Ephemerisle cannot be reached by land. You must arrange for transport and lodging by boat beforehand. While daytrippers are welcome, please make sure that you arrange a means of getting to and from the event beforehand. Wear good shoes just in case you need to clamor down rocks to get to the ferry. Most ferries to shore end at dusk and don't start again until dawn. If you miss the last ferry, you could spend a cold, wet, sleepless night.
In most years, Ephemerisle has been at Mandeville Point, about 11 miles from the city of Stockton. Note when calculating travel time that some of the roads are interrupted by bridges that may be raised to allow for boat traffic.
There are basically three options:
- Catch a ferry
- Launch your boat/structure from a nearby boat ramp
- Bring your own boat all the way by water
Getting a ride on a ferry
Volunteer ferries are typically operated by the islands, and depart and return to one of the nearby marinas (which are listed below). Check with the leaders of your island to see if there is a volunteer ferry for your island. Ferry schedules vary depending on the person operating the ferry. Do not expect a ferry to tow your floating land or art unless you explicitly arrange this in advance.
Check the Ephemerisle 2022 page for info on how and where you can catch a ferry.
Launching a boat/platform
Towing home-built structures not designed for the water is very, very slow. There are strong currents in the channels and traffic from big ships, so coming by kayak can be risky and only should be attempted by experienced kayakers.
These are the closest usable boat ramps:
- King Island
- Paradise Point
- Lighthouse Marina
Check the Marinas pages for more locations and details.
Sailing from SF Bay
Ephemerisle can be reached by water from the SF Bay.
It's about a 60 mile trip (16 hours by sailboat) from Berkeley. It tends to be a lovely two day sail there with the wind at your back all of the way out there. And it tends to be something of a nightmare trip back with pounding waves directly into the wind the entire way back.
Make sure you've got a depth sounder! Everyone runs aground in the delta.
Make sure you've got a good working engine. The trip back is very, very difficult without an engine.
Common mechanical issues: There are a lot of weeds floating in the delta. Be sure to check your sea strainer daily. This is something that many bay sailors only have do very rarely, but in the delta your sea strainer can fill with weeds daily. It's always a good idea to have a spare impeller and gasket, but especially so in the delta where a clogged raw water intake can destroy an impeller quickly.
Areas to stop on the way there or back if needed: If all goes well with timing the tide and getting favorable wind, it is possible to make it from the bay area to at least Madevlille Point in one day. It is a long day though for all but the faster boats, so one may need to stop over on the way, and definitely on the slower trek back to the bay. Here are some of the places one might stop for the night:
- Pittsburg Marina - Inexpensive, diesel and gas available, nice restrooms, short walk to town with good food.
- Middle Slough - Can be a little windy.
- Mayberry Cut - Peaceful, but some shoreside raccoons.
- Benecia Marina - Sometimes really shallow, close to town, diesel and gas fuel available.
Details to add:
- Tides, currents
- channels, navigation, traffic