Tuesday, August 28, 2012

08/28/2012 - Isaac Tropical Massage

I love kayaking in tropical storms because it is a time to get some kayaking experience in rough conditions. After waiting half the day for a Tropical Storm Isaac feeder band to show up on radar, one finally did. When the rain band was about an hour away, I launched.

Before you go saying I'm an idiot, to set the record straight, I would not intentionally kayak in rough waters using a PADDLE kayak. Winds can snatch the paddle right out of the hand or a gusting wind catching the paddle blade can easily knock a person over. However, in a Hobie PEDAL kayak, with Turbo ST fins below the water, winds do not much affect propulsion until about gale force (over 50 mph). Today's winds were 15-30 mph at most. I'm experienced using a pedal boat in tropical storm conditions. I'm familiar with the waterway, knew the tides, knew the risks, stayed in protected waters, and had emergency plans for several types of things that can go wrong. A trip in these conditions is not taken lightly.

Header image. During one squall winds stayed steady about 20 mph with a few gusts that rocked the kayak. The raindrops pelted my body in a slight stinging massage-like way - it felt good. I closed my eyes while pedaling and was enjoying the exercise experience. Sure beats sitting inside a stinky gym on a stationary bicycle.

Auburn University decided to tie up their boat which displayed no Alabama registration. Should this boat be blown loose it could wipe out property owner docks.

There were several other larger boats blocking a navigable waterway. Luckily I was in a kayak and was able to navigate around the petroleum burning beasts. They should have asked ALL the owners upstream if it would be okay if they blocked the waterway.

On the alee side of the Dog River conditions were nice. Some residents were sitting out on their dock enjoying the weather.

Even some dogs were out enjoying the higher than normal tide. Plastic trash floats nearby.

The horizon darkened and a brief squall line passed through. There were about a dozen boats anchored off Alba Club (seen on the horizon). Only one boat had its lights on.

Hoppe's Launch was a bit under water. The wise owner removed her trailer before the storm hit.

Kayaking down Dauphin Island Parkway just north of Dog River Bridge. The road was closed. Cops started approaching like they were going to detain me, so, I quickly got back out on the open water.

Gas pumps and a huge gas tank at Dog River Marina were all secure and not leaking.

Grand Mariner was close to getting water on their first floor. Luckily the tide was going down.

A bunch of young kids can be seen here walking on a dock that was under a few inches of water.

A little bit of video from today's trip. I had planned to do some kayak surfing up near the Dog River Bridge but due to a lot of debris and a rudder knob that came loose, I decided not to surf the 4 foot waves that were moving about 8-9 mph. What an enjoyable kayak trip.

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