Launch: Southeast end of Dauphin Island by the rock jetties. Launch Cost: Free. Route: Along south side of DI to Pier, down north side of Sand Island and across Pelican Bay back to the launch site. Distance: 7.8 miles. Average Speed: 3.2 mph. Time: Approx 2.5 hrs. Pace: Leisurely. Weather: Sunny and warm, 10-15 mph winds from the Northeast. Waves 1-2 feet.
(1) Above left: This house, which I expected to be gone, only suffered minor damage from the recent hurricanes. It lost the utility room on the bottom and some decorative wood webbing. To see what it looked like in July, click here. (2) Above right. Near the golf course, all the pine trees have a distinct lean to them. Pine needles are reddish brown from storm damage.
(3) Above left. More of the southeast corner of Sand Island has disappeared while the sand continues to build up near the pier. One can actually wade in the water to the end of the pier. Beware! The gap between Sand Island and Dauphin Island is narrower, so currents could be more dangerous. (4) Above right. The top quarter of Sand Island is coated with dead sea grasses up to 4 feet deep mixed with all kind of debris. Even though the Sand Island has shifted and moved, most of it is in very good shape. I had no trouble finding marine life.
(5) Above left. Here, the beach is littered with many moon or figure-eight jellyfish – mostly harmless. (6) Above right. This jellyfish was not a figure-eight jellyfish. Since it only had a couple of dark tentacles, I’m thinking it might be a box jellyfish, which is one jellyfish you don’t want to get stung by.
(7) Above left. Yet another type of jellyfish, this one being called a cannonball jellyfish because it is rigid and can get to the size of a soccer ball – mostly harmless. (8) Above right. There appears to be more birds now than before the storms, so if you like bird watching, the southeast end of Sand Island is still a great kayaking and bird watching destination.
(9) Above left. The sands of Sand Island did shift considerably in some places and toward the end, there are now ridges of sand separated by shallow waters. Watch where you walk! (10) Above right. Saw quite a few stingrays and almost stepped on a flounder, too. This was an excellent trip, but it was cut short by building thunderstorms. Thankfully, the storms didn’t really affect kayaking conditions – you still need to be careful and watch conditions judiciously. There were two things absent from this trip - I saw no shrimp boats and no dolphin which are normal sights. I hope both return.