The Mystery of The Watermelon

Summer on the Estuary means more daylight rowing and long, steady pieces as far as we can go. On Saturdays, depending on the tide, there’s enough time and water to make it to The Watermelon, an iconic local landmark on the Alameda side of the channel.

the-watermelon
From the boat | photo: Jessica Fisher

For our novices and anyone else who’s been wondering what the heck this is, here’s the answer:

It’s a slab of cement painted to look like a watermelon slice. It has also masqueraded as an orange slice, but for most of it’s more than 30-year history, the watermelon paint scheme has been the norm. No one knows for sure who paints The Watermelon, which gets touched up from time to time; one local resident has claimed credit for the initial paint job, and a Facebook commenter voiced a rumor that it’s a rowing landmark from way back:

It might be a rumor, but I heard the CAL crew painted it so they knew when to turn around.” – Marcia T.

One thing is for sure, though: If you see The Watermelon, you’re going to feel that practice the next day.

Photo: Facebook user and Watermelon fan Katerina Moreno
Up close. | Photo: Facebook user and Watermelon fan Katerina Moreno