Thursday, March 31, 2016

Paddling Chickasaw Creek

Golden Club flowers still in bloom amongst the shoreline trash.

Green Treefrog. That straight line is abandoned fishing line found adorning many of the shoreline shrubs in Alabama.

Why do turtles climb trees? That is how turtles get a natural high. 

Nah, just kidding. The turtles are really getting out of the water and climbing high for another perspective to figure out what all that unnatural trash is in their polluted Alabama waterway habitat.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Value of Shoreline Vegetation

Shoreline vegetation like black needlerush seen above absorb wave energy that boat wakes send to the shoreline. Shoreline vegetation prevents shoreline erosion.

Above is the lot nextdoor to the 1st photo that lacks shoreline vegetation and the consequence is continued shoreline erosion from boat wakes.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Bayou Chateauguay

You can change the name of a polluted creek but you cannot change its image without changing its image.

A bicycle group wants to change the name of polluted Three Mile Creek to Bayou Chateauguay which no one will ever be able to pronounce. The bicycle group also wants a 10-12 mile bicycle trail built along the creek.

I say, do not waste a dime of money on the polluted Three Mile Creek until the City of Mobile respects and values their waterway asset enough to remove the trash from its trashy shorelines.

Here is what the shoreline typically looks like along the last few miles of Three Mile Trash Creek. This photo merge was taken yesterday.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

What do fish see?

Ever notice that fish tend to jump from the water much more frequently as the sun is setting like seen in the above photo? It makes me wonder what fish see from their eyeballs. I think the fish are jumping out of the water because they enjoy the colors of the sunset best seen out of the water.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Overlooked Scenery

While kayaking, it seems natural to take photos of reptiles, birds, scenic views and trash. Those are the things our eyes are quick to see. Something normally overlooked is Lichen (LIE-kin).

Several different species of lichen on this tree limb. Note the brown spots near the top of the photo.

Here is a lichen that looks a little like a pile of skulls.

Lichen can have a powdery like surface (left) or it can looked ruffled (right) and have hairs growing from it.

Lichen can be wirey looking and have mushroom like protuberences.

Lichen can be colorful like this rust colored one providing beautiful contrasts and hues. 

Here is a lichen that has raised black button like texture.

Here is a lichen that looks like old school textbook images of dividing bacteria.

There are approximately 3600 different species of Lichen in North America. It is reported that Lichens are the dominate vegetation on about 8 percent of the Earth's land surfaces.

Yet most people would not be able to identify and name a single species of Lichen if their life depended on it even though Lichens are so abundant. That is the sad state of outdoor science in the world today. The less people know about our living planet the less they will take responsible care of it.

Interestingly, Lichens which are so ignored are being used to gauge how severe air pollution is. Lichen could all die tomorrow and most people would never notice. That is sad.

So, next time you go out kayaking, or on a walk, put the phone away and slow down to look more closely at what is causing the different colors on tree trunks and tree branches. A magnifying glass will help enhance the view. There is much mystery and beauty in Lichens. All the above photos were taken yesterday while seated in the kayak.

There is also a superb book about Lichens available which can usually be found online for under a hundred dollars. "Lichens of North America" by Brodo, Sharnoff and Sharnoff. The nearly 1000 stunning photographs alone make it a valuable coffee table book for guests to enjoy thumbing through the photography. The science behind Lichens and the detailed species information and distribition maps, plus the identification keys make the large 795 page book the authoritative reference guide to Lichens.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Silver Turtle

An odd thing occurred while kayaking in the trash polluted Moore Creek in Mobile Alabama. A silver turtle surfaced next to the kayak. A new species? Nah.

Upon closer scrutiny it appeared the turtle was blind perhaps caused by whoever had spray painted the turtle with silver paint. The chemicals in spray paint like toulene can kill small animals. What a sad sight.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

BOTB 2016

Another Battle On The Bayou kayak race in Ocean Springs is history.
Despite a week of dismal rainy weather forecasts, just prior to the race the skies turned blue. Temperature was a comfortable 70 degrees. Winds were light.

The poor weather forecasts no doubt kept race registration low. Only about 150-160 people registered for the BOTB.

Although the BOTB is a serious kayak race for some, others like to have fun and make the race entertaining.

Racers were starting to gather on the water for the mass start. Time for me to put the camera away and race.

End result? Another bit of memorabilia for the book shelves. Another notch in the battle belt. Sore muscles.

Mike Herbert, a three-time Olympian was the first to kayak across the 10 mile race finish line setting a new record time for the race beating the old record by about 4 minutes.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Old Fort Bayou (MS)

Got in a little pre BoB training paddle today on the race course with some of the Mississippi Kayak Meetup Group. 

Beautiful day today compared to the recent windy and rainy days. Despite all the flooding going on in Mississippi, Old Fort Bayou is not a waterway affected by the flooding. Conditions are great on Old Fort Bayou which is a waterway just north of Ocean Springs Mississippi. 

BoB is short for "The Battle On the Bayou," a big kayak race sponsored by Everything Kayak and a few other sponsors.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Kayaking Up Sewer Creek with a Paddle

Starkly contrasting muddy water from Robinson Bayou mixing with dark natural colored waters of Dog River.

Further upstream in Robinson Bayou the poopy tan colored water contrasts with the dark waters coming from another drainage ditch.

Further research into the muddy water of Robinson Bayou revealed the poopy colored muddy water was not related to the sewage overflow. Here I am kayaking up poop creek (Robinson Bayou) with a paddle. Phew!

Yeah, this is known as a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) related to a typical heavy rain which Mobile gets about every month if not several times a month. There is nothing sanitary about sewage overflows into public waterways. SSOs jeopardize public health for those living along Mobile's sewage polluted waterways which seems to involve every watershed in Mobile. 

I found the source of the muddy water polluting Robinson Bayou and Dog River. Those drainage pipes under Rosedale Road lead to Brookley Airport which is owned by Mobile Airport Authority. Despite many complaints to ADEM, Construction at Mobile Airport Authority (Brookley) has been polluting Robinson Bayou and Dog River with muddy water sediment and silt erosion for the last three years. 

Upper Robinson Bayou has so filled in with eroded dirt from construction at Brookley that the only time I can paddle up it anymore is when it is raining. Other times upper Robinson Bayou is too shallow to kayak. A decade ago it was easy to kayak to Rosedale Road.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Great Drift

The 2016 Great Drift

Saturday, April 16 at 1 PM

FREE! No cost to participate!

Join the Dog River Clearwater Revival on their fun filled 5th annual float down Dog River.

The Great Drift helps to promote the Dog River Scenic Blueway; a string of launch sites along Dog River that provide public access to the River and all it’s natural beauty.

The Drift will end at the River Shack Bar and Grill (approximately 4 mile paddle). 

Drop your boat with the volunteers at the Rabbit Creek Bridge Launch by 12:20, drive your car to the River Shack and get a ride (free shuttle) back to the site.

If you need a boat, call Sunshine Canoes (251-367-4144) to rent. Last bus leaves the River Shack at 12:40 PM, about fifteen minutes away from the launch site. Plan accordingly.

Access Rabbit Creek Bridge Launch by heading south on Rangeline Road, take right on Commerce Blvd., veer onto Rangeline Service Road southbound and head toward Bridge. Park where the road ends and we will be there to help you.

We hope to see you there!!

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Sediment Pollution Consequences

The clumps of grasses seen growing here in the middle of Chacaloochee Bay were not there just a few years ago. 

I have seen the large wakes Airboats and Go-Devil Boats leave behind up close in the narrow upstream tribitaries as they pass by. After seeing the very visible sediment erosion left by the big wakes, it certainly is no surprise to see results of the unnatural wave action. 

Narrow waterways like Savage Ditch that I used to be able navigate through using a pedal kayak are now too shallow to use due to sediment deposit.

That destructive Airboat and Go-Devil wake erosion filling up the narrow upstream tributaries trickle downstream making bays like Chacaloochee Bay more shallow.

The bad news is the more waterways in the Mobile Delta are filled in with boat wake erosion the less capacity those waterways have to carry rain water. Than means worse flooding related to natural heavy rain events can be expected in the future.

The good news is as waterways get more shallow the less motor boats will be using them. The fewer motor boats there are the better the kayaking experience.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Misleading Names

Often common names of critters and flowers can be misleading. Above is a Green Tree Frog. Green? This species of frog can change its color.

Above is a common weed called Scarlet Pimpernel. Scarlet? This species of flower can be colored scarlet or blue.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

River Dawgs

When a plume of muddy water appears in the water beneath you while paddling in a shallow narrow creek, chances are a river dawg (alligator) just passed beneath you.

When paddling in twisty narrow creeks in the upper ends of tributaries in the Mobile Delta on a Spring day, expect to meet some river dawgs up close.

The bigger the river dawg the slower they move. All alligators want to do on a spring day is soak up the heat provided by the Sun.

But fear not about being in the presence of big river dawgs for unlike real dogs that attack 4 million people a year people, these magnificant alligators are docile creatures and want nothing to do with humans. Alligator attacks are rare. Most attacks happen when people taunt or feed alligators or swim in alligator infested waters.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Shoreline Hazards

Above Photo: A 12-Spot Ladybug (LadyBeetle) on a Cursed Crowfoot Buttercup wildflower (Ranunculus sceleratus).

The bright red and contrasting black spot colors encourage predators to leave the LadyBeetles alone. Irritate the LadyBeetle and it may squirt you with a strongly pungent yellowish poisonous substance.

Irritate the Cursed Buttercup by picking the yellow flowers to hold under someone's chin or by crushing the wildflower parts like leaves and you may end up with a nasty case of dermatitis.

Many unusual hazards exist when paddling along shoreline weeds.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Three Mile Creek Paddle

It's been over 4 years since I starting complaining to authorities about the trash in One Mile Creek in the Three Mile Creek Watershed demanding that the trash be removed. So how well are City, State, Environmental, and Media leaders doing to get the trash removed? Photos tell the ugly truth. Authorities have done absolutely nothing to clean up the pollution.

For every piece of trash floating in the water, there is 10 to 100 times more filling up the wetlands.

What is worse is some trash is hazardous to the environment, marine life and public health. Here is mosquito breeding ground in an old cooler. 

Who knows . . . maybe the next generation of humans will all have little heads and smaller brains thanks to the spreading Zika Virus compliments of the retarded leaders of this generation who will waste about $35 Million dollars to build a museum, and spend millions to build soccer fields, but will not spend a dime to remove the waterway trash pollution that their community of litter chunkers were responsible for putting there.