Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sunset on the Water

Sunset on the Water
Suisun Slough Boat Cruises Take Guests for Tours
By Stephanie Jucar

The California Sunset boat leaves 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; and noon, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It costs $15 adults; $5 children, under 3 are free. (photo by Mike McCoy)

SUISUN CITY - The California Sunset, a blue and white, two-story boat docked in the Suisun City harbor, is hard to miss.

"It's the biggest boat in the harbor," said the boat's owner, Capt. Dan Thiemann.

Thiemann and his fiancee, Betty Jo Coleman, started giving 90-minute tours through 8 to 10 miles of Suisun City sloughs for the first time July 1.

"We're just getting started but we already have some regulars," he said.

Fairfield resident Caroline Fox came for a second time - and brought a friend.

"I've always dreamed of going here," she said, donning a jacket and scarf.

She spotted the boat several weeks ago on a walk down the edge of the harbor.

"It's a nice place to go with a friend," she said.

After taking pictures with Lynn Holt, the pair listened to the captain's message.

"We should see some exciting stuff in the way of wildlife," Thiemann said to his guests before he started the tour. "You're going to see what you would have seen in California 200 years ago, untouched by man. No roads, no buildings."

Many people who have lived in the area their whole lives have never seen the sloughs from sailing on the water, Thiemann said.

"This is their chance to see it," he said. "People want to sit, relax and have fun."
Short cruises are available Thursday through Sunday during the day and in the evening.

"We try to keep it as family-oriented as possible," Coleman said.

Rain or shine, Thiemann said he'll take people on tours year-round as long as guests come at tour take-off times.

On a late summer evening about 18 people of all ages hopped on the boat for a tour.

On a normal weekend night, Gina Prendivalle, 47, and Brian Pene, 40, usually eat a nice dinner at a restaurant together or mingle at a bar.

But on a Friday night a couple weeks ago, the couple decided to check out the scene at the Suisun City waterfront.

"It's a perfect night to go out and do this," Prendivalle said, leaning over the railing with her hair whipping in the wind on the second story of the boat.

They watched the sunset and cuddled close as the night grew cooler.

Keith and Nancy Weitemeyer celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary on the California Sunset, taking pictures of the late summer sunset and relaxing on the boat's second-floor benches.

"This is fun," the wife said. "I like being on top of the water."

Thiemann enjoys having large families with kids because they can learn about local waterways and sloughs, he said.

The California Sunset was the first boat 8-year-old Alondra Trujillo has ever been on.

"It's fun," she said, while chewing on a Snickers bar sold at a concessions stand in the boat. "I liked it when he started the boat."

Thiemann also lets passengers take the helm for a few minutes, while he answers their questions about boating and the wildlife around them.

The California Sunset is also available for private parties, Thiemann said.

Corporate parties, family reunions, birthdays, school field trips, weddings, amongst many other kinds of parties, have used the boat, he added.

On a romantic night with a partner, an educational tour with kids or a family outing, the California Sunset is a boat that invites you to explore the sloughs of Suisun City.

Reach Stephanie Jucar at 427-6935 or sjucar@dailyrepublic.net.

Suisun City boat cruise: California Sunset

Cruise through the Suisun City sloughs

Departs from Suisun City waterfront by Main Street

4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; noon, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

$15 adults; $5 children, under 3 are free.

Monday through Wednesday open for reserved groups of 10 or more at any time

For reservations call (916) 289-8375

Note: Regular cruise times Thursday through Saturday may change due to large party reservations

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