Kayak Canoe Alabama

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XCVI

Saturday, December 31, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

This morning was foggy until noon, so I decided to go out and see what it was like later in the morning. When I put in at 10:15 AM, the Causeway was still socked in with about 0.25 mi. visibility, 60 degrees and calm. The water level was very low and still dropping. There was alot of activity with duck hunters coming off the water and a couple of new kayakers just getting on.

I decided to do the new 6 mi. course again this morning, getting off to a good start down Pass Picada. There were fishermen both along the shore and on the water as I cruised by on the way to the Apalachee. I turned in 6:37 and back past the launch area in 8:02. I was close enough to the shore the whole way to not lose sight of it, but forward vision was reduced as the Causeway and numerous fishermen finally came into view. The water level was low enough, it was hard to avoid the muddy shallows, so I cut straight down to the bridges to get into deeper water as soon as I could. Once there, the falling tide helped me get back up to 7.2 mph, as I made the turn at the Tensaw River in 36:04.

On the return, it was slow going at 5.5 mph again, until I got to the Causeway culverts, where the tide direction changes and was able to sprint in the final 0.75 mi. at 6.6 mph. The total time was a better 58:34, still at 6.1 mph for the whole workout.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XCV

Friday, December 30, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

At 11:30 AM, we had another beautiful winter morning for paddling in the lower delta. It was 62 degrees, no wind, partly sunny with a low water level, but rising. I decided to increase the course distance from 5 mi. to 6 mi., by moving the western turnaround out further to where the Tensaw River crosses and empties into Mobile Bay.

As I paddled out into Pass Picada and turned east, there were plenty of shorebirds and fishermen out enjoying the noontime sunshine. The Oyster House was full for lunch, as I cruised by the long northside picture windows overlooking the water, high up on the stilted structure. I started out fairly strongly with a 7:16 to the Apalachee and 7:29 on the return, which motivated me to give it a good push the rest of the way. But, the water level was low, with no way around the shallows in the lower Chacaloochee, which slowed me down considerably for awhile, until I was able to get to the bridges. Once in deeper water, I was able to at least get back up to 5.8 mph heading into the rising current. My new turnaround time at the Tensaw was 36:35, where I stopped for a quick drink.

The return between the bridges was better at 6.4 mph, until I got back into the shallows and then into the rising tide in the last 0.75 mi. Under the circumstances, I was pleased with an overall 59:04, at an average speed of 6.1 mph. I like the new longer course and will probably start using it from now on, as the afternoons are starting to stay lighter just a little longer. Now, it is off to New Year's Eve celebrations. Hopefully, I will be in decent enough shape for a good paddle on New Years day.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XCIV

Thursday, December 29, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Another day of great weather! At 4:00 PM, the temperature was 60 degrees with no clouds and a slight southeasterly breeze. The water level was medium and rising, as I pulled out into Pass Picada. It was a hard slog heading east, as I was only able to make 5.3 mph in 8:51 at the Apalachee turnaround. On the way back past a full Oyster House happy hour crowd, I cruised by in 6:03 at 7.8 mph on the way to the Causeway. There were a few fishermen hanging out around the culverts as I passed through the 'confused waters' and on to the bridges. I had a little slowdown through the south end of the bay and paddled to the turnaround in 30:47.

There was another magnificent sunset, helped by a few clouds on the horizon over downtown, as I started back. I made good time until I passed the culverts again and headed back into the rising tide. Over the last 0.75 mi., I was back down to 5.3 mph again, but still able to finish in a total of 48:36, which was quite satisfying.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XCIII

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

This afternoon was so warm and beautiful, I could not resist the temptation to take off work a little early and head for the water. At 4:00 PM, the temperature was 71 degrees with a slight southeasterly breeze. The water level was medium with the tide rising.

As I paddled down Pass Picada, it was evident others had the same thoughts. There were several fishermen along the south shore, three boats fishing along the north shore and already a full parking lot at the Oyster House for happy hour. Although I started out strongly, my time of 8:39 (5.4 mph) at the Apalachee turn was indicative of the actively rising tide. The return over the same distance was 6:24 (7.3 mph) which continued past the confused waters at the Causeway culverts and continuing on along Chacaloochee Bay.

My bridge turnaround time was 31:04 and just in time to see the sun setting along the downtown skyline. It is already noticeable the days are getting just a little longer. The last stretch from the Causeway on, was back into the tide and although I pushed as hard as possible, was only able to make 5.3 mph and finished in a good overall time of 49:10. I love this winter weather.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Bay Minette Creek 6 mi.

Monday, December 26, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

All of our Christmas day company left this morning, so I decided to go for the water on a gorgeous afternoon. After eating way too much turkey, fresh oyster dressing and pumpkin pie I had to deal with a heavy ballast in hopes I might work off a little of the load. The sky was clear, brilliantly blue, with a southerly breeze and 60 degrees.

I decided to go for the calm of Bay Minette and was not disappointed, as there was not a breath of breeze nor a ripple on the water, save for the occasional fish breaking the surface. I didn't feel like I was getting off to an efficient start around the s-turns and only turned in a 9:46 for the first mile. The next two miles to the turnaround were better at 9:14 and 9:29. I passed several fishing boats along the way, who were working the shoreline and not where I might bother them.

On the return, I tried to kick up the pace even more and came back with miles of 9:21, 9:18 and finished up with 9:50 for a total of exactly 57:00. For this I was pleasantly surprised, considering the heavy load I was carrying. It will now be appropriate to push away from the dinner table a little sooner in preparation for the Wakulla race in four weeks.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XCII

Saturday, December 24, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

This morning was much warmer as the wind switched around and was coming in from the south. When I arrived at Riverdocs, the wind was only about 5 mph, leaving Pass Picada and Chacaloochee Bay almost flat. At 7:45 AM, the temperature was 58 degrees, while the water level was low, but still fine for fast paddling. The tide was barely moving, although still falling a little before soon reaching low tide.

There were a few shotgun blasts off to the north as I took off to the east to Apalachee River. There was not much activity, either wildlife or man-made as I made the turnaround in 7:21 and back past the parking lot in 15:04. Once out in the open water, it was still very flat and I was able to keep a good pace going as I rounded past the culverts and on towards the Interstate bridges. I made the bridge turn in 31:52 and decided to go for it on the way back, as the sky was darkening considerably from the south and rain was coming very soon.

I cruised in along with one of the hunting boats just ahead of the rain. I was pretty pleased with the overall time of 49:02 for the five mile course.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Perdido Estuary

Friday, December 23, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Bob called in a flash paddle yesterday afternoon, so my posting it on the blog only netted Ian to join Bob, Julie and I on what turned out to be an excellent day for paddling an area new to me. To get to this beautiful area, we drove on I-10 to Florida exit 5, turned west on Hwy 90 for 2.5 mi. and then south on CR 99 for another 5.9 mi. to the small community of Hurst Hammock. The commercial put-in is close to the Perdido River and only a mile north of the top end of Perdido Bay.

I arrived a little early to get in a workout, so put in at 10:15 AM and promptly headed south to the bay. The water was very calm as were the waterfowl who did not seem to mind my paddling by. There were lots of brown pelicans and a group of about a dozen cormorants who were lazily out trying their luck at a little fishing. The tide was running out ever so slightly, but enough to where even at not all-out effort, I was able to paddle mile splits of 9:41, 9:31 and a 2.5 mi. turnaround in 24:02. On the way back, the fishing birds were likewise unphased by my presence, as I tried to compensate for heading back into the tide with splits of 9:45, 10:10 and a total 5 mi. time of 48:37.

As I sprinted past the launch area, I noticed the others were just loading gear into their boats and ready to head out into the estuary. We started out northward into the beautiful estuary, where we came across osprey, red-tailed hawk, great blue heron, white egret, wood duck, kingfisher and cormorant. But to our delight, we soon came across a number of loon out swimming and fishing along the much warmer climes of the border of lower Alabama and west Florida.

After paddling around and through many small islands in the estuary, we found the main channel of the Perdido and continued north to where we cut back in to the Florida side, to Black Lake. We had to do a short portage from the clear Perdido water to the very chocolatey water of Black Lake. We continued into the delta around s-turns, past several beaver houses, turtles and more wood ducks, until we went as far in as we could without another portage around an old beaver dam. We stopped for lunch there, where I walked a little further to get a photo of some pitcher plants.

On our way out, we decided to take the more exciting exit from Black Lake by shooting down through a narrow culvert, which dumped back into the Perdido. We added to the excitement by having to dodge a fallen tree, as we came flying out of the culvert. While on the return, we decided to take a detour on the Alabama side, into nice-sized Reeder Lake. I followed three loons into a back cove and when they went under, I waited patiently for a picture of them surfacing. I waited and waited and then noticed they had swum probably another 100 meters under and past me, out into the middle of the lake.

After missing that photo opportunity, we continued back and came across about six more loons. While the others were taking a little break on a beautiful island camping spot, I paddled around in circles, trying in vain to get a closeup shot of the loons. Now I see where the phrase "crazy as a loon" comes from. They about drove me crazy, as they submerged and wouldn't come up until they were long gone across to the other side.

This was a beautiful place to paddle, with many more miles of water to explore than the 10 miles we toured. There are little lakes hidden in the delta and other larger lakes, as well as dozens of small islands to explore. This is definately a place to return to in the springtime to paddle and camp, as the flowers start to bloom.

Bay Minette Creek 6 mi.

Thursday, December 22, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

More perfect paddling workout conditions again tonight. Now that we are a day after the winter solstice, the days will start to lengthen once again. We also have neap tides and no wind, so there is very little water movement. At 4:00 PM it was 52 degrees, so I couldn't ask for more.

Bay Minette Creek water was very clear, cool and flat as I felt very good getting into a strong even rhythm from the start. I made some good turns in the tight first half mile, minimizing the slowdowns, which got me off to good start. I had my virtual 'Roland' partner set at only 6 mph, so I was able to monitor how much I was continuing to pull away from him and new I had a chance for some good splits. On the way downstream, I hit miles of 9:33, 9:16 and 9:12. On the return, I hit 9:18, 9:21 and 9:46 for a total six mile time of 56:28 at 6.4 mph for a new PR!

As the light started to fade, I followed a great blue heron upstream as he stopped around every turn, waiting for me to catch up.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bay Minette Creek 6 mi.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Wow! Another afternoon of near perfect conditions, with no wind or clouds, produced a new PR. I arrived at 4:00 PM to beat the sun before it set, and try to get in a strong six mile paddle. The temperature started out at 50 degrees and when I finished it was 45 degrees.

The level was very low across the bay, with continued north winds helping to push out the water. It would have been difficult to find an area along the Causeway with enough water to even put in, let alone paddle unimpeded for any distance. So, it was back to Bay Minette, which is not a bad thing anyway.

I started out pretty well through the narrow s-turns with a 9:26 mile and added consistent splits of 9:21 and 9:22 to get to the turnaround. On the return, with the temperature dropping, I pushed the pace to hit splits of 9:30, 9:28 and 10:02 for a total time of 57:11 for speed of 6.3 mph. I didn't scare up too much wildlife with only a few wood ducks taking off in front of me as I came around a corner and a kingfisher leading me back upstream. The weather looks good for the next few days, so I will definately be out on the water alot over the holiday.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bay Minette 10 mi.

Sunday, December 18, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

The stormfront passed through last night, but left some residual north wind, so I headed back to Bay Minette once again. I wanted to get in a hard 10 miler and didn't want the distraction of chop out in the open water of the bay. I got started at 7:45 AM under overcast skies, 43 degrees and no wind by the Bromley bridge.

The paddle downstream started out through a low hanging mist with a couple of blue herons and snowy egrets leading the way. I passed close by a cormorant, who was busy fishing and didn't want to be bothered by me paddling by only five meters away. Once I reached miles four and five where the creek widens and straightens out, the wind began to ripple the water, but wasn't much of a factor.

My mile splits on the way down were 9:42, 9:35, 9:27, 9:23 and 9:15. On the way back, I was paddling into the wind for the first two miles and hit 10:13 and 10:09. Once into the narrower channel with no wind, I finished up with 10:03, 9:59 and 10:23 through the tight s-turns in the last mile. The total time was 1:38:13 for an average of 6.1 mph.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bay Minette Creek 6 mi.

Saturday, December 17, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

This morning was pretty ugly, so I tried to reduce the effects of some of the factors by heading again for the protection of Bay Minette. By the time I arrived at the Bromley bridge at 8:00 AM, there was a light rain, a temperature of 40 degrees, but fortunately no wind. I decided to go with a longsleeve capilene, shell and no gloves.

The waterfowl were noticeably absent, as they were probably a little smarter than me. I did scare up a pair of wood ducks, but that was about it. On the way downstream, I hit mile splits of 9:32, 9:31 and 9:20. At the turnaround, the rain stopped, so I stripped off the shell for the return run. My splits were 9:43, 9:40 and 10:17 for a total of 58:05 for an average speed of 6.2 mph.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Bay Minette Creek 5 mi.

Thursday, December 15, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Once the stormfront cleared out this afternoon, we were left with a beautiful winter afternoon. The sky cleared out ready to greet the Major Lunar Standstill tonight. The temperature was 60 degrees with a slight breeze back up in the Bay Minette area. I arrived and put in at 4:15 PM, early enough this time to make sure I would get back before dark.

The water level was up a little with the current flowing downstream in the upper section. I started out fast in the s-turn area with the current, hitting mile splits of 9:12, 9:09 and the turnaround in a total of 23:00. On the return, the splits were 9:32, 9:54 and a total time of 47:45 over the five mile course at a speed of 6.3 mph. On the way home after dark, I was able to witness a brilliant full moon in standstill, higher in the sky than it will be for the next 18.6 years.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XCI

Tuesday, December 13, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

This afternoon was one of the calmest days on the bay I have seen in a long time. As I drove along the Causeway at 4:00 PM, the sky was clear, the bay was perfectly flat and the temperature was a balmy 62 degrees. What a great day to be alive and paddling in LA.

I put in at 4:16 PM and with the approaching Major Lunar Standstill in two days, the tide was moving in pretty rapidly as I sped eastward down Pass Picada. There were lots of shorebirds, fishermen and diners along the way, all enjoying the afternoon sunshine. My time to the Apalachee turnaround was a slow 9:11 and 0.12 mi. behind 'Roland', my virtual partner set at 6.0 mph. On the way back, I quickly reduced the deficit with mile splits of 7:55 and 8:51 and pulled ahead before I passed the parking lot.

The water was so flat and deep enough, I was able to work into a strong steady pace and continued to pull ahead, even after I passed the culverts and started against the current. Fishermen were lined along the Causeway, as I pulled in parallel to the shore and quickly left them behind. The last half mile slowed considerably as the current stiffened while paddling under the Interstate bridge. I hit the turnaround in 31:17 and stopped for drink while the sun sank behind the downtown skyline.

My return started out fast enough with a 10:03 split, before hitting the tide wall and finishing the five mile course in 49:28. As soon as I started to pull out, the wind started up out of the south as the temperature dropped about 7 degrees. I was glad to have gotten on and off the water when I did, for a good winter paddle workout, and satisfied to beat 'Roland' by 0:32.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Fish River (upper)

Saturday, December 10, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Today warmed up nicely to the mid-50's by noon, partly sunny and only a slight breeze. Steve met Linda and I at the intersection of Hwy 181 and CR 32, southeast of Fairhope, AL. We continued east on CR 32, to just before the bridge and turned down to Keeney Drive East to the put-in at the Baldwin County Wetlands Conservation Park.

We started out at 11:30 AM heading north on Fish River, under the bridge and past many houses and boathouses festively decorated. This was the first time for us to paddle this area since before the hurricanes of the past two seasons. The area did not look too bad, either from Katrina flood surge or from Ivan winds. We decided to try Polecat Creek first and wound our way around the narrow waterway, into ever increasingly stronger current. Once we passed under the CR 9 bridge, we continued for about a quarter mile further and decided to stop along the way for lunch. There were plenty of signs that a hungry beaver was also around. We thought we might even find him house or dam-building, but no such luck.

Upon returning back southwest to Fish River, we started back downriver until we reached the mouth of Cowpen Creek along the west bank just north of the CR 32 bridge. This is another beautiful clearwater tributary, however with almost no current. We paddled back through many tight s-turns past a small but pretty sand beach peninsula, before coming across a large treefall across the creek. That was enough for us, so we turned and headed back out to the Fish River and down to wetlands county park. On the way back we paddled underneath about 75-100 buzzards circling high overhead. The overall trip took us about 2:40 paddling time covering 6.66 miles. This was a great little trip on a beautiful afternoon.

Bay Minette Creek 6 mi.

Sunday, December 11, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

It was a little warmer this morning at 38 degrees, otherwise identical conditions as yesterday. I started a little earlier at 7:09 AM, just as the sun was breaking over the treeline. The mist was heavy again, hanging in over the crystal clear glass-like water conditions. As I made the s-turns heading into the sun, it was difficult to see through the mist, so I just pulled my cap down lower over my eyes.

I scared up a pair of wood ducks and spied an osprey out hunting over the water ahead. This morning, I decided to go without gloves, which meant the first half of the paddle was pretty painful as my hands got pretty cold. But, as the sun started to come up, I peeled off a layer on the return and my hands warmed up just fine.

My splits on the way down were 10:04, 9:56 and 9:22. My hands were so cold at the start, it was hard to grip and feel the paddle. But, on the return, I hit 9:34, 9:27 and 10:01 for a total 58:29 over six miles for an average speed of 6.2 mph. It doesn't get any better than this.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Bay Minette Creek 6 mi.

Saturday, December 10, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

This morning was probably the coldest of this season so far, at 32 degrees. I put in at the Bromley Bridge at 7:42 AM under partly cloudy skies, no wind and close to low tide. I don't know if it was from probably dressing too warmly or with gloves on or what, but I apparently just could not get into a good rhythm, pace, etc. as I was just a little slow the whole way.

The winter scenery was beautiful with a light misty fog hanging over the water. On the way downstream, I could only hit 9:49, 9:39 and 9:29 mile splits. On the return, splits were 9:42, 10:04 and 10:25 for a total of 59:15 over the six mile course. I am not complaining at all, as I was just grateful to be able to get out on the water, while a good part of the country is buried under a winter snowstorm.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 XC

Thursday, December 8, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Conditions at 4:30 PM were pretty good with overcast skies, 60 degrees, 10 mph easterly breeze, medium pool depth and a slowly rising tide. I got a late start as I had to go retrieve a paddle, so tried to push hard to get back before it got too dark. The chop was not much of a factor, so I was able to keep a good pace throughout the whole course. By the time I got back it was well after dark, but the glow of the lights along the Causeway kept me on course, without running into anything. My overall time was an average 50:00. Just as I was loading up, the sky started to open up and I was glad to not have to paddle both in the dark and rain.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Bay Minette Creek 5 mi.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

On another blustery night on the bay, I decided to head for the protected confines of Bay Minette Creek. I was a little late arriving on a day with ever shortening daylight, so went for the five mile course to try and get back before I started hitting trees and stumps along the narrow course in the dark. The conditions were actually just about perfect, with 50 degrees, no wind, glass-like water and no perceptible current.

I started out at 4:44 PM, by hammering the course with mile splits of 9:19 (6.4 mph), 9:08 (6.6 mph) and halfway at 23:00 (4:33 - 6.6 mph). I agitated my one junkyard dog friend, but otherwise did not see any signs of life. On the return, as the sky quickly darkened, I had splits of 9:14 (6.5 mph), 9:34 (6.3 mph) and finished in almost total darkness in 47:09 (5:19 - 5.7 mph). Over the last couple of turns, I slowed just a little, counting strokes and paddling more by memory, to make sure I did not smack into something hanging out into the water.

As it turned out, I think this was my fastest five mile workout ever, especially gratifying with the tight s-turns in the first and last half mile of the course.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Byrnes Lake to Causeway

Sunday, December 4, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

A group of six kayak paddlers met at the Byrnes Lake public launch access off of Hwy 225 about nine miles north of Spanish Fort, AL. We had beautiful winter weather with partially overcast skies, temperatures in the upper sixties, a southerly breeze and an outgoing tide as we started out at 9:30 AM. Our spirits were high as we paddled briskly but easily out Byrnes Lake to the Tensaw River and started heading south.

We made good time at 4 mph down to Blakeley State Park, where we stopped for a late morning snack. The boardwalk along the river had large sections in ruins due to the storm surge from Hurricane Katrina. Fortunately, the small covered picnic spot at the southern end of the boardwalk where we stopped, was not damaged.

We continued downriver, where it turns into Blakeley, crossed over to the west side and entered the delta by way of Mudhole Creek. We immediately came across a couple of gators lounging around in the warm winter sun, protected from the wind. When we approached the southerly cut to Little Bateau Bay, we split up, as part of our group wanted to explore more of Mudhole Creek.

Those who continued up Mudhole, found the water level low, so we were not able to make it all of the way back north to the end. But, we did encounter a large gator whose head was sticking out of a hole in the side of the bank. As we approached, he backed himself into the hole and out of sight. I would guess by the size of his head, he was about a 10-12 footer. We paddled about 1.5 miles roundtrip and back to the cut-through where we met back up with the whole group.

Although the water level was somewhat low, we continued down to the north end of Little Bateau Bay. That is where the slow slogging started. We found little water in Little Bateau and depending on the type of kayak used, some of us had more difficulty than the others in mucking our way around. We cut across the west end and found our way into the most westerly of the three tributaries out of Little Bateau on the south end. Unfortunately, it is the shallowest, and we had to continue to slog through too shallow water and too much mud.

We finally escaped our punishment and got into some deeper water as we approached Conway Creek. We were all sufficiently tired with the mud-slogging ordeal, we opted to head straight down Conway and on to the Causeway. As such, we were sufficiently off to the eastern part of Chacaloochee Bay, which was also just about out of water. So, we were back to some slow slogging again for the last half mile.

The old Riverdocs parking lot along the Causeway never looked so good as we at least had enough water to get to the launch and park our boats in the lot. It was then off to Byrnes Lake in our shuttle car to retrieve our cars, back to Riverdocs to load and head home. At least we had very nice weather, had good supportive company and got in an excellent workout, covering the 14 mile trip in about four hours paddling time. I would recommend trying this trip again, as long as one goes with at least another two feet of water depth.

An alternative perspective in verse:

Mud in Mobile Bay

Well it's Sunday
December the 4th
Six kayakers have gathered
To paddle a course.

With GPS's in our packs
And kayaks on our racks
We are all so sure
That Brint knows all the facts.

Putting in at Byrne's Lake
Paddling to Blakeley
Eating lunch on the bank.
What could be more stately?

Making great time
Tide going out
Cut through Mud Hole Bay
Great to be out and about.

But Brint, out there things can happen
And frequently do
To people as experienced
And prepared as you.

Sadly it's true
Kayakers will get stuck
When the tide goes out
And leaves fields of mud ruts.

We are not having fun
Pushing through mud.
Where is the way out?
We could all us a Bud.

On we went
Though the alligators howled
And our arms got sore
With our kayaks covered in mud a galore.

At the end of the day
On December the 4th
With a tow from Brint
We finished the course.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Bay Minette Creek 6 mi.

Saturday, December 3, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

This afternoon was sunny, warm, partly cloudy but with a brisk southerly breeze. So, as I have done for some past windy workouts, I headed for the calm confines of Bay Minette Creek. I arrived at the Bromley Bridge at 3:30 PM and found perfect glass-like conditions. The water was low and rising.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a working watch with me, so I was unable to time my workout. The water was very clear with some fallen leaves both floating on top and visible on the bottom. It was very calm with no boats or people around the whole paddle. I did the six mile course and with my effort, figure I finished in about one hour.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Apalachee River to Causeway 2005 LXXXIX

Thursday, December 1, 2005 brint.adams@us.army.mil

Finally a little real competition as Roland showed up tonight for a workout paddle. We got away at 4:39 PM as the sun was already setting behind cloud cover. There was very little wind, 60 degrees, medium water level and a rising tide, so the water conditions were ideal for fast paddling. Even though Roland had been off the water for two weeks, he is always ready to push hard and did so tonight in his K-1.

We started paddling east down Pass Picada against the tide, reaching the Apalachee in 8:55 and flew back in 6:23 for a split of 15:18. Roland took the lead and I attempted to hang on, although I could not gain any ground on him. We pressed on past the Causeway (no fishermen tonight) and back into the tide on the other side of the culverts. The water level was deep enough, we did not have to hit a perfect line, which was just as well in the dark. We picked up time, making the bridge turnaround in 31:15.

Since it was already dark, we didn't hang around long and started our sprint back. I got a little too close to the shoreline in a couple of places on the return, which slowed me down a little. Once past the culverts again, the tide slowed me down to 5.3 mph, but we were still able to cross the 5 mile finish line in a good 49:15. Having a faster partner along made a big difference in my performance, as we are starting preparations for a race in Florida in about two months.