Saturday, November 12, 2005

11/12/2005 – Bayou La Batre

Launch: Bayou La Batre public boat ramps. Launch Cost: Free. Route: Pedal a little over 4 miles up Bayou La Batre and return. Distance: 8.5 miles. Average Speed: 2.9 mph. Time: Approx 3 hrs. Pace: Leisurely. Weather: Sunny, in the 70s, with light winds from the east and southeast - a beautiful kayaking day. Minimal tides and current.

(1) Above left. View from the launch site showing boats off in the marsh on the west side of Bayou La Batre. Removing the boats from land has been postponed until it is decided on who is going to pay for their removal. Removing the beached boats might cost as much as $60,000 each. (2) Above right. A warehouse that was demolished by wave action. You can see more photos of the damage to Bayou La Batre, including another shot of this warehouse by clicking here, and here. Also, this site has some interesting slide shows.

(3) Above left. One sunk shrimp boat and one leaner boat. I expected to see trees leaning in the water and more sunken boats and was pleased to see only a few boat casualties and almost no downed trees. Most of the damage I saw in Bayou La Batre looked to be surge and wave related. (4) Above right. The Bayou La Batre lift bridge is still in working order.

(5) Above left. The New Orleans Lady shrimp boat looks in pretty good shape and provided a nice reflection on the water. (6) Above right. An interesting looking boat. The IX-514 is a Helicopter Landing Trainer (HLT) ship that has been around since the late 60s and Viet Nam. It was also known as the YFU-79.

This was a beautiful day to kayak. Bayou La Batre is in good shape for kayaking if you don’t mind oil sheens on your kayak. My white kayak had a black bottom after taking it out of the water. At home it took some serious cleaning with detergents to get the black oil off the kayak. There has been oil and chemicals leaking from sunken shrimp boats in Bayou La Batre for as long as I’ve been kayaking there. I don’t anticipate that addition of a few new sunken boats will change the government’s view on hazardous materials leaking into those waters. What a shame.

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