Saturday, July 02, 2005

07/02/2005 – Dauphin Island

Launch: Southeast end of island by the rock jetties. Launch Cost: Free. Route: Because of some lightning storms on the horizon, I stayed along the coast of Dauphin Island instead of crossing Mobile Bay. Distance: 24.2 miles. Average Speed: 3.0 mph. Time: Approx 8 hrs. Pace: Leisurely. Weather: Morning thunderstorms and rain. Rest of day was nice. Sunny, slight breeze.

(1) Above left. Today, I was in the water at 5:30 am, a wee bit early for most folks, but for me, this is my favorite time of day. See, even the pelicans are up and about at this time of day. (2) Above right. The sun peeks over the east end of Dauphin Island, half pink, half yellow.

(3) Above left. The sun sheds its pink as it rises. Five pelicans commute to work – they work at the fish factory, but eat up all the profits. (4) Above right. A beach house stands precariously close to the shore. This house is poised to take some serious wave damage from future hurricanes. Beach erosion is an ongoing issue on the coast. Only man is arrogant enough to think he can stop the forces of nature.

(5) Above left. It wasn’t long before a storm moved into the area from the southwest. So I put up the lightning rod and took advantage of the increase of wind. Then it rained for about an hour and a half. (6) Above right. Once on the west side of the Dauphin Island pier, waves usually double in size compared to the east side. Saw quite a few large ducks or cormorant like birds that I’d never seen before. Played in some 2-3 foot waves that had been generated by the earlier storm and my Hobie Outback kayak broke, but that is another story.

(7) Above left. A humongous dolphin, with a big baby beside it, showed no concern and came uncomfortably close to check me out. The dolphin seemed to know which way the camera was pointing and would pop up real close, but not where the camera was pointing. Good thing they don’t eat humans. The big dolphin had lost the top part of his fin – ouch! (Perhaps a boat propeller?) (8) Above right. Not far from the public pier, a dolphin jumped into the air, did a 180, and dove into the water. While I’ve seen dolphin jump from time to time, I’d never seen such a display of acrobatics as they put on today. There had to have been 20-30 continuous jumps way into the air. Those big dolphins were having fun. All activity on the beach stopped as everyone turned to watch the awesome dolphin show. Life is good.

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