Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bethel Island - Dutch and Sand Mound Slough

My daughter and I had a great day on the Delta exploring Sand Mound slough near Bethel Island today. We arrived at Sunset Harbor at about 10:30 and launched shortly thereafter. Sunset Harbor is located on Dutch Slough Road just east of the Bethel Island bridge. There is a nice boat ramp with docks on each side. It is $10 to use their launch but that is per truck/car load not per boat. There is a little booth where you pay your fee and if there is no attendant you can put your money in an envelope that is provided in a box next to the booth. Be sure and write your license plate number and vehicle description. When someone is there you can use their restroom facilities but you will need to get a key from the attendant.  

A 2.35 ft high tide was predicted for 12:11 p.m. with only a 1.56 ft. low tide at 4:48. Winds were predicted to be under 10 mph but when we launched the wind was blowing between 10 and 15 mph out of the west and the current was moving probably between 1-2 knots towards the east. Of course when I got home and checked the weather I noticed they had posted a small craft advisory beginning at 1:00 p.m.. I think the wind came up a little sooner than predicted!
We headed west on Dutch Slough towards the Bethel Island bridge to warm up and see how strong the wind would be paddling against it. We stayed towards the right and paddled up Taylor Slough a couple hundred yards and found a little break from the wind so we could decide where we wanted to go. We really wanted to explore Sand Mound Slough, so we talked it over and decided to head east and we'd deal with the wind on our return. With the wind at our backs we didn't need to paddle much. We averaged 3-4 knots without even paddling!

We paddled past the San Joaquin Yacht Club and reached Sand Mound Slough after about 3/4ths of a mile. We turned to our left to the northeast and paddled to the first opening to our right. We entered that little slough and we were treated with some beautiful wild flower scenery. I stopped to take some pictures of the water hyacinth and just admire the beauty.

We paddled out of the small slough and entered another large channel where we decided to go northeast and see if we could find any beaches where we could eat lunch. We passed Emerald Point Marina and didn't see any possible landing sites ahead of us so we turned around to see if there was anything to the south of us. We continued for about 20 minutes or so when we stumbled upon the first beach which looked promising except for the sign that said locals only and on closer observation there was quite a bit of garbage left there. We were hungry and it didn't look like there were any other nearby options so we beached our boats and ate a peaceful lunch.

After lunch we paddled our way home against a 20 knot wind for one heck of a work out. Awesome day with great company and great scenery!

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