By 17 I was pulling the family ski boat to Shasta Lake and spent the next three summers practically living on its steep summer banks at night and afloat during the blistering hot days. In my early 20s a friend introduced me to bass fishing. Although it took a few years and my first post-college job, I bought a boat and the bass were in trouble.
The boat served me well as I club fished and learned just how good those pro bass guys on TV really are. When the obvious snag holding that wise old lunker sees dozens of lures a day, you’ve got to be a bit better than the rest to coax him out. I tried like everyone else and eventually learned to get the bite.
It wasn’t long before I was hauling that bass boat to Washington’s beautiful San Juan Islands, and used it to catch bottom fish, salmon and crab. It was a bit dicey at times with wind-fetched seas, but I quickly adapted to driving in some pretty sloppy conditions. Those years were followed by chartering bigger boats the family could actually live on for a week at a time, pursuing quiet coves with eagles above and Dungeness below.
Somewhere around the age of 30, my brother Tim introduced me to sailing. In the movie “White Squall,” Skipper Sheldon (Jeff Bridges) says my favorite movie line: “Behold gentlemen, the power of wind.” It is absolutely something that still amazes me. A sailboat is quiet, confident and seaworthy. The bug had bit me hard, and after a few ignorant and clumsy moves on the water, Tim convinced me to take a class and it sealed my fate.
Three sailboats later and I still love being on the water in any form or fashion. Whether it’s a trawler doing 7 knots in the San Juans, surfing 30-foot waves down the California coast or doing the “Miami Vice” thing across Empire Cut here in the Delta, all have their own magic and attraction for this salty boat junkie.
Today I teach sailing and operate a small charter business offering assorted water adventures, hoping to awaken the tempest hidden within. After all, why should I be the only one afflicted? Witnessing that ah-ha moment, when a landlubber becomes forever cursed with thinking, breathing and living for the next time out on the water, is a really kewl thing. My quest for knowledge and experience of all things boating related is something of a sickness, some may say.
However, it may well also provide many a column of interest to this Delta community. Please join me for a look at boating in the Delta with regular offerings of tips, tricks, advice and pontification. Until next time, have fun and boat safe.
Jonathan Bloom is a USCG licensed master and ASA-certified sailing instructor. He can be reached via www.baydeltafun.com.