Tuesday, September 27, 2011

09/27/2011 - Mobile River

Launch: Shirley's (US Hwy 90 across from battleship USS Alabama)
Launch Cost: Free
Destination: Mobile River to look see the latest status of the Oil Spill cleanup activities.
Distance: 18 miles (round trip)
Paddle time: 5-1/2 hours
Weather: Temp from 77 to 84 degrees, Winds 0-15 mph from the north. Mostly sunny. Rising tide. Current in Mobile River 1-2 mph. Water temperature about 78 degrees.

Header Image - a heron is already fishing at dawn's first light.

Launching about an hour before sunrise to avoid the afternoon heat.

Watching the sunrise across Delvan Bay.

The kayak would glide up on fish and they would startle me by abruptly bolting out of the way.

Still in Spanish River, a fish jumps out of the water as I'm about to pick up an abandoned fishing bobber. The Pontoon Saloon can be seen in the background.

Herons facing off along the shoreline.

A great blue heron awkwardly flies over the water while croaking loudly like a bullfrog with throat cancer.

The forecast called for winds from the southwest. About the time I went under the Cochrane Bridge, a wave of clouds approached and the winds picked up from the Northwest to about 15 mph. It provided a nice tailwind but left the waters choppy. Had to put on a sprayskirt. Current was also running about 1.5-2 mph in Mobile River, well above the forecast.

One of those sandpiper like dowidget sand munching birds.

The cruise ship Norwegian Spirit, out of the Port of New Orleans, carries over 2000 passengers, was getting some work done here in Mobile. Could this be our new cruise ship?

Rear view of the Navy's first Joint High-Speed Vessel (JHSV) christened on Sep 17, 2011 at Austal. The JHSV Spearhead is designed for rapid transport of troops and military equipment. The 338-foot-long aluminum catamaran is fast. I could have paddled under the vessel but I didn't want to go to jail.

A blue-eyed white ibis on the left and a believe this is a juvenile little blue heron on the right.

A juvenile white ibis.

I went down Mobile River to see the status of the Oil Cleanup at Gulf Coast Asphalt. No cleanup activity could be seen and the strong winds out of the northwest made it difficult to take photos near the spill area. No change on the oil caked shorelines - guess they are going to let nature degrade the oiled shoreline. The good news is no petroleum sheens were seen along the east side of the river like I saw last visit. However, at the entrance to Chickasaw Creek (well north of the oil spill), there was some sort of chemical/petroleum sheen on the water. I'm assuming it came from the greased up swing bridge. Unable to trace the source.

On the other end of Mobile River near the entrance to Mobile Bay, another petroleum sheen was seen. There were about a half dozen people working on nearby machinery that overhangs the water at the state dock facility. Unable to trace the source. I'm assuming it came from the machinery. There wasn't enough quantity of spill to justify a call to the National Response Center (NRC). I hope seeing oil in Mobile River doesn't become a regular thing like it is for me in Bayou La Batre.

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