Launch: Dauphin Island behind the Restrooms by the boat ramps. Route: Around the east end of Dauphin Island to Sand Island and back. Then some exploring on the north side of the island and back. Distance: 22.6 miles. Average Speed: 2.7 mph. Time: Approx 8.5 hrs. Pace: Slow to Leisurely. Weather: Chance of early morning and afternoon thunderstorms. Tides looked good for a trip to Fort Morgan (across the bay and back trip).
(1) Above left. Got on the water a little before sunrise, my favorite time of the day, when most folks are still sleeping. The little tower on the left of this photo is weather station DPIA1, a National Data Buoy Center C-MAN station. This site has an internet link and it is wise to check it out before driving down to Dauphin Island for a kayak trip. www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=dpia1 Had planned on kayaking over to Fort Morgan, but, after seeing this storm cloud growing in size south of Fort Morgan, plan B was set into motion – staying close to the shore of Dauphin Island. (2) Above right. While on the east end of Dauphin Island, the sun peeked above the horizon and oil rigs.
(3) Above left. My favorite red shrimp boat was doing its thing. I wonder if piloting a shrimp boat is a drag (ops, pardon the pun). (4) Above right. The storm south of Fort Morgan dissipated while one started forming south of Sand Island and according to radar, it was headed my way. Enjoyed seeing a small rainbow before I turned east and started trying to out run the storm. Out run a storm in a kayak? Jeesh… A gentle rain started and there were a few gusts of wind. The rain lasted for about 20 minutes and out of the blue sky (ops, pardon the pun), the clouds parted and the rain stopped. No lightning in this storm. Now it was safe to cross the waters to get to Sand Island.
(5) Above left. The sky cleared up nicely and the vegetation was real green after the rain. It was time for a walk on Sand Island. The Terns were cranky after the rain, not letting me get anywhere near their territory. They made it plain and clear – get any closer and we will dive bomb you to get to your scalp. Human hair makes a good bedding material for their hatchlings. Wanting to keep my hair, I stayed along the shore. (6) Above right. The first jellyfish I’ve seen this year. Waters must be getting warm. Speaking of jellyfish, since we do have man-of-war jellyfish in this area seasonally, what do you do if you or someone in your kayak group gets stung by a man-of-war?
One web site says, “DO NOT use fresh water to wash the afflicted area,” adding, “the stingers are inactivated by vinegar or human urine in a pinch.” Let’s see, use vinegar but not fresh water.
Another web site says, “Urine may be harmful on man-of-war stings. Plus dousing with vinegar actually causes the stingers to discharge,” and “rinse the afflicted area with salt or fresh water.” Don’t use vinegar but fresh water is ok. Hmmm. Well, what are you suppose to do for a sting?
It also goes on to say, “Most jellyfish stings disappear by themselves, sometimes within 15 or 20 minutes. Because of this quick recovery, avoid applying unproven, possibly harmful substances on stings that could complicate the recovery.”
Well, since we don’t have a sure fire treatment for jellyfish stings, the best thing to do is learn how to identify non-stinging jellyfish from stinging jellyfish in our area: http://dockwatch.disl.org/glossary.htm
(7) Above left. Now on the north side of Dauphin Island, a group of ducks lead me toward the big bridge connecting the island to the mainland. Hope they don’t BILL me for the tour. (8) Above right. In Confederate Pass, a pelican and I enjoy the view of the nice homes.
(9) Above left. Have you ever seen an iron swan that stands four feet tall? It is a rusty old bird! (10) Above right. One boat, the “Angelena” sitting out of the water, displays a nice mermaid painting on it. What a nice kayak trip. Dauphin Island is one of my favorite spots to kayak. To learn more about Dauphin Island, visit: http://gulfinfo.com/ditown/index.html
Incidentally, I saw cars parking down past Fort Gaines while kayaking on this trip, so, the road to the end must be open again. Providing we can park down there, it will be so nice to have a sheltered launch site in rough sea conditions. Plus, boat owners are no longer allowed to park their trailers in the median of Bienville Blvd. So, if you want to kayak from the island, you might have to get there early to get a parking space, if you are launching by the restrooms.