Wanted: Not sinking boat

You know how many marinas there are in the Sacramento Delta? A lot, let me tell you. And I’ve called nearly every one in search of our elusive, inexpensive junked, but still floating, 20 foot-or-so pontoon boat. A few leads which I’m following up on.

Kai and I also hung a flier up in a few delta towns when we were up there.

Surprisingly, we got a response within a few days from a guy named Chris in Walnut Grove. “I live on a little harbor. The woman who owns it is like 90 something and she’s going crazy. The marina’s falling apart. There a boat in the harbor, just sitting there for years, sounds like what you are looking for.” It took me a bit to understand Chris. He seemed like a nice guy, a lot like the other folks we met in the area, lonely, talkative, staggeringly inarticulate.

“I don’t know if it’s a pontoon boat, but it’s sinking on one side. So it’s probably a pontoon boat, right?” I had to think through this logic a little bit. One of the reasons we are interested in a pontoon as the foundation for our shantyboat is that it is less likely to sink.

“This boat’s got stuff in it. A fridge, held up with a rope. It got coats in there, like nice ones. And other stuff.” I wondered that the locals had not already stripped this abandoned boat full of nice coats.

I asked Chris if he could send me a picture of this boat. “You know, I’m technology illiterate. My phone’s got a camera, but I don’t know know how to use the goddamned thing. Technology, man, I just don’t know it.”

Chris went on, “To tell the truth, you don’t want this boat. It’s sinking on one side. But it’s just sitting here. And free’s a good price, right? Am I right? You know. But who knows? You could haul this thing out and do us a favor before it sinks.”

As dubious as it sounds, we’ll might take a look at it next time we go up there. If it hasn’t already settled to the bottom of the Sacramento River. As Chris says, who knows?

Originally posted 2015-09-12 07:00:23.

Wes Modes' irrepressible sense of adventure has lead him to decades of train hopping and DIY rafting on a half dozen major American rivers. In various lives, he is a sculptor, writer, performer, adventurer, comic artist, and most recently a shanty boat maker. The chronicles of his ongoing personal journey to build a shanty boat can be found at littleshantyboat.blogspot.com