Saturday, May 29, 2010

05/29/2010 - Wickford RI

Vacation Paddle Trip
The Kayak Centre in downtown Wickford, RI
Destination: Explore the area around Wickford and North Kingstown southwest of Providence, Rhode Island.
Weather: Sunny to Partly Cloudy, wonderful temperature.
To see or download the track of this trip, Click Here.

1) While on vacation in New England I did manage to get in a few kayaking trips. Rented a kayak from The Kayak Centre in Wickford, RI.

2) They were busy.

3) Lots of kayakers on the waters.

4) Lobster traps on a boat.

5) Water was very clear compared to the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta waters. Touching a clam in this photo.

6) There were plenty of small and large rocks along the waters.

7) There nice homes along the shorelines.

8) Wow, check this nice home out.
9) Sadly, a sign of the times - pollution is everywhere!

10) End of the trip - could not go any further up this creek.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

05/23/2010 - Mobile Bay Double Crosser

Launch: McNally Park
Destination: Across Mobile Bay to Fairhope and back.
Weather: Ideal conditions.
To see or download the track of this trip, Click Here.
Caution: I would not advise undertaking this trip unless you have plenty of open water experience and are capable of 20+ mile kayak trips. It is 10.4 miles crossing (one way) from McNally Park to Fairhope Pier.

Header Image

1) Water temperatures are good, tides were good, forecast was good and I felt like burning some calories while listening to Sunday morning Jazz.

2) On the water at sunrise. Nice!

3) Had to slow down for a barge in the ship channel on the way over to Fairhope. Interesting name for the tugboat.

4) Got to see another ship on the way back as it was heading up the ship channel toward Mobile (the city skyline barely visible on the horizon).

5) The slick waters on the bay made for a wonderful mesmerizing trip over to Fairhope as the clouds were flowingly distorted on the water's surface.

6) On the way back across the bay the winds were 0 mph. Open water kayaking conditions just do not get any better than this.

7) Cute little family of geese by the Fairhope Pier. Oil booms can be seen in the background. There were no booms near the Fairhope beach.

8) A seagull up close.

9) The trip conditions were so nice that I decided to drop down on the return crossing and loop around Gaillard Island. It meant more mileage, but when you are in kayaking nirvana, life is better than good. Birds galore as usual around Gaillard Island.

10) Brown and white pelicans, terns, herons, ibis, ruddy turnstones, egrets, gulls, and more can be seen around Gaillard Island. It is a birder's paradise.

11) On the south side of Gaillard Island crews were putting out oil booms. Someone on this lead boat hollered at me so I headed over. He said the boom was solid all the way to the southwest corner with no way to get around it because it was tied off to the shore.

12) I asked if I could just paddle over it and he no problem, so to the right I went. It was easy to paddle over the oil boom.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

05/22/2010 - Dog Paddle Races

Launch: Dog River Park (Formerly Luscher Park)

Header Image

1) Taken on the way back to Dog River Park after setting out race buoys.

2) Around 20 racers participated in the Dog Paddle 4 mile race. It is sad to see so little participation in a local kayaking event on such a beautiful day. It would not surprise me at all if the organizers decided to quit putting this event together. (Update: The Dog Paddle organizers did decide to stop putting on the annual Dog Paddle Races.)

3) It didn't matter if you were a serious racers or a recreational kayaker, fun was had by all. Here were some kayakers getting ready for the 1/2 mile Fun race.

4) The boat and kayak launch area.

5) After the kayak races were over, a group of local black kids ransacked the pavilion area wasting at least a case of the event's good water bottles by throwing them at each other - FULL, and opening them up and slinging the water out at each other, too. 

6) I asked one of the hoodlums, "Y'all are going to clean up your mess, right?" The answer was, "Yes" as they proceeded to disappear. They must feel like a million bucks knowing they are free and can do whatever they want to piss off the white people.
There are a lot of people who have spent significant time and effort to make Dog River Park a nicer and cleaner park and the park gets trashed before the event is even over? Can't blame this trash on a rain event. Dog River Park doesn't stand a chance against the uncaring people who trash it with pride. My deepest sympathy goes to the Parks department and City employees whose job it is to clean Pig Park. I think Pig Park aka Dog River Park aka Luscher Park aka Navco Park should be abandoned as a lost cause. Let the locals wallow in their sty. Precious city resources should be spent elsewhere. The alternative would be to fence it in, have armed on-site security personnel to keep the riffraff out and enforce the park rules, and lock it up at night.

Friday, May 21, 2010

05/21/2010 - Dog River

Launch: Dog River Park (Formerly Luscher Park)

Header Image

1) Sunrise at the boat dock at Dog River Park.

2) The sun peaked behind the clouds. It is starting to feel like summer.

3) Today I was working out the exact buoy location for the Dog Paddle races and testing out the distances.

4) It was amusing to see some geese immediately head toward the green buoy I had just set out. They must have been looking for the goose that laid the big green egg.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

05/15/2010 - Mobile River

Launch: Causeway Boat Ramp (just west of Oysterella's restaurant)
Destination: Mobile River Loop

Header Image

1) Sunrise while kayaking on the water sure is sweet.

2) The north and south ends of Spanish River have oil booms in place to be able to completely span the river if needed.

3) A few trees blocked the wind on Spanish River making for smoother waters.

4) A tugboat in Mobile River seen across marsh grasses.

5) You often see negative assessments on this blog about waterways such as Bayou la Batre. To be fair, here is a positive report today.

6) Mobile River is a industrial river full of big ships, fuel services, and even petroleum storage facilities. Not once in the many times kayaking down Mobile River have I ever seen any petroleum sheens on the water. The companies along the river as well as tugboat and ship operators deserve great praise for their professionalism and care for the environment. Thank you very much!

7) Dredge pipes.

8) This is the ship Onego Monsoon loading or unloading lumber. The port of Mobile moved 135,200,000,000 pounds of cargo in 2008 according to an internet article. Wow! This waterway is remarkably clean for having moved that amount cargo.

9) City of Mobile skyline seen from beautiful Mobile River.

10) Passengers disembark from the Carnival cruise ship Fantasy. Can you see the two people painting the ship?

05/15/2010 - Bayou la Batre

Launch: Bayou la Batre Public Launch
Destination: Bayou La Batre

Header Image

1) Decided to kayak here today to see if anything has changed in two weeks because crews have supposedly been feverishly cleaning the coastlines of debris. They forgot about the Bayou la Batre area. Dozens of oil crisis workers getting off the boom placement boats walked right past here.

2) West side of Bayou la Batre near the entrance.

3) Why are we wanting to protect this waterway if it is a dump for trash and petroleum products?

4) More shoreline trash.

5) The smell of petroleum was strong in Bayou la Batre today but it wasn't from BP's accident. Surely this can't be good for wildlife.

6) I reported the petroleum spill to the nearby Marine Police and the Coast Guard. They thanked me for reporting it but I didn't see any response. People get hefty fines levied on them for dumping sediment (dirt) into streams, so surely there should be consequences to people dumping fuel into our water, wouldn't you think? I'm perplexed that four times in a row I paddled this waterway and each time it involved going through a petroleum spill.

7) Are they putting booms off Bayou la Batre point to protect the sensitive areas from the Gulf Oil Spill or from the petroleum ladened waters of Bayou la Batre?

8) You can't paddle to Coffee Island unless you know where the oil boom gate is and it was no where in sight.

9) It is nice to see there are some birds in this area even though it is sad they have to search through the trash for their food.

10) Dead sea turtle seen on the way back from Coffee Island most likely related to the oil spill. Since we aren't allowed to touch dead wildlife, I left it there.