Launch: Fairhope Yacht Club. Launch Cost: Free. Route: South about 1.2 miles to Fairhope Pier where I had volunteered to help out with the Grandman Triathlon. Distance: 6 miles. Average Speed: 2.6 mph. Time: Approx 3 hrs. Pace: Leisurely. Weather: Warm and hazy.
(1) Above left. Salmon colored sunrise from near the Fairhope Yacht Club. (2) Above right. Another early morning photo from the Eastern Shore near Fairhope.
(3) Above left. Steve in his sharp looking homemade kayak gets into position as race time nears. The swimming portion of the race is broken up into different groups, each group wearing a different colored swimming cap. (4) Above right. Harriet, coordinator for the kayak volunteers, keeps her eye out for any struggling swimmers. Kayakers approach struggling swimmers and let them grab onto the end of the kayak until they are rested enough to start swimming again.
(5) Above left. Since a large portion of the swimming event is in shallow water, many swimmers walk or bounce most of the distance. Here, several kayakers are following the last wave of swimmers who are walking in waist deep water. (6) Above right. Two kayakers are heading south after the event, passing the Martin House Condominiums. The pier in the background, damaged by last year’s hurricanes, is still being repaired.
I started surfing some small waves on the way back to the Fairhope Yacht Club in my Hobie Mirage pedal boat, with the brand new Turbo flippers. Sadly, the composite plastic housing on the pedal unit broke during a quick sprint to catch a wave. The stainless steel shaft is eroded and squealing. The pedal unit, rusted, is also worn out. It is quite disappointing to have to be replacing half the parts on the pedal unit when it is only a year old. The new unit had already broken several times in the past. 5 weeks later, and I’m still waiting on parts. Hobie Mirage owners, beware – you better take along a spare drive unit or be prepared to paddle back.