Sunday, July 03, 2005

07/03/2005 – Causeway to Bay Grass

Launch: Causeway by the public boat ramps near the Exxon station. Launch Cost: Free. Route: Northwest across the Tensaw River and Delvan Bay. To the right just after entering Spanish River is Bay Grass Creek, the Bay Grass, and a tributary. Distance: 15.5 miles. Average Speed: 2.8 mph. Time: Approx 6 hrs. Pace: Leisurely. Weather: Forecast afternoon thunderstorms never developed, sunny and rather hot all day, afternoon breeze developed from the south. Type Kayak: Paddle.

(1) Above left. Having been limited to deeper waters when using the Hobie Outback kayak, today, in the Necky, I chose to check out Bay Grass which I hadn’t visited since 2002 (over three years ago). Being able to cruise in shallow water along the edges of the water made it easy to see flowering vegetation like the pink morning glories. (2) Above right. A common Cat-Tail plant. The leaves of the Cat-Tail were used for making mats and chair seats and the root is starchy and edible.
There were quite a variety of other flowers in bloom, including spider lilies, pickerel weed, and yellow pond lilies.

(3) Above left. A night heron sits and ponders what she will do today. (4) Above right. Pelicans sit in silence soaking up the morning sun wondering what they will do today. There should be no question what to do today – KAYAK! Saw a Swallow Tail Kite today. Didn’t think they traveled this far down into the Delta.

(5)(6) Above left and right. Another flower that was abundant along the river banks was Hemlock. I’m not a botanist and can’t tell you if this is Poison Hemlock, Water Hemlock (also poisonous), or any of several other similar plants. Since Hemlock is one of the most poisonous plants there is in America, I can recommend you avoid touching this plant or any that look similar to it.

(7) Above left. While taking photos, a noisy bee buzzing around you can make you lose your concentration and worry about getting stung. Most of the time, it is a Hover Fly that hovers in place, moves, hovers, moves, etc., and is pretty much harmless. (8) Above right. If you jam your kayak into the bank and start feeling a burning sensation, you may have disturbed a wasp nest. Take a close look at the underside of branches before you go under them or beach your kayak in the weeds on the bank. Wasp nests can be as big as a dinner plate. This wasp nest in this photo was small and they were on alert mode due to my presence. So, BEE careful out there! Yeah, that pun stung…k.

(9) Above left. The tributary on the east side of the Bay Grass Bay looks nice. Here are spider lilies and hemlock in the background, and some small, but impressive little yellow flowers. (10) Above right. Bay Grass is a rather shallow area like Little Bateau and is beautiful at this time with large patches of the little yellow flowers that grow out if a grass like weed. The Mobile skyline is in the background.

(11) Above left. A coot admires the changing Mobile skyline. (12) Above right. You can go quite a ways east into the Bay Grass tributary if you pass through some patches of invasive weeds. The further you go, the more pristine it gets.

(13) Above left. The wide variety of textures and shapes of grass make the paddles more interesting. I’ve found it pretty easy to pick up on the names of flowers like lotus, spider lilies, hemlock, frog fruit, button bushes, but when it comes to grasses, I’m totally ignorant. The flower of this grass was impressive, but what is it? (14) Above right. One of the great hopes of getting the waterways unclogged is by using natural predators. The Lubber Grasshopper is eating the vegetation along the waterways, but not fast enough.

(15) Above left. After paddling for a few hours, I saw a nice log and decided to get out on it to stretch the legs. As I was getting ready to pull out of the kayak onto the big log, an alligator caught my eye. It wasn’t that far away and it was moving toward me. Hold it now, alligators are suppose to go under water when they see a human. This alligator was huge, thus, it had my full respect. We had a stalemate. I splashed water on it, hollered at it, slapped the paddle on the water, and it just watched from an uncomfortably close distance. It was causing me to have chilling thoughts. Finally got the alligator to go under water and was actually thinking about getting out on that log again when just seconds later, the alligator popped right back up. This was his territory and it did not want me on his log. Who am I to argue? Away I paddled, going way around it, still wishing to get out of the kayak to stretch the legs. I looked back and noticed it was following me. Yes, it doesn’t happen often, but today, an alligator got my heart thumping hard. (16) Above right. Parting Shot. Paddling under a Nautilus Restaurant billboard, the sign shows a sailor and the look on that sailor’s face sure isn’t enticing me to eat there.

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