Hot day boating on the delta

Posted on May 16, 2009 by Stephen

We knew it was gonna be a hot one. Fremont was predicted to hit 90F and SF to 80F. The delta outside of Discovery Bay was going to be at least 98F. We pulled our boat over to Orwood again to launch. The ramp was busy today. The front parking lot was full and the second parking lot was half full by the time we hit Orwood. For the first time at the launch ramp instead of tying the boat up to the dock (which blocks the ramp from being used), Michelle took the boat out into deeper water and waited for me to park the truck and trailer. On my walk back to the docks I called her on the cellphone and told her where to pick me up. There is a long dock on the right hand side of the launch ramp. I walked to the far end of the dock (well away from where everyone was launching) which made it easy for both of us. Michelle eased the boat over to the dock and I gave us a push out into deeper water when I climbed into the front of the boat. Once on the boat, we trolled through the No Wake zone toward Discovery Bay and on into Indian Slough.

Here is the best part of this day's trip. As we were leaving the No Wake zone near Suicide Corner, there were jet skiers lined up to jump the wake of any boat leaving the Orwood/Disco Bay No Wake zone. At this moment, Michelle was at the wheel and she isn't going to take crap from some teenie-weenie PWC (personal water craft) driver. The jet skiers were getting way to close to the back of our boat to jump our wake (this is especially dangerous since we have counter rotating props only 3 feet under the water which would mince up a human body very quickly) so in famous Michelle style, she gunned the engine as one of the dumb asses came toward the back of the boat. This sent up a LARGE wake which swamped the PWC sideways and threw the rider! Yay Michelle! Of course this led to many curse words being shouted at Michelle and many middle fingers too. Tough nuggets I say. If you want to ride Michelle's wake, you better be prepared for some mischievous/aggressive wake creation. Now, if the dummy could have stayed up on his PWC, his ride would have been over because Michelle dropped the hammer on our 320 HP Volvo Penta and smoked their lame 1980's PWC. Bye-bye suckers!

Once we hit the end of Indian Slough we took an different path than our normal right turn. We turned left out of Indian Slough and headed north on Old River. We cruised for a while and passed many other boats--some were fishing, some were cruising and others were wake boarding. Since I hadn't been on this river before I was looking for a way to get back to our usual cruising ground. After 30 minutes or so, I found a canal that would take us back to Middle River. I turned south on Middle river toward Ski Beach. While we were heading south towards Ski Beach, I picked up a follower. The sheriff had jumped on my tail. Of course having the sheriff that close makes me a little panicky, but Michelle reminded me that on the water you follow in the lead boats wake (smoother ride, less wakes to navigate). We trolled around Ski Beach to see what was happening. The beach was packed end-to-end with boats and a houseboat. There were another 6 or more boats waiting in the water to haul-out in any available beach site. One boat had many bikini clad women dancing to some good tunes and people were partying on the beach and in the water. The sheriff stayed right behind me past Ski Beach and followed me through Woodward Canal back to Old River. The sheriff finally got off my butt when he found someone who needed to be straightened out. I'm not sure what the offender did (they were tandem towing two people on wakeboards--is that wrong?), but it was nice to loose the sheriff.

We turned west back into Indian Slough and cruised over to Discovery Bay to anchor. We stopped in our normal spot just outside of Disco Bay within the No Wake zone. I dropped the anchor overboard and tied off and had Michelle back the boat up slightly to set the anchor. We slathered on the sun screen and took a quick dip in the cold water. Very brisk! While we were drying off, we had some snacks and drinks. Michelle usually will have a B&J Blue Hawaiian or beer, but it was so hot that only water was imbibed. We were anchored off for about an hour just soaking up the sun and the freedom that comes from being on the water relaxing to the rhythmic rocking from boat wakes. At one point, an ultralight plane flew overhead (maybe 12-15 feet off the water). This ultralight had pontoons for landing instead of wheels. So this guy takes off and lands in the water. I was very impressed.

The time to head back came very quickly. Michelle drove us back to Orwood and dropped me off at the dock so that I could get the trailer. I called on her cellphone when I was getting ready to back down the ramp so she could come in and we could hook up. There was a very nice guy on the dock who helped us get the boat square on the trailer. It is difficult for only two people to put a 3500 lbs. boat onto the trailer so we were very glad for the help. Then it was off to clean and pack the boat for storage. We flushed the engine with clear water and drove into the vacuum bay to clean the boat of debris. Finally, we drove into the wash station to clean the boat's hull.

Just for fun, after we cleaned the boat I had Michelle pull the boat around the storage area to get a feel for how difficult it can be to compensate for the added length of boat and trailer. She was very nervous (her head was on a swivel) and she drove very slowly. We all have had the same learning experience and none of us would laugh at her anxiety. She did very well for her first try. Maybe next time I will have her pull the boat into its storage space or back the trailer down the ramp so I learn to dock the boat.

We will be back out on the water in two weeks!

Photos can be found here.
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