“UP” goes Ahoy

The mystery of a 2-story home seen floating in the San Francisco Bay for several days has been solved. The wood-shingled home was first spotted in the water on Sunday and was seen in various locations around the bay in the ensuing days. The U.S. Coast Guard said it is monitoring the private transfer of the house, which was built atop a floating barge. The floating house sparked a flurry of speculation when it was first seen in the water, with many pointing out similarities to the Pixar film “Up” — just on the water instead of the air. It has now been revealed that the house was the second-to-last houseboat to leave the Redwood City marina. The house arrived Tuesday at its new home at the Commodore Marina in Sausalito. “It was up a twisty channel, so you have to have the tide right and you have to come down without the wind blowing you into the bank.” “These things are very heavy. Then it has to travel through the Bay. And the winds and the tide changes and the current is going out. You don’t want it to drag you out to the Golden Gate Bridge.”

There are 400 or so floating homes in the affluent suburb of Sausalito reflect a proud bohemian history that began well over a century ago. Artists, writers, musicians, beatniks, and hippies flocked here in search of an alternative lifestyle, and an art scene flourished in the 1940s and ‘50s. Former ferries also housed art galleries, restaurants, and a literary magazine. Soul singer Otis Redding wrote the lyrics to “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” during his stay on a houseboat owned by legendary rock concert promoter Bill Graham for a weeklong gig. Actor Sterling Hayden, who starred in The Godfather among other movies, and cartoonists Shel Silverstein and Phil Frank also lived here.  As a teenage hitchhiker headed west from Chicago, Catherine Lyons-Labate was dropped off at a Sausalito houseboat dock. While calling home, she realized she’d lost her wallet and had no money left. She was taken in, fed, and cared for by some compassionate houseboaters. That was 45 years ago. She never left. She raised three children on houseboats; her first child was born on the Issaquah ferryboat.

“I saw the boats and the sea, smelled dinner being cooked, heard someone playing soft guitar, and, since there was no electricity then, everything was lit by kerosene lamps,” Lyons-Labate says. “I felt I was home.” The community’s history dates back to the late 19th century, when fishermen’s wooden shacks in Sausalito were converted to vacation homes by some San Franciscans. Others built houseboats and moored them in the cove, says Larry Clinton, a Sausalito Historical Society member and expert on floating homes. Some were quite inventive: One houseboat was made from four horse-drawn streetcars nailed to a raft. 

Houseboat Hilarity

When my brother Tom bought a new sailboat, he filled out an application for boat insurance. He was asked questions about the boat and himself and was instructed to include a recent photo. He and his wife sifted through a stack of snapshots and selected one they felt appropriate. Not long after sending in the form, Tom received a letter back from the insurer: “Dear Sir, thank you for sending the fine photo of yourself. We do admire your mustache. Now, could you send is an equally appealing picture of the vessel we are to insure?”  

In my twenties, I lived in a houseboat and I started dating the girl next door.
Eventually….we drifted apart.

Why does the North Korean Navy have glass-bottom boats?
So they can watch their submarines.

Buyer: “Do houseboats like this sink very often?”
Neighbor: “No, usually it’s only once.”

April 16th Birthdays

1984 – Claire Foy, 1991 – Ladovica Comello, 1996 – Anya Taylor Joy, 1982 – Gina Carano

1952 – Bill Belicheck, 1965 – Martin Lawrence,  1947 – Kareem Abdul Jabbar, 1867 – Wilbur Wright

Morning Motivator: