Launch: Causeway by the old River Docs. Launch Cost: Free. Route: North into Chocalata Bay to Savage Ditch to Conway Creek to Little Bateau back to Conway Creek, across the Tensaw River, down Lower Crab Creek into Delvan Bay and back. Distance: 15 miles. Average Speed: 3.1 mph. Time: Approx 5 hrs. Pace: Leisurely. Weather: Cloudy morning, then sunny, hot, and humid, slight breeze from the north. Leader: Brint.
(1) Above left. The River Docs launch site on the Causeway. There is nothing at this launch site except red clay so unless you have been there before, it is hard to find. Two ways to help you find this launch site are one, it is 1.5 miles east of the Exxon boat ramps on the north side of the causeway and two, it is just northwest of Ed’s Seafood Shed. (2) Above right. Steve (left) and Brint (right) in Savage Ditch, the narrow cut between Chocalata Bay and Conway Creek.
(3) Above left, left to right. John, Steve, and Danny heading north on Conway Creek. We had a nice cloudy (cool) morning until the sun decided to come out. Then it started getting hot. (4) Above right, left to right. John, Brint, Danny, and Steve heading up the main fork to Little Bateau, our destination for the trip. The main fork turns into three branches giving us three options of how to get into Little Bateau. Brint decided on the right fork.
(5) Above left. Once we entered Little Bateau, it was apparent there were a few American Lotus flowers still in bloom. Steve noted that the big yellow flowers had a scent to them. The American Lotus (aka Pond-Nuts, aka Water Chinquapin, aka Nelumbo lutea) seed pods are often harvested for dried flower arrangements because of their unique size and shape. The seed pod is shaped like a shower head. Both seeds and underground tubers of the American Lotus are edible. (6) Above right. A closer view of the American Lotus flower which is a revered plant around the world with a lot of history that dates back to Egyptian times. Chinese Legend of the Lotus, Egyptian Legends of the Lotus. The Lotus flower garden was so thick that Brint had difficulty finding the way out of Little Bateau.
(7) Above left. After exiting Lower Crab creek into Delvan Bay, we stirred up an alligator in the shallow grasses. This is Danny in his Prijon Kayak and if you carefully at Danny’s reflection in the water, you can see the head of the alligator. (8) Above right. The alligator is more visible as Steve watches it pass by it. Brint, our trip leader, visible in the background, waits for us while we enjoy nature up close and personal.
(9) Above left. After our visit with the alligator, we head south in Delvan Bay toward the bridges. Left to right, Danny, Steve, John, and Brint, still waiting for us. The Battleship can be seen rising over the interstate bridge. Traffic was moving real slow on the interstate due to a wreck. (10) Above right. John is paddling his Wilderness Systems Tarpon 160 Sit-on Top Kayak with the Mobile skyline in the background.
(11) Above left. Danny paddles through the middle of the concrete jungle enjoying the shade. The relief from the sun lasted for about 1.5 miles. Not far from the Exxon boat ramps, Brint pointed out a particular concrete pillar and said that it was his turn around point for his afternoon kayak training trips. Then, without warning, Brint raced off and left his kayak group. He was gone when we got back to the launch site. (12) Above right. Where the three forks out of Little Bateau meet, there used to be a very convenient wooden dock for kayakers to get out on and stretch the legs. Sadly, building, pilings, and dock are all gone. That ticks me off! Kayakers need a solid dock to get out on and stretch the legs – we had one and someone took it away! Kayakers need a place to get out in the Delta north of the Causeway. It is time for me to write a letter. Hope you will take a few minutes to write a letter, too.
James H. Griggs
Gregory M. Lein
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR)
State Lands Division
64 North Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36130