Kayak Canoe Alabama

Friday, March 25, 2005

Justins Bay

Friday, March 25, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Weather conditions proved ideal for the club-scheduled moonlight paddle. After a morning scouting trip to check out the course, I was able to closely predict paddle time and water conditions. Our group met at the east end of Meaher State Park, outside of the chainlink fence, in the large parking area and put in at the concrete boat ramp. At 6:00 PM, the sun was about down and the temperature started falling quickly from about 79 degrees to the upper 60's.

With 16 boats on the water and 20 paddlers, we left promptly at 6:00, with a few stragglers still arriving. The group started east out of the bay to the opening into Blakeley River, lingering a short time to see a beautiful sunset, and to wait for all to get into the water. We turned north upriver with a little help from the southerly breeze and a still slightly rising tide.

We stayed along the west bank, opposite the Beach House Grill, and crossed under the Causeway bridge. We continued north, passing a few houses, a set of condo units and a landfill area containing concrete from reclaimed bridges and roadways. The point at the end of the landfill marks the entrance to Sardine Pass. It is a waterway extending southwest down to the north side of the Causeway. We paddled in for about 200 meters and took the first fork to the right or northwest, which carried us to the entrance to Justins Bay. The bay is fairly shallow and probably a mile long, extending down to and visible from the Causeway and on up into the lower delta. Red Maples were still showing their colors, as well as Golden Club popping up.

By the time we arrived at the entrance to the bay, the last paddlers to put in had caught up with the group. Most hung out for awhile around the entrance to the bay, while a few went off to explore. We were somewhat exposed to the breeze, and after a short break, decided to start the return. The moon was brilliant, shining brightly in front of us, and reflecting off the water. It was so bright and with us out in the open delta, there was no for any additional lighting.

However, one kayaker started out a little ahead of the rest and could have used a light, as he turned down Sardine Pass and did not realize his error until he hit the deadend at the Causeway. By the time he returned, the whole group passed him by out to the Blakeley River on the way back to Meaher Park. In addition to the shimmering moonlight on the water, we saw a large multi-colored star along the shore, as well as the bright lights of the Beach House and traffic crossing the Causeway bridge to guide us back.

By the time the paddling pack made it back into the bay leading to the boat ramp, our wandering kayaker caught up and all were accounted for. This was the first group paddle for a few in the younger set, but all managed to do well and have a good time out in the evening on the lower delta.

Afterwards, part of the group retired for some excellent seafood, refreshment and live entertainment at the nearby Beach House Grill.


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