Saturday, January 13, 2007

01/13/2007 – Dauphin Island

Launch: Southeast end of Dauphin Island by Billygoat Hole just west of the Mobile Ferry launch site.
Launch Cost: Free.
Route: Around the east end of Dauphin Island and back.
Distance: 2 miles.
Average Speed: 3.2 mph.
Time: Approx 45 minutes.
Pace: Leisurely.
Weather: Sunny, temp in the 70s, winds 10-15 mph from the east – a really beautiful day.

1) The road to the end of Dauphin Island was closed at Fort Gaines meaning I could not launch at the Rock Jetties, so I launched next to Mobile Ferry, planning to go around the east end of Dauphin Island and then head to Sand Island.

2) Nice kayaking conditions today – well, almost. Around the east end at the shallows, tide and wind were making the wave action very agitated (3 foot waves with 2 foot spikes on top of the waves). I always like to launch on the south side of the island to avoid east end which can get nasty during peak tidal flow. I chickened out and turned around to paddle inland Dauphin Island. Hey kayakers - there is nothing wrong with chickening out and turning around. If wind, wave, current, or weather looks bad, or you don’t feel comfortable kayaking in the conditions, don’t do it – especially if you are kayaking solo. Go elsewhere or kayak another day. You should be even more cautious in the winter when water temperatures can quickly cause hypothermia. Do you know what temperature the water is where you are kayaking? Even though waters at Dauphin Island are about 60 degrees right now, being in that water temperature can cause unconsciousness or exhaustion in about 2 hours.

3) It is a good thing I turned around! My Hobie Outback Mirage pedal drive unit broke about 10 minutes after turning around. It broke in such a way that I could not fix it, so this trip came to an abrupt end.

4) I had to look at this sign several times and still could not figure out why (DISL) Dauphin Island Sea Lab has a sign that says, “NO DICKING.” Either weather eroded the sign or some prankster did a bit of touch up work on it. Every kayak trip is a new adventure!

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