Paul Koenig took over Captain Morgan’s Delta Adventures about one year ago, and a lot has changed since then.
Though he’d expected to spend the autumn months touring passengers through the waterways around Discovery Bay, he has been spending his time relocating his boat, the Rosemarie, out of the Discovery Bay Yacht Harbor, and building a new business plan.
Frank Morgan, who sold his Delta Adventures business to Koenig in January, had a yearly contract with the yacht harbor. When it came up for renewal this summer, Koenig thought his interactions with harbor management were going well and the contract would be renewed.
“Every indication I got from them was that I had checked all the boxes and more, we were looking forward to getting a new agreement in place,” Koenig said. “Apparently, ownership decided — maybe with input from lawyers — that they didn’t want any commercial operations of any sort going on at the marina, including Captain Morgan’s.”
Koenig said the three-day notice slapped on the Rosemarie’s hull the Thursday before Memorial Day, “came out of the blue.” He immediately began looking for a new marina for his boat and business. But first, he had to cancel and refund almost $10,000 worth of booked cruises. He said he was able to run a few bookings during late summer out of Orwood Marina, but that location isn’t set up to be a permanent home, especially since they aren’t lit for night operations. His concern for the community he’s leaving behind colored his feelings about the future.
“The downstream effect of not having our lease renewed is there is some business impact,” he said. “We drove a lot of business through the Boardwalk Grill and through the chandlery, plus through the marina, itself, with gas and leasing the slip, so all that business went bye-bye.”
Koenig has since relocated his business to Tower Park Marina in Lodi. He said staff there has been great to work with and, more importantly, they have the kind of setup Koenig needs for his customers.
“Tower Park has parking for the public, a restaurant and food service, and docks big enough to hold the Rosemarie,” he explained. “It’s been great so far.”
Harbor Master Dan Gay refused to comment when asked about the Delta Adventures situation and repeated calls to marina management were not returned.
Residents who learned of Koenig’s move were disappointed and surprised. The Rosemarie was a favorite of locals in December, when cruises past the festive docks in every bay were booked far in advance of the season. Many took to social media to decry the loss.
“It is a shame the yacht harbor management ended their commercial operation here,” resident Ann Watson wrote on NextDoor. “It was nice seeing it on the Discovery Bay waterways ... I would not be able to go to Lodi to utilize its services and there are others, especially seniors, that will agree with me. Another slam for a local business.”
Koenig admitted the boat’s participation in the yacht club’s Lighted Boat Parade and offering cruises to local charity raffles are also at an end. With a six-hour round trip between Lodi and Discovery Bay, that part of the history is gone. But he and Debi plan to relaunch the business in 2020.
“We’ve booked some spa cruises, and the campers at Tower Park offer an engaged market, so it’s an opportunity to reinvent ourselves a little bit,” he said. “But we do miss the area and the people of Discovery Bay.”