Peaches Under a Full Moon
by Rick Bedard
Mid August and I had two days off without any plans. A small
self-contained sailboat like my Michalak Jewelbox
Jr. means that after a few minutes packing an ice
chest, connecting the trailer to the truck, tossing off the
blue tarp and a quick stop to buy some of our $2.89 a gallon
gas, I was off to the California Delta! Three hours later I
arrived at a small "Mom and Pop" marina to launch.
Fending off the usual "what kind of boat is that"
queries, I was soon sailing in the warm Delta waters, trying
out the new "bean bag" cushion.
Cruised mostly downwind through narrow stretches of waterways
with names like Old River, Connection Slough, and Holland Cut,
as well as a few open areas of water that were once levied off
riverbottom de-watered to become farmland "islands",
but are now flooded due to levy breaks and known by names like
Frank's Tract, Little Mandeville Island and Mildred Island.
I stayed out of the big rivers, the San Joaquin and the Sacramento,
leaving them to the motoryachts, the "Delta Destroyers",
and the wake board crowd. Instead, I made my way through the
smaller sloughs looking for that section of levy, that one special
levy, with just enough room to sneak through the reeds to land
a small boat. I won't tell you where it is, but if you find
it and climb up you'll discover on the other side a couple of
old broken-down peach trees. Old and broken they may be, but
they're still producing some of the sweetest juiciest and this
year the largest (over 4" diameter) tree ripened peaches
you'll ever see in these parts. I only took two, leaving the
rest for the few folks lucky enough to know about these trees...
Sailing west back into the prevailing summer Delta afternoon
breeze was quite a challenge and only possible due to the huge
outgoing tide and a little help at times from the outboard.
It was near sunset when I came within sight of the sandbar I
wanted to anchor over. It's nice falling asleep with less that
a half foot of water under the keel. So what if there is still
a foot of tide going out, with leeboard and rudder up we can
take the sand with our flat bottomed hull, and those monster
yachts can't run into you there! By the time I got where I wanted
to be with the anchor firmly set, it was dark and the moon,
a full moon, had risen. Dinner that evening was peaches under
a full moon.