Saturday, October 22, 2011

10/22/2011 - Clean Up The Bottom Failure

Launch: Gulf Lumber Landing
Waterway at Launch: Three Mile Creek
Launch Cost: Free
Destination: One Mile Creek to participate in the Clean Up The Bottom event.
Time picking up trash: 4 hours
Weather: Sunny and warm. Slight breeze. Tide very low. Current negligible. Waters slick. It was a beautiful day.

Photo taken BEFORE the Clean Up The Bottom event, on Oct 13th.

Photo taken AFTER the Clean Up The Bottom event, on Oct 22nd.
The Clean Up The Bottom event, in reference to One Mile Creek and the Maple Street canal was as effective as someone using a squirt gun to clean a cattle hauling trailer that hasn't been cleaned in a decade. To be blunt, it didn't remove much shit.

My gratitude goes to Mobile Bay National Estuary Program for trying to get One Mile Creek cleaned up. It is going to take much more than a 4 hour cleanup with a handful of people to remove the huge amount of trash that the City of Mobile has allowed to flow into the waterway and adjacent bottom lands for years. It doesn't take a lot of money to legislate a ban on styrofoam and sign into law plastic bottle bill legislation. How can Mobile hold BP accountable for pollution when Mobile allows their own creeks look like this? Shame on Mobile leaders and Sam Jones.

Today has really influenced me. The kayaking community was asked to help make a difference on this small one mile creek and only one kayaker that I know of, Marty, came out to help. I had expected dozens but what is that old saying, "expectations lead to disappointment."

I've been spending way too much time blogging about kayaking trips and ranting about litter. No need for me to rant any more - many of the photos on this blog document the reality of the intensity of local pollution. Mankind has long held the belief that humans are a higher species created in the image of God and are the most intelligent animal on Earth. You only need to kayak in Mobile's One Mile Creek to realize that belief is seriously flawed. The number one killer on Earth right now is, no surprise, "Dirty Water," and water born illness is becoming more common in America. Should disaster ever happen in America, you may be forced to drink water from creeks like this.

I feel the need to change priorities. Sorry to disappoint regular visitors to this site - there will be no more posts on here this year. I've also removed the links because no one will be maintaining them. I will leave comments up, but it may be weeks or months before I get around to moderating them (posting them).

Here is a link to a video report made 10 years ago: The Synthetic Sea  Fast forward ten years and look at One Mile Creek. Ignoring the problem is not the solution. Mankind will eventually reap what it sows. Unfortunately, other life on this earth suffers because humans can't live without their disposable plastics and that makes me weep. Here is a startling video of what one current day Albatross bird consumed as the contents of its stomach are examined.  Albatross Diet

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

10/19/2011 - Rabbit Creek

Launch: Home
Destination: Rattlesnake Bayou and Rabbit Creek
Distance: 12 Miles (round trip).
Time Pedaling: 3 hours
Weather: Sunny. Temp 60 degrees. Winds 10-20 mph mostly out of the west. Tide dropping. Minimal current. Waves less than 1 foot. Water temp about 77 degrees.

Header Image I think is a photo of the head of a Tri-colored Heron.

Anywhere near open water the winds were steady with occasional gusts but much less than the gale force winds the forecast had called for.

In more protected waters, the wind was barely noticeable. The water was warmer than the air so if the hands got cold, a quick dip into the water warmed them up.

A tri-colored heron stands on a lichen cover limb in a tree full of Spanish moss.

An osprey eagle soars aloft in the winds.

Seagulls on the water and in the air.

A brown pelican takes off after an unsuccessful dive into the water for food.

Awakened by a kayaker with a camera, the duck stretches it's body to get the blood flowing so it can move.

This was an interesting wooden canoe modified into a sailboat. Some high quality workmanship here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

10/18/2011 - One Mile Creek

Launch: Gulf Lumber Landing
Waterway at Launch: Three Mile Creek
Launch Cost: Free
Destination: One Mile Creek and the Maple Street canal to open up access across blocked areas for the scheduled October 22 Clean Up The Bottom event.
Distance: 3-3/4 miles (round trip).
Time Paddling: 1-1/2 hours
Weather: Sunny and warm. Slight breeze. Tide falling. Current less than 0.5 mph. Waters slick. It was a beautiful day though a bit humid.

Header Image is a photo of White Ibis.

Baby insect eaters (spiders) in the shoreline vegetation.

Will rakes away a vegetation clot blocking the Maple Street canal.

I used an old handsaw to cut through the thicker grass. It was dirty work. There is a layer of trash underneath the grasses.

Diligent work for about an hour led to success. We had opened a channel through the weedberg.

Tom and Will head back out to One Mile Creek.

Where does all the trash that ends up in the waterway come from? Here is one source: Conception Street. The property owners of this location are the City of Mobile (right-of-way), and Illinois Central Gulf Railroad. This litter is a violation of Mobile municipal code.

Do you see a dozen White Ibis in this tree?

Will and Tom paddle on Three Mile Creek and pass by a limb overhanging the water with three White Ibis on it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

10/16/2011 - Halls Mill Creek and Cypress Shores

Launch: Home
Destination: Halls Mill Creek and Cypress Shores area.
Distance: 15 Miles (round trip).
Time Paddling: 4-3/4 hours
Weather: Sunny. Temp in the 80s. Winds 5-10 mph. Tide low to rising. Minimal current. Waves less than 1 foot. Water temp about 77 degrees.

Header Image. May the smiling face on this one legged water skier give you all hope.

A duck crossed in front of the kayak in a peculiar way- it could barely keep its head out of the water.

I followed it to land and then understood why - it had a broken right leg and it struggled to walk to get to its family.

Then, several times today I saw the same Great Egret because when it flew, its right leg dragged in the water. It too had a leg problem.

There was a lot of boat traffic today and one skier was doing all sorts of awesome flips and twists. I didn't mind the boat wake for this type of performance going on in front of me.

This water skier was catching some serious air.

After looking at today's photos more closely at home, I was completely astounded. Everything I was taking photos of today had leg problems. The water skier had a prosthetic leg and I never saw it until reviewing the photos on the computer. I don't know who he is and I hope he doesn't mind me posting these photos of him. What his photos represent is that of hope. Life can be fun and rewarding despite pain and suffering. If you are down and out, feeling hopeless, and feeling pain, don't give up. The things you can accomplish with the right attitude are amazing. This water skier is a prime example of things that can be done regardless of the bad things that happen to people.

Cardinal Flowers are still in bloom.

This stump reflection rotated 90 degrees serves as a reminder that Halloween is about two week away.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

10/15/2011 - St Andrews

Launch: Home
Destination: St. Andrew's waterways. St. Andrews is or was a golf course off Riviere Du Chien road. Other names for the club have been Cypress Creek Country Club and the Linksman Golf Club. I don't know what it is called now. Anyway, I picked up 14 golf balls from the water while remembering the Sabbath by communing with some of the birds that the Creator made. What a spiritual day this was.
Distance: 10 Miles (round trip).
Time Paddling: 3-1/2 hours
Weather: Sunny. Temp in the 80s. Winds 0-5 mph. Tide low to rising. No current. Waves less than 1 foot. Water temp 77 degrees.

Header image is a photo of one of the legs of an American Coot. When it saw me today it ran across the water, jumped on top of my kayak to go over it, and then it kept running on the water surface to get to the other side of the creek.

A little blue heron.

A great egret stretches its wings for a grand take off.

I spent about half an hour watching a young yellow-crowned night heron right in front of me on a mud flat. 

The heron was preening the underside of its wing. Then it went back to eating.

While a big crab claw may intimidate another crab, sticking its big claw in the face of a hungry heron is useless.

If a heron gets a bite on that claw, it is a meal.

The heron plucked up crabs in its beak.

One after another after another.

The heron would then toss the little crabs around while chomping down hard and de-clawing the crab before swallowing it as it is about to do in this photo. This heron quickly ate about a dozen crabs.

Eventually, sated with a swollen belly, the heron lowered its wings, relaxed, and then closed its eyes. This bird was completely napping in tranquility, about two paddle lengths away. I moved away silently without paddling (using hands in mud to move) while thanking my maker for sharing the touching moments.

Friday, October 14, 2011

10/14/2011 - Upper Dog River

Launch: Home
Destination: Upper Dog River
Distance: 15 Miles (round trip).
Time Paddling: 5 hours
Weather: Sunny. Temp in the 80s. Winds 5-10 mph out of the northeast. Tide rising. No current. Waves less than 1 foot. Water temp 77 degrees.

Header Image - baby Muscovy Ducks.

It is a tree rat peering out from behind Spanish Moss.

A red-eye'd American Coot.

A red-eye'd American Coot up close.
A small diving bird - maybe a grebe?

Ooo, Ooo, got one!

Ooo, Ooo, got one!

An osprey eagle doing a dive toward the water. Check out those serious looking claws.

The same osprey using its claws as a fish hook.

A great blue heron.

Weird - an old rusted motor and an old fish on a corroding battery.

Reflections from the water splash a design on the culvert's ceiling.

Today's sunset on Dog River.