Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bethel Harbor

Today was the perfect winter day to do a bit of paddling. It was 49 degrees but the sun was shining brightly when we launched about an hour before low tide from Bethel Harbor. There was absolutely no wind and a gentle current moved slowly to the northwest.

Bethel Harbor is the northernmost marina on Bethel Island that you can launch a kayak. The harbor offers a small store, restrooms, and dock specifically for launching kayaks. The place is very clean and well kept. They charge $5 to launch and it's a great place to put in if you want to explore Little Franks Tract. They even  have camping available for RV's but I'm not sure about tents. I will have to ask about tent camping the next time I get out there in case I want to do a delta expedition.

After we launched, we paddled with the current up Piper Slough towards Little Franks Tract. The day was perfect for a lazy paddle and we probably did more chit-chatting than actual paddling. We were treated to observing hundreds of mud ducks, a couple of hawks, a great white heron and a couple of great blue heron, dozens of cormorants and even a close encounter with a seal at the end of our paddle.

Before you paddle at this location, make sure you check the tide prediction as the current can be very swift. You can use the False River, San Joaquin River tide station. The best time to go explore Little Franks Tract is just before low tide so you can ride the ebb there and catch the flood back.

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I can't wait to return and do more exploring!

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