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Old 05-16-2012, 07:42 PM   #1
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CA Bay/Delta Cruising Guide

We were going back to Mexico next year. But I was thinking(along with the wallet) we have never spent any time in the delta. I can't find any information on where to go or what to do etc etc. I've been in the Bay but not in the Delta. If you had 4 months to explore, say June through September, where would you go and what would you do?
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:23 AM   #2
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The ride up the coast will be a challenge

There are a lot of things to do. There must cruising guides, I grew boating in the Bay and Delta. Stockton and Sacramento are the obvious ends for practical navigation. You could probably spend several weeks exploring the greater bay if you want to spend time off the boat. On the bay South Beach Harbor is in my opinion the best SF location with guest berthing unless you have reciprocal privileges at St Francis Yacht Club. Oakland's Jack London Square is another great location with access to the SF ferry. If you are a member of a yacht club Alameda has several that reciprocate, Oakland , Encinal, and Alameda yacht clubs. If you wish to anchor out you have three good locations, Sausalito " Richardson bay, Angel Island State Park and Clipper cove on Yerba Buena Island. There are more marinas but these offer the best access to restaurants and entertainment.

Delta Towns worth spending time at.

Petaluma : on the Petaluma river down town turning basin. Quaint downtown with lots of history, Restaurants, gift shops, art galleries, movie theater, and live theater.

Benicia : Much the same as Petaluma

Pittsburg : Clean newer Marina, one of the best locations for fuel in the Bay area.

Rio Vista : Good marina , quaint down town, good food.

Up the Sacramento;

Islton : city dock, colorful down town Crawdad Festival, restaurants
Several restaurants.

Ryde: Public Dock and the Ryde Hotel. It may reopen by next year.

Walnut Grove: 2- City Docks marine supplies, restaurants, Quaint town, food and groceries.

Locke : State Park, Fuel Gas Only, Home of the oldest Chinese community in the US and Al the Waps If you haven't been there you haven't been anywhere.

Courtland: Limited access, Quaint town, private marina

Hood: limited Access Quaint town private marina

Clarksburg, Limited access at marina, wine tasting, quaint town.

Freeport: Large Marina with fuel, Golf course.

Old Town Sacramento: Historic downtown with probably the best Rail Road museum in the country. Pubic dock access to too much to list. A good anchorage just up the American River beyond the highway 5 bridge.

Steam Boat slough has a official anchorage just off the Sacramento River near Courtland.

The water quality on the Sacramento river is the best in the delta. This covers some of the north delta, I'll let someone else talk about the middle and southern portion.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:36 AM   #3
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Very Cool! Thank-you! I cannot find any type of cruising guide for the area it would seems as though one has to exist. I do have reciprocal privileges so that will make tying up economical. Thanks again.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:08 AM   #4
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Try to find a copy of Hal Schell's, "Cruising California's Delta". Hal Schell died of cancer in 2005. He WAS the Delta... The last copy was published in 1995. Actually the Delta hasn't changed much since then. Go to Amazon and pick up a used copy and own a piece of history! It is full of descriptions of the connecting sloughs and communities, etc. The book is full of old photos which presents the rich history of the Delta.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:57 AM   #5
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Bought it. Thanks!
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Old 05-17-2012, 01:18 PM   #6
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The Central Delta: San Joaquin and Mokelumne Rivers

Scary did a great job representing the Bay and Sacramento River sides. I’m printing and saving his post for future reference. Also, there are many good anchorages in Prospect, Miner, Lindsey and Cache Sloughs.

Chart 18662

The only thing I’d add as a destination is a slow, careful trek up the Napa River and Napa itself. Maybe Mark or Ray can contribute details on this area.

Here are some good maps for general orientation:
California Delta Chambers and Visitor's Bureau - A Guide to the California Delta Waterways

Here’s is bridge info:
Cal Drawbridge Info

All bridges operate on Ch 9, except the Mare Island Bridge (Napa River) on Ch. 13.

A short note on Delta Navigation and anchoring: The levees were formed by dredging along the levee then piling the mud to form the levee. This results in the edges of the sloughs generally being deeper than the middle where shoaling often occurs. When in doubt, move slowly and favor the levee. Follow the deep channel cut by fast moving water downstream. If you find yourself aground, in mud/weeds, the first step should be to try BACKING out the way you came in. A local instructor advised me that sometimes alternating port and stbd reverse can free you more easily.

The prevailing winds of the summer are from the SW and normally kick up in the PM. It helps to keep this in mind when choosing anchorages. Generally, anchorage depths of 15-20 feet are ideal in weed-free mud. The areas of 12 feet or less in depth are usually filled with weeds.

Here are a few ideas for the San Joaquin and Mokelumne Rivers Central Delta Region.

Chart 18661

Antioch, just east of Pittsburgh: Nice marina, new launch facilities, Humphrey’s Restaurant good food on the water. Also good fuel prices…sometimes even lower than Pittsburg, so it pays to call ahead via cell phone.

Antioch Bridge: :”Gateway to the Delta”, Lauritzen Harbor, New Bridge Marina, Big Break Marina, Oakley, CA. Marine repair and supplies available

UnderWay

False River and Washington Cut (along levee north of Frank’s Tract): Good shortcut toward Prisoner’s Point/Mandeville Tip with plenty of anchorages out of the wind. Look for bleach bottles in the tules marking established ‘secret’ moorings that allow you to ‘nose into the tules.’ More on Mandeville later…

Following the SJ past False River takes you past Santa Clara Shoal to Seven Mile Slough. Charts make it appear that Seven Mile Slough goes through to Threemile Slough, but its only access if from the SJ River. It houses several older marinas, many of which cater to the sailboat crowd. Just past Seven Mile along the north bank and behind the tule islands are Delta Bay, Spindrift and a couple other marinas. You are now on “The Delta Loop”, where many favorite Delta restaurants and bars are located.

Spindrift has a general store and restaurant/bar.

As you continue west on the San Joaquin, you approach the mouth of the Mokelumne River. Local knowledge to avoid the San Andreas Shoal: Pass close to Marker 45, then take a straight course to the gap between Korth’s Pirates Lair (on the point with all the trees and high wire catenary towers) and the tule island just south of the point (I call this ‘Beach Island due to it’s accessible beach on the east side). The shallowest you should see on this track is 11 feet and it opens up to more than 30 feet as you approach Korth’s.

Following the Moke upstream, you pass:

Korths Pirates Lair: nice place with tropical island flair, tiki torches, friendly folks, restaurant open for breakfast and lunch.

Moore’s Riverboat: Great food and bar. Thursday-Fri dinner special of Ribeye Steak w/ Lobster tail ($20) and Sat dinner special Prime Rib ($17). IMHO, the best delta food. Just don’t approach the docks straight on during low tide. There’s a shoal off the face of the docks and another just opposite the River House to the north of the restaurant. Approach along the tule’s south of the restaurant and then cut to the face of the docks within 20-30 feet of the docks.

Willow Berm Marina: Probably the nicest marina facilities in the delta.

Lighthouse Marina (private) with Joe’s Sports Bar and Grill: good lunch stop or light dinner. Burgers, sandwiches, pizza.

Perry’s Marina and B&W Resort: Just south and north of the Mokelumne River Bridge

Georgianna Slough: Oxbow Marina is a great sleepy marina with transient slips on a long, lazy slough that is mostly no-wake. Plan 45 mins from the mouth to Oxbow. Beautiful anchorages past Oxbow in this tree-lined section. IMO, one of the more scenic and relaxing of the delta for its natural beauty and no-wake traffic restrictions.

Further up the Moke takes you to the confluence of the Moke North Fork and the Moke South Fork.

North Fork past Miller’s Ferry Bridge to Guisti’s, a delta standard that has been featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives TV Show. Continue past Guisti’s into Snodgrass Slough watching the bottom at low tide. You can access Locke from the slough just north of the cross-channel gates via dinghy.

Go beyond that at your own risk. Lots of shoals and logs to catch on your way up to The Meadows and Lost Slough. (I’ve heard too many horror stories of late to ever go back. They stopped dredging years ago and it shows.)

You can’t traverse from here to the South Fork except via dingy, but it’s a nice dingy ride to Wimpy’s (casual food, bar, ice cream!!)

Back to the confluence to join the Moke South Fork. East to Terminous and stay left to continue further up the South Fork to lazy tree-lined sloughs and channels. Anchorages possible in Sycamore, Hog and Beaver Sloughs, just watch your depth. The bridge restricts further access past Wimpy’s.

Back to Terminous and join Little Potato Slough.

Tower Park Marina. Food, services, general store, KOA campground, bar. Nice place.

Make a 90 degree turn to stbd to stay on LP Slough (stay near the levees to avoid the shallows in the middle.) Ahead you will find “The Bedrooms” 3, 2 and 1. They are popular anchorages with good wind protection.

Now you’re back to the San Joaquin River, west of Mandeville Pt.

I’ll continue with the East and South Delta on a future post unless someone else jumps in.
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Old 05-17-2012, 02:17 PM   #7
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Wow thanks guys. "The Trawler Forum Cruising Guide the The Delta"!!
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:42 PM   #8
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Al, that was very informative. I've been deep into the Delta only once, and that was about 30 years ago. Believe we stayed overnight anchored at "Five Fingers" between Columbia Cut and Connection Slough (hadn't heard of the place -- it's not on the charts -- until later after reading a description).



(RR lift bridge on the Napa River, always raised now as the trains aren't running.)
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:29 PM   #9
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Scary and FlyWright, I sat down with the charts this afternoon. You guys are unbelievable. Please continue.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:43 PM   #10
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The Meadows State Park is accessible to sailboats if you have local knowledge. There is tidal effect even at Walnut grove as we are only 7' above sea level. So we see 1-3'. This probably the most scenic spot in the delta. 20 to 30 boats summer in the Meadows. Mostly house boats, some as big as a hundred feet. There is occasional larger boats mine included and I draw 5'. Great dingy exploring if you don't get lost. And a secret water skiing area.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:09 PM   #11
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Stockton

Stockton has four major marinas:

Village West Marina: The farthest north at the end of Fourteen Mile Slough, Usually the best fuel prices by far in the delta, Garlic's restaurant, Bobs Hamburges and breakfast, good food. Guest dock , Groceries within a 1/2 mile. The end of the channel is shallow in the center so stay close to the west bank. I get in there on most tides. Oh and there is also a yacht club and guest dock.

Buckley Cove: Fuel, guest dock, safe parking, Ladds marine haul out , and home to the best 58LRC on the west coast Salty. This boat is the most immaculate 58' Hatteras I've ever seen.

Stockton Sailing club: Nice club house harbor is full sailboats Guest docking.

Down Town Stockton Marina. All brand new large guest dock. Stockton has been trying to revive their down town and the Marina is the center piece . A base ball stadium, theater complex and several restaurants are nearby. What used to be called Marine /services is the biggest marine repair yard in the delta. West Marine, Larsens , are all with in walking distance of the marina. There is a caveat, This in spite of appearances a rough area, High crime has plagued Stockton for some time. I would not recommend walking south of the marina, especially at night.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:12 PM   #12
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Scary, Sacramento has four foot tides often because the rise and fall of water is also dependent on the flow of the river along with the ocean tides.

I've never been to the Meadows. Would like to follow a skipper with local knowledge as it can get rather skinny in there. I think Al, Flywright, has a friend that got into a little trouble going in that caused significant damage to his running gear, if I recall.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:36 PM   #13
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Other attactions center Delta

Mandeville Cut : and 4th of july fireworks Conrad Hilton sponsored Fireworks, big event on the 3rd this year. Maybe a thousand boats attend. Seems like it anyway.

Tinsley Island: St Francis Yacht clubs Summer retreat, probably members only. they have a dog poo poo island, tennis courts pool, spectacular club house, pretty exclusive. I was invited once but didn't think I'd fit in.

Lost Isle, hopefully open again next year. It was the biggest party spot in the delta.

Hog Island: summer anchorage for trawler types, full timers. good protection just off the main channel.

Mildred island: Great anchorage on protected west edge. Very quiet most of the time , can see some water ski activity. One year we had a sea plane vrs. skater race across the lake. "Skater 40' cat". It can get entertaining on the fourth.

Franks Tract: Looks tempting but choked with weeds. Don't try to cross!!

There are many other places to talk about some so secret if I told you I'd have to kill you. I think you could spend a summer here and not get bored.

,
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:44 PM   #14
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Five fingers is chocked solid with weeds

Quote:
Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Al, that was very informative. I've been deep into the Delta only once, and that was about 30 years ago. Believe we stayed overnight anchored at "Five Fingers" between Columbia Cut and Connection Slough (hadn't heard of the place -- it's not on the charts -- until later after reading a description).



(RR lift bridge on the Napa River, always raised now as the trains aren't running.)
Unfortunately Five fingers is choked with weeds and hasn't been used in years.
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Old 05-18-2012, 12:08 AM   #15
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Unfortunately Five fingers is choked with weeds and hasn't been used in years.
Oh shoot!
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Old 05-18-2012, 01:46 AM   #16
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Don't forget Al the Wop's in Locke. KJ
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
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Don't forget Al the Wop's in Locke. KJ
Scary got it in his first post:

"Locke : State Park, Fuel Gas Only, Home of the oldest Chinese community in the US and Al the Waps If you haven't been there you haven't been anywhere."
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:38 AM   #18
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I've never been to the Meadows. Would like to follow a skipper with local knowledge as it can get rather skinny in there. I think Al, Flywright, has a friend that got into a little trouble going in that caused significant damage to his running gear, if I recall.
Yes, Capt. Kevo O'Leary writes for the Bay-Delta Yachtsman (BOATING ARTICLES) and is a Riverboat Marina friend. He told me of a club boat-in 2-3 years ago when 3 vessels suffered significant bottom and running gear damage due to new hazards, one a 58 footer. I'd gladly follow Scary there, but don't intend to blaze my own trail through the gauntlet of obstructions.

Mark, a couple of years ago I entered the Five Fingers in a dingy on a scavenger hunt. I had to tilt the ob WAY UP just to make it through. I wish someone would go back in there and do a private dredging like was done to create the place.
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:51 AM   #19
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Lost Isle, hopefully open again next year. It was the biggest party spot in the delta.

...
There are many other places to talk about some so secret if I told you I'd have to kill you. I think you could spend a summer here and not get bored.
Windmill Cove: Opposite Fourteen Mile Slough (Where you enter to go to Village West Marina) is Windmill Cove. They have improved the restaurant over the past few years, but I haven't been there.

Windmill Cove Marina, Restaurant, Bar, RV Park

The restaurant at Village West is called Garlic Brothers. I've eaten there several times and never had a bad meal.

Lost Isle is not planning to reopen until 2013. Here's their posting from the website:

Lost Isle Bar and Resort on The California Delta

"To all of our wonderful customers:

Lost Isle will not be open this year as we continue to implement our remodeling plans.


We would like to thank all of our loyal customers for your patience and understanding while we work our way through the various government agencies that have a say in what we do and how we do it. As some of you know, this is a time consuming process. The good news is that we expect to have our permits to build the new restaurant and install the new docks in a few months.


For sure we will re-open with a big bash for the 2013 season. We believe you will find the new Lost Isle Bar & Resort worth the wait and we look forward to having you back on the Island soon.


Yours Truly, Lost Isle Management
"

Out with the old:


In with the new:

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Old 05-29-2012, 07:10 PM   #20
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As an update I have 18649, 650, 661 and 662 full size charts all updated May 8 2012 along with current BSB and ENC charts.
Carolyn and Bob Mehaffy's book on the Bay,Hal Schell's book on the Delta and the Chamber of Commerce Delta map. I realize my original post was for the Delta only but would also like to hear about the Bay.
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