|Book tours, classes and rentals here.|
Kayaking the California Delta
Saturday, December 10, 2022
Cold Weather Paddling
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Wind and Waves
As winter comes to a close and spring approaches, it won't be long before our seasonal winds pick up in the Delta and the San Francisco Bay Area. With that in mind I thought I would write about how to plan and be prepared for these conditions or how to avoid them altogether.
The wind we experience in the Delta is generally stronger than the currents so I suggest paddling against the wind to begin your paddle so you'll have it at your back on the way home when you may be tired. Here are some steps to take to plan your next paddling adventure:
1) Check tides and know that in our area that it takes another 2 hours for the river to change direction.
2) Check wind forecast and be prepared to change your mind at the put in. Wind forecasts have been known to not be precisely accurate. You can also monitor the wind and weather forecast using a VHF radio and a VHF radio is great to have in case of emergency.
3) Check nautical charts or maps to plan your trip and note potential emergency exit points or places you can shelter from wind.
4) Make sure to dress appropriately for water temperature, wear your PFD and bring safety gear such as whistle, two forms of communication, spare paddle, bilge pump and paddle float if using a sea kayak.
5) Create a float plan and do not deviate from it unless you notify your emergency contact that you are changing times and or locations and or destinations
6) Make sure the equipment you are using is appropriate for where you are paddling. Recreational type kayaks with no bulkheads or only one bulkhead should be equipped with float bags so the vessel can not sink. If using this type of craft never paddle far from shore.
To avoid windy conditions altogether, look for protected areas to paddle. Smaller sloughs or channels and many of the tributaries of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers are amazing places to paddle.
The above information is a brief synopsis of how to decide on whether to paddle in windy conditions. There is so much more to learn and know about tides, currents, weather and trip planning. Contact Delta Kayak Adventures to learn more about how we can help you become a better, safer paddler by joining some of the classes offered. We offer private and group lessons and tours year round.
The following video is an excellent visual resource to see how wind and current effect each other.
Friday, March 12, 2021
|Classes, tours and rentals.|
Friday, December 4, 2020
Special Wetlands Tours & New Gearlab Dealer
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Bay Point Regional Shoreline - New Kayak Launch!
Paddlers now have access to another free launch spot! East Bay Parks have recently reopened Bay Point Regional Shoreline after an extensive restoration project. The restoration included habitat restoration, restroom upgrades, improvements to accessibility and trails, interpretive panels and overlooks and the addition of a kayak launch. Overall, the park district has done a wonderful job improving this park and I encourage you to check it out for yourself. Not only for paddling but as a lovely area for an easy hike.
The launch itself is about 1,000 feet from the parking lot so make sure to bring some wheels. The path to launch is not paved but it is a compacted surface which made it easy to pull kayaks to launch. For kayaks longer than 12 feet, you may need to go around a short fence as there is a 90 degree turn before you enter the gangway. There are flushable restrooms and a nice picnic area adjacent to parking lot.
This area gives you access to Honker and Suisun Bays. Fall and winter would be the best times to paddle this area due to less wind but always check tides and wind forecast. The current can be very strong in this area and tides are critical in planning a trip here. Spring and Summer are notorious for westerly winds and this area can be hazardous for novice paddlers. There is some protection from wind near the launch area but you need at least a one foot tide to paddle the protected area. I returned to the launch at a .92 ft tide and there was maybe 3 inches of depth at launch.
Also beware of debris lurking under the water. There are lots of wrecks with sharp metal protruding that could do some serious damage. The slough you launch in is approximately one half mile to the entrance of Honker Bay. There are many possibilities to land along the shoreline if you needed to get out of your kayak.
Saturday, November 14, 2020
Cold Weather & Water Paddling Tips
Fall and Winter offer some of the best paddling conditions on the California Delta. With spectacular sunsets and abundant wildlife viewing you can enjoy magical moments on the water. You may be thinking it's too cold to paddle but I'm here to let you know you can still enjoy being on the water without being cold and uncomfortable.
First of all, the number one thing not to wear is COTTON. Cotton absorbs water and takes a very long time to dry. Do not wear cotton t-shirts or jeans when paddling. Synthetic clothing like polyester blends, fleece or wool are great options for layering. We are all unique and some of us run warmer than others. If you tend to chill easily, start with something like a rash guard or thin synthetic base layer. You can also use these year round for sun protection. Next would be a medium weight layer or wool followed by a heavy outercore or expedition weight layer. There are many manufacturers but my personal favorites are Kokatat and NRS. Check their websites for more information about their products.
Another option is pairing dry pants with a dry top. This is a more economical option but again won't necessarily keep you completely dry if you are submerged. Again, beware of dry top and pants vs. semi-dry top and pants.
Finally, gloves can not only help keep your hands warm but can help protect against blisters. I honestly have yet to find a pair of gloves that I love. Neoprene gloves are ok but for me, once wet, it's very hard to keep my hands warm. I'm still experimenting and will let you know if I find the perfect glove. Another option to gloves is using pogies. Pogies allow you to have direct contact with the paddle shaft yet shield your hands from cold temperatures.
Do you have to spend a thousand dollars or more to keep warm? The answer is NO. The most economically safe option is a wetsuit paired with a paddling jacket or semi-dry or dry top. If this isn't in your budget you can always wear synthetic layers and splash pants and splash jacket to help keep you dry.
Whether you wear a drysuit, wetsuit or go with synthetic layers, ALWAYS bring a change of clothes to keep in a drybag in case you do get wet.Delta Kayak Adventures offers paddle pants or wetsuits at no additional charge to help keep you dry and toasty if you book rentals or a guided tour.
Thursday, November 12, 2020
River Trip #7 Kimball Island Circumnavigation
This is a great trip and can vary in length from 3.5 to 5 miles plus depending on your route. Timed correctly with the tides it can be a couple hour paddle or you can take more time and explore inside Kimball Island. Whichever direction you choose to paddle, you will paddle against the current at some point. Stay close to shore and you can beat the current. Best to launch at slack tide, 1 hour before high or low tide.
|You'll find this downed tree on the southwest portion of Kimball.|