Bethel Island's bizarre floating disaster zone

A Delta community in Contra Costa County is still reeling and worrying about a bizarre wind-driven, floating disaster zone threatening their property and the levees around it. Bethel Island is completely surrounded by water and is home to a large fleet of private power and sailboats making that water a critical part of their playground.

Last Sunday's high wind and rain deluge on Bethel Island, apparently caused a gigantic section of a marina floating boathouse, from the closed Anchor Marina, to break loose and break up. 

One section is 30-feet long, the other, up to 200 feet. "The winds were, I'm telling you, gusts 50, 60 miles an hour. And, I was like Paul Revere running down the levee going; the docks are coming, the docks are coming," said Bethel Island Homeowner Freddie Koslowski.

Neighbor Ray Walthan said even though it's often windy here, this was different. "It was gusting so you could barely stand up," he said. "It was very dangerous and very scary. There was nothing you could do, it was massive," said homeowner Susan Bernhard.

The wind-driven docks sped down the slough, doing serious damage to as many as 10 homeowner boat moorings and slamming into the adjacent levee on Jersey Island. Since then, changing winds and currents have caused the huge breakaway docks to go up and down Taylor Slough doing even more damage. "At one point there may have been eight,10,15 all down here trying to figure out what to do about it," said Warthen.

The very temporary solution, at least; tie down the big section with the help of a knowledgeable friend. "He started tying it up at different locations. The idea was, we didn't want it to move away," said Warthen. "There's two more docks sitting over there. They're ready to come off in the next storm," said Koslowski.

Neighbors say that Anchor Marina has been a rodent-infested eyesore, a garbage pit and a fire hazard with a longtime squatters' camp to boot. "The place has been neglected for years and the county shut it down." said Bernhard. "This place has been a problem, Anchor Marina. You had nothing but police reports over there," said Koslowski. No electricity, no sewage and no water," said Warthen.

The fact of the matter is, whatever needs to be done, needs to be done sooner than later. Why? Because we have almost three more months of the rainy season and big storms possibly coming up.


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