Wednesday, November 2, 2016

San Joaquin River Trips #1 - Point Beenar

Point Beenar

I plan on writing a series of day trips that are possible when launching from Antioch. Antioch has been designated a San Francisco Bay Water Trail Site and there are many choices of where you can paddle from this location. Antioch sits along the San Joaquin River and is very close to the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin. When paddling this area make sure to observe safe paddling practices. Always dress for water temperature not air temperature. While planning your trip, evaluate your skills and when in doubt don't paddle. Become familiar with nautical charts and how to read them. The San Joaquin River contains shipping channels that over 300 ships a year use to travel to the Port of Stockton and ships move a lot faster than they look. Never cross the river when a ship is in view. Be patient, enjoy the sights and sounds around you while waiting for the ship or other vessels to pass. Always check tides and weather forecast before heading out. It doesn't take much wind, about 10 knots against the tide, to really stir up the river with 2-4 foot swells and chop. If paddling during the fall and winter make sure to pack dry clothes and towel in a dry bag or if paddling for a short period leave dry clothes in your vehicle. Bring along a communication device such as your phone in a waterproof bag or VHF radio. Always wear a PFD, personal flotation device. For more safety tips check out the ACA website.

If you're a beginner, take an intro class to learn how to maneuver your boat efficiently. Start with small trips, under 2 hours to get your feet wet so to speak. There are some great spots within an hours paddle to explore. If you would prefer a guided trip contact me at Delta Kayak Adventures and we'll plan a custom trip designed for what you want to see or learn.

The following is a trip that can be paddled within 2 hours when planned in accordance with the tides.

Antioch Marina to Point Beenar: 3.5 miles round trip from Antioch boat launch

I love paddling in the fall. The weather was perfect today with fluffy clouds dotting the sky, not a stitch of wind and glassy water. I launched with what was left of the outgoing tide and made my way towards Winter Island along the south shore of the San Joaquin. I brought my fishing gear and trolled while paddling at a leisurely pace. My goal this year is to catch my first Salmon from my kayak but I have yet to succeed.

After paddling about a half mile past the entrance to the Dow Wetlands, I crossed New York Slough and pointed my bow towards Point Beenar. Sea lions barked in the background as I made my way across the channel. When I reached the Point and Winter Island a White-tailed Kite flew over me and landed on a tree at the edge of the water. I also spotted a Belted Kingfisher today. This time of year is awesome for viewing birds you don't often see on the Delta.

The fish were jumping all around me but none made it to my boat. I hung around the point for a while before turning my boat homeward and letting the current bring me back. The scenery was amazing and I noticed the sea lions were quiet. I floated past them without making a sound and two of them were sound asleep while another swam around the channel marker. The current was moving at a good clip and before I knew it I was at the Dow Wetlands so I decided to try my luck within the wetlands. Fish chased my lure but none took a bite. The sun was fading fast so I reluctantly paddled back to the marina.

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