Saturday, December 02, 2006

12/02/2006 - Dog River Christmas Parade

Launch: Hoppe’s Launch on the northwest side of the Dog River bridge at Dauphin Island Parkway. Launch Cost: $5. Route: Pedal northwest then west to the Rangeline Road Bridge on Rattlesnake Bayou and then back. Distance: 13.7 miles. Average Speed: 2.9 mph. Time: Approx 6 hrs. Pace: Moderate during afternoon paddle, then stationary during parade. Weather: Sunny, temps in the 50s-60s. 10 mph winds from the northwest, low tide, minimal current.

NOTE: You may notice the usual 2 side-by-side photos post format that I had been using has gone to a single photo per line format. The blog had to be rebuilt after losing the links to the Picasa web site and the new Blogger editor no longer allows friendly movement of photos - it is near impossible to re-create the 2 photo side by side format. I'm sure that having to meet the needs of new media, like Ipads and Iphones forced the Blogger to make changes. Anyway, the text below the photos apply to the photo above the text.

1) This is the bridge under Rangeline Road at Rattlesnake Bayou
2) The moon came up during the trip back to the launch site.
3) As the sun lowered on the horizon, parade boats started making their way to the start of the parade, which was about 2 miles to the northwest.

4) Another boat headed waiting till it gets dark to turn on their lights.

5) I had planned to launch at the Beachcomber on the southwest side of Dauphin Island Parkway, but they wanted $8 to launch, so I went to Hoppe’s, not far from where this photo was taken, where I was returning to pick up a 12v battery and light. Sadly, the woman at Hoppe’s that was expecting to be busy on this evening only had one kayaker for business.
6) Having stopped briefly to gear up to be legal (visible light), and warm, I returned at sunset to watch the parade. The winds died down and waters slicked off. This was a nice sunset!

7) The clouds turned pinkish as the ducks watched the sunset.

8) This is the first year I’ve gone out in a kayak to watch this river parade. My reason for not attending a parade in the past has been the cold. After pedaling all afternoon in shorts and bare feet, this evening, as temperatures quickly dipped down to 49 degrees, I now had on sweat pants, Chota boots, a couple of sweatshirts, and gloves. I wasn’t cold a bit except when taking photos (without gloves). It took a while for the boats to make their way down Dog River, but it was worth the wait.

9) I’ve kayaked along the Bayou La Batre Blessing of the Fleet several times now and I must say that Christmas on Dog River was much more exciting. Crowds along the river were roaring as the beautiful parade boats and yachts passed by. It was like Mardi Gras, with people on the boats throwing beads and candy.

10) There was Christmas music blaring from many boats and “Merry Christmas” was the greeting that was being shouted from all the parade boats in this family atmosphere event.

11) These photos are still images – most boats had flashing lights, moving objects, and the colorful reflections continually flickered on the water. The boats started looping in the narrow area of Dog River near the DIP bridge for quite a while.

12) I’m really sorry for not attending Christmas on Dog River before now. You can bet that I’ll bundling up next year to experience this parade from the water. Who knows, I might even decide to decorate up my kayak with flashing lights and join the parade in a Santa outfit. Thanks to all of you in the parade who decorated your boats. I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas on Dog River.

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