heading around Franks Tract the day we returned from Commodore Island came across the hulk, on its side, sunk in False River. When back in our slip, we could see the recovery effort clearly as it wasn’t more than a quarter of mile away from Willowest Harbor. The day before we left for down bay, a huge crane on a barge arrived all the way from Seattle, along with helicopters and TV crews. It settled in right over what was left of the Spirit and was soon lifting the upside down wreck, tipping it over to rest on its bottom. Then the slow lift, so slow that you couldn’t see movement at all. Yet, by the next morning the Spirit had risen and there it was, on the surface with water pouring out of every orifice. This is not a sight any boater wants to see, even if its owner is a slacker still missing from the scene.
Later that day while we were all on the deck of the Benicia Yacht Club, here comes downstream the crane on its barge--but no Spirit. The following day, as we approached Richmond’s Brothers Lighthouse, there it was in front of us having moved in the middle of night. Pushed by a tug, it was making its way to Sausalito to meet its final demise at the docks of the Army Corps of Engineers. The pictures of the Spirit and everything else of this cruise will soon be at the photo tab of www.ciyc.org. Take a look!
Hope to see you all at the General Meeting and BBQ fest at the Rusty Porthole October 22nd.