Saturday, March 26, 2011

03/26/2011 - Pensacola Kayak Demo Day

Launch: Pensacola Kayak and Sail Company
Destination: Bayou Chico near Pensacola Florida to help out at the Pensacola Kayak and Sail Demo Day for Kayaks. Wanted to help watch for capsizes and be nearby ready to assist. Forecast called for windy conditions but the winds held off during the Demo. Thankfully no one had any problems.
Distance: 12.4 miles
Pedal time: 5 hours
Weather: 75 degrees and mostly sunny. Winds out of the southwest 5-10. Tide coming in. Current minimal. Water temp about 68 degrees.
GPS Track: None for this pedal trip.

1) The launch spot for the Kayak Demos was active from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Ducks were interested in all the activity.

2) At any given time, there were one to two dozen people out on the water testing (demo'ing) a kayak.

3) There were pedal kayaks, sit-on top kayaks, sit-in kayaks, and even Stand Up boards available for anyone to try out.

4) One of the advantages of SUP (Stand Up Paddling) compared to regular kayak paddling is the ability to get a better look into the water. That is especially nice in Florida where one can see deep into the clear waters.

5) There were schools of minnows being pursued by trout (according to a boat captain). The minnows jumped for safety when the kayak came near them.

6) Even sea gulls were pursuing the schools of minnows.

7) This dog had on a life jacket and was keenly watching something in the water.

8) A diving bird called a Cormorant can eat large meals. Click here to see how much they can swallow.

9) Ducks had fun paddling with the paddlers in Bayou Chico.

10) Time to relax for a while as the Kayak Demo day concluded. What an enjoyable day to be out pedaling in Bayou Chico and getting to visit with kayaking friends.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

03/20/2011 - Dauphin Island Is Back

Launch: Desoto Park (Dauphin Island, AL)
Launch Cost: Free
Destination: Katrina Pass (Now completely closed off)
Distance: 16.2 miles (round trip)
Pedal time: 4 hours
Weather: 65 degrees. Winds out of the south 5-10. On protected side of Dauphin Island, current minimal, tide high at start. Water temp about 65 degrees.
GPS Track: To view or download the GPS track of this trip, Click Here.

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1) The pile of rocks now spans across Katrina Pass blocking the pass completely. It was only about 6 months ago when they started filling in the pass. Gone are all the oil barriers associated with the BP oil spill. I'm so happy to see the sandy beaches of Dauphin Island back to normal. Dauphin Island is a great place to kayak.

2) Sea Gulls occasionally stalk Pelicans in hopes of getting a free meal.

3) Down by Katrina Pass the shore birds are plentiful and sometimes the birds will let you get remarkably close so you can watch their rituals. Bring binoculars on kayaks trips down here.

4) Two Royal Terns looking at each other with love in their eyes. The mating game is about to commence.

5) Two kayakers coming back from what appeared to be a camping trip to the west end of Dauphin Island. What an absolutely beautiful day to be out kayaking or enjoying the beach.

6) In some of the pools and along the shorelines, like that in the previous photo, the water was teeming with tiny fish.

7) Speaking of fish, two youngsters were in a small boat trying their luck.

8) Out at the west end of Katrina Pass, the fish were biting as quick as you could bait a hook and cast. This little girl hooked something so big it eventually broke her line. Barely visible in the background are the houses on the west end of Dauphin Island.

9) This fellow is reeling in a little one. It was exciting to watch these people reeling in fish after fish.

10) More proof that the fish were biting.

11) While Dauphin Island is beautiful to kayak around again, there were still signs of the BP oil spill. Crews still work the beaches looking for any signs of tar balls or oil. I guess while they wait for tar balls to roll onto shore, they fish. Notice the fishing poles hanging off one of the vehicles? Or, maybe the public can motor down the beach in these battery powered vehicles now...

12) This oil rig sits in salt water, no security to protect it, deteriorating to the point that the ladder is already rusted in half. Wonder what will happen when all the nuts and bolts on the high pressure valves also break after the rust eats through them... I feel sorry for future generations as the decaying oil rigs start falling apart. I also wonder if all the oil rigs near the shore have been constructed to withstand a tsunami wave. After all, the Gulf of Mexico is subject to earthquakes... You did know there was an earthquake just south of Mobile Bay not long ago, right? With oil companies ignorantly manipulating the inner contents of the earth, who knows what is next...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

03/19/2011 - Pass Picada

Launch: Mobile Causeway aka US Hwy 90 at the Triple boat ramps
Launch Cost: Free
Destination: Pass Picada to watch the Moonrise
Distance: 10 miles (round trip)
Paddle time: 3-1/4 hours
Weather: 70s. Winds out of the south at about 5-10 mph. Current was strong in the Apalachee River. Water temp was about 65 degrees. Paddling on the sheltered side of the Causeway.

I had planned to join the Mobile Bay Canoe and Kayak Club moonrise paddle and for some reason, thought it was on Saturday. It was on Friday... Oh well, I got to see some photographers at the Riverdocs and enjoyed talking to someone who went on the paddle I missed.

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1) First thing noticeable thing on this paddle was loud noise. An airboat was running a regular route from the Bluegill restaurant. It did however, run at idle speed in Pass Picada.

2) The airboats have cut their own paths through the vegetation. With vegetation on the left and right, it gives riders the experience of speed. Unfortunately, when airboats run in places like Savage Ditch, which was once deep enough to take my pedal boat the whole way through it, it is now so shallow due to the shoreline erosion filling in the ditch, that I can't use a pedal boat in it anymore.

3) Another airboat path. You might want to avoid paddling in these paths. The good thing is the paths the airboats have created, have no erosion.

4) A bird was watching the kayak pass by with keen eyes.

5) A bird squawking about the beautiful sunset.

6) Indeed, a beautiful sunset. If you notice the specks in the sky, there were a lot of birds flying overhead.

7) The stump in Pass Picada, enhanced by a flash.

8) It wasn't long after sunset that the big moon rose over the horizon. The moon had a tint of red as it rose. What does a red moon mean?

9) The Bluegill restaurant provides live music starting at 6:00 pm most evenings to adjust your paddle cadence to. You can paddle right up to the dock, kick back and listen. Beverages are available if you are so inclined. You'll want to paddle with a visible light in Pass Picada at night so the airboat can see you.

10) Approaching the crossing of Interstate I-10 and US Highway 90 at night. I love night paddles and the moon provided so much light it actually cast a shadow.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

03/12/2011 - Battle On The Bayou, Ocean Springs, MS

Launch: Washington Street Bridge (Hwy 609) at Old Fort Bayou
Launch Cost: Free
Destination: Old Fort Bayou to watch and take photos of the race.
Distance: 20.5 miles (round trip)
Paddle time: 4-1/2 hours
Weather: Clear, winds calm. Air temp perfect. Tide coming in. Current 0.5 mph. Sunny.

Battle on the Bayou race results: CLICK HERE

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1) There were a lot of participants in the Battle on the Bayou kayak race.

2) The start of the first group - recreational racers. The starting cannon was LOUD - look at the smoke.

3) And they are off!

4) The racer kayaks are of all types - canoes, sit-in kayaks, laid back sit-on-tops, surfskis and more.

5) The start of the second group (fast kayaks) and they are off!

6) The kayak traffic was busy at the very beginning but kayaks spread out quickly.

7) Capsize mishap on the first curve.

8) The Washington Street bridge.

9) Bright Orange is an eye-catcher.

10) A Hobie pedal boat with an outrigger.

11) Racers chatting as they pass each other.

12) The Party Boat - Mardi Gras inflatable kayak.

13) Unless you were in first place, there were always kayaks in front of you as far as the eye could see.

14) I love this photo. Is she dead tired or catching some of the nice rays of warm sunlight?

15) A patriotic racer. Check out the interesting anchor for the flag.

16) There were a lot of different agencies helping out with the well organized race which draws a lot of participation. Young, old, fast, slow - this is a race everyone enjoys.

17) Go Tom Go!

18) The end of the race was at The Shed BBQ. Despite the steady stream of finishers, the exit out of the water was well organized.
If any of you find a particular race photo bothersome and you want me to remove it, email me and tell me which one. Thanks.