Kayak Canoe Alabama

Monday, November 29, 2004

Bay Minette Basin

Sunday, November 28, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Thirteen paddlers took to the water on a beautiful Sunday afternoon with a temperature of 65 degrees, no wind, no clouds and a low but rising tide. As has been the monthly tradition this year, Matt led us into the basin and took the first right turn into the short ditch leading to his "Monet Cypress". After lazily paddling north through the many small grassy islands, we stopped along the shore where Hurricane Ivan tipped a couple of trees back into the bank, exposing the shellbank below them. This also opened up a prime archaeological site, where we found several pottery shards, glass and nails from a much earlier time.

While continuing north to explore the basin and shoreline, we were entertained by osprey, coot, kingfisher, ibis, egret, heron and loon. After part of the group returned to Buzbee's, the remainder cut across to the west side of the basin to Gilliam's Ditch and turned north to the area Bob calls Seldom Seen. We were able to get to the tree line and almost made it through the gap on the west to the other side, which eventually leads to Yancy Bay. After turning around, we took the fork to the left and soon exited back into Bay Minette Basin.

After cutting back over to the eastern shore, we stopped for a break under the canopy of a couple of large oak trees. Once we began paddling again at around 3:30, all except Bob and I decided to return. We decided to go around to Yancey Bay and see how far north we could paddle. We were surprised to find we could get to within about 200 meters of the gap in the tree line we came to from Gilliam's on the east side. We also explored another finger off of the upper end of Yancy, which also heads east toward the tree line and follows north along it for awhile. This whole time, we kept several coot moving ahead of us. They were too lazy to fly off, just moving about 50 meters at a time.

On our way back out, we scared up a medium sized gator and were enthralled watching the red-winged blackbirds diving down to a screeching halt to find a place to rest for the night. The sunset was gorgeous at 5:00, as we turned back east for our return to the Hwy. 225 bridge and Buzbee's parking lot.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Dauphin Island - another perspective from an alternate universe

Saturday-Sunday, November 20-21, 2004
by Gary Worob

Dauphin Island paddle/the truth is just a lie!

It was unanimously voted upon that I would not be the one to write the trip report. I always, however, have believed that a good lie is worth 10,000 truths and the lies are what we are most fond of (i.e. Santa Claus, tooth fairies, virgins, fair elections, confessions leading to entrance to heaven and that kind of stuff).

The reason I was deselected is that everyone would be afraid that the truth I would tell would invigorate so many to go on the next “big boy” paddle that there would be too many to allow for individuality and not enough room for individual story telling. So I have decided to embellish this report to some extent so that not too many would want to participate, but enough to move the circle of energy forwards. So having set the precedent here is the truth of things:


Once upon a time there were seven seriously demented adults close to senility who embarked on the most absurd of missions: to find the pot of gold at the end of an island that was seriously damaged in a recent hurricane the size of which was enough to make sustainability on that formidable property near impossible. It had now become a permanently shifting bird sanctuary whose only natural resource is droppings, feathers and rubbish.

The seven took off and immediately ran into torrential horrific downpour followed by blistering 100 degree weather only to be followed by 90 mile an hour winds and 17 foot waves with troughs so deep that mere mortals would be lost to the deep eternally. This motley crew knew no fear (or sensibility) and proceeded on by the feverous quest of more debris and bird droppings. After many days at sea with little to no provisions they finally embarked on their dream quest, the isle of wrong, a desolate area ideally suited to the asylum they so sought from wirrings and frivolity of the nonsensical nuances of the Saturday afternoon fever………football!

It was their strongest desire to remove themselves from one of the 7 deadly sins of the modern age and thinking thus they rejoiced exuberantly as they set about building Fort Absurd. It was only a matter of 6 months before the fort was finally finished, complete with running water, wind power and dancing women. The latter were captured from a passing pirate ship that had recently pillaged and plundered a nunnery in the high desert along the coastal front.

Now set for the coming winter the festive crew embarked on more efficient projects that could ensure long happy days of comfort. One of the more creative of the repasts was a recycling business started by brint known as “table topping.” This creative repast led to many festive occasions of luxurious dining and cooking classes, which I must admit I had a serious hand in. Another favorite past time was road construction and sanitary sewer design.

After 6 more months the “motleys” started to notice a serious lack of morale among the crew and were fraught with concern for their safety and well-being. The women all proved to be barren except for a fair haired young extremely warming lass named Alice who proved to be an ample bed partner, but maybe, that is too detailed for this report and should be saved for another journey.

So, early one morning and led by yours truly (the first serious deserter) the crew worked their way back to civilization and found that, in truth, the world had not changed. They were in part relieved to know that there is a constance in the world and that there still was football and beer and lies. And, oh yes, there was a pot of gold there somewhere because the rainbow’s end upon leaving shone right on that site.

You can visit Fort Absurd on your internet: www.whitehouse.com.; it has now been taken over by an even more absurd crew.

Egg drop soup!

(sung to the song “four rode on”) Dauphin Island Paddle

7 rode on,

Rode on high

Waves so big you could hardly see

The sky!

The reports will vary,

That’s for sure.

Only the big boys

know the truth…and who’s full of …manure.

There were seven of us

Who braved the squall

And 7 came home

Standing that tall!

It was a weekend

That will be remembered

By the 7 who rode on,

And the truth somewhere will be…long gone.

We rode big waves

And gusts a plenty

Tents flying in the air….

Should have been a documentary.

But it was a testament

To strength,


And endurance.

At one point

I wondered…

Did I have enough


Larry planned this trip

Real well,

It wasn’t his fault

That the weather went …to Hell!

But Sunday brought


Cheers for

My birthday.

And it turned

Out to be a beautiful one,

A great


Thanks to one and all,

For making this paddle



No matter what size

The waves,

And how strong

The wind…

Some of us will remember

This story with a

Snort and

A grin.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Dauphin Island - west end

Saturday-Sunday, November 20-21, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The forecast for the weekend called for partly cloudy skies, a 5-10 mph breeze out of the southeast, scattered showers with temperatures ranging from 65-70 degrees. Seven hardy souls showed up at 10:00 AM Saturday morning at Ron Jones bayside house on the west end of Dauphin Island. Ron was very kind to allow us to park in his driveway, which looked similar to Buffalo, NY in January. The hurricane moved large quantities of sand around, which was shoveled to the sides of the streets and driveways into ten foot high mounds of sand everywhere. Ron was fortunate to have a house left with only some damage to his garage and storage room under the main house structure. Many of his neighbors were not as lucky.

Under threatening skies, Larry, Bob, Dick, Gene, Gary, George and I set out westward at 10:50 AM, along the north side of the island, heading for the far end about nine miles away. As soon as we got underway, it started to rain, although it was warm as we continued to paddle. About one mile into the paddle, we came across a couple of small cuts through the island which were navigable only at high tide. However, only a short distance farther, we found a large cut and paddled through to the Gulf side. After some of us paddled in the surf awhile, we stopped for lunch along the inside of the cut.

As we continued down the bay side of the uninhabited west end of the island, we began to see a tremendous amount of debris washed up on the shore and well over and into the middle of the island. We found lots of lumber from houses, piers, stairs and decks. We found a hot tub with all of the exterior piping intact as well as an eight foot long propane tank floating near the shore. There was enough plastic deck furniture along the way to have a party for the whole club.

Irregardless of what the weather prognosticators forecast, the wind changed directions and came out of the north or northeast by at least 20 mph, which kicked up the chop to between 2-4 foot waves, which we attempted cross at an angle. The rain started to come down heavily at times, as we fought the chop just off the coast. After a stop along the beach, our group spread out some and therefore some of us did not see Dick execute a deepwater self-rescue without a paddle float. His new kayak proved to be stable in some pretty awful conditions, as he nimbly crawled back in and gladly activated his electric bilge pump. It worked magnificently as he quickly caught back up with the group.

We found our way to the end of the island at around 2:30 PM and practiced our surf landings without mishap. The rain continued to fall intermittently, as we began to make camp. We were able to practice setting up tents in the rain with the 20 mph north wind blowing us all around. There was absolutely no protection from the elements with the island flat, no trees and very little scrub. We scavenged a nice plastic deck table for our food prep area and began to gather driftwood for a fire. George found enough tinder and kindling to go along with the larger sticks and logs we dragged in from all around us, to build a nice fire which lasted through the evening.

The rain held off while we prepared and ate dinner. We had quite a wide variety ranging from chicken casserole, spaghetti with smoked oysters, jambalaya MRE to a wonderful seaweed and egg soup, with a variety of liquid refreshments as well. The wind died down a little after dark, but remained at least 10 mph throughout the night. Around 3:00 AM, we woke up to the sounds of another shower.

Everyone seemed to want to get moving early as we awoke at 6:00 AM and following a quick breakfast, broke camp at record pace and started our paddle back by around 7:45 AM. Actually, Gary could not wait and started out on his own at 7:30, followed by Bob and I, who took the Gulf side back to the large cut-through. The weather was considerably improved with partly cloudy skies, warmer temperatures, a slower north wind and no rain.

Bob and I saw large groups of cormorants and brown pelicans hanging around the beach and scouting out a morning meal, as we paddled about 50-100 meters off the shoreline. The swells were in the range of 2-4 feet and large, easy rollers. It was a welcome change from the tight nerve-wracking chop the day before. We paddled the approximate eight miles to the cut in 2 hours. After a 15 minute wait, the others started to come in separately from along the north shore.

After all of us arrived at the cut, we took a short mid-morning snack break before finishing the final mile back to the take-out point. Although a day late, Sunday morning turned out to be the perfect time for the easy trip Larry promised us. For those looking for more excitement, the easy turned into another of Larry's famous Big Boy paddles, some have come to enjoy or at least come away from with stories to tell for years to come.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Byrne's Lake IV

Sunday, November 14, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

With a lazy morning start, I decided to try Byrne's Lake to get some protection from the wind. When I arrived at the turnoff from Hwy. 225, I found the new paving project was essentially complete, except for the final 200 meters of topcoat at the entrance. The rest of the roadway back to the park boat ramp was completely paved and a welcome change from the ruts, mud and dust of the past.

The temperature at 10:00 AM was 63 degrees, the tide was almost bottomed out but still falling, with cloudy skies and wind out of the northwest again. I paddled my usual course, first upstream and then back down and out to the Tensaw River. With the water level very low, I had to make sure I stayed close to the center of the lake in order to stay out of the mud, stumps and treefalls. I made it to the mouth of the lake at the Tensaw in 20:56 and stopped for a drink. I thought seriously about lengthening the paddle to circle Gravine Island before returning, but decided to save that for another day.

The trip back upstream was slightly slower against the slight current. When I passed the ramp, there was a couple watching, so I really cranked up the pace as I passed by, before the return back. I finished in 42:46 with the help of the relatively cool temperature.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Robinson Bayou

Saturday, November 13, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

This late afternoon paddle took place as part of the MBCAKC annual paddle and picnic. Gary and Aven Warner were our gracious hosts for the festivities, opening up their home to all, and letting us use their floating dock to launch our little flotilla of kayaks and canoes. They live on Riverside Drive, which is off of Dauphin Island Parkway, west of Brookley Airport.

Their property circles a beautiful point on the south or east side of Dog River looking out to a large island of swamp grasses, and the forest beyond on the opposite bank. It is a surprisingly picturesqe setting in south Mobile. After assembling our many different boats by the ramp, we finally launched about 10 boats with 18 or so enthusiatic paddlers in the water, and were paddling by about 3:30 PM. It was overcast and about 62 degrees with a slight breeze.

We started out circling the point and heading east and south into a narrow bayou. We saw various waterfowl and a few blooming burr marigolds and duck potato, as we tried to keep up with Bob's war canoe and Dick's and Marilyn's sleek new kayaks. When we hit the end of the creek, we reversed course and turned east into Robinson Bayou. This is a beautiful, remote area winding back for almost a mile towards DIP and the southern end of Brookley Airport.

After exiting Robinson Bayou, we crossed Dog River and circled around a beautiful island with a narrow waterway around the north side, and ended back at the Warner's. While most boats were taken out, several paddlers had to try out Dick Becker's new Australian-made 19' kevlar kayak.

With everyone's appetite worked up, we all dug into the wide array of potluck dishes laid out inside. Particular thanks go to Aven for her large homemade rolls, delicious barbequed chicken and pork roast. There were almost another twenty members and neighbors who gathered for the evening of fellowship, lies and storytelling. A good time was had by all.

Apalachee River to Causeway XXIV

Saturday, November 13, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

After almost a month away, I ventured back to my old workout course on what looked like would be a calm, cool morning. When I arrived at the old Riverdoc's parking lot, it was indeed cool at 57 degrees, overcast with a low and still falling tide. However, there was a stiff breeze coming out of the northwest, which almost convinced me to find a more protected spot. But, I thought what the hay, and unloaded my boat. As I headed east on Pass Picada, I was protected from the wind and with a following current, made good time to Apalachee in 6:39. I turned and passed the parking lot in 15:27 and started to hit the wind.

The chop came in at an angle, making it tough to get into a rhythm or try to surf. There were no fishermen out to heckle me, just the passing traffic looking over to see the old fool bobbing out in the bay. I made it to the turnaround in 34:51, which was pretty slow, but understandable under the conditions. I noticed a tour bus parked in the lot at the public boat ramp, with all passengers standing around outside in their overcoats. I eased over nearby to see what was going on, but no one came over, so I don't know if they had a breakdown or what they were doing.

I paddled slowly back to my turnaround and started my watch, as I picked up the pace for the return. It was just as hard heading back, although the wind was partially to my back and for the last stretch from the drainage pipes, I also had the current reversed and following. I made it back to the lot for a total time of 52:02, which was decent considering the wind and chop. There was a father with three kids pulling in to the lot to try their luck fishing. I could not think of a much worse day for them, with the cool temps, wind in their face and a very low tide. I doubt they stayed long.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Rice Creek to Jug Lake (Fisher Island) platform

Saturday & Sunday, November 6-7, 2004 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Only the finest of the MBCAKC came out to enjoy the absolutely perfect weather in one of the prettiest spots in the Tensaw Delta. Bob and I started out at different times, but both put in at Rice Creek Landing Saturday afternoon. We found Rice Creek Road is now paved all the way back to the landing, which is a big improvement. The temperature at 1:30 PM was 77 degrees, there was no wind or clouds and the tide was falling.

I went out early and stopped along the cutoff between Briar Lake and Tensaw River to clear away some brush. Bob soon caught up with me and we continued to Bayou Jessamine and were pleasantly surprised to see it was clear up to the fork with Jug Lake. We knew Norman and Tony were coming later to meet us at the platform, so with some time to kill, we decided to continue paddling Bayou Jessamine on to Bottle Creek. After the fork, we were still surprised to see a fairly clear waterway for a good distance. For a while, we thought this area just didn't get much wind damage.

But, our luck changed as we came up against six major falls, one after the other. I cut our way through each, some over, some under and some around. It took us about an hour to go the last half mile, but we didn't have to portage, as we finally made it to Bottle Creek. It was a quick trip back downstream to the turn into Jug Lake. Just as the turn came into view, we came across Norman, who had missed it and was heading towards us up Jessamine.

The four of us leisurely paddled into Jug Lake as the sun started to set. The distance from Rice Creek Landing to the platform is 5 miles, while Bob and I added another 1.2 miles for the afternoon. We set up camp on the floating platform and ate dinner. Norman and Tom stayed around for awhile before heading out after dark to Rice Creek. The night was calm and cool, with the sounds of several owls keeping us company throughout the night.

After a quick breakfast, we packed up and were on the water at 7:20 AM for our second day of paddling. We decided to make a big loop, and were glad we blazed the trail up Jessamine the afternoon before, to make the first part of our paddle much easier.

We made it to Bottle Creek (2.2 mi.) in about 45 minutes and turned north to where it branches out of the Tensaw River. We turned west or upriver against a pretty stiff current and stopped to take a break at the land campsite on the southeast corner of where Middle River forks south from the Tensaw. We talked for awhile with a couple of hunters who were camped there, who had no luck searching for wild boar.

We continued fighting the Tensaw current for another almost three miles up around the curve until we reached Bayou Tallapoosa (4.2 mi. from Bottle Creek @ Bayou Jessamine. There is a large two story cabin way up on pilings on the northeast corner at the mouth of Tallapoosa. About a half mile before reaching Tallapoosa, and without referring to our map, we actually took a false right turn into a creek which was pretty clear and wide, with a good current. We paddled down it for about 0.8 mi., cutting our way through some tree falls and wasting about 40 minutes before deciding we needed to turn back.

Once we made it in Bayou Tallapoosa, the swift current down was a welcome relief after the hard paddle up river so far. Bayou Tallapoosa is a beautiful waterway reminiscent of Jessamine, although it is a little wider, which made it easier to get around the treefalls. We did have to cut our way through a couple, but it is now good to go for kayak trips.

After exiting Tallapoosa, we turned north up the west side of Dead Lake Island on Tensaw Lake for 0.5 mi., to the spot where there are two floating camp platforms. The distance from platform to platform taking this route is just under 10 miles. We stopped for lunch, before heading back down Tensaw Lake and taking the left fork around Richardson Island, down Briar Lake and back to Rice Creek, a distance of 3.2 miles. Our total paddle for the day was approximately 15.2 miles.

Waterfowl watching was plentiful, with numerous sightings of cormorants, wood ducks, egrets and herons, as well as hawks, osprey and many gators. All in all, we had a great weekend of paddling under ideal fall conditions.