Launch: Public boat ramps in Bayou La Batre. Launch Cost: Free. Route: Up Bayou La Batre about 5 miles and back. Distance: 9.8 miles. Average Speed: 2.4 mph. Time: Approx 4 hrs. Pace: Slow. Weather: Partly to mostly cloudy, 68 degrees with 15 to 25 mph winds from the southeast, 98 percent humidity, and current and tide minimal. (Click on photos for larger view.)
(1) Above left. I went to the protected waters of Aloha Bay near Dauphin Island Airport and found the waters were too shallow to pedal in. I did not want to get wet from the big waves in the open waters, so, the next choice was kayak in Bayou La Batre. (2) Above right. Near the entrance to Bayou La Batre, abundant trash still lines the shore and plastic bags still cling to the trees. It is sad to see that very little has been done to clean up the river banks.
(3) Above left. Upstream from the lift bridge, Rosa laevigata, aka Cherokee Rose was hanging from some trees. (4) Above right. Also saw several Crinum americanum, aka String Lily, Seven-Sisters Lily, but mostly known as Swamp Lily.
(5) Above left. In the back of a building, every minute or two, a pile of oyster shells would come shooting out of one of the many covered holes in the wall. Seagulls would immediate land on the oyster shell pile and start hunting scraps of oysters. (6) Above right. The upper part of Bayou La Batre reminds me of Fly Creek. Ducks like to paddle along with you. Cute little thing.
(7) Above left. Statue like deer are hanging out by the concrete bus stop monument. Hmmm. (8) Above right. This once nice tree house took a beating from last year’s storms. I doubt insurance will cover it even though the house was built to be flood proof.
(9) Above left. Floor to ceiling, this boat was crammed full with crab pots. (10) Above right. Shrimp boats in Bayou La Batre as the sun was peeking out from between the clouds.
(11) Above left. Near the entrance to Bayou La Batre, a big crane built on a barge slowly extricates a shrimp boat. To give you an idea of the immensity of the task, look closely at the bottom of the bow of the shrimp boat. There is a backhoe digging out a path to drag the shrimp boat through. The saga of the stranded shrimp boats in Bayou La Batre continues. Removal funded by foreign nations? (12) Above right. The Titan Maritime jack-up salvage barge Karlissa B sits idle. Karlissa B raised the Hunley. What is the Hunley? Click here. It is always fun to explore Bayou La Batre. For a memorable kayaking experience, mark this on your calendars - Blessing of the Fleet - first Sunday in May.