Wednesday, July 06, 2011

07/06/2011 - Bangs Lake

Launch: Point O' Pines boat launch on Bayou Cumbest.
Launch Cost: $3.00
Destination: Exploratory paddle - First destination was to go up Bayou Cumbest to a canal and see if I could paddle the canal all the way up to the Alligator Farm place on Highway 90. The backup option was to explore the canals around Chevron and explore the north end of Bangs Lake.
Distance: 21.6 miles (round trip)
Paddle time: 6 hours
Weather: Humid morning with a big offshore thunderstorm. Almost no wind. Tide was coming in. Current was less than 1/2 mph.
Caution Note: If you plan on making a kayak trip in this area, make sure you have a GPS and hopefully a pre-defined route or track uploaded into the GPS. The Grand Bay NERR territory is vast and you can easily get lost.
GPS Track: To view or download the GPS track of this trip, Click Here.

Header image is a photo of a wooden pier covered by little crabs.

1) The rising sun colorizes a thunderstorm. Do I go or not? I went.

2) Wonderful sunrise on Bayou Cumbest.

3) After turning into the canal about two miles north of the launch site, there was a bridge with a very low clearance and since the tide was rising, I didn't want to go under and have to portage on the way back. Also, there were two types of mean ass flies beginning to swarm around me in the narrow canal despite being coated with insect repellent.

4) On to plan B which was to kayak over near Chevron and to the upper reaches of Bang Lake. These are sandpiper like birds on the oyster shell shallows. The Chevron refinery can be seen in the background.

5) These two fellows were working the crab traps.

6) We got back to the boat ramp at the same time. This is their haul - about 700 blue crabs. One fellow said they used to catch 2-3 thousand crabs in the old days in the same amount of time. He doesn't know why the crab population went down. With fuel prices rising, cheap competition from other countries driving prices low, high cost of bait, and declining catches, they don't make much money for the hard work they do.

7) At the Point O' Pines launch site, there is equipment pumping oxygen into the water. I couldn't find out why, but, all this area is part of the Grand Bay NERR.

8) There are all sorts of monitoring devices in the Grand Bay Reserve and there are experiments going on.

9) Not many trees in the lower Grand Bay Reserve so I was concerned about thunderstorms forming. Did catch a few rain drops while the sun was still shining.

10) 20 minutes after I got back, the clouds let loose with heavy rain and wicked lightning. I got lucky again.

11) It is pretty easy to identify the edible but salty Pickleweed plant aka Virginia Glasswort (Salicornia ambigua or virginica).

12) Not sure what the name is of this succulent type plant with the fuzzy flowers., I'll research into it and update this post later. (Update: The small succulent like plant is Batis maritima commonly called Saltwort or Turtleweed. Thanks go to Jen at the Grand Bay NWR for identifying the plant.)

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