Kayak Canoe Alabama

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Whiskey Ditch

Sunday, October 30, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Linda and I led a scheduled club paddle on a delightful fall Sunday afternoon. We paddled our canoe along with four other boats east down Pass Picada from the old Riverdocs parking lot to the Apalachee River. We turned north along the west bank and turned into the first opening about a half mile upriver. The tide was rising and we had a southerly breeze pushing us upriver as well.

We were hoping to see burr marigold in full bloom this time of year, but found none. Apparently, Hurricane Katrina's storm surge brought too much salt water into the ditch, upsetting the marigolds, so as to kill off this year's blooms. We continued back to the lake, where we stopped for a break before returning. The waterway was clear from the usual water hyacinth, possibly another casualty of the hurricane.

Once we turned around, the rising current and breeze worked against us on the return. We had to really work hard to get back down to Pass Picada, where the tide changed directions and we had protection from the breeze. The total trip of five miles took 1:40 of paddling time. All had a nice relaxing time under the clear skies and 75 degrees.

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 LXXIX

Sunday, October 30, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Just another perfect fall morning with a temperature of 48 degrees at 6:30 AM, no clouds, a slight northeasterly breeze, low water level and just starting to rise. The sun was just rising as I turned east down Pass Picada. There were some white ibis searching along the newly uncovered mud flats, while a couple of shore fishermen tried their luck near Drifter's. The cool weather start got me off in a sprint just to warm up a little, so I quickly reached the Apalachee in 7:26 and back in 15:19.

I had to be careful to stay in the channel on the way to the Causeway, to stay out of the shallows, and did so, passing a few fishermen working the culvert. There was a little confused water there, as I blew by on the way to the bridges. I also had to angle further north than usual in the lower Chacaloochee, to stay out of the shallows and then dip back to the bridges to the turnaround. The water was a little slower, so my split speed in this area dipped to 5.7 mph as I made the turn in 32:57.

The way back was a little faster with the rising tide in the first section, so I was able to maintain 6 mph and finish in 50:02. It felt great to be out on the water and able to enjoy such a beautiful fall morning!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Big Briar Creek

Saturday, October 29, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

What a great day for a paddle anywhere in the South! Jimmy and I were grateful for the opportunity to get out and enjoy it. We met at the Bruno's in Spanish Fort at Hwy 31 and Hwy 225, traveled north on Hwy 225 for nine miles and turned left to Byrnes Lake boat launch area. This is part of the Baldwin County Park system and is free to park and put in. We started out at 10:00 AM under perfect conditions of sunny skies, 65 degrees, a light northeasterly breeze and no current. The water level was down a little, but not too low and there was no tide movement today.

There were a few fishermen working Byrne's Lake, but very little traffic the whole trip, even out on the Tensaw. We paddled out Byrne's and turned northwest on the Tensaw, crossing it to the north end of Gravine Island, and continued directly ahead (northwest) to the cut-through to Mobile River. Out in front of the beach and sand dune on Gravine, there was a lone cormorant drying out, who reluctantly took off in labored flight right along the water's surface as we approached. Little did we know this was the first of many great bird sightings.

Once over to the cut-through, we continued along the north bank for a half mile to the turn north into Big Briar Creek. This is a fairly wide river which we followed straight north for 0.75 miles until we reached the first major tributary to the east. Along the way we spotted an unafraid young two-foot gator as well as osprey, tri-colored herons, snowy and great egrets and kingfisher.

Once in the small tributary, we followed the main channel east and north for about 1.5 miles past numerous stands of burr marigold and a few water hyacinth still blooming. As the waterway narrowed, we saw many raccoon tracks along the bank as well as signs of many wild hog in the area, who had rooted around the shores as well as made some wallowing holes.

On the way back out, we took another very small side channel, which surprisingly snaked its way back south for almost another 0.75 mile. Back in here we saw more egrets, herons, wood ducks, a red tailed hawk moving ahead of us, as well as numerous red winged blackbirds and many other smaller varieties. We paddled as far as we could go, which was all the map showed was there and stopped for lunch after paddling for about 6.6 miles. There was a large osprey nest overhead in a tall dead cypress and a woodpecker serenading us off in the distance.

After starting up again, we paddled back out to Big Briar and turned south. We saw a very small tributary along the east shore and decided to give it a try. After about ten meters in the narrow cut through the saw grass, I eased alongside a brown medium height wader with his head and long beak pointed straight up. He would not fly away as I passed and Jimmy came alongside him as well. He finally took off as we talked about him. It turned out we were next to an American Bittern doing what he normally does, which was his attempting to hide from us, by acting like he was part of the saw grass.

On the way out of Big Briar, we came across an Osprey clutching a large fish, still flopping around, with both sets of talons as he passed overhead. We also met the small gator in the same place as on the way in earlier as well as the cormorant perched on a log out in the middle of the Tensaw, drying out his wing feathers.

All in all, the day was quite eventful with all of the sightings and live action we witnessed along the way. The trip ended up right at twelve miles taking four hours of paddle time. This was definately well worth it and one we will try again in the springtime as well.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 LXXVIII

Thursday, October 27, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

This was our last weekday evening workout of 2005 in daylight, as the time changes this weekend to standard time. Roland and I started out at 5:10 PM with excellent conditions. The sky was clear, sun setting, a light northeasterly breeze, 68 degrees, low pool level with the tide still going out. While we were putting in, a couple of fishermen were attempting to pull their small powerboat up the ramp, but with the low water level, their wheels bogged down in the sand, so they gave up and tried at the Drifter's Lounge ramp just east of Riverdocs.

We started off at a pretty fast pace, which felt good in the cool late afternoon. The water was calm as we skimmed down Pass Picada to the Apalachee River. We reached the turn in 7:09 and back in 14:51. When we approached the Causeway, we got a little close to the shallows, slowing us down for a few strokes, but recovered trying to stay in the channel. The section along the lower Chacaloochee was still very shallow and it was difficult to find water deep enough to avoid the shallow 'heavy' water effect. Once under the Interstate bridges, the water deepened a little, allowing us to gain speed to the turn in a pretty fast 32:20.

The return was slightly slower until the last quarter mile, where the current turned and we sprinted home in a total fast time of 49:35 for a 6.0 mph speed. Next will be the weekend and some long easy paddles.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 LXXVII

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

After about a week of the north winds blowing all the water out of the bay and delta, low tide tonight was the lowest I have ever seen it along the Causeway. When I arrived at Riverdocs at 5:15 PM, the water level was down about 5'-6' below the parking lot and so low, I was not sure if I could even get out into Pass Picada. Otherwise, the weather conditions were pretty with a temperature of 65 degrees, no clouds and about a 10 knot northerly breeze.

I was below the concrete ramp and in the mud before reaching a puddle of water to put my kayak in. Once in, I basically slid along the mud in about 1"-2"of water out for about 20 meters before reaching the main east west channel (Pass Picada). There was alot of interesting stuff uncovered in the mud normally not visible.

Once out in Pass Picada, there was plenty of water down and back to Apalachee River, so I used the wind on the way down and the very start of the rising tide on the return to hit times of 7:35 and 15:15. It was strange to see so much open mud flat along the shoreline, which in looking at it from the perspective of the shore birds, gave them alot more area to walk around in search of dinner. As such, I did see a number of great blue heron and white ibis along the way. There also was a formation of about 15 cormorant moving slowly overhead, flapping for all they were worth.

The next section along the Causeway was OK as long as I stayed in the narrow channel. When I passed the culvert under the highway, the water was so low I could have paddled through to the other side. Normally, the water level completely covers the culverts, creating confused water conditions as the tide comes in and goes out faster than the culverts will let the water through.

the west side Chacaloochee Bay along the Interstate Bridges was the worst part of the paddle. It was hard to find any water deep enough to paddle through without hitting bottom, so I mucked my way along until I reached the bridges and back to deeper water. I made the second turn in 35:08, which was pretty slow.

On the return, with what I learned, I did a little better job of staying out of shallow water and rode the chop back a little faster, making it back to the parking lot in a total of 51:52 or 5.8 mph. I had the same problem getting back to the ramp, having to scoot over the mud to get back to shore.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 LXXVI

Sunday, October 23, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The cold front continued to roll in, thankfully pushing off Hurricane Wilma to the east with its northwesterly winds. This morning at 7:12 AM, back out in to open along the Causeway, the wind was up over 15 mph and kicking up a steady and tight chop out in Chacaloochee Bay. I knew it was not going to be pleasant or a particularly fast time, but I wanted to get in a little wind work and was up to the challenge.

Since I was out in the morning, the tide was heading out, giving me a push at the start and heading east into the rising sun over the bluffs of Spanish Fort. It was particularly stunning this morning as it broke over a slight cloud formation right at the horizon. There were several fishing boats out whizzing along Pass Picada, which did not seem to affect the already bothersome chop. I reached Apalachee in 6:45 and back past the parking lot in 16:00, so I knew I was in for a somewhat slower time.

The fishing boats continued to go by as I made my way past the confused culvert waters. The bay had a particularly tricky quartering chop, which did not make it easy to get into any kind of rhythm. I finally made the bridge turn in 34:41. I fought my way back and made the finish in 52:20 for an overall speed of 5.7 mph. The low 50's temperature and sunrise made up for the breeze, making the morning paddle still definately worth the time to get out.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Bay Minette Creek

Saturday, October 22, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Since we planned to drive to New Orleans today, I was off for a pre-dawn start to get back in time to leave by 8:30 AM. Due to the northern cold front coming in, I decided to head for the close confines of Bay Minette Creek to stay out of the wind. I arrived and put in at 6:40 AM, while the sky was just starting to lighten up a little. The water and air were both cool, with the protected water like glass.

I went for a five mile course, taking me through the s-turns of the upper section and down to the wider and somewhat straighter lower section towards Buzbee's. It was extremely quiet and peaceful as the sun came up over the east ridge. There was an early morning fisherman out on his small backyard pier casting out across the creek as I rounded the corner. He reeled it in quickly as I approached, so I would not get tangled in his line. Around another turn, a large dog was waking up the neighborhood as I paddle by and almost in his frenzy, jumped in after me.

I made my turnaround in 24:37 and 6.1 mph, staying under the 25:00 goal of a 6.0 mph speed. I knew the return would be a little tougher as there was an ever so slight downstream current to contend with. It was easy to check progress every half mile to see if I could stay above 6.0, as each 5:00 ticked off my gps watch. With only a final straightaway to go, I could see I was going to just come in under 50:00, with a return time of 25:14 and an overall time of 49:52 at 6.0 mph.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 LXXV

Thursday, October 20, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The conditions were a little different tonight as Roland and I set off at 5:00 PM from our usual Riverdocs starting point. The wind shifted and was now a northwesterly breeze, although not kicking up too much of a chop. The water level was mid-level and still rising, with clear skies and about 75 degrees. We pushed off eastward into the current and passed the still vacant restaurants. Progress has been agonizingly slow, while their competition has been open for a month already now. We reached the Apalachee turnaround in a slow 9:31 and 4.9 mph.

It was alot more fun on the return, covering the same distance in 6:20 and 7.6 mph. I tried to follow closely behind Roland and his screamin' K1, but I couldn't keep up enough to use his wake. He veered off towards the Causeway shoreline for some reason and got into the shallow water effect, so I was able to come even with him as we passed the fishermen and the crazy water around the culvert. He continued to stay closer to the shore, while I paddled out in slightly deeper water, allowing me to stay up with him. As we came to the Interstate bridges, Roland tucked under almost immediately, while I eased in 300 meters further down course. When I came in under the bridge, I was able to stay within 5 meters behind and we cruised in to the turnaround in 31:53.

On the way back, Roland decided to hang right behind me and pushed it hard, making the parking lot in a total time of 49:38. Roland saw our good ol' gator buddy, who was probably finishing up dinner on a couple of three day old drum someone left along the shore by the launch area. They left a strong odor, enough to bring in the scavengers from afar.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 LXXIV

Tuesday, October 18, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The weather conditions were very good for a fast paddle along the Causeway in the lower delta. I put in at Riverdocs at 5:30 PM, under partly cloudy skies, 72 degrees and a slight breeze coming out of the southeast. It was not enough to kick up any chop, so it was going to be paddling tonight. The water level was about mid-level and rising, so my start heading east down Pass Picada was going to be a bit slow. The shore birds were out walking around, while pelicans were in formation overhead.

The trip east was indeed slow, as I made the Apalachee River turn in 8:35. As I approached, I could see a lone paddler also heading east ahead of me, which gave me the impetus to push a little harder, to see if I could catch up before he turned one way or the other. When I caught up, I did not know him and he was not in a talkative mood, so he eased south, while I screamed back west at over 7.5 mph, passing the parking lot in only 70 breaths and on to the Causeway. A few fishermen looked on as I worked my way through the confused water by the culvert and on to the Interstate bridges. I made the second turn in 31:58 and knew I was working on a fairly fast time.

That knowledge gave me the extra mental push to keep up a fast turnover on the return. I needed it, as once I paddled past the culvert, the current turned back west and I had to fight it to the finish. With the sun setting behind me and the conditions conducive, I was able to turn in a good 49:02 time, which I thankful for after having been off the water for a full week now.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Phatwater Biyak

Sunday, October 9, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The first annual Biyak race was definitely a work in progress and will hopefully improve and grow in future years. When we woke up Sunday morning following the strenuous 45 mile kayak race the day before, I surprised myself by actually feeling pretty good without any major aches or pains. Linda and I arrived at the Under The Hill Saloon at 8:30 AM to check in and get my gear laid out and transition area set up. The weather was beautiful, with sunny skies, 72 degrees and no wind. The race was supposed to start at 9:30, but due to a lack of volunteers, the gun did not go off until 10:00 AM. While we were waiting, I was able to get a ride with the race director to tour the bike course, which helped me to mentally prepare for it. From the bike finish and transition area, the kayak course turnaround was marked with a large buoy, visible off in the distance 1.5 miles up the Mississippi River.

There were a total of six bikes and kayaks racing today. I was one of three competing solo, with three relay teams. The race was set up to allow the team kayakers to be already positioned in their boats when their bikers crossed the finish line. An official signaled to the kayakers, so they did not have to be concerned with any transition time.

The race started from in front of the Under The Hill Saloon and went uphill heading north to the downtown area. We continued north along the top of the river bluff into a residential area, at which point we turned into a cemetery. We toured and wound our way around the single lane road for a couple of miles, exiting the cemetery and returning back to downtown. The final turn by Fat Mama’s Tamales took us downhill, past the Isle of Capri and back to the saloon. The bike distance turned out to be five miles, which I did in 14:30.

The transition came next, where I quickly changed shoes, grabbed my PFD and ran down the boat ramp to the boats waiting at the water’s edge. On the bike leg, I finished tied with one of the team bikers in third place, following a team in first and a solo in second. So, the kayaker of the team I came in tied with, started right away while I was changing shoes and running about 50 meters down the ramp to the kayak start. On top of that, while I was getting into my boat, the next team also started kayaking ahead of me, even though their biker finished a minute slower. As I jumped into my boat, I noticed the buoy, supposed to be 1.5 miles upriver, was only about a half mile away, which seemed strange.

Anyway, I started out the kayak leg in fifth place about 100 meters behind third and fourth. Since we started paddling upriver, it was imperative that I stayed close to shore, out of the strong current, but not too close to get into the shoreline shallow water effect. After the first half mile, I caught up with the one solo ahead of me. This was at the point where the buoy broken loose and drifted downriver out of place. The solo thought he was to turn there, even though the three paddlers ahead of him continued upriver to the real turnaround. The safety boat saw what was happening and went upriver to act as the turnaround point.

I continued upriver and caught the next paddler at about one mile in, well before the turnaround and was closing in on the two frontrunners. After making the turn, I went wide to get out into the river current and sprinted to try and make up more ground. At about halfway back, I caught up to the second place relay team and stayed even for the next half mile. Finally, I put on a final burst of speed and pulled ahead, finishing about 30 meters ahead at the finish. Although I was still gaining on the front running kayak, I ran out of water and was unable to catch him.

It was a fun race and well worth sticking around the next day for to participate in. I understand there will be alot of tweeking to the event, but it will continue next year and the director certainly hopes with more racers. The bike portion may be lengthened to something like 18 miles, which will make it much tougher on those going solo the day after paddling the Phatwater.

Overall, I finished first in the solo category and second overall to a relay team.

The finishes and times were as follows:

1st – total 42:51 - bike 13:43 Curtis Maroney, kayak 29:08 Geoff Iles - team
2nd – total 43:32 - bike 14:36, kayak 29:36 Brint Adams - solo
3rd – total 43:53 - bike 14:28 Tommy Smith, kayak 29:25 Melissa Morrison - team
4th – total 45:47 - bike 15:32 Shaun Kelly, kayak 30:15 Randy Tillman - team
5th – total 53:20 - bike 16:01, kayak 37:19 Sam McLemore - solo
6th – total 24:44 - bike 13:46, kayak 11:38 Jeb Berry - solo (short kayak course)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 LXXIII

Tuesday, October 11, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Tonight was a good time to stretch out the kinks after a successful, but long and hard weekend of kayak racing. I arrived at Riverdocs at 5:15 under partly cloudy skies, 82 degrees with a 10 mph north wind. The water level was extremely low, probably the lowest I have ever seen it.

There were several blue herons and white ibis feeding along the exposed low shorelines, while my good gator buddy was lounging in the shallow water and mud near the corner where I turn out of the launch area. I took off down Pass Picada and saw another paddler way off in the distance, across from Bluegill's. He was going slowly and I caught up to him when I made my turn at the Apalachee. I did not know him and he was not talkative, so I turned and got ready to start back west. My time at the turn was 7:03 and 15:09 as I passed the parking lot.

Fishermen must have thought the conditions were good as about ten people were out, most hanging around the culvert, as I passed by. The chop was not too bad, so I made pretty good time, reaching the bridge turnaround in 33:34. The sun was almost down, putting on a pretty good show above the downtown skyline. I felt good and paddled well on the return, hitting the finish line in an OK 50:40. It was a good "loosen-up the tight muscles" paddle and definately worth getting back out on the bay, as I will be up in Iowa over the weekend and unable to get in any good paddling for a whole week.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Phatwater Kayak Challenge 2005

Saturday, October 8, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The second time down the Mississippi was just as memorable and exciting as last year! The water level on the river was a little lower this year, but the weather was absolutely magnificent and we had a great paddle. Again, Linda and I traveled from Spanish Fort over to Natchez on Friday afternoon, arriving around 5:00 PM. This year, we left Linda's mother, who has been our recent house guest, behind to watch after the house. Upon arrival, we made a quick stop at the motel to check in and stopped at the Under The Hill Saloon to check in for the race.

The weather was already cool with a cold front coming down from the north, as we headed off to Pearl Street Pasta for dinner. Once again, the food was excellent and a good carbo load for the next day. This time, race organizers made arrangements to shuttle the boats up to Grand Gulf the night before, so we could ride buses to the start area Saturday morning. Linda was particularly happy she did not have to get up at 4:30 and drive up and back.

We arrived at the Claiborne County Port boat ramp at 7:00, having passed right next to a nuclear power plant on the way in. The air was crisp and the mosquitos were out looking for an early morning feast. Our boats were lined up and following safety instructions, we loaded up and got into the water to warm up. A newly added touch this year was using a large civil war era cannon for the start. We could not even see it up over the top of a hill, but the shot was deafening as it reverberated around the small bay, scaring a number of shore birds into flight.

Once we cleared the bay, the current swept us out into the river and we were off on another wild ride down the Mississippi. Roland sprinted ahead and was one of the frontrunners for the first 400 meters. He backed off a little and settled into a normal rhythm, which was still much faster than any of the other plastic boats. The breeze out of the north kept the chop down, so the paddling was pretty smooth. It did not take long and we came across our first barge coming upriver putting off a surprisingly small wake.

As it turned out, we passed probably about five barges coming upriver, and this year some of us caught up to and passed a barge slowly moving downriver. I finally caught the barge at around the 30 mile mark and slowly made my way alongside the three wide and five long long and then out in front of it. It was a good motivator for me, in that I was really out by myself, as the frontrunners had gotten away from me and were no longer in sight. This made it especially frustrating for me, as my GPS would not start up, so I had no way of gauging the river speed to make adjustments in finding the optimum current to help propel me downriver.

Before I knew it, I came around a bend and there were the high electric line towers off in the distance, about 20 minutes paddle time away. Once I cleared the towers, and with the finish in sight, albeit still 5.5 miles away, I bore down even harder, as I could see I was in reach of beating last year's time. I did not have anyone close around me this time, so it was not an all-out sprint, but I came in with a strong finish of 4:41:00, just two minutes slower than last year. So, I am still perfect in sub-five hour finishes, which was a special goal of mine.

Interestingly, I finished in 6th place overall, but in the popular composite long kayak category, I was only 4th in my group. As last year, there were only nine finishers who had sub-five hour times, so that was gratifying to be in the elite group. Win Nouwen repeated as champion this year, followed by fellow Memphian, Joe Royer. The top finisher were as follows:

1st - 4:26:20 Win Nouwen, Memphis, TN - 21' Thunderbolt
2nd - 4:28:49 Joe Royer, Memphis, TN - 21' Thunderbolt
3rd - 4:35:47 Flint Bishop, Des Allemands, LA - Seda Glider
4th - 4:37:00 Richard Savoie, Des Allemands, LA - Seda Glider
5th - 4:39:17 Keith Benoist, Natchez, MS - Seda Glider
6th - 4:41:57 Brint Adams, Spanish Fort, AL - Seda Glider
7th - 4:45:46 Don Chesler/Chris Marmande, OK - 22' tandem
8th - 4:52:09 Andy Balogh, Memphis, TN - 21' K-1
9th - 4:55:43 Christopher Murphree, Birmingham, AL - QCC 700
10th - 5:01:36 Bill Reitzer-Smith, Addison, TX - 18' K-1
11th - 5:02:43 Jeb Berry, Gulfport, MS - 18' surf ski
12th - 5:03:02 Gregg Jacob, Ridgeland, MS - Epic Endurance
13th - 5:05:17 Vincent Ciaramitaro, Memphis, TN - 19' QCC
14th - 5:08:37 Lynn DeLaughter, Annandale, VA - 19' composite
15th - 5:09:55 Geoff Iles, Natchez, MS - Seda Glider
16th - 5:12:19 Roland Bodt, Daphne, AL - plastic
17th - 5:16:22 Troy Bakel, Middletown, PA - Necky Looksha II 20'
18th - 5:20:10 Dave Genzler, Pineville, LA Necky Looksha IV 17'
1st - 5:16:01 Melissa Morrison, Natchez, MS - Seda Glider

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway LXXII

Thursday, October 6, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

I wanted to get in one last paddle workout before Saturday, although the conditions were not ideal. At 5:00 PM, the there was a very stiff 20 mph north wind which whipped up a pretty good chop out in the open bay. The temperature was about 80 degrees under cloudy skies over a low water level. It was difficult even getting my kayak off of the roof as I wondered why I was even out there.

As I took off down Pass Picada, there were no boats, birds or even gators out in the unforgiving conditions. The tide was supposed to be rising, but the north wind was pushing water out of the bay, so it was difficult to tell if there was really any tide movement or not. I could not get into any kind of stroke rhythm and my split times were not particularly good. When I passed the Causeway, there were no fishermen out and the passing traffic must have wondered what kind of fool would be out in the bay bobbing around like a cork.

It was a little quieter at the bridge turnaround where I hid out along the shore in the reeds. But, I eventually turned and tried to make it back home as quickly as possible to just get off the water. My overall time was a pitifully slow 56:00. To put a positive spin on it, I rationalized that since it was not hot and the water was slow, I did get overheated or try to expend too much energy just 36 hours before racetime.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Bay Minette Creek

Sunday, October 2, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The temperature and humidity were low this morning, ideal for paddling. As it was still breezy from out of the east, I opted for a mostly protected location and Bay Minette Creek was a good choice. I put in at 7:00 AM on cool water, flat and smooth as glass.

The trip downstream was beautiful as the sun rose to burn off the early morning misty haze hanging over the water. Once I reached the three mile mark (right at 30:03), the water opened up a little and the breeze started to stir up the surface. It actually helped push me along and my speed improved by 0.1 mph, as I passed Buzbee's and crossed under the Hwy 225 bridge. The five mile turnaround is out another quarter mile where the delta opens into Bay Minette Basin. I noticed my time at the turnaround was 49:40, while I took a long drink before heading back.

By this time, the wind was pushing me through the grass along the shoreline. I knew then, I was in for a much tougher slog on the way back upstream. Starting out, my speed was in the low 5's, which meant it could take me upwards to ten minutes longer than the trip down. But once the creek started to narrow again, protecting me from the wind, I was able to pick up speed again. My return time was slower at 54:42, for a total time of 1:44:22, but long forgotten as the paddle highlight came in the last mile. A bald eagle soared along above me, seeming to lead me on my course for awhile. It was quite an inspiration and motivator to pick up the pace just a little more back to the bridge.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 LXXI

Saturday, October 1, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

It was nice to get back out into more recognizable, natural and alive surroundings of the delta after returning from a day trip to the unreal and dead surroundings of post-Katrina New Orleans. I put in at old Riverdocs at 5:30 PM under clear skies, 80 degrees and an easterly breeze. The water level was up with the tide falling as I turned east down Pass Picada. As predicted, I headed straight into a chop on the normally protected pass. There was little going on as most were inside watching the Bama football game.

I made the Apalachee River turn in 6:59 and back past the lot in 15:15. The chop picked up a little out in the open bay and when the tide switched directions, I cruised into the bridge turnaround at a speed of 6.5 mph and time of 33:01. The return was not remarkable as I sprinted in to the finish in a total time of 50:15.