Tuesday, March 30, 2010

03/30/2010 - Lower Crab Creek / Tensaw River - Six Tributaries

Launch: Causeway Boat Ramp (just west of Oysterella's restaurant)

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1) Late morning started off perfect - sunny, calm waters and no wind. Had started to do the Mobile River loop but changed the mind due to a windy afternoon forecast.

2) Started by doing a loop around Delvan Bay and went up the narrow tributary at the top of Delvan Bay.

3) Blooming Shoreline Sedge (Carex hyalinolepis) was very abundant along the banks in some areas.

4) The flower on a Black Willow tree (Salix nigra).

5) Wax Myrtle (Myrica cerifera) aka Bayberry. A sprig of aromatic Wax Myrtle kept in a drawer is said to keep cockroaches out.

6) Today's kayak trip was rather exciting because the route included going up into six different unnamed tributaries until it got too shallow or over grown to go any further.

7) Red maples were still in seed.

8) An osprey eagle coming in for a landing on its nest.

9) Saw a lot of alligators today.

10) Quite a few alligators scared the daylights out of me as they wildly thrashed to get into the water, usually before I ever saw them.

11) A rare place of rest for the weary kayaker in the lower marsh lands.

12) As predicted, the winds were rather strong out of the south on the return trip. To see the track of this trip, Click Here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

03/28/2010 - Golden Club Paddle

Launch: Buzbees on Bay Minette Creek

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1) Despite a dreary forecast a day or two early, the rainy weather stayed away and the day turned out nice for the paddle that I led for the kayak club today.

2) John in his "Storm" kayak is about to pass under the hard to see hanging sign that says, "Slow Ahead."

3) Golden Club flowers (the highlight of this trip) were lining the bank of Bay Minette Creek.

4) A closer look at a Golden Club flower, also called Never Wet (Orontium aquaticum). What may appear to be an oil sheen on the water is actually the reflection from a bridge. Golden Club contains calcium oxalate which even a small bite will cause intense sensations of burning in the mouth and throat, swelling, and choking. If greater amounts are ingested, there will be severe digestive issues & breathing difficulties, and if enough is consumed, convulsions, coma, and death.

5) There is a small area near Bromley Road bridge where we got out and had a short lunch break. I thought it was 6 miles to the bridge but it was actually about 4.5 miles.

6) There are some trails leading into the woods near the bridge that could be hiked. Wildflowers like this violet were abundant. Spring is finally here!

7) We decided to explore Bay Minette Creek north of the bridge and managed to get about half a mile upstream before approaching log jams like this.

8) North of Bromley Road bridge, the current also picks up and the water becomes clearer.

9) On the way back we crossed paths with several kayaks and canoes. Winds increased out of the southwest meaning we had to fight a headwind on the way back.

10) This was a wonderful day for getting outdoors, even for Dogs.
To see the track of this trip, Click Here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

03/16/2010 - Mudhole Creek

Launch: Triple Boat Ramps on the Causeway.
Forecast called for mid 60s, so I went with shorts and a t-shirt. The sky quickly clouded up and the temp didn't get much above the mid 50s. Winds were suppose to decrease and instead the wind actually increased and was relentless most of the day. Expected a tailwind on the way home and instead caught a strong cross wind and ended up getting soaked from the chop hitting the kayak from the side. Getting soaked is one of the potential drawbacks of taking the Hobie Adventure sit-on-top out on open waters in windy conditions.

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1) Red Maple Slough was showing its color today.

2) Mudhole Creek also had some red maple coloring. Fought the wind and current most of the day.

3) Dense coverage from an aquatic plant.

4) Today is the first time I've ever seen Glossy Ibis in this area. Not enough shutter speed to get a clear shot.

5) These stupid coot ruined about a half dozen photos today by scaring other wildlife. They flew ahead like this every time I caught up with them almost the entire length of Red Maple Slough.

6) What little time the sun did shine today, it brought out the big beasts.

7) Lots of alligators laying out on the banks today.

 8) Some were quite respectable in size.

9) So much for thinking it was suppose to be sunny all day.

10) Upstream flooding had the Tensaw River current running strong and just north of the Interstate it was interacting with the wind creating some confused wave action. Photos never seem to be able to portray this hazardous area and I'm always relieved make it to the other side of the bridge where waters are calmer without capsizing.
For the track of this trip, Click Here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

03/11/2010 - Big Bay John

Launch: Causeway Boat Ramp (just west of Oysterella's restaurant)

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1) With the warmer weather here (high 77 today), one would expect to see more green. The scenery is still mostly brown.

2) Saw about a dozen alligators today.

3) Osprey Eagle eating some fresh fish.

4) Egrets or Herons coming in for a landing.

5) In the far reaches of Bay Bay John, the water gets stagnant.

6) A nice looking river house on Runamuck Island in the middle of Raft River.

7) Sun is starting to get low looking across Grand Bay.

8) The sun went behind the clouds. This is looking through the cut between Spanish River and Polecat Bay.

9) Sunset over Polecat Bay.

Had hoped for some cloud colorization but it never occurred. This was a beautiful day for kayaking!

To view the track of this trip, Click Here.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

03/06/2010 - Battle on the Bayou Race, Ocean Springs, MS

1) Staging area for the beginning of the Battle On The Bayou Kayak Race 

Above photomerge: Registration and pre-race instructions were held at the Gulf Hills Hotel.
Turnout was great with something like 120 boats entered in the race.
According to the Sun Herald newspaper, there were 150 competitors.
Official results are in. Click here.
(You may have to scroll to see all the photo in photomerges.)

2) Remarkably it only took about 20 minutes to get all the boats on the water.

3) Thus it began - a fine day indeed for a kayak race.
A BIG thumbs up to all the organizers, volunteers, and sponsors!

4) The race ended at The Shed BBQ where participants were treated to a hardy meal and liquid refreshments. In this photo, racers were getting their kayaks out of the water to make way for the incoming finishers.

Battle on the Bayou Track

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