Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dutch Slough to Big Break

Today seven paddlers joined Delta Kayak Adventures for tour on Dutch Slough. We launched at 1:15 from Sunset Harbor and paddled Dutch Slough to Big Break. Low tide was predicted for 2:13 and the temperature was close to 80 degrees when we launched. There was a small craft advisory posted for 2:00 p.m. so I was prepared to turn everyone back if the wind picked up.

We paddled on flat water with the current and a gentle breeze the entire time to Big Break. We didn't see much wildlife today but the seal we encountered made up for it. We met the seal about 3/4 miles from Big Break heading in the opposite direction as us. We stopped and watched him for a couple of minutes while he passed by us.

We rafted up for a snack when we reached Big Break and enjoyed the still waters. The paddle back to the launch was a little more work as we didn't have a strong current pushing us homeward.  The temperature was climbing and that wind never did materialize.

Overall another great day on the water!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Taylor, Dutch and Sandmound Slough

I had a great day on the water today! My day started with my class for teens in the morning and ended with a tour with a family visiting from Boston. The weather was warm and the water was glassy.

My students and I headed west this morning just before slack tide. We did a little exploring up Taylor Slough and then turned around and paddled around a small marsh island leading back to Dutch Slough.

After class I had the pleasure of guiding a lovely family from Boston who were visiting family in the bay area. We launched during slack tide and headed east towards Sand Mound Slough. We kept our eyes open for  river otters but unfortunately none were to be found today. We saw many coots, ducks, a turtle and a couple of geese with three gosling. Once we entered Sand Mound Slough we headed south and paddled a loop around the slough with the current which made for a nice leisurely adventure.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Franks Tract & Sheep Slough

 Today I had the privilege of paddling with Charlie Pike, the author of Paddling Northern California. Charlie is  updating his book and the new edition is due out next summer. We paddled a little more than eight miles, round trip, from Sunset Harbor to Franks tract and the mouth of Sheep Slough.

The weather was warm and the wind was predicted to be less than 10 knots. We launched at slack tide at 10:50 and paddled through Sand Mound Slough on our way to Franks Tract. When we reached Franks Tract the wind must have been blowing more than 10 knots as there were white caps and 2-3 foot wind waves coming from the west. While admiring Franks Tract we spotted a seal close to the levee and watched him swim away. We continued our paddle to the mouth of Sheep Slough on a quest to find landable beaches. We finally found one hiding behind the tule near "Bear Ass Creek."
Yep, there was a sign and it looked official. Not sure I want to know how it got that name.

After a quick lunch we hopped back in our boats and spotted another seal swimming nearby. It may have been the same one we saw earlier but it was a treat to watch him swim happily around. We headed south into Sheep Slough and saw a barge named "Ellis Island" tied up to a pier on Quimby Island. To the west of Quimby we saw some sort of structure that had seen better days. The paddle behind the many small islands was nice and calm as they protected us from the wind.

We headed back to the launch through Sand Mound Slough and stopped to watch three river otters playing at first on the muddy shore and then watched them wrestle each other in the water until they noticed our presence and disappeared. It was a blessed day!  I look forward to paddling with Charlie again and buying his updated edition of Paddling Northern California!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Sunset Paddle Sandmound Slough

Nine paddlers including myself showed up for tonights sunset social paddle! We had an easy paddle heading out towards Franks Tract. In fact we didn't really need to paddle at all. The current and the wind pushed us at a brisk pace. We saw lots of Herons and a couple of river otters and we were treated to a beautiful sunset as we paddled home.

It was wonderful meeting some fellow paddlers and can't wait until next weeks paddle to the Dow Wetlands!

Contact Delta Kayak Adventures to reserve a boat and join us for one of our Friday Sunset Social Paddles! Check the calendar on our website to see upcoming locations.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

B & W Resort to Pirates Lair on the Mokelumne

Had an awesome paddle today with my son Sam. He has been wanting to paddle my Capella and this was his chance. The weather was beautiful with temps between 78 when we launched to 84 by the time we returned. We timed the paddle just right letting the outgoing tide help us down the river and returning with flood tide just beginning.

Mokelumne Bridge
We launched a little after 11:00 am from B&W Resort on the Delta Loop. It's a great place to put in. They charge $10 for vehicle with trailer but they charged me $5 today as I only had my truck. They have a nice double launch ramp with docks on both sides and there are restrooms available. Just after launching we headed south under the Mokelumne bridge and paddled with the tide gently pushing us. It's about 3 miles to Pirates Lair and it took us about 45 minutes to get there.

We stopped at Pirates Lair and had a nice lunch in their small cafe. We parked our boats on their dock while we ate lunch. The food and service was good and I enjoyed viewing the pictures they had hanging on the walls showing the history of this place. You'll have to stop here and read the story of how Pirates Lair got its name....great story!

Pirates Lair

We got back in our boats just before 1:00 and headed southwest for about a quarter of mile to check out a beach. The beach looks like a great spot to stop if you pack your lunch. There were also a couple of beaches just to the northeast of Pirates Lair as possible places to stop and stretch your legs. As we headed back we were greeted by a seal heading the opposite direction. On the west side of the river there are lots of marsh areas with abundant bird life.

The paddle back wasn't as easy due to the headwind that appeared. It wasn't too bad but did make for more work. There was a nice shady tree hanging over the water just north of Lighthouse Marina where we stopped for a brief hydration break. We continued on our way and arrived back at B & W at 2:15.

B & W launch ramp

Overall it was a wonderful 6 mile paddle! Make sure to time it with the tides for a more enjoyable experience.

Mt. Diablo with Pirates Lair on the right

Friday, April 5, 2013

Discovery Bay Social Paddle

This evenings paddle turned out wonderful! I arrived at Discovery Bay Yacht Harbor early to see if I could catch any fish before this evening's social paddle.  Unfortunately I didn't catch anything but watched another fisherman catch two within 20 minutes.

Six paddlers, including myself, showed up for tonights paddle. It was great to meet some locals! Earlier in the day I was concerned about the weather as the wind was blowing quite a bit but by the time we all hit the water it had died down to a stiff breeze. We didn't see a lot of wildlife this evening but a river otter came within three feet of my boat until he realized what he was swimming towards.

I'm looking forward to meeting more people interested in kayaking the Delta. If you're interested in joining us for our Friday Sunset Social Paddle contact Delta Kayak Adventures. Next week we'll be exploring Sandmound Slough. It's free if you have your own boat or I'll bring one for you for $20.

p.s. I forgot to mention that Amanda and I had a lovely dinner after the paddle at the Boardwalk Grill at the harbor. Awesome dinner with a great view!