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.