Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Our third attempt to reach Collinsville was a success! It was an absolutely amazing day to be on the water.

We launched from Sherman Island County park at 2:30 and paddled with the outgoing tide on glassy waters. There were showers earlier in the morning and the sky was filled with beautifully textured clouds. The sun peeked through the clouds once in awhile lighting up the windmills dotting the deep green hills. As we paddled closer to Montezuma Island, a stiff breeze came up against us and the waters became quite choppy very quickly.

We attempted to pass through Montezuma Slough on the north side of the island but decided to turn around due to the low tide and hyacinth. I'm not sure if that part of the slough is navigable, maybe at a higher tide. Montezuma Island has quite a few sandy beaches covered with driftwood that make for a good lunch or stretch stop. As we left the island behind us we could see Collinsville about 500 yards away. The tide had changed and we now paddled against the current and a headwind but we were determined and after some effort we made it to our destination. The shore-front was lined with very tall pilings and high docks that reminded me of a commercial fishing port. We saw a few buildings but no people as we searched the shoreline.

According to Hal Schell's Guide to Cruising the California Delta, the sleepy town of "Collinsville was named after C.J. Collins, who settled in the area in 1859 and surveyed for the town in 1861. Collinsville had even earlier beginings. Between 1846 and 1849 L.W. Hastings ran a ferry from the Collinsville area to Contra Costa and it is thought to have been the first ferry on either the Sacramento or San Joaquin Rivers." At one time Collinsville was home to nearly 500 people and "was a regular port of call for steamboats, a thriving fishing village where Italian was heard everywhere. It had at least two fish canneries, hotels, saloons and other businesses."

There is so much history among the delta just waiting to be revisited. As I paddle along sandy shores and tule covered islands, I imagine what it must have looked like 200 years ago. I don't think too much has changed when it comes to Collinsville.

After a few pictures we turned around with the wind at our backs and headed to Montezuma Island for a snack and stretch break. It was nice to relax on the sandy, driftwood covered beach. After our little break on the beach we launched back onto the Sacramento River and headed back to the put in. The wind had died down but there were some nice surfable waves that helped move us along at a good clip.

It was a very relaxing day on the delta. Next time I plan on paddling a little further up Montezuma Slough along Van Sickle Island. The Delta offers an endless supply of paddling opportunities where sights and sounds change every time you hit the water.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Wimpy's Run!

We had a great trip down the Mokelumne River yesterday for Wimpy's Run! After figuring out the shuttle, we finally got on the water just before 2:00 pm and rode the outgoing tide to Wimpy's Marina.

The weather couldn't have been better as we launched from the Cosumnes River Preserve. The wildlife must have been in hiding because we didn't see much other than some turtles and a Great Blue Heron. I threw my fishing line behind me and trolled down the river but never got a bite. The lack of wildlife didn't spoil the day because just being on the water surrounded by lovely scenery was enough.

We traveled just over 5 miles and made it to Wimpy's in time for an early dinner. The food was delicious and the company even better and I can't wait to do it again!

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snodgrass Slough

We paddled until we could paddle no more. It was a stunning day on the Delta for our "Wednesday Wandering."

We launched from Delta Meadows in Locke at 10:25 am with high tide predicted for 11:49 am at New Hope. The small boat ramp was surrounded by some tiny green plant life floating on the surface but it was easy enough to paddle through. There wasn't much hyacinth which was my main concern because it can make launching or landing impossible. The sun was shining brightly and there was no breeze to speak of as we paddled north on Snodgrass Slough.

Our plan was to see how far up the slough we could get and see if we could reach Stone Lakes. We paddled with purpose as a sea lion surfaced behind and then passed below us. We continued to follow him most of the trip up the slough. The sounds of Sandhill Cranes soon filled the air and as we looked above we saw a flock of at least two dozen pass overhead. A Red Tail Hawk circled above the glassy water and Cormorants spread their wings to dry as they rested on bare branches. Greater and Lesser Egrets, Night Heron and a Great Blue Heron  also blessed us with their presence. Turtles leaped off half submerged logs as we paddled quietly past them and hundreds of coots accompanied our journey. The day was filled with almost magical encounters with God's precious creatures.

We entered the heart of Snodgrass Slough after passing under the Twin Cities bridge. The levies were lined with varying types of trees and brush. Tule also hugged the edges of the levee and blackberry bushes abounded. The waterway itself widened and it felt like we were on a small lake. The slough is surrounded by farmland and we came upon a couple of places that looked as if they could be parks but in actuality were private property with signs posted no trespassing. We paddled on and the slough became narrower with each progressive stroke. Tree branches hung over the water and small side channels appeared like private rooms beckoning to be explored. After paddling a little over 6 miles we finally reached a dam and could go no further. We exited our boats and climbed a steep hill to see what was on the other side of the dam. We had made it to the edge of Stone Lakes.

We returned to our boats and headed back to a spot we felt would make a good lunch spot under the shade of some trees. After refueling we paddled with the current back to the put in. We met our sea lion friend halfway back and it looked like he found a good fishing spot so he was too busy filling his tummy to take notice of us. We almost missed the channel that would take us back to Delta Meadows which reminded me to be sure and take note of landmarks when paddling this area. It's easy to get lost in this beautiful mesmerizing stretch of the Delta.

Join us for an adventure on the California Delta!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Chipps Island

Wednesday my Son and I made a quick jaunt to Chipps Island. I had planned on a much more in depth exploration but I'll be putting that on my calendar for another day. The weather has been incredible and it was great to get out on the water even for a couple hours.

Chipps Island lies a little over a half mile northeast of Pittsburg and is bordered by the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin River to its' south and Honker Bay to the west. We launched from the Pittsburg Marina at 1:40 pm with low tide predicted for 2:45. The current was predicted to flow at just over one knot. The water had a few ripples with barely a breeze blowing from the southwest.

Once out of the protection of the marina we picked up speed rather quickly with the current pushing us along at a good clip. I had planned on paddling to Mallard Island before making the crossing but with the water moving faster than I expected I decided to cross when we reached the Power Plant. The crossing was just over a half mile but it turned out to be one that required our full attention. Before crossing we made sure the coast was clear, that there were no ships in the distance heading our way. We passed a huge sea lion resting on the red navigation buoy and proceeded quickly across the shipping channel. We encountered a huge eddy, a couple of boils and even a whirlpool forming. I must say I felt much more relaxed when we reached the shoreline of Chipps Island.

When we reached the shore of Chipps Island we discovered an opening that led to another opening to a long slough. We kept an eye open for a beach or somewhere safe to land as I was having some issues with my kayak seat and wanted to readjust it. All we found was mud so we turned around and headed east along the shore to see what we could find. We paddled to Spoonbill creek but still had not found any kind of beach. We did find a small cove with the edge covered in a thick grass like plant that my Son was able to climb and bring his boat up to rest. I decided to stay in my boat and attempt to fix my seat. We sat around for awhile waiting for the tide to change or at least slow down some so we wouldn't have to paddle against it.

As the current subsided we paddled back to the Pittsburg marina enjoying a much calmer river on our way home. The same sea lion was still resting on the red buoy as we passed by, looking like he was enjoying his nap in the sunshine.

Chipps Island has many sloughs and inlets to explore and I look forward to returning.

Contact us for more info.
Many people think of the Delta as purely flatwater and that could be a dangerous thought to assume. Some areas of the Delta are more protected than others. Wherever there is moving water you must use caution and be prepared to deal with changing conditions. The sheer volume of water that passes through the Delta is mind boggling, then add tidal influence and wind and you can experience some extremely challenging conditions. I strongly suggest kayak instruction including self and assisted rescue techniques. Know the area you'll be paddling and check tides and weather before leaving your house.  Carry a cell phone in a waterproof case and/or a VHF radio. Dress for immersion or at the very least carry a spare set of clothes in a drybag and always leave a float plan with family or friends. The Delta is a wonderful and beautiful place to paddle but be sure to show it respect.

Delta Kayak Adventures offers Introductory Kayak classes and private instruction and leads tours all over the Delta region.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

23rd Annual Cow Patty Pageant

Saturday a couple of friends and I participated in the annual Cow Patty Pageant on the Estero Americano put on by Rivers for Change. Rivers for Change is a nonprofit made up of a wonderful and "passionate group of river enthusiasts dedicated to changing the way people think about and interact with water." Janice Green has a nice write up about kayaking the Estero on her website.

It turned out to be a beautiful day on the Estero. I wasn't sure what to expect and with all the flash flood and small craft advisories on Friday, I thought the event may be cancelled. I was delighted when we arrived in Valley Ford to see the sun shining and there was no wind to speak of. After checking in at the schoolhouse in Valley Ford, we made our way to the put-in less than a mile away. We met a bunch of happy and enthusiastic paddlers and some were dressed appropriately for the event decked out in a multitude of cattle attire. The first group to launch were the recreational paddlers doing the short course. My friends and I signed up for the intermediate course which was 11 miles round trip and the second wave to launch at approximately 9:50 am. The last wave launched 10 minutes after us and were made up of the competitive paddlers most of which were paddling surfskis.

Due to the weather forecast we were told that we would need to turn around at 11 am no matter where we were on the Estero so we could be off the water before the next storm hit. We paddled our hearts out and almost made it to the ocean but came up a half mile shy of our goal. That's ok because that means we'll have to return. I didn't get to take as many pictures as I would have liked because of the pace we were trying to keep so that's another excuse to go back.

I'm proud to say that my friend and I tied for second to last place and had a moovalous time taking part in this event!

Rivers for Change also hosts the CAL 100 which takes place Memorial Day weekend. This 100 mile race is also on my bucket list!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kayaking the Delta in January

It's hard to believe it's winter! I've been paddling as much as possible taking advantage of the unbelievable weather we've been experiencing. This may be the driest January on record for the San Francisco Bay Area. I sure hope next month brings lots of rain and snow in the mountains!

The past couple of weeks I've been leading tours, teaching intro to kayaking classes and doing some kayak fishing. Our Wednesday Wandering took us to Miner Slough and Arrowhead Marina. We paddled up Sutter Slough then headed west on Miner slough and encountered a log jam blocking passage under the Miner Slough bridge. Tons of logs had become snagged and entangled under the bridge making it a collection spot for all kinds of garbage including a peddle boat! We did find safe passage under the north section of the bridge and continued our journey. I look forward to returning this spring to do some more exploring.

This past weekend we paddled Dutch Slough on Bethel Island and Sherman Lake from Sherman Island. The weather was great for both paddles and we observed lots of waterfowl. Earlier in the week I was fortunate to lead and teach an intro to kayaking class. I enjoy teaching clients the basics of the sport so they can get the most out of their kayaking. What I enjoy most is seeing clients get fired up about the sport and the Delta!

Winter is always tough for me when it comes to fishing. It seems I get skunked more often than not but nothing beats a day on the water. I did some fishing yesterday and actually got a bite right next to the boat. Actually seeing a fish makes such a difference and encourages me not to give up!

I am looking forward to the many events and paddles we have planned and hope you'll join us! Mark your calendars for Presidents Day, February 16th as we'll be paddling and fishing Lake Camanche. We'll have kayaks available to rent for the day or bring your own and join us for a great day on the water. There is an $8 per vehicle entry fee and kayaks need to be clean and dry for inspection. Check out our Meetup for more info.

Check our calendar for upcoming tours!

Delta Kayak Adventures offers custom tours tailored to your groups wishes. Contact us for more information!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Kayak the Delta this Weekend!

Record temperatures are predicted for this upcoming weekend. Join Delta Kayak Adventures as we paddle Dutch Slough in Bethel Island Saturday and Sherman Lake Sunday! Book your tour by Thursday January 22 and save $14 on Saturday's tour by using promo code BETHEL12415 or save $15 on Sunday's tour using promo code SHERMAN12515.

Click logo below to go to calendar and reserve your spots.

Click to go to calendar and reserve.