Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Our third attempt to reach Collinsville was a success! It was an absolutely amazing day to be on the water.

We launched from Sherman Island County park at 2:30 and paddled with the outgoing tide on glassy waters. There were showers earlier in the morning and the sky was filled with beautifully textured clouds. The sun peeked through the clouds once in awhile lighting up the windmills dotting the deep green hills. As we paddled closer to Montezuma Island, a stiff breeze came up against us and the waters became quite choppy very quickly.

We attempted to pass through Montezuma Slough on the north side of the island but decided to turn around due to the low tide and hyacinth. I'm not sure if that part of the slough is navigable, maybe at a higher tide. Montezuma Island has quite a few sandy beaches covered with driftwood that make for a good lunch or stretch stop. As we left the island behind us we could see Collinsville about 500 yards away. The tide had changed and we now paddled against the current and a headwind but we were determined and after some effort we made it to our destination. The shore-front was lined with very tall pilings and high docks that reminded me of a commercial fishing port. We saw a few buildings but no people as we searched the shoreline.

According to Hal Schell's Guide to Cruising the California Delta, the sleepy town of "Collinsville was named after C.J. Collins, who settled in the area in 1859 and surveyed for the town in 1861. Collinsville had even earlier beginings. Between 1846 and 1849 L.W. Hastings ran a ferry from the Collinsville area to Contra Costa and it is thought to have been the first ferry on either the Sacramento or San Joaquin Rivers." At one time Collinsville was home to nearly 500 people and "was a regular port of call for steamboats, a thriving fishing village where Italian was heard everywhere. It had at least two fish canneries, hotels, saloons and other businesses."

There is so much history among the delta just waiting to be revisited. As I paddle along sandy shores and tule covered islands, I imagine what it must have looked like 200 years ago. I don't think too much has changed when it comes to Collinsville.

After a few pictures we turned around with the wind at our backs and headed to Montezuma Island for a snack and stretch break. It was nice to relax on the sandy, driftwood covered beach. After our little break on the beach we launched back onto the Sacramento River and headed back to the put in. The wind had died down but there were some nice surfable waves that helped move us along at a good clip.

It was a very relaxing day on the delta. Next time I plan on paddling a little further up Montezuma Slough along Van Sickle Island. The Delta offers an endless supply of paddling opportunities where sights and sounds change every time you hit the water.

Guided tours and kayak rentals!

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