Monday, October 8, 2012

Circumnavigating Kimball Island

Today my friend Mary and I did a little exploring in our own backyard. We launched from the Antioch boat ramp and paddled across the deep water channel, about one fourth of a mile, to Kimball Island.

There was a stiff breeze blowing when we launched and the current was flowing eastward at high tide. The water was choppy in the channel and the weather was warm, mid 70's. We soon found a beach on the southeastern tip of the island and decided it would be the perfect place to eat lunch. As we approached, we found the skeletal remains of an old boat surrounded by beautiful Nodding Bur Marigold. The sandy beach provided shelter from the wind and had a couple of logs that we used as benches to sit and eat.

After lunch we paddled east and almost immediately found the entrance to Cabin slough. We entered the slough and headed northwest towards Broad slough. Cabin slough is just over a mile long, and about a half dozen small homes and cabins line the eastern shore.

As we paddled at a relaxed pace, we observed quite a few wrecks scattered throughout the slough. When we came to the end of Cabin slough, we noticed the wind had picked up quite a bit. According to the wind report from, the winds never exceeded 15mph but the waves were quite steep for so little wind. The waves made for an adventurous paddle across the channel. We pointed our boats toward the entrance of the Dow Wetlands and paddled hard, keeping our eyes peeled for ships that might cross our path. I shot a little video but had to put the camera down so I could concentrate on paddling. It was less than half of a mile to the Dow Wetlands but it seemed to take a long time to cross the channel.

Once we entered the wetlands the wind and waves disappeared and we paddled lazily through the preserve. On our way out I noticed an opening through the reeds that I hadn't noticed on previous trips. We decided to do a little more exploring and we're treated to a beautiful view of the heart of the preserve. A dazzling meadow like carpet of green surrounded by tall reeds. As we left the peacefulness of the preserve, a river otter ducked under the carpet of green. Our only wildlife sighting of the day, besides a couple of ducks and a sea gull. On our return to the launch we had the wind at our backs and the waves pushing us homeward. Overall we paddled a little over five miles.
What a great day!


  1. I paddled on cabin slough a few months ago and saw so many wrecks and abandoned boats that I lost count.

    I haven't been to the Dow Wetlands yet, but from what I can see on your videos it's much like that enclosed area just west of Big Break: acres of floating plants with patches of open water and channels connecting the patches, and, or course, tules. (I didn't see any otters there, but lots at Big Break).

    Be sure to try Browns Island some time--it has a winding slough that leads to the middle of the island, and a small sand beach near its west corner where you can stop for lunch.

  2. Thanks Ted for the info! My daughter and I paddled Browns Island in June and really enjoyed it. We didn't locate a beach but I'll be looking for it next time.