Sunday, January 6, 2019

Paddling the Delta




What makes paddling the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, AKA the California Delta, so special?

I'll try my best to answer that question in hopes you'll take it upon yourself to come and experience it on your own or with myself on a guided tour.

I'll begin with a little background information. The California Delta is unique in that it is an inland inverted delta. What that means is that it's not your typical delta where a single source of water flows to or though a narrow opening and then fans out depositing sediment. Our California Delta is fed by many rivers and streams and encompasses an area from Sacramento to the north, Tracy to the South and Stockton to the east. All waters come together at the Carquinez Strait where it continues to the San Francisco Bay and out the Golden Gate to the Pacific Ocean.

The California Delta is the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas. It encompasses an area of over 1100 square miles which include over 50 major islands and hundreds of smaller ones. There are endless paddling opportunities whether kayaking, paddleboarding or canoeing. One thing I love about the Delta is that every day it's different. You can paddle the same spot everyday of the year and you'll experience a difference in how it looks and feels each day. You'll have diverse animal encounters whether it's viewing countless species of waterfowl or a chance meeting with a family of river otters, the Delta never disappoints.  Viewing wildlife from a kayak is a unique experience. You become part of the river as there is no way to get closer to the water unless you swim. Your soundless movement over the surface of the water allows you to get a glimpse of the wild as it truly is. It's an amazing experience to feel solace and tranquility while being surrounded by nearly 7 million people in the Bay Area.

With so many paddling options where do you start? Because I am completely biased, I'd suggest Antioch. With Antioch being a designated San Francisco Bay Water Trail site it makes launching a breeze with the kayak launches available at the Antioch Marina. If you don't have your own kayak you can always rent from Delta Kayak Adventures where I will offer suggestions and tips based on weather and tides for the best possible experience. You can search my blog here for trips I've posted on paddling from Antioch. I will continue to add trips as time goes on. Beginning your trip from a SF Bay Water Trail site is a great choice because that site has been determined to be human powered craft friendly.


There are currently 4 SF Bay Water Trail designated sites within the "legal" delta with more additions planned. They include Big Break Regional Shoreline in Oakley, the Antioch Marina, Pittburg Marina and Riverview Park in Pittsburg, though Riverview is more practical for kiteboarders. There are also 2 sites in Suisun, not considered to be a part of the legal delta but another beautiful area to explore. My hope is that someday the SF Bay Water Trail will link to the Great Delta Trail which is in its planning stages.

Another reason the California Delta is such a special place to paddle is that it can be paddled year round. With proper gear and attire you can enjoy a cool winter paddle and view migratory birds visiting our area. When the summer winds pick up, you can surf the swells on the San Joaquin or find secluded islands and smaller sloughs to explore that are protected from wind. In spring you can see hundreds of egrets and heron raising their young. Fall brings new winged visitors to our Delta and is my favorite time of year to paddle.

The Delta is an exceptional place to fish. Kayak fishing is another way to enjoy time on the water. You can fish for Salmon during the fall, black bass, striped bass, blue gill and crappie year round. If you want a sleigh ride you can try your luck at targeting sturgeon. The Delta is known as a world class fishery with many tournaments and festivals throughout the year. Delta Kayak Adventures offers guided fishing tours or fishing kayak rentals throughout the region.

Delta Kayak Adventures is a Mom owned small business. My children are often at my side ensuring our clients safety on the water. We offer kayak and paddleboard rentals, guided tours, classes and use high quality equipment to ensure a good time on the water. Our classes include an Intro to Kayaking or Paddleboarding 2 hour class to get the basics and safety down and to give you the chance to see if kayaking or paddleboarding is a sport you want to pursue. We also offer more in depth sea kayaking classes that are a full day of learning and having fun on the water. Rescue classes are offered to ensure you can safely re-enter your kayak in real world conditions. We offer private group tours throughout the Delta region and discounted trips for veterans and their family. Rentals are available from the Antioch Marina 7 days a week and you can choose to rent for an hour, half day or full day.



I invite you to come and explore the Delta with me. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Review of 2018


This past year I have had many extraordinary trips, paddled with many new and seasoned paddlers and suffered heartbreaking loss.

I began 2018 with Delta Kayak Adventures having a permanent location on the water at the Antioch Marina. The Antioch Marina became an official San Francisco Bay Water Trail designated site which enabled the public to use newly installed kayak launches, making for easy entrance and exit from a kayak. Delta Kayak Adventures has dozens of kayaks and paddleboards available to rent right on the water utilizing one of the ramps. With so many destinations to choose from, Antioch is an ideal location whether you want an hour on the water or a full day kayak fishing. 2018 also marked the opening of the greatly anticipated restaurant, Smith's Landing. Now you can go for a paddle and enjoy a delicious meal or a cocktail overlooking the San Joaquin River.





One of my most memorable trips this past year was paddling 63 miles from Sacramento to Antioch back in March. We launched just south of where the American River enters the Sacramento River. We paddled past Old Sacramento and the Tower Bridge and meandered through tree lined banks until we reached Clarksburg for lunch. After lunch we continued to Steamboat Landing where we picked up some Hemly Cider to enjoy that evening. We landed at Ko-Ket Resort around 5pm and were warmly welcomed and shown where we could set up camp. A friend had left her car at the resort so we could drive to Al's in Locke for dinner. We returned to camp and enjoyed sipping cider around a campfire provided by a generous couple who lent us their propane fire ring. The next morning we launched at 9am and paddled the remaining 28 miles to Antioch. It was a wonderful trip with great friends and an experience I won't forget.



The summer was amazing with our first ever River Camp for Kids. Delta Kayak Adventures offered the camp for 9-15 year olds to spend a week kayaking, paddleboarding, hiking and fishing. The kids were awesome and it was wonderful to watch the smiles appear as we paddled the San Joaquin River and hauled up countless blue gill and crappie. I look forward to doing River Camp for Kids again this summer!















The fall provided countless days of paddling on glassy water watching the migratory birds begin to come in. We also paddled among the tall ships Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain while they demonstrated a mock battle at sea. As leaves continued to fall and a couple storms blew through along with cooler temperatures, smaller sloughs began to open up and begged to be explored. With the arrival of winter, there will be even more areas to explore due to the hyacinth and primrose dying off.




On November 2nd, my husband of 25 years passed away unexpectedly due to a cardiac arrest. Randy was always working behind the scenes of Delta Kayak Adventures whether building a custom kayak trailer or offering encouraging words and ideas to help support my dream of making a living on the water. He left behind myself and our four children, three who are still at home, to carry on and we will miss him immensely.


I'm looking forward to 2019. I'm setting personal goals that I hope to accomplish such as taking part in the California River Quest with a 100 mile paddle from Redding to Chico. If you're feeling adventurous but not for 100 miles you can sign up for the 25 or 50 mile course.





Delta Kayak Adventures continues to offer kayak and paddleboard rentals, classes and tours throughout the year. We paddle the entire Delta region so if you're interested in a specific location contact me and we can set up a custom tour for your group.



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Battle Paddle and More



I'm currently working on an article about our trip down the Sacramento River last week and will post soon! I want to let you know about upcoming paddling opportunities.

Friday March 30th you can paddle under the light of the moon with us! Launching from the Antioch Marina at 6pm.

Saturday March 31st the tall ships Hawaiian Chieftain and Lady Washington will be battling on the San Joaquin River. Join us as we watch them fire their cannons while enjoying a leisurely paddle. Launching from the Antioch Marina at 2pm.

Kayak and Paddleboard rentals available 7 days a week!

You can reserve your spot or a rental by clicking here or contact us for more information.

Find your adventure!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Infinite Paddling Opportunities



The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, AKA the California Delta offers some exceptional paddling opportunities that are unique every time you get on the water. With a thousand miles of waterways, where do you begin? Today I'll share ideas that are within a 3 mile radius of the Antioch Marina.

Antioch Marina

Let's begin with safety. Before you head out for some time on the water there are items you need to consider before you leave the house. This is NOT a comprehensive list but a good basic starting point.


  1. Weather conditions: When paddling the San Joaquin river from Antioch, it's imperative to check wind conditions. It may be dead calm when you arrive but winds can pick up at any time and change the paddling environment drastically. Check forecasts frequently as they can change often. Use aps like Windfinder and compare with NOAA forecast. Weatherbug ap has live windspeed readings from the Antioch Marina.
  2. Tides: The water flows of the Delta are tidally influenced. The river actually flows backward with an incoming tide. Plan your trip so that you will have tides in your favor for your paddle home. Do the hard work first. Wind speed and direction of water flow are very important to consider. When winds blow at a direction opposing the tide it creates a more dynamic sea state. The river can turn into ocean like conditions with winds above 10 mph blowing against the tide.
  3. Gear: The Delta can be paddled year round so consider dressing for immersion, in other words dress as if you are going to swim. Fall and winter offer some of the best paddling but if you don't own a drysuit or wetsuit be sure to pack dry clothes in a dry bag to bring with you in case you do get wet. Other safety gear include cell phone or vhf radio, whistle, snacks and water. If paddling a sea kayak make sure to bring bilge pump and paddlefloat. If you are paddling a sit inside kayak with no bulkheads make sure to bring float bags to place in bow and stern of boat. MOST IMPORTANTLY WEAR YOUR PFD - PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICE
  4. Float Plan : Have a plan and stick to it as best as possible. The US Coast Guard has blank plans you can download as does Boat-ed. Let friends or family know where your going and when you plan to return. File float plan with harbormaster or leave on dash of vehicle.
Kimball Island

Now let's go paddling! The following are some possible trips within 3 miles of the Antioch Marina. If you like to explore or paddle at a leisurely pace I'd allow 2-3 hours for a 2-4 mile round-trip adventure; 4-8 hours for a 4-6 mile round trip paddle. I suggest using a nautical chart or topographical map to plan. There are some aps such as USTopo that allow you to track your route and websites like Routebuilder that measure distance. Bay Area Sea Kayakers have an incredible resource known as the trip planner that includes tide information. It's also a great club to join!






Paddling West:
  1. Dow Wetlands - half mile from marina; has lots of sloughs to explore; offers protection from wind
  2. Winter Island - approximate 1.5 mile paddle to southern tip of Winter Island; use caution when crossing shipping channel; multiple sloughs to explore
  3. Browns Island - approximate 2.5 mile paddle to eastern edge of island; Middle slough can offer protection from a westerly wind; multiple sloughs to explore
  4. Broad Slough - Point San Joaquin - approximate 3.5 mile paddle; exposed to northwest winds
  5. Broad Slough - Point Sacramento - approximate 3.5 mile paddle; convergence of San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers; tricky currents at point
  6. Sherman Island - approximate 2 mile paddle to entrance of Sherman Island Waterfowl Management area; hundreds of sloughs to explore; watch depth for low tides; bring gps to keep from getting lost if exploring inside island
  7. Kimball Island - just under a half mile across the San Joaquin River; use caution crossing shipping channel; lots of shoreline to explore
Cabin Slough

Paddling East

  1. Kimball Island - just under a half mile across the San Joaquin River; use caution crossing shipping channel; lots of shoreline to explore
  2. Cabin Slough - approximate 1 mile paddle to entrance of Cabin Slough; currents can be strong
  3. Mayberry Cut - approximate 2 mile paddle; southern entrance to Sherman Island Waterfowl Management Area
  4. Donlon Island - approximate 2.5 mile paddle to entrance; offers protection from wind; lots of sloughs to explore
  5. West Island North -  approximate 1.5 mile paddle to north westernmost shore; some sloughs and sandy beaches exposed at low tide
  6. West Island South - approximate 1.5 mile paddle to south westernmost shore
  7. Antioch Dunes - approximate 1.5 mile paddle; sandy cliffs; EXTREMELY SENSITIVE HABITAT DO NOT  land unless emergency
  8. Fulton Shipyard; approximate 1 mile paddle to historic shipbuilder; use caution with boat traffic from public launch
  9. Rogers Point - just under a mile paddle; historic ship wreck Solano can be viewed here; caution with boat traffic and underwater hazards such as rebar
Sherman Island view from west shore

All the paddle trips listed above are one way measurements, make sure to double length to get round trip distance. These are just a sampling of what is available from the Antioch Marina. There are multitudes of sloughs and channels that beg to be explored and offer a true wilderness experience next door to the city. 

If you prefer someone else do the planning contact Delta Kayak Adventures to book a guided tour to the destination of your choosing. We also have  kayaks and paddleboards available to rent.

Dow Wetlands

San Joaquin River

Winter Island Turkey vultures

Wind and tides can create dynamic conditions

Sunday, January 28, 2018

San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail

Antioch Marina









The Antioch Marina has been designated as an official site on the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail. Ever hear of the water trail? "The water trail is a regional program that encourages non-motorized small boaters to safely enjoy the San Francisco Bay. Whether you prefer a kayak or SUP, kiteboard or outrigger, there are so many ways and amazing destinations to explore." Check out there site where there is tons of information to help plan your trip including downloadable PDF maps of all the current designated sites. One of the features I love is the map where you can use tools to measure distance and the map includes geographical features you won't necessarily find on Google maps.








Big Break sunken ship
Locally, both Antioch and Big Break in Oakley are designated sites. I strongly encourage you to explore both these areas. I published a trip guide that you can find here to help you plan. You can pack a picnic and launch from Antioch, timing it with the incoming tide, paddle the San Joaquin River and land at Big Break where you'll find picnic tables, shade and restrooms. Use caution when planning and keep an eye on wind speed and direction, especially during the summer months. Even light winds under 10 mph can create large rollers if wind is opposing the tide.

Delta Kayak Adventures offers this tour and you can check the calendar or schedule it on a day that works best for you or your group.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sunset Paddle New Years Day



We started off the new year with an amazing Sunset Paddle and were blessed with viewing the appearance of the super moon rising over the San Joaquin River. I can't think of a better way to start the new year! The weather has been great and we've been enjoying glassy waters.



We launched at 330 from the Antioch Marina and crossed the river to Kimball Island. Paddling at a leisurely pace, we hugged the shoreline viewing great blue heron and cormorants along the way. We made our way past cabin slough and rested in a small bay to watch the show in the sky. The western sky was vibrant with yellow and orange hues and sunbeams bursting from behind the clouds. To the east, we waited patiently for the moon to rise as the sky turned from pink to purple. It was well worth the wait as the moon rose over the Delta dominating the sky with it's warm orange glow. This was the Wolf Moon, the first full moon of the year and was extra special because of it's closer than normal proximity to earth.



As we made our way back to the marina we soaked up the beautiful views of the Antioch waterfront with a vibrant sky overhead. It was a lovely evening on the water. Keep an eye on our calendar for future Sunset and Moonlight Paddles!

Here's a glimpse of a few upcoming tours that you are welcome to join.
January 13th 3pm - Sunset Paddle, Antioch Marina
January 14th 1pm - San Joaquin River to West Island, Antioch Marina
January 21st 2pm - Old River, Holland Riverside Marina, Brentwood
January 27th 3pm - Sunset Paddle, Holland Tract, Holland Riverside Marina, Brentwood
January 2018 Monday through Friday 11:30am-1pm special priced Weekday Wetlands Paddle to the Dow Wetlands, $25 includes kayak, paddle PFD and guide! Launching from the Antioch Marina


You can book online or contact us to book a reservation. We have lots of other tours coming up and you're always welcome to invite friends and family and create a custom tour just for your group.

Happy Paddling!



Check our calendar!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

2017 was filled with amazing adventures and new locations to explore. It was also a year of transition and I'm so excited to see what the new year brings. We now have a permanent location at the Antioch Marina with access to incredible places to explore and easy launching from special kayak docks that make paddling more accessible to people of all ages and abilities. We have kayaks and paddleboards of various styles available to rent. We continue to lead tours throughout the Delta region and invite you to delve into what this amazing place has to offer!

My new year resolution is to post on this blog more often, share more of our adventures and encourage you to join us or venture out on your own. Send me questions about the Delta or any aspect of paddling and I'll try my best to answer them or lead you to resources that can help you get more out of your paddling.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram as I'll be posting tours as events so you can plan ahead. I hope your new year is filled with joy and more Delta Kayak Adventures!