Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wednesday Wanderings - Decker Island

Another dazzling day on the Delta! Today's "wandering" included a circumnavigation of Decker Island and a crossing of the Sacramento River to check out an old barn and possible beach landings for future trips.

We launched about 15 minutes prior to low tide at Three Mile slough and headed south to paddle along the west side of Decker Island. It only took about 30 minutes to reach the entrance of Horseshoe Bend so we decided to cross the river and explore the shore on the west side of the river. There appears to be many beaches accessible from just under a 1 foot to maybe 3 foot tide. I'm not sure who owns the property, maybe PG&E? Hundreds of windmills dot the hills along with an old barn. There were no signs posted prohibiting landing in the area so it might be a good place to stop and stretch or have lunch.

After a few pictures we proceeded to cross back over the river keeping our eyes peeled for shipping traffic. I also checked my marine traffic ap to see if there were any ships in the area.  The coast was clear and we headed to and up Horseshoe Bend. The tide hadn't quite turned yet but there really wasn't any current against us and we paddled slowly taking in the sights and sounds around us. I was actually surprised at how loud the cars and trucks driving on highway 160 were. We tuned out the traffic and enjoyed the many herons resting in the tule. No mammals were spotted today but we did happen upon a huge beaver lodge.

We made it back to the put in after almost three exceptional hours on the water. If you would like to join us on our "Wednesday Wanderings" you can sign up at Meetup or call to reserve a spot.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sherman Lake

The weather has been unbelievably beautiful lately, making it hard to believe it's January. Saturday I led a group around Sherman Lake, AKA Sherman Island Waterfowl Management Area. Plenty of people were out taking advantage of the weather as the levy road leading to the park was lined with people fishing and the parking lot in the park was full of empty boat trailers.

We launched a little after 10:00 a.m. with what was left of the outgoing tide and headed south towards Mayberry slough. When we reached Mayberry cut we spotted an otter in the tule chomping on something for lunch. He didn't seem bothered as we watched him eat from a few yards away. We continued a little ways through Mayberry cut and then crossed over to the southeast edge of the waterfowl management area.

We paddled at a leisurely pace and took in the sights and sounds around us. In the distance we could hear the cracking of gunfire and we soon came upon the source... duck hunters in their blind surrounded by at least 50 decoys. I alerted them to our presence and we made safe passage as we continued on our journey. We were all getting hungry so we made our way atop the glassy water to a tiny island with a sandy beach to stretch our legs and fill our tummies. After lunch it was a short paddle back to the put in.

As for the wildlife viewing for the day, we were treated to another otter swimming happily amongst the tule, hundreds of coots, heron, cormorants and a few white pelicans and snow geese. No ducks but lots of decoys.  

I'm working on my calendar for the upcoming months so be sure to check it out. If there is a place on the delta you would like to explore be sure and contact me and we can arrange custom tours. I'm looking forward to lots of paddling this year and we are working on lots of exciting events we'll be announcing soon.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sycamore Slough with BASK

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of paddling with members of the Bay Area Sea Kayakers. This was my first trip initiation for the club and we all had a wonderful day on the water.

We launched under threatening clouds from Tower Park Marina around 12:45 and headed north with the tide to Sycamore Slough. I've found this area is the best spot for viewing the Sandhill Cranes who will be leaving the area soon. We spotted a few standing atop the levy and many more flying high above us. We also spotted lots of snow geese and a couple of unidentified hawks.

We reached Sycamore Slough in under an hour and spent another hour and a half exploring the area. The rain never materialized and there was barely a breeze blowing. After our time in Sycamore Slough we proceeded back to Tower Park with a brief stop at Westgate landing to see what we could find. We spotted a night heron and I also noticed that the majority of water hyacinth has disappeared which allowed us to get a little closer to the surrounding trees.

I had a blast with BASK and look forward to paddling with them again. For more info about BASK, check out their website. It's a group that has a passion for paddling and a wealth of experience and knowledge!