Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dow Wetlands Preserve

Another beautiful evening on the water!  After launching from the new Antioch boat ramp, my friend and I headed to the Dow Wetlands Preserve to view the solar eclipse.  There was a small craft advisory posted until 9:00 p.m. which made the trip to the preserve quite a bit of work paddling against the current and into the wind.  I'm getting lots of rough water practice and it is kind of fun!
The ramp was very busy with jet skis and motor boats but we were able to launch quickly.  The boats also added to the rough water conditions and we had a fairly large boat pass between us and the shoreline and yell to us that we were crazy.  I was thinking, "thanks a lot for almost swamping us."  We made it to the preserve safely, paddled around and did a little exploring.  We didn't see much wildlife other than some ducks and a heron.  After hanging out there for awhile, we headed back with the wind behind us which made for a quick trip home.  Before taking out, we watched one of the longest trains I've seen pass through the waterfront.
 It was quite a sight. The Antioch waterfront is beautiful and has so much potential.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fishing Big Break

My daughter and I decided at the last minute to try our luck fishing at Big Break this evening.  We launched from Big Break Marina around 5:30 and paddled until almost 8:30.  We tried a bunch of different spots where we thought the fish might be hiding but I had no nibbles and Amanda had one.  Amanda did rescue a little fish from certain death near the boat launch but that was the only fish we saw this evening.  After trying to catch something for a couple of hours, we stored our poles and decided to do some exploring.  We followed the shoreline to  the west of us and entered the San Joaquin River and were blessed to witness the sun going down behind the Antioch bridge.  We continued west for awhile but decided to head back before it got too dark.  Though we didn't catch anything, we were treated to a beautiful sunset and relaxing paddle.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

New Antioch Marina Boat Launch

The new Antioch Marina boat launch which opened last month, is a really nice place to get in the water.  It's located on the San Joaquin river in downtown Antioch near the well known Humphrey's restaurant.  As of right now it is free to launch until they install a self pay kiosk and then it will be $5.00 to launch but I am unsure if that will pertain to kayaks.  There are no restrooms at this point but they do have plans to build some.  I was hesitant to paddle hear due to boat traffic and the sometimes swift current but tonight was absolutely gorgeous!

There was a small craft advisory until 8:00 p.m. again today so we waited until 7:00 to go down and check it out.  The wind had died down to a gentle breeze and the max flood was predicted to be .41 knots at 8:35p.m.with high tide being at 8:49p.m. at 3.15 feet.  It was perfect and I was a bit surprised at how the river was actually going the opposite direction of what I expected.  My daughter and I got on the water at 7:30 and paddled west a little over a mile in 25 minutes.  We heard seals barking in the distance and tried to get a look at them but to no avail.  We turned around and paddled toward the Dow Wetlands Preserve.  We paddled just inside the preserve and spotted 10 otters playing in the marsh.  It kind of startled us because we hadn't seen any wildlife up to this point but what a treat!  We didn't stay long as the sun was setting quickly.

After exiting the Preserve we just floated with the tide back to the launch, barely putting our paddles in the water. It was a beautiful, relaxing hour on the water and I can't wait to get back out there!
Antioch Marina and Humphrey's in the background

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lodi Lake - Lodi Paddle Club Sunset Paddle

Lodi Paddle Club and Headwaters Kayak  host a Tuesday night sunset paddle each week at Lodi Lake.  Tonight was the first time I was able to attend and I'm so glad I did.  Myself and quite a few other paddlers, actually more than 30, enjoyed a break from the 93 degree heat on the water.  It was neat to see all the different boats out there, not one alike.   I really appreciate the variety of boats, each with it's own personality.  There were Sterling sea kayaks, Eddyline, Wilderness Systems, Necky, Native Watercraft and we can't forget my own RTM Tempo and I'm sure I'm leaving a few out.

Lodi lake is located in the town of Lodi a couple of miles west of highway 99 off Turner Road.  The Mokelumne River runs into the lake and it makes for a great paddling venue.  There is a launch ramp but you can also launch from a grassy area next to the river.  There are restrooms, picnic tables and a swimming beach available.  The entrance fee is $4.00 if you are a resident or $5.00 if you are from out of town but they only charge when there is an attendant at the kiosk.

Tonight I paddled about 3 miles up the river and took in the view.  There are some beautiful homes right on the river! There was absolutely no breeze and the water was like glass.  It was a very peaceful paddle for the most part.  There were quite a few Jet skis on the water and a couple of patio boats but everyone seemed courteous this evening.  There are lots of birds to view and I saw a turtle sitting on a log soaking in the sunshine.  It sounds like the fishing in the Mokelumne is good but I haven't tried it yet.
For me, kayaking has become a  great way to relieve stress!  It just melts away with each stroke.  To be able to combine kayaking with my photography has been a bonus for me. Exploring new places and seeing them in a perspective most people don't get a chance to see, is very rewarding. The following quote from The Complete Book of Sea Kayaking by Derek Hutchinson, sums it up for me: "The kayak, however, cuts no groove and leaves no scar.  The same stretch of water can be paddled every day but the surface may never be the same twice."
A beautiful sunset to end a wonderful day

Sunday, May 6, 2012

"Supermoon" at Big Break

It turned out to be a beautiful night to watch the "Supermoon" rise over Big Break last night.  There was a small craft advisory issued through late evening and the wind was blowing quite hard until about 8:00 p.m., just before the moon was supposed to rise.  The wind died down and the water was almost like glass.  I snapped a few pictures but it's difficult if not impossible to get a sharp image of the moon when you are on the water in low light.  I touched up the above photo with a few brush strokes to give it a painted feel.

Although it was windy and the water a bit choppy our family and friends enjoyed the late afternoon and evening on the water.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sandy Beach

My friends and I took the kids to Sandy Beach today to play around and do some paddling.  We also had to test my friends new used boat, an Ocean Kayak Prowler 13.  There was a small craft advisory in effect until evening so we didn't get to do as much exploring as I would have liked but we had such a good time even with the wind blowing around 20 to 30 knots!  The boys hung out around the launch ramp and did some swimming while we ventured out to do a bit of paddling.

The Prowler moved swiftly through the chop with little difficulty and my friend really seemed to enjoy herself.  We headed south and discovered Sherman Island Harbor which had a few boats berthed but not much activity.  We then followed the levy westward until the wind really started howling and the waves became quite large.  We got a great workout heading back towards the launch.

After refueling with some much needed carbs, we jumped in my Cobra Tandem and headed west in search of our girls.  On our way out we ran in to my friends' husband who looked rather wet.  He told us he wanted to see what it felt like when capsizing.  He said he recovered quite well but lost his sunglasses in the process.  The Cobra handled the waves with ease and it was a fun ride!  The best part of the day was when we spotted a seal swimming about 10-15 yards on our port side.  If you watch the video you can spot the seal in frame 51:64 but you must look very very very close.  He's about the size of a mustard seed in the video.

We weren't the only ones out enjoying the water today.  There were about half a dozen kite surfers having a blast on this blustery day.

We found our girls soaking wet on a beach after trying to surf on some styrofoam they found on shore.  We let the girls take the Cobra to a small island to do a little exploring of their own while we hiked back to the launch area.

When the girls returned from their expedition, we called it a day, and what a day it was!