Monday, September 05, 2011

09/05/2011 - Dog River

Launch: Home
Destination: Dog River entrance to Mobile Bay to play in the waves.
Distance: 13 miles (round trip)
Paddle time: 4 hours
Weather: Air temperature about 78 degrees, Winds 15 with gusts to 30 mph out of the south and southeast. Mostly cloudy. High tide with a 3 foot storm surge. Current about 0.5 mph. Water temp about 80 degrees.

Header image is a photo of pelicans taking refuge behind The Rivershack Restaurant while a momentary opening in the clouds allowed the sun to shine down.

Conditions were calm on the sheltered side of Dog River at take off (launch).

Pelicans seemed to be congregating in areas sheltered from the wind. The drenching rains have turned the drought brown grass to the color of spring green.

The Grand Mariner Restaurant and fuel station. Water levels were 2-4 feet above normal. I smelled petroleum but did not see any petroleum sheens on the water.

Pelicans were relaxing behind The Rivershack Restaurant.

Dog River Fuel and Supply dock - underwater. 

I don't believe gas pumps and water mix. Yikes.

Scenic Yacht Basin parking lot was under water. Luckily for the motorcyclist, the water was not that deep.

The end of Tropical Storm Lee and 3 wonderful days of kayaking.

Above: A 4 minute video of kayaking fun in a tropical storm. Enjoy.

Note of Caution: Two young kayakers ventured out into Mobile Bay while it was calm between feeder bands today south of Dog River. According to WKRG, the lucky kids, experienced kayakers and lifeguards, were found near midnight after about an 8 hour swim in Mobile Bay, mostly in the dark. One news report said they were not wearing life jackets. Experienced kayakers and lifeguards, not wearing a life jacket while venturing out into the wide open fetch of Mobile Bay while under a Gale Warning? Duh! Praises galore to the Coast Guard and Alabama Marine Police, plus everyone that was involved in the successful search.

I do not advocate kayaking in adverse conditions (small craft advisory, and especially today with a gale force advisory). Even though I kayaked in these conditions today, I stayed close to sheltered waters, have plenty of experience in open water, and was kayaking with a pedal boat which makes all the difference in the world when it comes to moving the kayak through the wind. I would not have gone kayaking in today's conditions with a paddle kayak because strong wind and paddles do not mix well - one gust of strong wind hitting the paddle and over you go. Also, the Adventure kayak is a wide, STABLE kayak, which also makes a big difference in choppy water. Choose your kayaking locations sensibly on windy days. They should have known that tides 4 feet above normal were going to drop quickly meaning there would be strong current going against opposing wind which can generate wicked seas, especially when the winds change direction like they were doing with Lee.

Think twice before venturing out into conditions on the water that you are not comfortable with, be it current, wind, waves, temperatures, etc. If in doubt, DON'T! Kayaking is FUN, but, hey, be careful out there! Wear that life jacket, especially in adverse conditions.

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