Thursday, March 26, 2020

Quick Trip - Dow Wetlands UPDATE! RAMPS CLOSED

Update Antioch marina closed launch ramp until further notice. If you're looking for a quick paddle I suggest a paddle to the Dow Wetlands. At the time of this writing, the Antioch Marina boat ramp, which has a dedicated kayak launch ramp, is open. I've noticed that many launch ramps are beginning to close so be aware that it may close at any moment. I don't want to encourage paddling with friends right now but if you are an experienced paddler this is a nice trip to do alone.

When planning a paddle to the Dow Wetlands, as with any paddle on the Delta, check tides and weather for best time. If wind is predicted or blowing at more than 10 mph, DO NOT LAUNCH, unless you are an experienced paddler and can self rescue. Winds in this area don't have to be high to create challenging conditions. If the wind is blowing against the tide, the river can get 3 to 5 foot swells and breaking waves.

The optimal time for this paddle would be to launch about 1 to 2 hours after low tide. You will paddle against the current for about a mile before you reach the wetlands. If you stay close to shore, literally 5 to 15 feet from shore, you will catch an eddy that will help you. On your return, you will have the current to help you home.

Once in the wetlands you will be able to explore many sloughs. Keep your eyes out for river otter, beaver, mink, raccoons and waterfowl. Lately, there has been a pair of Mute swan in the small bay. They are huge and beautiful and the sound they make when taking flight is breathtaking.

I was able to get out there for a quick paddle yesterday and was treated to 3 raccoon, an otter, a mink, pair of mute swan, a couple of great blue heron and several great egrets. I was also able to catch 2 striped bass which made my day because fishing has been tough lately. If you listen closely, you'll hear marsh wren and blackbirds serenading you.

This can be a great paddle for both beginners and experts but plan your paddle carefully. Delta Kayak Adventures offers tours to the Dow Wetlands though we are closed at the moment due to Covid 19. You can purchase gift cards at 33% off that can be used for this tour or others when the shelter in place is lifted. Enter save33 for promo code. Gift cards can also be used for rentals and classes and never expire. As a sole proprietor, this is my primary income, so I appreciate any support you can provide. Share this information with friends and family and plan a trip for a future date to enjoy a fun filled adventure!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Coping and a Trip Up River

I'm currently at home doing my best to maintain social distancing. The past few days have been filled with anxiety, depression but most of all hope. I have hope in my Creator and Savior and know that He cares for us more than we can understand. Even though I'm frustrated at not being able to work and worried about what that means for my family I need to sit back and be still and let Him work. I'm comforted knowing He is with me and will provide what is necessary both mentally and physically.

Some ways I've been coping with being somewhat physically isolated and fighting the anxiety, is getting out on the water. Thursday was a beautiful day and I took advantage of the sunshine and light breeze and paddled 15 plus miles up the San Joaquin River. Yesterday I hit the river again with a shorter paddle to do some fishing. I had two good bites but lost them both close to the boat. I also ran into a couple of paddleboarders out for some fresh air so that was a nice surprise.

If you have your own kayak or paddleboard and proper safety equipment, I strongly suggest taking advantage of the time off, weather permitting, to get out there in creation and enjoy your surroundings. Remember, the Delta is influenced by tides, so plan your trip accordingly. Always do the hard work first. If timed just right, you can use the current both ways for an easy paddle. That is exactly what I did Thursday.


I launched at 11:50 am from the Antioch marina. I packed lunch, some snacks and plenty of water for the trip. I figured I'd be out there 5 or 6 hours but always bring extra items just in case. My safety equipment included paddle float, bilge pump, extra clothing, phone and VHF radio. Water temperature is currently hovering between 57 and 59 degrees so I wore my dry pants, synthetic layers and paddle jacket.

As I left the marina I noticed more boats on the water than usual. There was also a large ship coming up river so I floated with current to let the ship pass and made my way across the river to paddle close to the shore of Kimball Island. High tide was predicted at 12:32 pm in Antioch so I knew I would have a couple hours to paddle with the tide helping me. I really made great time with the current. By the time I reached the entrance to Gallagher Slough, I had paddled 7 miles in 1 hour 35 minutes with an average speed of 4.4 mph and that was against a slight headwind.

The first half of the trip wasn't all that exciting. The northern shoreline is scenic until you get past Mayberry Slough and then it turns to rip rap until you reach Gallagher slough, a little over 3 miles away. It is always fun paddling under the Antioch bridge but other than that there isn't a lot to see until you reach Gallagher slough.

When I entered Gallagher slough I was greeted by 2 river otters swimming happily back and forth across the slough. There were also a couple of dozen coots and a few ducks keeping me company. The slough itself is about 1.5 miles in length and Eddos is located in the middle of it. A variety of trees lined the shore, some of them quite large. I made my way to the end of the
slough just as another ship was heading down river. I also noticed hundreds of snow geese and Ross geese flying above Bradford Island across the river from me. The Ross geese decided to fly to Sherman Island so I was treated to a spectacular show as they made their way across the river and over my head.

Eddos, located on the southeast side of Sherman Island, is a private RV campground and marina with a boat launch and small shop. I normally inquire within to get more information about the marinas I visit so I can share with you their offerings but it didn't look like the shop was open and I wanted to maintain social distancing. The one downside to this trip is there is nowhere to get out on the north shore, especially on an incoming tide, for nearly the entire 7 miles. I was able to land at their ramp to quickly grab my lunch out of the hatch but couldn't stay long because the ramp itself was busy with motor boats. By this time the tide was changing so I ate my lunch on the water as I floated down Gallagher slough.

I debated with myself as to which way I wanted to return to Antioch and decided to cross the river towards Big Break and follow the south shore of the San Joaquin home. With the breeze at my back and the current in my favor, I made good time once again down river. The wind had been coming from the east so thought I would have even more help getting home but it basically decide to quit so I had quiet waters and glass like conditions for this part of my journey. The return trip was uneventful but very peaceful. I didn't encounter a lot of wildlife other than some more coots and cormorants along the way. I made it back to the Antioch marina at 4 pm and felt refreshed and energized even though I was a bit tired.

This is a wonderful trip for those who enjoy long distance paddles and don't mind being stuck in your kayak for hours. I could have found a beach on the way back on West Island but decided to keep paddling. If you have questions about this trip or any others within the Delta, feel free to contact me. Hope to see you on the water soon! Keep paddling.

Please remember to support your local outfitters and shops during this time. I know many have had to close their doors and lay off employees. You can help us out by purchasing gift cards. I am currently offering 33% off gift cards that can be used for rentals, classes and tours. Enter save 33 for promo code. Gift cards never expire and I truly appreciate your support!


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Update Regarding Covid 19

I'm sure many of you like myself are sheltering in place to help stop the spread of the Covid 19 virus. My business, Delta Kayak Adventures has been shut down due to it not being an essential business which means my primary source of income has come to a screeching halt. Some of you are aware that I am also a guide for East Bay Regional Park District and due the the virus all programs have been cancelled until mid April at the earliest which eliminates another source of income. I know many are in a similar situation and my hope is that this virus will be contained or eliminated soon. In an attempt to generate income, I'm offering 33% off gift cards which never expire and can be used to purchase rentals,classes and tours. These are trying times but I know that we will get through this.

On the upside, I now have time to update my blog so I will be posting about past trips, future trips and kayaking or paddleboarding related topics. If you have questions about paddling the Delta, please contact me and I will be happy to share. Your question may even turn into a blog post.

I have also created a new Facebook Group called Paddle and Sail the Delta. I'm hoping to create a community made up of people who love to explore the Delta and to encourage fellow paddlers and sailors to share their experiences, photos and questions with the group.

We may not be able to paddle together at the moment but if you have your own kayak or paddleboard and proper safety equipment, I encourage you to get out on the water and enjoy our beautiful backyard. Check out my past posts about various trips you can do on your own and if you have questions or would like to schedule a future tour or class with us don't hesitate to contact me.

Stay safe and I hope to see you back on the water soon!