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An Enjoyable Delta Cruise in October

“My husband and I and our son enjoyed our own Delta Doo Dah the first week in October on our Catalina, La Vida,” writes Joan Mellon. “We first sailed to the Delta 40 years ago and have done many summer trips through the years with our children and grandchildren.”

La Vida at anchor in the Delta
La Vida, seen here on the hook in the Delta, is a Catalina 320. Mike and Joan Mellon live in Santa Cruz, but they keep La Vida at San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere.
© 2020 Joan Mellon
Mike and Dave in the cockpit
Captain Mike and son Dave in the cockpit.
© 2020 Joan Mellon

“We were anchored off False River near Franks Tract. Beautiful sunrises, sunsets, warm waters and temperatures! Perfect place and time to relax and recharge during this pandemic — no masks required!”

Sunset in the Delta
Delta sunsets (and occasionally sunrises) can be quite spectacular.
© 2020 Joan Mellon

“Below is a watercolor sketch and a poem from my journal, along with some photos.”

Hyacinth Parade watercolor
Before the winter rains come to wash it downstream to saltwater, water hyacinth invades Delta waterways in the late summer and fall.
© 2020 Joan Mellon

Slough Parades

Casual, no sign ups, anyone, anything can join
on the ebb, on the flood, two opportunities every day.
I have been a faithful spectator in the bandstand, La Vida’s cockpit.
I smile when the parade begins, sometimes with the circling flight
of the resident, snowy white egret,
sometimes with the formation flyover of forty black sparrows.
And then the silent parade of lime green hyacinths begins.
One by one they come following each other down the parade route,
down the center of the slough though some more to the left and some to the right.
If too close to shore, they are held for a moment or for six hours until the next parade comes through.
There are mostly little lime green clumps, one looking just like the other,
but there are often a few standouts
like the one with a curly, dying stem which still reaches skyward
looking quirky as an alien from Mars.
And like the one with a still blooming, beautiful purple hyacinth
which pauses briefly, almost like saying, “I know you want to draw me.”
And then the grand float, an island of hyacinths joined together
almost spanning the width of the slough.
The ebb and flood parades will continue after we raise the anchor.
I will remember them and each and every hyacinth participant
that gracefully showed up and entertained me
and reminded me to remember
the peaceful flow of nature through ebbs and floods
and reminded me to show up.

— Joan Mellon

clump of hyacinth
While other mariners decry the pretty but problematic hyacinth, Joan sees their beauty and finds poetry in their gentle drift downstream.
© 2020 Joan Mellon
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