Saturday, March 25, 2017

San Joaquin River Trip #3 - Antioch to Big Break Regional Shoreline

If you're looking for a half day or longer trip, this is a must do paddle. You'll definitely want to plan ahead taking tides and weather, wind in particular, into consideration. Launching from the Antioch Marina and landing at Big Break kayak launch/landing is approximately 6 miles one way. If you paddle at a steady pace without stopping, and with the flooding tide, it will take you about 2 hours one way. There are a couple of ways you can do this trip: one way with a shuttle or round trip with incoming and outgoing tides.

Antioch to Big Break

Big Break to Antioch

Either way, you'll want to launch from Antioch within an hour of high tide so you will have the current to help you along. Generally, especially during the summer, winds blow from the west and typically come up in the afternoon. Always check weather/wind report just before launching and if winds are predicted to be 10 mph or above reconsider launching. Only you know your skill and comfort level but beware that winds along this stretch of the San Joaquin can produce 3-4 foot waves and confused seas with 10 mph wind against an ebbing tide. That's where a one way paddle can be a great option.

For a one way trip, leave a vehicle at the takeout, Big Break. You'll need to pack wheels into or on your boat to transport your kayak from the landing to the parking lot because it's about a quarter mile walk on a paved trail. Big Break Visitor center has wheels you can borrow but depending on when you arrive, may not be open. This is a great option if winds are predicted to come up later in the day.

If you decide to do the round trip paddle make sure to pack a lunch or hearty snack to enjoy when you land at Big Break. There is a shaded picnic area with tables and restrooms are available near the landing. If you time your trip right you'll catch the outgoing tide back to Antioch.

There are a few other things you want to be aware of on this stretch of river. Beware of the shipping channel and stay out of it unless you're crossing and if you do cross make sure it's all clear and do it quickly. There are lots of aps for smartphones that show real time ship tracking. I personally like FindShip. There are a few fishing piers you'll pass by so make sure you're far enough away from them that you don't get caught in their lines or yelled at. There are many scenic stretches including Rogers Point, Fulton Shipyard, the Antioch Dunes, Antioch bridge, Little Break and Big Break. Be careful when paddling close to shore to watch for submerged wrecks or pilings.  There are some places to stop where beaches may be exposed at certain times but refrain from walking inland as it's mostly private property and the Antioch Dunes is off limits due to endangered plant and animal species.

This trip, as well as many others, are available as a custom tour with Delta Kayak Adventures with me as your guide. Pick a date and I'll do all the planning and provide boats and gear! Happy Paddling!

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