By Kim Apel - San , California - USA

Last month we posted Steve Chamber's "Wooboto on the Delta", an account of his participation in "Gunkhole 2008". Now we have this pictorial essay about the same event from Kim Apel

Three of us Scuzbums went north a few weeks ago and attended the 14th annual “Gunkhole”, a five day cruise on the California Delta (headwaters of San Francisco Bay) the week following the Texas200.  We were there with 55 or so others in 24 small boats and three support craft including a scow schooner and tug from the collection of the San Francisco National Maritime Historical Park.  A first time for me, but a return visit for my fellow ‘Bums.  It was a great experience and gratifying on a number of levels, though it’s quite different in atmosphere than the Kokopelli or Texas200: 1) catered meals, 2) safety patrol boats, 3) relaxed itinerary, and 4) so little dry land that we spent two nights rafted up, unable to go ashore. I thought I’d send you a few selected photos from the Gunkhole; a fine bunch of boats for sure.  

Departure Day 1 from Eddos Island.  Diablo Peak, in the background, was the only landmark in an otherwise low, flat landscape.
An exquisite, traditional lapstrake boat  --  as perfect as they come
Camp #1 Korth’s Pirate’s Lair Marina; Pete gives the evening briefing, describing the next day’s route. 
Aft view of ALMA and its tender OLGA
Day 2; departure from Korth’s Marina.  The rowing skiff in the foreground is the same depicted in WoodenBoat magazine’s “Just Launched” section of the July-August issue.
Day 3  A “Drascombe Dabber”  little sister to the well-known English-built Drascombe Lugger, in which Webb Chiles famously almost circumnavigated.
Day 3   Grand Banks Dory, rowed the whole way by a couple old enough to be excused, if they chose, from such exertions.
Day 3   A strip-planked sailing Whitehall skiff, with a few interesting twists: 1) a large, modern, full battened sail rig; 2) auxiliary power: a trolling motor molded into the rudder, shown here partly up to avoid the drag of the prop.  The skipper was a teenaged boy.  The auxiliary motor worked; he got some attractive young women to go with him on a moonlight cruise one night.
18’ (+/-) sharpie skiff named “Leaps and Bounds”  This trip was its first use of the new sail rig.  At the helm (right) is guest Roger Allen, curator at the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez.
15’ row-sail lapstrake skiff.
Another sharpie-skiff, this one 21’ and double-ended. Reputed to be the fastest boat in the fleet.
Camp #2  Devil’s Isle, a private “island” covered with tule-grass and barely above water level.  We were grateful to use the docks and platforms-on-pilings
Swim call at Devil’s Isle.  San Francisco National Maritime Historical Park museum vessels used for escort and support of the event: L-to-R:  Scow Schooner ALMA, tug TELCO, and a garvey skiff.
Chow line on the deck of the ALMA.  Morning and evening meals were provided there.  All Gunkhole participants were assigned to teams to prepare meals and do clean up.  Everyone provides and cleans up their own utensils.  The system worked smoothly and the food was really good.
Day 3 lunch stop.  Nice beaches like this were few. 
Day 3   The ALMA under sail, ascending the San Joaquin River, on the way to Hog Island.
Junk-rigged barge.  Virtually everything was home-made, including the lines.  He wove his own rope from recycled baling twine.  He sewed his own canvas sails and colored them with redwood deck stain.
Camp #3 Hog Island. Two of the four nights there was no place (or very limited) to go ashore, so all the boats rafted up around the ALMA or TELCO, up to 4 deep.
Lazy afternoon rafted up at Hog Island, which is private, and we did not go ashore.
Sun shades rigged over the ALMA’s deck; a warm afternoon anchored off Hog Island
Cooking crew sweating chopped onions aboard the ALMA
Supper prep crew aboard the ALMA. identified by their uniform-aprons with the screen-printed logo of the ’08 Gunkhole on the front.

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