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.

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