Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mobile Waterway Blues

This is what kayaking in Mobile's Trashy urban waterways is like. Sadly, this is after 5 years of filing complaints about the City's waterway trash pollution problem to the City of Mobile and to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.

Insanely, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) sets no limit on the amount of litter and industrial trash that a community puts into its public waterways.

You heard right. In Alabama if the surface of a public waterway is completely covered with trash (some of the trash toxic), ADEM does NOT consider the waterway to be polluted. That is retarded.

Even though technology, growing at a leaps and bounds pace, is making life easier, the level of human intelligence continues to spiral downward just as fast.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Coating Earth With Plastic

Coating the public waterways and shorelines in Mobile with Plastic.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Maple Street Canal

After almost 5 years of filing complaints to Environmental Enforcement Agencies about the trash pollution in Maple Street Canal, how is the Canal looking today? The only change is the trash pollution is denser. That is unacceptable.

Americans, at least most of the ones in Alabama, obviously do not give a damn about the integrity of their marine environments. Alabama leaders should be arrested for ignoring waterway pollution complaints and sent to Jail beginning with ADEM's Water Division Chief Glenda Dean and Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Mobile River Access?

Newly poured concrete of a boat ramp at the Mobile Convention Center. Public Boater access to Mobile River in downtown Mobile has been non-existent up until now. The Mobile City Council apparently saw fit to approve this boat ramp at the Convention Center by a parking area that is usually empty. I have long said the small unused always trashy shoreline at the Convention Center was a wasted City waterfront asset.

The BIG question is whether this new boat ramp will be open for public use or whether this boat ramp on City of Mobile property is strictly for the use of Duck Tour boats... If the public is not allowed to use the boat ramp the Mobile Convention Center shoreline will continue to be a wasted waterfront asset. [Update: A City official confirmed the new boat ramp is NOT allowed to be used by the Public.]

Speaking of Duck Tour boats, it will be interesting to see if Duck Tour Boat use in Mobile will be successful. In Boston, Duck Tour boats (amphibious vehicles that operate both on land and in the water) operate in the sheltered area of the Charles River meaning pretty smooth rides.

Duck Tour Boats in Mobile will be operating between Battleship Park and the Convention Center. I assume the Duck Tour boats will be going around Choctaw Point to get up into Mobile River. That is an area often quite choppy due to the interaction of water current in Mobile River meeting typical winds out of the south being channeled up into Mobile River.

Plus, barges and boats sometimes leave sizeable wakes in Mobile River. Since the shoreline of most of Mobile River in the downtown area is bulkheaded, wake waves reflect off bulkheads and each other causing quite a washboard like chop at times. 

From what I have read, the freeboard on Duck Tour Boats can be as little as a foot high. In that case, high waves can come crashing into the boat soaking people. Can large amounts of water crashing inside a Duck Tour boat sink it?

Plus I read where Duck Tour Boats are slow boats barely able to do 5 mph. The water Current coming down Mobile River can be as strong as several mph after heavy upstream rains meaning it could be tough for the Duck Tour boats to even go up Mobile River.

My pessimism predicts the soon to open Duck Tour Boat venture in Mobile will have some disasterous times ahead. Or it will be a money losing venture as people write bad reviews. Who wants to wait for 20 minutes for a parked train to move in order for the Duck Boat to get into downtown Mobile to do its land based tour? To be continued...

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Arlington Park Kayak Launch

First problem with this Engineer designed ADA accessible ramp to the Kayak launch at Arlington Park in Mobile is a narrow 90 degree turn on a boardwalk that has high sides. Two people carrying their kayak by typical handles cannot get the kayak to the launch without hoisting the kayak above their shoulders.

After making the frustrating difficult  first turn this girl drags her Kayak down the ramp only to face dealing with 2 more difficult turns, both of these 180 degree turns. 

She struggles in the 100+ degree heat index temp to hoist her kayak above the railing in order to get past the first 180 degree turn.

What should have been a quick 2-3 minute drag of her Kayak down the 100 yard ramp to the Kayak launch platform turned into a 20 minute nightmare for this girl. I helped her move her kayak the rest of the way which proved to be even difficult for two people. She could not believe the stupidity of the ramp design. She is right.

It is bad enough that the stupid ass engineer never considered normal transport methods of kayaks in the design of the ramp to the kayak launch. Using kayak handles or a kayak dolly are both normal methods of moving a kayak. This stupid ramp does not allow the use of either normal kayak movement method.

What is even worse is the engineer and authorities know this kayak ramp is poorly designed and downright dangerous but have never fixed the flaws. All that is needed is a secondary ramp without high sides following the ground contour to the platform. Until that happens kayakers will continue to struggle when launching at Arlington Park.

Someone is eventually going to get severely injured or die from a heart attack using this ridiculous kayaker unfriendly public kayak launch. I hope anyone that gets hurt sues the hell out of the engineering firm and the park owner (City of Mobile).

Saturday, June 11, 2016

MS State Games

Mississippi State Games Kayak Races were held in Bernard Bayou in the far upper end of Biloxi Bay. Hot and humid today.

Participants launched on a sandy beach at The Dock Gulfport. 

There had to have been more Stand Up Paddlers (SUPs) racing than kayakers.

I raced in the 1-mile sprint and the longer 6-mile race winning both in my division. Here are the nice medal ribbon awards.

How can I race a kayak in the Mississippi State Games even though I live in Alabama? Alabama State Games has no kayak races so Mississippi allows people from Alabama to participate in their State Game kayak races. Alabama Sucks.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Gilliard Island Rookery

Gilliard Island is a dredge spoil site about 6 miles around that is home to a high number of birds. These are some Terns and Black Skimmers.

This island that is off limits to the public, is actually great place to kayak around in June bcause Thousands of Brown Pelicans are nesting.

All the spots in the shoreline shrubbery are the heads of nesting pelicans.

This was an Oil Rig being towed in the Theodore Industrial Canal Ship Channel that runs along the southwest side of Gilliard Island.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Mobile River Loop

Forecast for the day was choppy conditions in Mobile Bay. Sometimes wrong forecasts are good.

As always, dredging Mobile River to keep it deep enough for ships is a never ending process.

Mobile Skyline.

Mobile Convention Center.

Nor Goliath, an offshore servicing rig for the oil industry capable of lifting about 2000 Tons. That would be about 4 million pounds.

BW Pioneer is a FPSO ship. FPSO stands for: Floating Production, Storage, Offloading vessel. This ship, capable of processing 80,000 barrels of oil per day, had been working off Lousiana at a depth of about 2600 meters (1.6 miles) making it the deepest water operation of any FPSO in the world.

Memorial Day Weekend and the USS Alabama go well together. The historic battleship had a lot of visitors this weekend.

Interstate I-10.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

D'Olive Creek

Launched at Meaher Park for a paddle into D'Olive Creek.
One of my favorite trees near the Causeway is not looking too good.

But I found a new favorite.

The paddle into D'Olive Creek also known as Alligator Alley lived up to expectation. A good sized River Dawg led the way.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Dog River Escort

A sole dolphin gave me a 45 minute escort down Dog River. That was a special treat.

Sometimes the dolphin swam in front and sometimes on the side or behind.

Much of the dolphin was covered in a thick algae and it swam pretty slow.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

eWaste Apathy

This is a broken computer monitor that has been sitting in the water 50 FEET away from Dog River Park in Mobile Alabama for YEARS. I have alerted the City of Mobile leaders, the State of Alabama, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, and the US EPA to the fact that there is a hazardous television floating in the water in Dog River. That was in 2012. No one bothered to contact me or reply. Four years later and there are STILL a number CRT televisions floating in the watershed.

I thought documenting the dense pollution in Dog River (been doing it for 5 years) would provide local leaders an incentive to develop a program to address the pollution problem in the trashy Dog River watershed. My recommendation was and still is to get a litter boat working the watershed full time removing the trash. I mean, the City can afford to pay 2-3 dozen workers to mow grass, surely the City of Mobile cares enough about the public waterways their drainage system pollutes to dedicate at least one worker to keep it clean.

Hooray! Supposedly the City of Mobile now has a litter boat. So how is the City of Mobile's litter boat doing? I don't know because I have never seen a litter removal boat in action and the storm water trash is not being removed from the trashy shorelines in Dog River. This is a problem.

You see, not all trash is benign. Glass cathode ray tubes in old computer monitors and televisions, also called CRTs, contain several POUNDS of toxic lead. (1)

LEAD content in a CRT monitor can be as high as 20%, which means that one 34” television can contain up to 2.2 POUNDS of lead. Allowing this hazardous material to seep into soil and water systems can be extremely harmful to human health.(2)

If the monitor or screen gets broken then lead dust or cadmium dust can get out and that stuff is very, very toxic. (3)

Lead is only one of several toxins in old Televisions.

Sadly, there is still no one to call to get HAZARDOUS trash removed from Mobile waterways. I know because I've tried for years to get the trash removed from Dog River. The City of Mobile will not even keep their park shorelines free of trash. ADEM is useless to get the trash pollution removed from Dog River. The US EPA is just as useless. Gonna be a lot more cancer in the future as long as hazardous trash in public waterways is ignored after 5 years of complaints to the authorities.

So, enjoy your swim in Dog River and Mobile Bay because no one in Mobile or the State of Alabama or the Federal Government gives a shit what is floating in the watershed. Nor do the residents who live in the area.




Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Kayak launch sites in Mobile?

The shoreline of the Mobile Convention would make a decent kayak launch spot for Mobile River access. Instead this small and rare City of Mobile shoreline sits idle and remains lined with recyceable trash all year long. What a pathetic waste of a valuable City of Mobile waterfront asset.

This is the trashy Mobile Bay shoreline seen from the wooden walkway at the City of Mobile's Arlington Park. Arlington Park is an embarrassing black eye on the City of Mobile's promised committment to deal with its community storm water trash pollution. Ignore, ignore and ignore the waterfront trash pollution year after year is a clear indicator of lousy City of Mobile leadership and a community that absolutely does NOT give a shit about their community's polluted waterfront properties despite Lawsuits and Fines by environmental groups.

No wonder why the bayside boat and kayak launch at McNally Park is rarely used. No one seems to maintain this City of Mobile Park launch site.

As usual, the fishing pigs who use the City of Mobile's Helen Wood Park keep it littered with trash. What kayaker trusts parking and launching a kayak at a poorly maintained trashy park?

I did find one kayak launch site in Mobile that was free of trash. Sadly the Robinson Bayou launch site is rarely used because parking for the relatively new launch site is poorly marked.

The community of Mobile should be happy that I am not in charge of the City's waterfront parks. If I was in charge all the parks would be shut down until the community implemented a plan to keep the parks free of litter. People will never appreciate the things they have until they loose them. I can guarantee you if all the waterfront parks in Mobile became no trespassing zones there would be public outcry, especially from the boaters who no longer have places to launch the expensive boats.

City leaders should be clear what they expect from their community with regards to trash in parks. As long as City of Mobile leaders allows its community to freely litter City parks without any consequence to those violating the law, the fishing pigs and retards in Mobile who break the litter law will continue to do so unabated. The continued trashing of City parks comes at significant cost to its taxpayers and tourism. 

What Mobile needs is some volunteer litter police in all its parks to document the litter law violators. If the volunteer's video of some asshole littering in a park results in a conviction and $500 fine, the City should reward the volunteer $100 for each conviction. I can guarantee you if the Mobile community was aware that people of all ages and colors were secretly trying to get video of people littering, littering in public parks would become a rare thing in Mobile.

I wonder how many "litter cams" the City of Mobile has deployed in littering hot spots...

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Rabbit Creek

Eastern Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus) was in bloom near the shoreline.

On a smaller scale Dwarf Sundew (Drosera brevifolia) was about to bloom. This wetland plant supplements its need for nutrition by capturing and digesting insects. The yellow circle highlights one insect being eaten by the Sundew after it got stuck on the sticky droplets.

Fishing spiders are frequently seen on trees next to the water. Yes, these spiders capture and eat minnows.

What scares some people is just how big fishing spiders can get. This spider that was about 8 inches from leg tip to leg tip.

The fishing spiders do not bother me. What does is the storm water trash.

Motorized litter removal boats cannot reach this trash. This floating trash in Rabbit Creek can only be accessed by canoe or kayak. Unfortunately I know of no effective program in Mobile that regularly removes trash accumulations from upper creeks and tributaries. The City of Mobile, Mobile County, the State of Alabama, and all the environmental groups just ignore the waterway pollution even though some of it may be hazardous to public health and marine life.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Dog River Orange Hues

Saw some Green Arrow Arum (Peltandra virginica) that had unusual orange colored stems.

Closeup of the stem seen in the above photo. Some research on the Internet revealed the orange color on the Green Arums is the result of Rust Fungi (Uromyces caladii). The Rust Fungi is known to grow on another member of the Arum Family called Jack in the Pulpit.

The plant Rust can also be seen on the top of some Green Arum leaves.

A closeup view of the Rust Fungi.

Sunset on Dog River is another source of orange hues.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Dog River

Sailboat about to go under the Dog River bridge into Mobile Bay.

Sunset on placid Dog River.