Kayak Canoe Alabama

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XLIV

Wednesday, June 29, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

I changed my plans this week a little, as I will be traveling to Atlanta tomorrow afternoon and will not be able to do a normal Thursday paddle workout with Roland. So, I came out tonight instead and started at 5:25 PM under clear skies, hot and humid 88 degrees, a light breeze out of the southeast, with a low water level and still falling tide. There was the same fearless young gator waiting for me again.

At this time of the month there was very little change in tide levels, so it did not have much affect on my times. Actually, the slight breeze probably affected me more, as I paddled east to the Apalachee River in 7:50. On the way back, I past the parking lot in 15:17 on the way to the Causeway and on to the bridge turnaround in 32:27.

My trip back was still pretty quick considering the crippling heat and humidity, as I finished in 49:48.

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XLIII

Tuesday, June 28, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

After spending several days in sunny Southern California, it was great to get back out on the water. My son, Brad, and I headed for the Causeway and put in at the normal spot. When we got there, a small 3' gator splashed into the water and hung around, watching us get ready. We put in at 5:26 PM under cloudy skies, 82 degrees, a southeast breeze, low water and rising tide.

We started out heading east on Pass Picada against the rising current and into the southeast breeze. It was a little harder slogging along past the restaurants, so I arrived at the Apalachee turnaround in 8:08, with Brad making it to Blue Gill's and turning there. On the way back, I caught up to him and went on ahead, passing the parking lot in 15:06. I continued past the Causeway and used the wind-driven chop to cruise into the bridge turnaround in 31:09.

After a short drink break and not seeing Brad anywhere in sight, I started back, this time into the wind. As I approached the parking lot again, I found Brad coming down from the north side of the bay, so we arrived at the same time. My overall time was 49:07 at a 9:55/mile pace. To top off the night we went home and dug into 25 pounds of crawfish, which we sat back and leisurely finished off with Linda, Misha and Bob.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XLII

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

This was my last chance to get on the water before heading out to the USATF Outdoor National Track & Field meet in Carson, CA tomorrow. So, in thinking ahead, I promptly forgot to bring along my watch or Forerunner, meaning I could not time this workout. As such, I tend to let down a little and not push quite as hard, as when I have someone out on the water to paddle against or a timer to keep me honest.

The weather was typically hot and humid for lower Alabama, as I put in at around 5:10 PM with clear skies, 85 degrees and a southeasterly breeze. The tide was falling with an already low water level. I tried to keep up a good pace, but without the timer, I knew I was not pushing at 100%. So, instead I tried to concentrate on good paddling form to see how long I could go before missing a stroke.

The paddle was not extraordinary in any way and my guess is I finished in roughly about 52 minutes.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Bay Minette Basin to Blakely State Park

Sunday, June 19, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

My son Bob, and I arrived at Buzbee's at about 5:45 PM, and were surprised to see a pretty good crowd unloading and getting ready to go. It was still pretty hot at about 88 degrees, under a clear sky, not a breath of wind and a falling tide. At about 6:15, thirteen paddlers started out into Bay Minette Basin, heading directly into the sun and on the way to a memorable trip. After passing under the Hwy 225 bridge and easing out into the basin, we started to see Lotus beginning to bloom, gators lazily floating along and numerous waterfowl, including osprey, anhinga, snowy egret, heron, red-winged blackbird, and many others.

It did not take long before Roland, Bob and I got a little itchy to move on out, so we picked up the pace as we turned up into Yancey Bay. We turned west down Fisherman's Ditch over to the Blakeley River (2.5 miles), where it forks with the Apalachee River and went up the Apalachee, to the entrance of the Cutoff. This is a long, straight, beautiful ditch heading north and reconnecting back to the Apalachee, just below the fork with the Tensaw River. We saw five anhinga roosting and drying out in a tall cypress along the edge.

As we came to end of the Cutoff, Roland decided to turn around, head back and see where the rest of group was. Bob and I eased on up the Apalachee, against a pretty good current, until we reached the boardwalk along Blakeley, where we stopped for dinner. The distance to this point was 5.6 miles, which we did in 1:21. While we waited for the rest to arrive, we watched an amazing sunset across the Tensaw, as it added brilliant color to the few clouds along the horizon.

Soon thereafter, the group arrived and we opened up and shared our feast. After a few stories and truths interspersed among the lies, we loaded up and started back under a bright and almost full moon. Bob Andrews warned us to be careful not to miss the turn down the Cutoff. So, of course, I paddled right past it, taking about five others with me. Once I realized how fast we were traveling down current, I turned the group around and we made the correct turn. By this time, we were back aways, and Bob thought we just continued down the main river channel. So, once he exited the Cutoff, he decided to turn back upriver to see if he could find us.

Bob and a few others with him caught up with our group as we were paddling the home stretch with the car lights on the bridge in view. With the added distance on the return, we ended up with total trip mileage of 11.93 miles in 3:07. It was 11:00 PM, when we pulled in to Buzbee's, and everyone was anxious to get on home, after another beautiful night out on the lower delta.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XLI

Thursday, June 16, 2005 mailto:brint.adams@us.army.mil

Roland and I met at the old Riverdocs parking lot at 5:00 PM under brutal conditions. It was 94 degrees, high humidity, clear sky, no breeze, low water level, with a still falling tide. Even the gators stayed below the surface, where it was a little cooler.

We started out east on Pass Picada, reaching the Apalachee River in 7:14. Our return was tough, facing the sun, and into a slight chop out of the northwest. We passed the parking lot in about 15:00 and with low water, had to stay right on track along the buoys. It was even too hot for the fishermen, as we churned past the Causeway culverts. I tried to push it a little harder going into the Interstate bridge area, and headed under the westbound bridge as soon as I could to get out of the sun. We reached the turnaround in 32:08 and only stayed a minute for a quick drink.

On the return, I also stayed under the bridge for about 500 meters before venturing out under the sun again. We pushed it hard the rest of the way in, but were drained as we limped around putting our boats up and equipment away. Our total time was 49:43, which was better than I anticipated, considering the conditions. Hopefully we will get a little temperature break over the weekend.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Middle Bay Lighthouse

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Due to the extraordinary circumstances of Larry McDuff's sudden death on Monday, June 13, 2005, Carl quickly put together a Flash Paddle for this morning, dedicated to Larry's memory. This was a celebration of his life, on a paddle course we know he loved, and planned to do again himself later this month. So, we felt honored to paddle the 11.4 miles this morning, giving each of us plenty of time to reflect on how Larry brought joy into our lives and will continue to influence our daily interaction with all we meet.

Carl, Gary, George, Roland and I met at the marina next to the Marriott Hotel on Point Clear, AL, this morning at 6:00 AM, and set our sights across Mobile Bay towards the Middle Bay Lighthouse. It was already 80 degrees with a slight westerly breeze creating about a one foot chop across a rising tide. Almost immediately we split apart, but all aimed southwesterly, with Roland and I making it to the Lighthouse first, covering the 5.7 miles in 1:19.

Once all arrived, we assembled on the lower wooden deck and toasted Larry's memory, with Carl taking a ceremonial high plunge. As the sun climbed higher and the temperature rose to 90 degrees, we decided to return. The breeze died down some, leaving a smaller chop we were able to use to our advantage. Roland led the way, and he and I made the return trip in 1:11. Since we both returned to the real world and our jobs for the second half of the day, we packed up and left before the remaining three were visible on the horizon. Each of us came away from the experience differently in our own way, but definately better for having taken the time to reflect on our experiences with Larry McDuff. He touched our lives and will forever be in our thoughts.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XL

Tuesday, June 14, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Tonight was very hot and humid, starting out at 94 degrees with a slight southwest breeze and right at high tide at 5:20 PM. I started out eastward heading past the restaurants and already saw five gators out cruising around Pass Picada. Blue Gill's was getting ready to rock with the free WZUE outdoor concert on their deck. I made the turn at Apalachee River in 7:38 and back past the parking lot in 15:09. Fortunately, the sun went behind a large dark cloud for a while anyway, which helped cut down on the intense heat. I made it to the Interstate bridges in 32:13, after passing several more gators lazily floating around out in the open bay.

After hiding out in the shade under the bridges for a couple of minutes, I tried to hit it hard on the return and made it back in a total of 49:03. With the high heat and not having Roland's energy around to feed off of, I was very happy with the time and under 10:00 minute per mile pace.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Causeway to Mobile River 2005 II

Sunday, June 12, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

After being cooped up yesterday waiting for Hurricane Arlene which never came, I was ready for a paddle today. And what a day it was! We had absolutely beautiful weather, as the tropical storm blew through and took with it all of the clouds, rain and wind and left us with clear skies, no wind and relatively low humidity. I started out at 5:45 AM at the boat launch on the Causeway near the Interstate bridges crossover. The tide was rising, but with all of the rain yesterday, the river was higher than normal and flowing at a pretty good rate to counter the tide.

This was my first chance to put my new toy, a Garmin Forerunner 201 through its paces on a longer distance, so I will include a few more stats than the many I typically write about. On the way up the Chacaloochee Bay to the Spanish River and my first rest stop, recorded one mile splits of 10:35, 12:23, 11:55, 11:32, 11:03 and made it to the Pontoon Saloon in 1:05:00 for the 5.62 miles. Along the way, the water was flat to just a flutter of chop, with mullet flying and a couple of gators out cruising across in front of me.

I continued north up to the turn on the Mobile River, completing most of the trip against the downriver rain flow. My splits were 12:40 and 4:41 for a total of 1:22:22 over the 7 miles so far. I looked forward to the typically faster trip down the Mobile and wasn't disappointed. On the way to the high bridge, my mile splits were 9:00, 8:29 and 7:52 for 0.84 mi. and a total 1:47:45. I started to get into more activity on the river, especially for a Sunday, as the tugboats were busy working to catch up for what they couldn't do yesterday.

I continued down past the state docks and passed up a tanker which was just coming out of a side channel and following me downriver. He thought I was out a little too much in the middle and gave me a few toots, so I pulled over, but I was moving faster than he was and pulled ahead. As I paddled past the main part of downtown, I usually cut across to the east bank and rest next to the Alabama Shipyards. But, I decided not to cross back in front of the ship following me and stopped along the west bank to let him past. My next mile splits were 9:43, 9:06, 8:43 and 7:04 for 0.81 mi. for a total of 2:22:22.

As I started out again, I noticed another ship following him, but I crossed over between them anyway and had pretty good clearance, so it wasn't a dangerous situation. Heading for the cut east over to Mobile Bay, I spied the Holiday cruise ship waiting to head into port. This was interesting, as it was either due yesterday or Monday. So, I suspect it must have waited out the tropical storm in the Gulf yesterday rather than come on its normal turnaround day. Now I wonder what the next set of passengers did yesterday and whether they got on today or what the new schedule is.

My splits going around to Mobile Bay were 8:23 and 3:40 for 0.34 mi. and as I headed back north to the Causeway bridge were 10:57 and 4:39 for 0.45 mi. I rested in the shade under the Causeway bridge and then made my last push home with a last split of 10:08 for 0.93 mi. and a grand total of 3:00:10 over the total distance of 17.5 miles. It was a great day and a strong paddle, as this was my first long trip using my new wing paddle.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XXXIX

Wednesday, June 8, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

As Roland and I arrived just before 5:00 PM, there was a snowy egret standing there fishing from the launch area in front of us, while a gator was circling around behind keeping an eye on all of us. It was still sunny, a hot and humid 82 degrees with a southeasterly breeze, low water level and still falling. We started off a little easier than usual, making the Apalachee turn in 6:43. On the way back, we passed a few patrons sitting out on Blue Gill's deck and then the area past Cock of the Walk, where the announced 26-story twin-tower Gateway Condo project may be built. We passed the parking lot in 15:42, against the current and headed on to the Causeway, where several fishermen were working the culverts.

Roland backed off a little on the way into the bridges, as we hit the turn in 33:37. The way back was a little tougher into the breeze, but with both of us pushing hard and together the whole way back, we hit the finish in 50:26. So, now we will next meet on Saturday at the Dog Paddle races and see if we can settle our first score. It should be real interesting.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XXXVIII

Monday, June 6, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

I decided to swap out my normal Tuesday paddle to tonight, with our monthly club meeting early tomorrow night, not allowing me time to get in a workout on the water. With rain off and on all day, I wasn't sure what to expect when I got out there. There wasn't any wind, but the sky was very dark off to the southwest with some lightning activity. I put in at around 5:30 PM with the temperature around 83 degrees, low water level and a falling tide.

As I started out down Pass Picada, I was able to get going into a pretty good rhythm already, now that I am starting to get used to the new paddle. There were a number of people watching from the restaurants, wondering why a fool was out on the water under threatening skies. I made it to the Apalachee turnaround in 6:30 and back past the parking lot in 15:10, so I knew I was at least keeping up with my normal pace.

There were a few hardy fishermen out along the Causeway as I passed by and headed to the Interstate bridges. It was interesting how, even though the wind was nonexistent and the water like glass, there were no birds or gators around at all. I guess they had more sense than I did to stay out of the weather coming in. I made it to the bridge turnaround in 32:41, which was good considering the tide was falling, and I had already done the hard work.

The trip back was quick as I became more comfortable with the stroke and was able to hit an overall time of 49:29. That was faster than most recent workouts, so it must mean the new paddle is the difference, and is starting to pay off in faster times.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XXXVII

Sunday, June 5, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

After thinking I was getting the hang of the new paddle yesterday on a long workout, I wanted to get back out right away on a speed workout and see how much progress I was making. I started out at Riverdocs at 6:30 AM under partly cloudy skies, 78 degrees, a southerly breeze, low water level and a rising tide.

Although I am not up to full speed turnover rate yet, I am able to see a difference in power and needing fewer strokes for the same distance. I made the turn at the Apalachee River in 8:27 and back by the parking lot in 15:36, faster on the return with the following tide. With the low water level, I needed to stay close to the buoys or risk getting into shallow water. I was pleasantly surprised to see my split at the bridge turnaround was 32:30.

So, with my spirit lifted a little, I decided to concentrate on turnover rate, while maintaining form and made it back in 50:36. This is probably where I would have been with my old paddle, so after only three workouts, I think I am at least back to the speed I had before.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Fairhope Yacht Club to Village Point

Saturday, June 4, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

I met Roland on his home turf at Fairhope Yacht Club at 6:30 AM. It was a beautiful morning, clear, 75 degrees, slight southeasterly breeze, calm to a very slight chop out in the bay, with the tide rising. We looked across the bay and both north and south along the coast and decided to head north towards the upper end of Mobile Bay and the bayway interstate bridges off in the distance. The mullet were jumping and a few fishermen and sailboats were starting out for the day.

Roland was back in his own kayak, while I started out still trying to figure out my new wing paddle. After a short distance, I asked Roland to unstrap my rudder, so I could start using it. That made a big difference, so I could concentrate on form and not worry about direction.

We stopped at the point around Campbell Spring, which was about 3 miles or halfway, taking 35:00. I came in around 30 seconds behind Roland. From there we could see the next point out into the bay just before Village Point. We were getting a little push with the rising tide, as we cruised into our 6 mile turnaround in 1:06, again I was about 30 seconds back. After another short break, we decided to turn around, rather than continue the additional 2 miles up D'Olive Bay to the Interstate Bayway.

I knew it would be a little slower on the return, heading into the current, so I decided to pick up the pace a little. We stopped at the same halfway spot on the return in 1:40, this time coming in together. I checked my watch and we were still a little behind pace for even splits. At some point from there back, my stroke seemed to come together and I was able to maintain form, strength and still pick up the turnover rate. I even pulled a little ahead of Roland near the yacht club and finished maybe 15 seconds ahead in a total even time of 2:12. So, we were able to pick it up on the return south and overcome the tide in the same split time, as we paddled north. All in all, it was a very good 12 mile paddle, which we will probably do again soon.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XXXVI

Thursday, June 2, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

This paddle turned out to be different in several aspects. When I arrived at the Riverdocs parking lot, both Roland and Tony were there unloading Tony's boat. It turned out he was letting Roland try his fiberglass kayak, to see it Roland could get a bit more speed out of it, in preparation for the Dog Paddle races. So, Tony left and came back an hour later to pick up his boat. In addition, my new paddle came in, so I was anxious to see how much speed I could gain using a wing paddle.

When we got in the water, I knew I was already in trouble with the first stroke. I had no idea using the wing was so radically different. Roland tried to give me some pointers as we headed off down Pass Picada. He was having problems himself keeping the new boat tracking straight. So, instead of hammering the course, we concentrated on maintaining good paddle stroke form.

It was overcast again, with rain threatening off in the northwest, 85 degrees, a slight southern breeze, falling tide and fairly low water level. This night there were gators everywhere as we must have seen 8-10 all along Pass Picada and along the southern shore of Chacaloochee Bay.

Our split times did not mean as much tonight, but we made the Apalachee River turn in 7:44, back past the parking lot in 17:00, to the Interstate bridge turn in 35:48 and back to the take-out in a total of 54:24. It was a little disappointing for me, as I was pumped up for an immediate time improvement. Roland reminded me it may take up to a month of training to get to the point where I would learn the new stroke sufficiently well enough to get overall time improvement. But, it will eventually come.