Saturday, March 30, 2013

Intro Kayak Classes and Social Paddles

The past few weeks I have had the privilege of introducing teens to the sport of kayaking. We all have had a great time on the water working on basic strokes, touring and playing games to reinforce what they have learned. Our class is currently meeting Monday mornings in Discovery Bay and I may add an afternoon class in the near future.

I also offer intro classes for adults. This is a great opportunity to try out the sport without a huge investment. My classes generally run 2.5 hours and I will pick the best location based on where you live and water conditions. I use recreational sit-insides and sit-on-tops for their great stability. Kayaking is a great sport for both young and not so young alike.

I had the opportunity this past week to introduce a 74 year young gentlemen to paddling. He had canoed before but had never been in a kayak. We met at Sandy Beach on Sherman Island on Thursday just before low tide. The sky was overcast but it was quite warm and I don't think I've ever seen Sherman Lake so calm. After launching and getting comfortable in the kayak, we worked on forward, reverse and sweep strokes and just paddled around taking in the scenery. We were fortunate to spot three river otters busy swimming among the marsh and a few coots. My client was a great student and said he definitely wants to paddle again!

If you'd like to try kayaking I would be happy to help. Call Delta Kayak Adventures to sign up for a private class or bring some friends and learn as a group. Don't forget to mark your calendars and sign up for one of Delta Kayak Adventures Friday Sunset Social paddles. It's a great way to meet some wonderful people, get some exercise and take in the beauty of the Delta. Hope to see you on the water soon!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sandmound Sunset

Last night I had the privilege of leading a tour through Sandmound Slough. The weather was perfect for an evening paddle. We launched from Sunset Harbor about two hours after high tide and headed east towards Sandmound Slough against the current. The current made it a bit of work but not too bad. We didn't see much wildlife on this trip, just some coots and a Great Blue Heron but it was very peaceful for most of the paddle.

Unfortunately we encountered a couple of teenage boys on a jet ski who thought it would be funny to swamp our kayaks. They would drive by us slowly and then turn around and swing close to our kayaks trying to spray us with there wake. After the 3rd time I turned on my GoPro and pulled out my VHF and held it high trying to let them know I would be calling the Sheriff. That seemed to do the trick and they stopped harassing us. I called the Contra Costa County Sheriff today and asked what I could do in the future. They gave me their non emergency number to call if I encounter them again. They also told me to get the CF number, if at all possible, and they would pay them a visit.

I always carry a VHF and my cell phone when I'm on the water. When you take to the water be sure and carry a cell phone in a waterproof case or dry bag in case of an emergency. This is the first time I've ever encountered this type of behavior on the water. The majority of people I meet on the water are very friendly and courteous. As the weather gets warmer there will be more people out there so always be aware of your surroundings and know where you are so if you need help you can direct rescuers to your position. The non emergency number for the Contra Costa County Sheriff is 925-646-2441. Call this number and they will dispatch the Marine Patrol.

Thankfully all ended well and we were treated to a gorgeous sunset!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Social Paddles

Beginning April 5th, Delta Kayak Adventures will be hosting social sunset paddles on Friday evenings. The locations will vary and on the 5th we will paddle Discovery Bay. We'll meet at Discovery Bay Yacht Harbor at 4:00 p.m., explore the area and return by 6:30 as they lock the gates at 7:00. Discovery Bay Yacht harbor will extend the launch ramp hours to 9:00 sometime in May.

Delta Kayak Adventures will provide single kayaks for $20 and doubles for $30. It's free if you bring your own boat but everyone who participates will need to sign a waiver.

You can keep up to date on special events, tours and specials by liking Delta Kayak Adventures Facebook page.

The following sunset paddle will be April 12th from 5:00-7:30 where we will explore Sandmound Slough.

Hope to see you on the water!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Potato & White Slough

Yesterday I was privileged to paddle with Kathi Morrison and explore Potato and White Slough just south of Tower Park.  We timed the flows just right and launched about 11:30 heading south with the gentle current. Low tide was predicted at 3:08 at Terminous, the South Fork of the Mokelumne River and the weather was warm, upper 70's, with high clouds blanketing the sky. 

Tower Park is a wonderful place to launch your kayak. There is a general store, Rosa's restaurant, a KOA campground and an ice cream shop, Sunset Sweets which also rents kayaks and stand up paddle boards.  There are also sparkling restrooms available. I spoke with the marina and there is no charge to launch your kayak but please remember ramp etiquette and don't tie up the ramp. Get your gear together in another area near the launch and when your ready to get in the water, proceed to the ramp. I imagine this can be an extremely busy launch and we want to keep a good relationship with marinas that allow us access. 

From Tower Park you can head north up the South Fork of the Mokelumne towards Syacamore Slough, northeast towards the North Fork of the Mokelumne or south into Potato Slough. We chose to head south and explore Potato slough and then venture into White Slough until we reached Honker Cut which is a little over 5 miles. The NOAA chart for this area is 18661 and I would recommend downloading the booklet chart or bring a gps so you don't get lost as there are a few different areas you can explore. Also consult the tides and weather forecast before you launch. In Potato Slough the water flows south on an outgoing tide.

Shortly after launching we passed Strawberry Landing and came across Devils Isle, which appears to be a members only island. It's at this point we headed southeast into White Slough. If you head southwest you'll enter Little Potato Slough. We meandered through many marshy islands at a leisurely pace keeping our eyes open for a beach where we could eat lunch. There are plenty of places to land if you don't mind mud. We weren't interested in a mud bath so we continued south to Honkers Cut. On our journey we spotted lots of turtles, Night Heron, Egrets, White Pelicans, hawks and what I believed to be a muskrat.

Old ferry crossing?
We never did find a nice sandy beach to land on but we discovered what appeared to be an old ferry crossing. It was a precarious landing but we succeeded and ate our lunch on the cement ramp. After lunch we successfully reentered our kayaks and headed back to Tower Park. We were escorted by a beaver for a short while who seemed to be leading us away from his home. After a splash of his thick tail he disappeared and then reappeared briefly, making sure we were leaving.

Overall, it was a wonderful paddle with great company! I look forward to returning and exploring the area further.

If you would like to keep up to date with tour specials or paddle opportunities remember to like Delta Kayak Adventures Facebook page!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Antioch Waterfront

It's been a couple of weeks since I've been on the water due to illness, but today was a beautiful day to get back out there. My youngest daughter and I hit the water at high tide and launched from the Antioch Marina. The sun was shining and the water was smooth. We decided to head east and just paddle along the Antioch waterfront. We took our time and paddled past the Riverview Lodge to the old Antioch Lumber Co., which was founded in 1864. We then paddled a little further east to the Fulton Shipyard which was established in 1918 and closed in 1999. We stayed offshore as there were quite a few submerged wrecks with lots of hazards in view. We hung out for awhile taking in the view and soaking up the sun. As we headed back to the launch we were greeted by a seal swimming in the opposite direction. It was a great day to be out and this week is looking like the weather will be perfect to spend more time on the water!