Written for the Chico Yacht Club 'ANCHORLINE' ...
When I arrived at Spillway Launch, all the preparation that Lee Ann and I had done for (only) three days on Lake Oroville with the Chico Yacht Club suddenly seemed worth it. It was gorgeous, the water was flat (good for power boats!) and reflected the green shores, random floral carpets and the blue sky.
I got Kokomo prep’d and launched (a sight equivalent to an ant moving a large piece of bread; usually draws a small crowd ... thank goodness for roller trailers!) in about an hour and, after raising the radar tower, affixing the main VHF antenna, releasing the anchor’s safety line and hoisting Old Glory on the stern flag pole and the CYC burgie on the forward pole (and the obligatory late offer of help from a guy who stood nearby for an hour and watched me get the boat launched!), I was ready for the sea ... or, in this case, the lake.
|Spike sets a course for the Bidwell Bridge|
The first boat was evidently crewed by Rick Stuelpnagel and Dennis Kaiser who sailed out with the boats crewed by Herb and Carolyn (Hotel Charlie) and the one single-handed by Spike (Varuna), but returned to the marina instead of making their way under the bridge to Sycamore Cove. They’d apparently been most helpful to Herb in installing his outboard back on his boat after a shop found a twisted water intake hose that nearly stranded him in his slip during our McCabe Cove trip a few weeks earlier. Spike had a worn pulley in the rigging of Varuna that an enterprising marina employee was able to inspect from the second-story bar at Bidwell Marina (with crew standing on the dock side gunnels of the boat to ‘tip’ her towards the inspector!), and the two projects apparently took three to four hours to complete. No problem, I was busy enjoying Stuart Woods’ “Blue Waters, Green Sailor”.
|Lee Ann, Spike & Carolyn in Kokomo!|
Morning was glorious on Saturday. The cove we were in was still covered in green grass and Lupine, the ducks and birds were abundant, and it was an ideal start to the weekend. We’d heard Herb say to Spike the night before that they’d “start to Feather Falls at 6 or 6:30 AM”, so, though that seemed awful early, we were up and ready at 6. Turns out I had forgotten that approximately half of everything Herb says is a joke, and it was hours later that Herb and Carolyn emerged. In the meantime, Lee Ann made a yummy breakfast of fruit parfaits, and we enjoyed the time talking and sighting birds.
|Varuna, Hotel Charlie & Kokomo at rest at Sycamore Cove|
We took a photo or two and, when Spike pointed out a large driftwood gathering (which I had been watching, as well) that had begun to shift with the changing wind and threatened to close off the river downstream, we pulled anchor and headed back for Sycamore Cove (none too soon; one boat width remained passable as the increasing wind dragged the considerable wood barge across the narrow river channel). I was both surprised and pleased to find out that this was Spike’s ‘fastest’ and first ever trip to where he could see Feather Falls from the water!
|'Hotel Charlie' reflected in a mirror!|
Sometime in the afternoon, Spike left and, as he put it, “headed for the barn”. The evening fell, and after BBQ’ing some hot dogs, we invited Herb and Carolyn over to play ‘Farkle’. Herb said warily that he didn’t play games, but he gave it a try (he was in the lead for awhile!) and we had fun and lots of laughter before he wanted to turn in. We pulled Kokomo about 100’ away and dropped the anchor so we could watch a movie without bothering our friends on Hotel Charlie.
|'Kokomo' is leaving on Sunday|
We had Herb and Carolyn over for breakfast and Lee Ann made her double cinnamon french toast (Yum!), Carolyn contributed a yummy fruit cocktail, and we enjoyed ourselves. Not long after, we said our goodbyes and headed up the South Fork as Hotel Charlie sailed back to the marina. I had a great experience as we cruised away ... a radio call on the VHF from HERB, pointing out an Osprey nest on our route. Lee enjoyed the sighting, and I enjoyed the second radio call I had ever received from Herb!
|Herb and Carolyn ... in Hotel Charlie|
We ended the Earth Day protest cruise without anyone ever once speaking of Earth Day (to my knowledge). Like so many creative names, this one turned out to be just another wonderful opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of our diverse home lake and the comraderie of CYC mates!