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.