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Islais Creek to Mission Creek

Islais Creek

Summary: Paddling the urban industrial landscape, part II. This paddle is about seven miles round trip but doesn't seem like it because it's broken up into lots of short legs. There's lots to see if you're into docks, cranes, pilings, piers, large grey ships, rust, etc. At low tides, the adventurous can discover shortcuts underneath the piers into strange worlds that reminded me of the Pirates of the Caribbean. For lunch, just south of the Mission Rock Terminal there's a friendly low-key yacht club (with bathrooms) and a street-side park with a couple of benches. This area is sometimes sheltered from the prevailing westerlies. It can be a challenge to carry your boat around the idiotic dog-legged ramp down to the water at Islais Creek. Or you can do a sucking mud launch instead. If there's a game on at AT&T Park, McCovey Cove (the entrance to Mission Creek) will be crowded with boaters. And as you turn into the Cove, you can imagine, just for a moment, that the cheers are for you.

Special Cautions: Watch out for tug boat wakes—they are extremely powerful! Don't drink the water! Avoid submerged pilings! Make sure your tetanus shots are up to date!

Directions to launch site: From the 101 or the 280, exit Cesar Chavez (Army) then head east until you get to 3rd St. Turn right and head south. After 0.25 miles you'll cross the steel bridge that spans Islais Creek, turn right and you'll be at the put in. A lot of effort has been spent in cleaning up this little area and there's a notice board that describes the history of the area. On weekends the outrigger folks (who have a little fenced-off area for boat storage) may be working there and if you ask them nicely they'll let you use their porta-potty. Otherwise there are no facilities here! After the paddle, head north to The Ramp restaurant (at Mariposa and Illinois) for burgers and beer—but beware, the kitchen closes at 4pm.

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