Saturday, June 11, 2011

06/11/2011 - Presley's Lake and Escatawpa River

Launch: Presley's Lake
Launch Cost: $5.00
Destination: Up Escatawpa River about 4-5 miles and return.
Distance: 9.4 miles (round trip)
Paddle time: 3-1/2 hours
Weather: Sunny, almost no wind, and hot!
GPS Track: To view or download the GPS track of this trip, Click here.

Header image. Presley's Outing has a nice firm sandy beach to launch your kayak on.

1) Presley's Lake beach and kayak launch area.

2) Maggie with the Mobile Bay Canoe and Kayak Club led a group paddle up the Escatawpa River and the paddle was to end with self rescue practice. Paddlers from left to right are Richard, Maggie, Linda and Jerry.

3) We had to be watchful for large wasp nests in the limbs along the river. This is Jerry in his Current Designs kayak.

4) Not only did we have to watch for wasp nests in the tree limbs, but also people in trees. Do you see the young girl about to jump out of the tree?

5) The water sure looked inviting. Maggie and Linda chat while leisurely making their way up river. The current was negligible in the wider portion of the Escatawpa but when it narrowed down, current was running about one mile an hour.

6) Not only did we have to watch out for people in trees, people including infants could also be found in the middle of the river.

7) Linda is paddling by some yellow pond lilies and floating heart aquatic plants that float on the surface of the water.

8) A close up shot of a floating heart flower (Nymphoides aquatica or cordata).

9) With temperatures in the 90 degree range, the water provided a very pleasant cooling experience. A short lunch ensued.

10) Maggie and Linda swapped kayaks for testing purposes.

11) According to the owner, this dog was fishing. I suspect it was trying to stay cool.

12) A small turtle wanted the opposite - to get warmed up by the sun.

13) Going downstream did not require much paddling effort. Notice no one has paddle in the water... What is a trip on the Escatawpa near Presley's lake without the hassle of boaters and beer? While many boaters were courteous, some were not. 
The word Redneck comes to mind.

14) In the case of this knee-boarder, the word A$$hole comes to mind. On purpose, he completely swamped my kayak with water on his second attempt to get me wet. Little did he know I had the camera in front of me and was ready this time. This picture is worth one word. Busted! The rest of the kayakers in the group are lined up along the edge of the river, ready to ride out the boat wakes. I'd like to hear him trying to talk his way out of this with the marine authorities who now have a copy of the photos, including one with their boat registration number. Idiots like this can get someone hurt, including himself. He might not appreciate a paddle upside his head as he glides by two feet from my kayak. There is absolutely no reason for a speeding boat or water skier going full speed to be within a paddle reach of a kayak.
Sidenote: Maggie encouraged everyone to practice self-rescue after the trip. Thank you Maggie! I had not tried to do a self rescue (get back into the kayak after a capsize) with this kayak since I bought it over a year ago. Oh heck, I practiced self rescues 6 years ago. It's like riding a bicycle, right? This experienced kayaker did not know how to remove the air from the paddle float. It was a new paddle float that I'd never used before. Have you ever tried to get a paddle float off your paddle while it is inflated? Have you ever tried to paddle with a paddle float stuck on the end of your paddle? Maggie came to the rescue and showed me the trick to deflate the paddle float. Do YOU know how to use YOUR gear? I didn't. (Head hanging shamefully low.)

When water temperatures are cold, you can quickly lose the use of your limbs. Knowing how to get back in a kayak quickly is important. If you have not practiced self rescue in your current kayak and using your current gear, I encourage you to do so while the water temperatures are warm. It may not be as easy as you think. Some kayaks are definitely easier to re-enter than others and the process of getting back in can be physically exhausting after a dozen attempts or practices. (You'll probably experience a few bruises on your legs a few days later...)

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