Sunday, August 21, 2005

08/21/2005 - 2005 Desktop Backgrounds

With a heat index 105-110 degrees, it was too hot to kayak this weekend.

Here are photos from 2005 to use as Desktop Backgrounds. Use a computer to show your employer or spouse what you would rather be doing. (Grin) Click on any image for a larger view, then right click on image and set as background.

(1) Above left. Bayou La Batre 3-10-2005.
(2) Above right. Fairhope Pier 4-17-2005.

(3)(4) Above left & right. Bayou La Batre 5-1-2005.

(5) Above left. Bayou La Batre 5-1-2005.
(6) Above right. Dog River 6-25-2005.

(7) Above left. Tensaw River 7-16-2005.
(8) Above right. Bay Grass 7-16-2005.

(9) Above left. Savage Cut 7-30-2005.
(10) Above right. Chocolata Bay 8-4-2005.

(11) Above left. Pelican Bay 8-7-2005.
(12) Above right. Gaillard Island 8-13-2005.

(13) Above left. Sand Island 8-14-2005.

08/21/2005 - 2004 Desktop Backgrounds

Here are photos from 2004 to use as Desktop Backgrounds. Show your employer what you would rather be doing. (Grin) Click on any image for a larger view, then right click on image and set as background.

(1)(2) Above left & right. Eastern side of Mobile Bay 2-21-2004.

(3) Above left. Pelican Bay 3-7-2004.
(4) Above right. Fowl River 3-28-2004.

(5) Above left. Bay Minette Basin 5-16-2004.
(6) Above right. Fairhope Yacht Club 7-4-2004.

08/21/2005 - 2003 Desktop Backgrounds

Here are photos from 2003 to use as Desktop Backgrounds. Show your employer what you would rather be doing. (Grin) Click on any image for a larger view, then right click on image and set as background.

(1) Above left. Maple Creek 2-23-2003.
(2) Above right. Hurricane Bayou 12-21-2003.

(3)(4) Above left and right. Wakulla Springs, Tallahassee 11-2-2003

08/21/2005 - 2002 Desktop Backgrounds

Here are photos from 2002 to use as Desktop Backgrounds. Show your employer what you would rather be doing. (Grin) Click on any image for a larger view, then right click on image and set as background.

(1) Above left. Maple Creek 3-23-2002.
(2) Above right. I-10 at the Causeway 4-17-2002.

08/21/2005 - 2001 Desktop Backgrounds

Here are photos from 2001 to use as Desktop Backgrounds.
Show your employer what you would rather be doing. (Grin)
Click on any image for a larger view, then
right click on larger image and set as background.

(1) Above left. Red Creek, Eastern Shore 7-4-2001.
(2) Above right. Whiskey Ditch 7-5-2001.

(3) Above left. Bayou Tallapoosa 8-12-2001.
(4) Above right. Little Dauphin Island 9-22-2001.

(5)(6) Above left & right. Fort Morgan Beach 8-25-2001.

(7) Above left. Stormy Sand Island 9-3-2001.
(8) Above right. My first kayak trip - Presley's Lake 6-16-2001

Sunday, August 14, 2005

08/14/2005 – Dauphin Island to Sand Island

Launch: Southeast end of Dauphin Island by the rock jetties. Launch Cost: Free. Route: Meander around Pelican Bay to Sand Island and back. Distance: 11.5 miles. Average Speed: 2.2 mph. Time: Approx 5.5 hrs. Pace: Very Slow. Weather: Mostly sunny and Hotter than Hell because there was no breeze.

(1) Above left. Lack of wind generated waves allows you to see the change in underwater topography on the east end of Dauphin Island clearly by the change in the water’s surface. Photos may entice you to want to kayak the Dauphin Island area. Please keep in mind that open waters are dangerous if you are not familiar with the area. Sand Island to the Light House is one place to be respected due to the shallow depth and deeper channels. Current can be swift and waves can be very confused, meaning waves can come at you from several different directions. The east end of Dauphin Island is another place to avoid. (2) Above right. After pacing back and forth in the heat for a while, and watching a fisherman reel in an angry sting ray, I finally decided to launch the kayak. Minutes after launching, just beyond the rock jetties, I saw a fisherman on a boat reeling in an angry bird. For the bird, it was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and not watching out for flying objects.

(3) Above left. At about this point in the trip, I’m asking myself, “what on earth possessed you to kayak on a day like this?” Air temperature 87, water temperature 91. No lie, water temperature is consistantly running higher than air temperature - DPIA1. One small cloud over Fort Morgan, one small cloud over Dauphin Island. No air movement. Wow, was it hot. One good thing about kayaking, if it gets hot, you’re close to water. Little good water does if there is no breeze to get the cooling effect. (4) Above right. While going southeast along the north side of Sand Island, I heard a “woosh,” turned around, and saw the dolphins. For about 30 blissful minutes, I forgot all about the heat. Then it was time to take a swim and go shell hunting. Then I started out for the Light House, but, after analyzing the fluid supply, I wisely turned around and came back. Decided to do a few practices of getting back into the kayak from deep water, which meant getting wet. Ahhh, deeper water is cooler than shallow water. After the self rescues, the wind finally kicked into high gear at 4 mph, so I put the sail out – mostly to serve as a shield from the sun. It worked. This was one hot, tiring trip.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

08/13/2005 – McNally - Gaillard - TIC

Launch: McNally Park which is just north of the Buccaneer Yacht Club. Launch Cost: Free. Route: Across Mobile Bay and Dog River Channel to Gaillard Island, around the island, across to Theodore Industrial Canal, then back. Distance: 23.2 miles. Average Speed: 3.1 mph. Time: Approx 7.5 hrs. Pace: Leisurely. Weather: Sunny. No breeze. Humid. High heat index.

(1) Above left. A beautiful sunrise on Mobile Bay. (2) Above right. Gaillard Island, still a couple of miles away, is about 5 miles southeast from McNally Park. If you like to see Pelicans, you need to kayak to Gaillard Island, home to 5,000 to 10,000 pelicans and thousands of other birds. It is an experience you won’t forget.

(3) Above left. Lining the entire perimeter of Gaillard Island are large rocks which make it very difficult to land a kayak or any boat. Humans are not welcome on this “dredge material” island, which is how the Pelicans like it. Besides, if you went onto the island, the bugs would eat you alive. (4) Above right. A brown pelican, up close.

(5) Above left. None of the photos I took can express the eerie feeling I felt while kayaking along side hundreds of pelicans. It felt as if I was in a zoo and they were all watching me. (6) Above right. Photo merge taken on the south side of Gaillard Island. We spent a fantastic hour pedaling/paddling together like this. It is because of one man’s vision that I got to experience kayaking with the pelicans. For more info on man made Gaillard Island, click Seabird Haven, Pelicans Thrive, Corps of Engineers, and a power point slide show can be seen at Faulkner.

(7) Above left. A couple of drilling platforms that stand out like a sore thumb. (8) Above right. Polar King, a cable laying vessel, docked by the entrance to the Theodore Industrial Canal.

(9) Above left. When you need to take a break, step onto the pristine beaches of the Theodore Industrial Canal and enjoy your view. Surely fish need iron in their diet besides mercury, right? (10) Above right. McNally Park boat launch after the wonderful trip.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


(Last Updated December 30, 2008.

NOTE: This page is no longer being updated.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

08/07/2005 – Dauphin Island - Sand Island - Fort Morgan

I have not kayaked around the Dauphin Island area since the beginning of July - over a month ago. You'll never guess who was excited to see me back in the Hobie Outback that uses flippers for power...

Launch: Southeast end of Dauphin Island by the rock jetties (see below photo). Launch Cost: Free. Route: Across Pelican Bay to Sand Island, back to Dauphin Island, across Mobile Bay to Fort Morgan and back. Distance: 20.2 miles. Average Speed: 3.0 mph. Time: Approx 7 hrs. Pace: Leisurely. Weather: Mostly sunny with rain storms that would form and quickly dissipate.

(1) Above left. This is a photo of two high tech water toys. Personally, I find the Outback more exciting than the Ultralight. This Ultralight, built by M-squared, a local company out of St. Elmo, according to the pilot, costs about $50,000. The engine alone costs $20,000. The pilot had flown from Fowl River to Sand Island to Fly fish (no pun intended). He really did have a fly fishing rod with him. Fishing was lousy. (2) Above right. The pilot was tinkering with some instruments before cranking up the engine. He then flew off in the direction of Horn Island. When it comes to kayaking in the vicinity of Dauphin Island and Sand Island, there is no telling who or what you run into. Every kayaking trip presents a new adventure.

(3) Above left. Fishing was lousy between Sand Island and the Lighthouse so I went back to the car on Dauphin Island, dropped off the fishing gear and picked up the sail. The lack of clouds looked inviting to cross Mobile Bay, the tides were in my favor, and I’ve never sailed across Mobile Bay. So I put out the sail and started heading across the Bay. It wasn’t long before the winds kicked up due to a storm forming south of Dauphin Island. Winds, combined with some swift currents, provided for less than optimum sailing conditions as shown in the photo. Seeing that it wouldn’t be long before I tipped over, I hauled in the sail and due to the forming storm, headed back toward the launch site. (4) Above right. While heading back to the Rock Jetties, a pod of about 10 dolphin crossed my path. They were in a feeding or playful frenzy. I caught a wave and surfed right in on them quietly. That was a mistake. Two of playful dolphin surfaced so close they almost knocked me over, but luckily, all I got was soaked. After my presence was discovered, they went into showoff mode. I actually think they recognize me from previous meetings. They remember the hunter’s orange hat, which I wear for visibility. On this day, I had a boat go out of its way to “rescue” me. Orange is also a color to use to signal for help.

(5) Above left. Not long after seeing the dolphin, a small black object came into view. Dauphin Island is a receiving site of many migratory birds that fly across the Gulf of Mexico from other countries. Image cropped, here was one tired bird that didn’t have enough energy to finish its flight. The bird, one I don’t recognize off hand, was just standing on a block of wood no bigger than a foot square. Sure hope it made it to land. (6) Above right. Soon as I got back to the launch area, the southern storm broke up and the skies cleared. That was a good enough signal for me to cross the Bay, and this time by pedaling, not sailing. The seas were still a bit too choppy for me to sail. Got to Fort Morgan where I watched a man pull in about a dozen crab nets to yield three crabs. After a quick swim and a snack break, due to a forming storm northwest of Dauphin Island, I decided to haul butt back across (huff/puff). It was starting to get hot. Dauphin Island is visible in the background, about 4 miles away.

(7) Above left. The Fort Morgan Ferry and I crossed paths several times. The folks on board waved and I waved back. No telling what the captain thought of the crazy little boat in the middle of the Bay. (8) Above right. I stopped on the west side of the shipping channel after sprinting across it (huff, puff), to watch a crew boat and a ship pass by, next to Buoy 19, which has three sets of swinging arms and three gongs on it. No significant wakes – I was disappointed.

(9) Above left. On the way back, despite the forming storm, I wanted to check out the dual Exxon platform northeast of Dauphin Island, up close and personal. It is unbelievable what man can do with modern technology. (10) Above right. The storm disappeared as quickly as it formed. Even though conditions were still perfect for kayaking, I had enough sun and fun for the day. This is a photomerge of the launch site by the Rock Jetties as I ended the trip. This makes a great launch site because of the protected waters and the short distance to carry the kayak.

We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came." -John F. Kennedy