Saturday, September 03, 2011

09/03/2011 - Dog River Tropical Massage

Launch: Home
Destination: Mobile Bay to play in the waves.
Distance: 19 miles (round trip)
Paddle time: 5 hours
Weather: Temp about 78 degrees, Winds 10-30 mph out of the east. Cloudy. Falling tide. Current negligible. Tropical Storm Lee was starting to make its debut today.

Header Image is a photo of a dock. Most of the birds I saw today were content to just sit around and watch the rain and wind. I understand their joy. Being pelted by wind blown rain methodically while hearing wind howl through sail boat masts was like having an open air massage. I feel so relaxed now. Gonna sleep well tonight.

I wanted to look at area docks to see if home owners took any precautions for strong winds and storm surge and most of them did. There were docks with chairs, like these white ones, dangerously close to being swept away, but the chairs were cabled down.

Before I left this morning, I saw two squall lines that would eventually affect the kayak trip. This was the edge of the first squall. Note the calm waters that I had been paddling in. Alba Club is visible on the left shoreline.

As the squall passed, I took refuge under the covered boat docks at Alba Club. I know what you're probably thinking, "He's an idiot." I would not have gone on this trip today in a regular paddle kayak. It is easy to pedal the Hobie in the wind and I have plenty of open water experience. Severe thunderstorms with strong winds are common here.

I waited for about 15 minutes for the wind and rain to let up. Beyond Alba Club, the seas were choppier - much different from photo 2. I ended up closing up the umbrella because it was so much easier to control the kayak. The rain actually felt good.

Up at Dog River bridge, the wave size increased to include some 3 footers. Beyond the bridge east out into Mobile Bay, because of all the nearby bulkheads, the waves were non-uniform and confused, but I was able to move about freely. However, just west of the bridge, the waves were perfect for surfing and boy did I have fun going back and forth at the entrance to Dog River.

On the way back, just before the second squall line hit and the rain came down in blowing sheets, a flock of unusual birds flew overhead. Thought there were Kites because of the tail, but these had curved beaks. I think they were a flock of Magnificent Frigatebirds. Never seen this species of birds before and they to use their wings to dance in the wind. Awesome.

Due to the heavy rain in the second squall, I pedaled upstream to see if there was a river of trash flowing in Dog River. No trash flowing at all. After all that rain, no current was even visible. How odd. The ground must have been soaking up a lot of water. After seeing trash in people's yards deposited sometime earlier at high tide, it was apparent that I missed the first flush. Roadside ditches that collect litter crap are like a toilet. Once the water gets flowing (flushed), most of the crap disappears down the tube and few care where it goes from there. Out of sight, out of mind.

Even though there wasn't a "river" of trash, litter from the first flush was still visible.

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