Sunday, April 02, 2006

04/02/2006 – Sand Island

Launch: Southeast end of Dauphin Island by the rock jetties. Launch Cost: Free. Route: South to the far end of Sand Island, then northwest along the north side of Sand Island to the pier, then back down Sand Island, then back up Sand Island, then east along the south side of Dauphin Island back to the rock jetties. Distance: 14.7 miles. Average Speed: 2.5 mph. Time: Approx 6 hrs. Pace: Leisurely. Weather: Sunny, temp 70 degrees, 90 percent humidity; winds 10-15 mph out of the south; normal current and tides making this a perfect open water kayaking day. Type kayak: Pedal. I like using a stable pedal kayak in open waters.

(1) Above left. After about an hour of pedaling I arrived at the southeast end of Sand Island where the shore birds are bountiful. I interrupted all but one from their slothful morning rest. (2) Above right. This is the DUKE, a 44 foot long educational boat. Today the education looked like it was fishing. Kayakers around Dauphin Island can now look forward to seeing tour boat operators in the area. I did not see any shrimp boats or dolphin today.

(3) Above left. Two different groups of people decided to swim from Dauphin Island to Sand Island. Swimming that distance is not as easy as it looks. I quickly got the kayak launched and stood by for rescues. It looked like it was a struggle for some of them as they fought the minimal current (high tide), but they all got across without assistance. (4) Above right. These are some of the young kids that swam across from Dauphin Island. When that condo under construction in the background is filled to capacity, I wonder if Dauphin Island prepared to deal with the population explosion.

(5) Above left. This is the southeast end of Sand Island. The waters are getting clear enough to see fish and stingrays. (6) Above right. According to Jerry LaBella’s web site, little stingrays like this are way more dangerous than any alligator. About 5,000 people are stung each year by stingrays. There is a good story about what happens to someone who gets stung here.

(7) Above left. Here are some gull darn jokes! Question: What do you call a man with a seagull on his head? Answer: Cliff. Question: Why do seagulls live near the sea? Answer: Because if they lived near the bay, they would be called bagels. (8) Above right. Look closely on the bottom of the royal terns behind their legs and you will see a bulge. This looks like a pair of expecting royal terns. Speaking of terns, “Did you hear about the butcher that fell in love with one the royal terns in the pet store? The butcher had no cash so the pet store owner agreed to give the butcher the royal tern in exchange for some of his delicious German sausage. The deal was made. It seems the butcher took a tern for the wurst. Heeheehee. Well, at least a two of the birds laughed at the jokes…

(9) Above left. I once thought it might be possible to put stairs on the end of the Dauphin Island Pier to Sand Island. Where there was sand at the end of the pier two months ago is now water so that idea won’t work because the sand keeps shifting significantly in this area. (10) Above right. There is much to be said for being able to take a walk among the birds on a remote island. I hope Sand Island and Dauphin Island never come together because it will ruin the remoteness of Sand Island that is so alluring.

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