Monday, September 29, 2014

Delta Coastal Cleanup

This year's Coastal Cleanup was held September 20th but many cities held multiple cleanup days. Delta Kayak Adventures took part in Antioch's 1st annual cleanup via kayak on the 19th and partnered with the Delta Protection Commission to clean up an area near Rio Vista on the 20th.

The Antioch cleanup had 18 paddlers who split into two groups. One to cover the Dow Wetlands Preserve and another to clean up the Antioch waterfront. In under 2 hours we collected 126 lbs. of garbage and just under 20 lbs. of recycling!

Saturday we headed to Rio Vista's Sandy Beach and 9 paddlers crossed the Sacramento River to an area hidden behind some tule that had become inundated with trash. We ended up collecting over 800 lbs. of trash including 6 tires!

We had great groups of volunteers! Make sure and mark your calendar for September 19th, 2015 and help us keep the Delta clean!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall Paddling Opportunities

Fall is probably my favorite time of year to paddle the Delta. The Delta breeze fades away, wildlife seems more abundant and the foliage bursts with color.

Delta Kayak Adventures will be resuming "Wednesday Wanderings" where we lead tours through parts of the Delta not paddled frequently. These tours are longer in distance and time and we use our high quality sea kayaks to explore the diverse regions of the Delta. We have our schedule in place through Thanksgiving and if you would like to join us you can book directly from our website.

           October 1st - Korths Pirates Lair to Mandeville Tip
           October 15th - Pittsburg to Collinsville
           October 29th - Southern Delta - Old River
           November 12th - Dutch Slough to Big Break

We also have custom tours available where you choose the date and location and we'll research the tides for the best possible experience. Contact us if you would like more information or are interested in booking a custom tour. Tours are being added often so be sure to keep an eye on our calendar to see other available excursions.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tomales Bay

My daughter and I were able to escape the heat Friday and make our way to the coast where we explored Tomales Bay. We launched from Nicks Cove at 11:30 with the incoming tide and headed across the bay towards White Gulch. It was a beautiful day on the bay with winds blowing under 10 knots and temperatures hovering around 70 degrees.

There are many places to launch your kayak on Tomales Bay but we chose Nicks Cove because we wouldn't need to carry our boats very far, worry about tide height and availability of clean restrooms. The downside is there isn't a lot of parking available. I was actually surprised to find the lot for vehicles with trailers full when we arrived. There is parking available for vehicles without trailers up a hill behind the restrooms which I'm guessing fills quickly on weekends. It's also one of the few spots you can park overnight if camping on the bay. There is a $5 fee for day use and another $5 for overnight parking and there is a machine available that takes credit cards.

Our prime objective for this adventure was to explore the beaches which allow camping to aid us in our decision making for a future overnight adventure. I've heard much about the bio-luminescence activity on Tomales Bay and want to experience it for myself.

Hog Island

After launching, we made our way northwest and paddled between Hog and Duck Islands. Duck Island and the east side of Hog Island are closed to the public year round. We spent a little time paddling close to the west shore of Hog Island in search of sea life. We spotted a couple of bright orange sea stars and lots of little crabs. We left Hog Island and headed to the nearest beach directly in front of us which was just south of White Gulch. The incoming tide was moving at a pretty good clip and we needed to ferry across at a steep angle to hit our target beach.

Pelican Point

The beaches that line the shore on the bays' western side are absolutely beautiful. They make for great destinations to stop and stretch or even pack a picnic and stay for an afternoon. We continued our journey south staying close to shore and soaking in our surroundings. We passed Pelican Point which was occupied with both White Pelicans and Cormorants. Pelican Point is another restricted area so don't land here. Our next stop was Tomales Beach, one of three group campsites.

Tomales Beach

We landed on Tomales Beach where there were a couple of picnic tables and vault toilets. We noticed some large tracks in the sand and soon discovered a large amount of cow patties dotting the entire length of the beach. The beach itself was beautiful but the cow patties were a disappointment as the odor engulfed us and made for an unpleasant lunch spot. Hopefully it's an uncommon occurrence because it really is a pretty location.

Marshall Beach in the distance

We left Tomales Beach and continued south for about a mile to Marshall Beach where there are two group sites with vault toilets available. Both locations looked absolutely amazing and were already filling with campers for the weekend. We continued paddling another quarter mile to Lairds Landing where we discovered several deteriorating buildings and a rope swing hanging from a tree over the water. For more historical info about Lairds Landing click here.

Lairds Landing

The tide had become slack so we decided to begin making our way back to Nicks Cove. We paddled back toward Marshall beach and I made the decision to cross the bay from there at an angle. It probably would have been better to follow the shore and return the way we had come but once in the middle of the bay we were committed to make it to the other side. It really wasn't bad but it was a bit of a slog paddling against a 10-15 knot headwind. I know the wind can be much worse or change unexpectedly so for future paddles we'll be sticking close to the western shore for better protection.

It was an amazing day on the bay and can't wait to get back for an overnight excursion! The day was filled with sightings of jelly fish, seals, crabs, starfish and a multitude of waterfowl. Tomales Bay has a lot to offer kayakers but be sure and do your homework before paddling here and be safe.

Happy paddling!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Full Moon Paddle

Last night was absolutely amazing! We had a great group and launched from Holland Riverside Marina around 6:45 p.m. with the tide at 3.5 feet. I was a little concerned when we first arrived because the wind was blowing about 15 to 25 mph but by the time our group launched it was near dead calm.

My son and I arrived early to get on the water and do a little fishing before our tour began. It was so fun! The fish were biting Sam's line continually but he was only able to pull one into the boat. As he was reeling it in, it looked like he had a fight on his hands but when he got it to the boat his catch measured just over 4 inches. We had another good laugh when he almost caught a bigger bass from behind. While he was casting it jumped and almost took the lure just before he threw it forward!

We met our customers on the beach and prepared to launch for our Moonlight Paddle. The winds had died down as the sun began to sink behind the marina. We paddled to what's left of the USS Advance on Beaver Island and sat for a few minutes waiting for the moon to make its' appearance. Words can't do justice to what we witnessed.

As the enormous  moon began to rise over the Delta the eastern sky turned a purplish pink while to the west the sky was fiery yellow orange with Mt. Diablo silhouetted in the distance. The peacefulness engulfed us as we took in this amazing sight.

We continued our leisurely paddle under the light of the moon on Old River and took in the sights and sounds surrounding us. It was an experience we won't forget!
Check our calendar!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Widdow, Eucalyptus and Kings Islands

What an amazing day on the water! Today we explored the southwestern region of the Delta. With temps in the mid 80's and barely a breeze blowing, we launched from Lazy M Marina at 9:15 a.m., approximately an hour before low tide. We paddled with the outgoing tide from Lazy M Marina and made our way up Italian Slough to Widdows Island.

Lazy M Marina is a great place to launch. They charge $10 per vehicle to launch and have a $2.00 parking fee for those not carrying kayaks. Clean restrooms are available and a small store is also on the premises.

 I brought my spinning rod with one lure, a Lip Ripper white and yellow in color. The fish were very active today and I was fortunate to catch 9 fish, 7 smallmouth bass and 2 stripers. I didn't need to work much as all I did was toss my line in and paddle and I hooked up every 20 minutes or so. They were all shakers with the largest being between 11 and 12 inches but it was a blast. It's about a 3 mile paddle from Lazy M to Widdows Island and it took us about an hour with two stops to catch and release the fish I caught.

Once we reached Widdows Island we took our time and explored practically every nook and cranny we could find. Next to Widdows is Eucalyptus Island which was absolutely beautiful. While exploring this flooded island we spotted literally hundreds of fish. We also witnessed an Osprey circle and spiral down to the water and grab a fish with his talons to take back to a tree to eat. Next to Eucalyptus Island is Kings Island which is occupied with many small waterfront homes.

There weren't many spots suitable for landing but we did find a dock that looked like it hadn't been used in quite some time next to Kings Island that we used to stretch and have a snack. After our short break we headed north on Old River and explored the islands from a different perspective. The northern area of Widdows Island had a couple of openings that we could paddle through to reach the inner island. We spotted a couple of Greater Egrets resting in a tree and continued to watch fish jump all around us.

After exploring the area for a couple of hours we decided to head back to the launch even though we would have loved to stay longer. We made our way back to the marina with the incoming tide and practiced a self rescue on the way. I caught two more fish on the way back which brought my total catch to 9.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Upcoming Tours and Events

As summer winds down I'm looking forward to paddling my favorite time of year, fall. We have some great tours coming up so be sure to check our calendar.

 If you haven't seen the full moon rise over the Delta you should sign up for our moonlight paddle which is scheduled for September 8th. It's an experience you won't forget.

We'll be spending time on the water cleaning up the Delta for Coastal Cleanup day September 20th. Grab your boat and gear and be sure to join us! Delta Kayak Adventures will be providing kayaks for a minimal charge to help cover costs associated with transporting and launching. We also have a special cleanup planned for Antioch on the 19th of September where we'll be providing kayaks free of charge. We only have a couple spots left for the Antioch cleanup but we'll create a waiting list in case someone cancels. If you have your own boat contact us for more info.

September 21st we'll be paddling one of my favorite spots - Steamboat and Sutter Slough in the heart of the Delta. The following week we will explore the Cosumnes River Preserve which is another must see location!

We are also planning a day of kayak fishing on the Delta and an Intro to Kayaking class so check our site often.

Those are just a few of the tours we have planned for September and as always, you can request a custom tour for your group.

Happy paddling!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Miner Slough

Did a little exploring today with a friend of mine. It's been awhile since I've had the opportunity to get out and discover new paddling destinations and it felt great to be back in my Whisky! We launched just north of Rio Vista at 10:15 a.m. and paddled north on Cache Slough also known as the deepwater shipping channel that leads to Sacramento. High tide was predicted to be almost 3 ft. at 12:23 and the winds were forecast to be under 10 mph. The wind was actually blowing at least 10-15 mph out of the northwest with 20 mph gusts which made for a lively paddle the first 4 miles but we had a good current pushing us north so we covered those first 4 miles in under an hour.

I have to say the paddle from Rio Vista to the entrance of Miner slough is pretty boring as far as scenery goes but once you enter Miner slough it makes it all worth while. Miner slough is located east of the shipping channel and there are a couple of possible entrances. We chose the northernmost entrance and paddled slowly taking in the scenery. This area is very remote and both sides of the slough are covered with cottonwoods, eucalyptus trees and tons of blackberry bushes.

Within a mile of entering the slough we came upon an opening among the brush and trees. We peeked through the opening and saw heavy equipment, tractors, a trailer, patio boat and other items strewn about with some items submerged. We did a little poking around in this flooded area of Prospect Island but didn't stay too long as there was an eerie feeling about the place. Upon further research I discovered that this area was the site of a massive fish kill back in 2007. After a levy break the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation went in to repair the levy and while pumping out the water ended up stranding thousands of Stripers and other fish that call the Delta home. I guess they abandoned the repair project and left it as they found it.

We continued north and soon spotted dozens of huge palm trees and another entrance to a lagoon. I would love to find out more info about what used to be here as it looks like a beautiful spot and could have possibly been a resort some time ago. By the time we finished exploring this little area it was just after noon and we were starting to get hungry so we continued our journey north keeping an eye out for possible spots to get out and stretch. After a mile or so we couldn't find any suitable spots to get out but we did find a nice shady area under a canopy of trees so we rafted up and ate lunch.

We were hoping to make it to Arrowhead Marina but it was getting late and I began to worry about what the wind would be like back on the deepwater channel. We turned around about a mile shy of our destination which makes for a great excuse to get back out there. We paddled with determination back to Cache slough only to find it just as calm as Miner slough. That was a great relief and we were able to relax and float with the outgoing tide back to the put- in.

We ended up kayaking almost 15 miles for a great workout. The only downside was being in our boats for 5 hours without being able to get out and stretch. We'll be heading out there during a low tide to see if there are any hidden beaches that would make good rest stops. We didn't see much wildlife today unless you count bass fisherman. It was another awesome day on the Delta!