Saturday, July 16, 2005

07/16/2005 – Causeway to Baygrass - Club Trip

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, Bay Grass Bay, and a tributary. Distance: 11.5 miles. Average Speed: 2.8 mph. Time: Approx 4 hrs. Pace: Leisurely. Weather: Sunny, hot, humid, slight breeze from the south, with nearby scattered thunderstorms. Tide was high so all the vegetation in Bay Grass Bay was under water, including the yellow flowers. Trip Leader: Brint.

(1) Above left. About 10 kayakers braved the hot, sultry morning to join Brint on his paddle to Bay Grass. Left to right: Roland, Jimmy, Nick, Wendy, Brint, and Francis head northwest across the Tensaw River into Delvan Bay. (Hope I get everyone’s name right – there were a lot of new faces of folks that came over from the Fish River area.) (2) Above right. There are several Osprey Eagle nests along the west side of the entrance of Spanish River. Left to right: Roland (left) takes a break from paddling while Danny (right) checks out the Osprey Eagle flying overhead.

(3) Above left. Francis (left) and Nick (right) are paddling in the heat of the morning up Spanish River. Note the beginning cloud formation of a thunderstorm in the background. On the right in the background is the Cochran Bridge. (4) Above right. Left to right: Brint, Billy, Roland, and Gene in the tandem kayak with someone whose name I can’t remember. Sorry. Notice that the thunderstorm has grown in size, but now we are heading in the opposite direction. Brint apparently looked at an old map and thought the entrance to Bay Grass Creek was on the northwest side. I would have told Brint that he missed his turn, but he was not within shouting distance. We paddled an extra mile or two before he realized something was wrong and stopped. We turned around and went back to the entrance of Bay Grass Creek.

(5) Above left. By the time we went a short distance into Bay Grass Creek and came out into the Bay Grass Bay area, that thunderstorm changed. There was the rumble of thunder in the near distance and a wee bit of tension among the paddlers. Left to right: Billy, Danny, and Brint watch the weather conditions deteriorate just north of Mobile. (6) Above right. Left to right: Roland, Nick, Jimmy, Billy, and Wendy paddle toward the mean looking thunderstorm, probably thinking, “uh oh, we’re going to get soaked, and lightning is not good.” A little rain would have been a welcome relief from the heat.

(7) Above left. We took a turn to the east and left the thunderstorm behind us. Left to right: Jimmy, Brint, and Billy as they paddle up Bay Grass tributary. Pickerel Weed is blooming in the foreground. (8) Above right. Further up in Bay Grass, Fen Roses have just started blooming. Fen Roses, are beautiful perennial herbs, also known as Seashore Mallow, Saltmarsh Mallow, Swamp Pink, Kosteletskya or Kosteletzkya virginica and are closely related to the Hibiscus flowers. I wonder how many kayakers in our group today passed right by these flowers without even seeing them. I remember Fen Roses because several years ago, in August, there was an impressive display of them near Meaher Park that was attracting lots of hummingbirds.

(9) Above left. Brint paddles south in Bay Grass Bay as we head toward Spanish River on the return trip. The new RSA building in the background, under construction, looks suspiciously close to finally being the tallest building in Mobile. (10) Above right. After paddling through the cut from Spanish River into Polecat Bay, Francis watches and Wendy takes a photo of a Pelican sitting in a tree. While we were taking photos, the rest of the kayak group left us behind. Even though I’m a slowpoke, I certainly enjoyed Brint’s paddle to Bay Grass and enjoyed getting to meet some new kayakers. Despite the heat, this was a nice trip.

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