Saturday, July 19, 2014

Summertime Paddling the Delta

The past couple of weeks I've been blessed to be busy leading tours. Our Sunset and Moonlight paddles have been spectacular! We've also done a couple of kayak fishing tours which didn't yield a lot of fish but made for a great day on the water. We have our first camp and paddle event coming up soon. We'll be paddling Bullards Bar and Lake Mildred in Oregon House California. Be sure and contact us if you are interested in joining us for a fabulous weekend on the water.

Don't miss August 10th's Supermoon paddle! According to "Full moon falls on August 10, 2014 at 18:09 UTC (1:09 p.m. CDT in the U.S.). This full moon is not only the closest and largest full moon of the year. It also presents the moon’s closest encounter with Earth for all of 2014. The moon will not be so close again until the full moon of September 28, 2015. In other words, it’s not just a supermoon. It’s the closest supermoon of 2014."

 If you would like a private tour for your family or group or would like to rent kayaks and do a little exploring on your own be sure and contact us. We'll be happy to help get you out on the water to experience our backyard...the beautiful California Delta!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Paddling and Kayak Fishing Lake Chelan, Washington

The past couple of weeks I've been paddling and exploring eastern Washington and Oregon. This post is about Lake Chelan, which in my opinion is the most beautiful lake in the world! It is a glacier fed and carved lake 55 miles long and in some spots over 1400 feet deep making it the third deepest lake in the U.S.. The water clarity is unmatched by any lake I have ever seen including Lake Tahoe.

We stayed at Lakeshore RV park which is situated right next to the lake and has easy kayak launching  access. If you bring your wheels you can pull your kayak to the beach which is maybe 100 yards from the campground depending on where you're parked. If you're not camping you can use the boat launch facility for $5 daily fee.

I didn't get to do as much long distance paddling as I had hoped but I did get to fish from my kayak in the crystal clear waters. The water temperature is somewhere between 55 and 59 degrees Fahrenheit so it's best to dress for immersion if you plan on doing any long distance paddling or paddle far from shore. Keep an eye on the weather and check the forecast before launching as the weather can quickly change and the wind can produce 3-4 foot swells. There are multiple options for paddling trips and I suggest using route builder to plan your trip.

I fished from my kayak on one day and paddled from lakeshore park towards the dam. as I tossed my lure into the water I could see many fish following it but didn't have any bites. I discovered a place near shore under the cover of some trees where I parked, ate lunch and watched as many fish passed by my boat. Although I didn't catch anything it was a great day on the water!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

McCovey Cove

This past Sunday I finally paddled to McCovey Cove and hung out there with my daughter and a couple of friends.  I'm a huge Giants fan and have always wanted to hang out in the Cove and possibly grab a "splash hit."

We attempted to escape the heat of the East Bay but it followed us to San Francisco and made it an amazing day to be on the bay. The tide was perfect for game time with less than a 3ft variation for the time we were on the water. We brought anchors along just in case the current was strong but they weren't needed for this day.

We launched from Pier 52 around 12:30 p.m. with a light westerly breeze and paddled past the merchant ships towards McCovey Cove. We timed it just right as boats and watercraft of all shapes and sizes were making their way to the Cove.  We arrived just in time for the National Anthem.

The paddle from Pier 52 gave us the opportunity to view the City from a whole different perspective. As I scanned the horizon I soaked in the view of AT&T Park on the left with towering skyscrapers in the middle and the Bay Bridge leading away from San Francisco. What a spectacular sight with tankers moored, container ships heading to port, sailboats, yachts, boats filled with tourists and ferries loaded with Giants fans.

With the sun blaring down on us we were pleasantly surprised to see shade available under the walkway that surrounds the park. When we weren't floating in the splash zone we could duck under the walkway to get out of the sun and cool off. At one point there were 40 kayaks and at least a dozen boats parked in the cove. Everyone was very friendly and it was fun to watch everyone enjoying the day.

One thing I would do next time is bring a radio with earbuds so I can actually listen to the game. It would be great if the Giants would put speakers up along the Cove so people could follow along. There is quite a bit of noise in the cove from the crowd inside and outside the park which made it difficult to hear the game on our radio.

It was a great day and I look forward to doing it again! We even came close to catching a "splash hit!" A home run hit by one of the Mets sailed over my daughter's head and landed only a few feet away. We paddled back to Pier 52 after the 8th inning with the tide in our favor. We did have a brisk headwind for the last quarter mile but we made it safely back in only 15 or 20 minutes from the time we left the cove.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Moonlight Paddle and Private Tours

The past few weeks have been extremely windy almost every day. We got a break earlier this week with a three or four day heatwave which worked out wonderfully for our Moonlight Paddle on the Delta. I've been pretty busy with private classes and tours which has been nice.

The Moonlight Paddle couldn't have been any better. With a gentle breeze we paddled along Rock Slough towards Becky's Bridge. Just before the moon was due to rise we turned around and floated with the gentle current with our eyes fixed on the eastern horizon. Within minutes we were treated to a huge orange glowing ball of light climbing slowly skyward hovering over the peaceful Delta. On our way back to the put-in we were followed by an angry beaver who kept splashing his tail as we paddled along.

Here is a sample of our view. It's not the best video quality and nothing compared to the actual experience so be sure and sign up for our Moonlight Paddle to experience it for yourself!

Last night we hosted a great group for a private tour. We had people who had never paddled before along with casual paddlers and kayakers with their own boats. It was a wonderful evening despite the threat of wind hampering our progress. We were treated to a Mama duck with about a dozen ducklings, heron, an otter and a seal who surfaced only a couple of feet in front of one of our boats!

Delta Kayak Adventures would love to host and guide your group for a leisurely paddle on the Delta. We offer special rates for groups of 5 or more. Contact us for more info.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Steamboat Slough

 Monday I had a private tour and it turned out to be a spectacular day on the Delta! We launched just before 1:00 p.m. just north of Rio Vista and headed northeast on Steamboat Slough. This spot is at the top of my list for favorite places to paddle because of the scenery and the clarity of the water.

We launched just after low tide and headed up the slough with the incoming tide. Once we entered Steamboat slough we noticed a seal ahead of us looking for his own lunch. It was such a treat and we followed him all the way to Hogback Island where we stopped for lunch. The weather was absolutely gorgeous being in the low 80's and I needed to splash myself often to keep cool. As we passed Snug Harbor we came upon a few people cooling off themselves in some inner tubes.

After lunch we left Hogback Island and continued with the tide passed Howard Landing where the Ferry takes cars from Ryer Island to Grand Island. We paused before crossing the ferry cable and made sure the operator knew we were there with some hand signals. The cable ferries are an integral part of life on the Delta and are actually fun to ride on.

When we reached the tip of Sutter Island we still had an hour before the tide would turn so we continued on Sutter slough for another 30 minutes before turning around. We stopped at Sutter Island just to stretch our legs and then proceeded down Steamboat towards home. We stopped once more at a nice beach on Hogback Island to stretch and use the facilities before continuing. As we headed southwest the sun sank lower and the sky lit up with golden light scattered through the sky and over the water.

The water was like glass and small fish jumped around us as we paddled home. We crossed the shipping channel at a ferry angle without incident and landed safely with the moon rising behind us. After 18 miles of paddling we were treated to an amazing sunset and moonrise to end our day!

If you're interested in a private tour for yourself or your group, please contact me and I would be happy to guide you practically anywhere on the California Delta.

Delta Meadows and Lost Slough

A few days ago I joined a great group of exploratory paddlers to check out Lost Slough. The weather was perfect and the scenery did not disappoint.

We launched from what used to be Delta Meadows State Park in Locke. There is a concrete ramp we used but it was steep and slippery. This was a one way paddle to Cosumnes River Preserve so we set up a shuttle prior to launching. Access to the ramp is limited and you need wheels to get your boat there and there are no facilities.

After setting up our shuttle we launched around noon and headed toward Meadows Slough where we found a great spot in the shade to eat lunch. After exploring Meadows Slough we headed to Lost Slough and paddled east towards our destination. Lost Slough is the perfect name for this spot, as you can become easily lost amongst the various channels that lead to the preserve. It's extremely quiet and peaceful and we only encountered a couple of fishing boats on our journey.

We ended up paddling a little over 10 miles with one portage and it was another great day on the water!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hogback Island to Antioch

I had a great adventure with my friend Mary yesterday as we paddled a little over 20 miles from the Hogback Island Recreation facility in Walnut Grove to the Antioch Marina. I plan on participating in this years California 100, which takes place Memorial Day weekend, and I want to get some longer paddles in before the big race. It's not so much of a race for me but I consider it a challenge I'd like to conquer for myself. You can visit their site to get more info about the 2nd annual California 100.

We met at the Antioch marina at 7:30 a.m. to leave a vehicle for our return. We then headed to Hogback Island where we entered the water at 9:00 a.m. Before leaving the house, I checked NOAA weather and also turned the news on TV and both predicted that the skies would clear by 8:00 a.m.. Both were wrong! We chased sunny skies the entire paddle but never caught up. It rained on us for the majority of the journey but it didn't hinder our progress or our enjoyment for the day.

I thought I would track our progress with an ap I have on my droid and it worked great until it drained my battery after 2 hours and 22 minutes on the water. I was able to save the data before my phone completely died. The ap said we paddled 9.6 miles with a top speed of 6.4 mph with an average speed of 3.7 mph. We had reached Windy Cove on Brannan Island when my phone died and we found a nice beach to have lunch.

We were back on the Sacramento River after a brief lunch and continued with our journey feeling good about our progress. We paddled at a leisurely pace for the next 7 miles until we reached Sherman Lake. This area is well known for kiteboarding and windsurfing and they would have loved the conditions we encountered. The first 17 miles were completely flat with barely a breeze but when we came upon Sherman Lake the wind must have been blowing at least 15-20 knots from the southwest.

We paused in the lee of a small island to refuel with a snack and some liquid before tackling what lie ahead of us. To get to the other side of the lake where there would be shelter from the wind and waves we needed to cross 1.5 miles of 2-3 foot wind waves hitting us broadside. About half way across I turned to Mary and asked how she was holding up and she said "we're going to finish this thing!" With our take out so close, we paddled with determination and made it to the other side without incident. As we turned and looked at where we had come from the wind suddenly died down and the water was much calmer than it had been just moments before.

We still had to cross the San Joaquin River before we could call it a day and with less than 2 miles to go, our goal was in sight. We were both tired by this time but seeing our take out gave us new energy. Paddling Mayberry Cut was rough in the sense that we now had a pretty good current against us and I was beginning to worry that I had made a mistake with the tides. I feared that we missed the slack tide and we would have to paddle against the current for our final stretch. Thankfully, when we left Mayberry Cut and entered the San Joaquin, we still had some current to help us westward but the wind had picked up again and was hitting us head-on.  We crossed over to West Island and paddled close to shore until we reached its tip. We began to cross the rest of the river but we hit a sandbar and ended up having to drag our boats about 50 yards before we could re-enter them.

We finally reached the Antioch waterfront and made it safely to the marina but not before witnessing a crime taking place before our very eyes. We witnessed two men in a powerboat and a man in a truck unload and  throw 5 sturgeon, of which at least 2 were over 60 inches, into the back of the truck. The limit is one and they must be between 40 and 60 inches. It breaks my heart to see such blatant disregard for our natural resources. I'm sure this wasn't their first time as it looked like something they do often as the truck sped away and the boat motored off in a hurry. It makes me wonder how many others take fish illegally.

The adventure was a success and I look forward to paddling longer distances and participating in the California 100!