Sunday, July 31, 2005

7-29-05 Bailey's Creek to Great Point Clear

It was kind of a hot and hazy morning when I left Mike's house. It was, however, a new day and a new adventure. I let my kayak slowly drift down Bailey's Creek and just enjoyed the sounds all around me. As I made my way out into the Mobile Bay I was confronted with several Pelicans sitting on an old damaged pier. They let me get pretty close before flying off.
I paddled on through the haze towards the Grand. The water was a little bit choppy with about a 5 knot wind out of the north west. As I reached Great Point Clear, "Blind Dog" Mike came by me in his fishin' boat looking for a place to locate a little supper.
Otherwise, The trip was somewhat uneventful...but the workout was wonderful and as always the Bay left me in awe of the greatness of creation. All in was, again, a very good trip.
Glad you could come along.

( a photo of myself .... out on the Bay )

Friday, July 22, 2005

7-22-05 Bailey's Creek to Grand Hotel Marina

Today was a good paddle. I had a slight breeze out of the Northwest which caused a little chop in the bay.

(making my way to Great Point Clear)

I paddled north to Great Point Clear and then further around the point to the Grand Hotel Marina. I took a little rest break there and visited with some folks on the dock.
After my rest I headed back out into the bay and then south till I was due west of Bailey's Creek. Then turned east and made it safely back to Mike's. It was a good workout and again I was overwhelmed by the experience.

( The Grand Hotel Marina)

"Solo Arctic Paddler, Robert Perkins, once wrote that a trip was not about the places he passed, how many miles he paddled, or what he did each day. These were just the details of the trip. For him, the trip was what happened between these facts."
(from "The Why of Wilderness Trips" by Glen Stedham in the June/July issue of Wavelength Magazine)

so...our thought for the day , after such a good paddle, is:
"It's not about the's all about the ride." --Melanie Brown

May your ride today be smooth and may you have the wind at your back.
Hope to see you here next trip.

7-20-05 High Tide

Another trip from Bailey's Creek to the Grand Hotel at Great Point Clear. It was a beautiful day, (again no gator) and the water was as smooth as glass. It was right at High tide as I left the
creek and began to paddle North towards the point. My Old Town Loon cut almost effortlessly through the smooth waters and I was overwhelmed by reflections of the clouds on the bay.

I paddled all the way to the point then I began paddling west until I was about halfway out to the point Clear Marker (located about 1 1/2 miles from the point). I then turned south and paddled until I was even with Baileys Creek. After resting a bit and admiring the reflections of the clouds on the water , I headed back east towards Bailey's Creek. After reaching the creek I propped my

feet up on the deck of the kayak and let the current take me gently downstream to "Blind Dog" Mikes house and the end of the days adventure. This is the farthest I have gone so far. Mike and I looked on the charts and calculated that I paddled 7 miles in 2 hours. That's an average of 3 1/2 miles per hour. Not too bad for a novice. God gave me a beautiful

day in which to enjoy His beauty and creation. Glad you could come along for the ride.

(for those who have asked here is a pic of the "Old Town Loon" kayak I am paddling).

Monday, July 18, 2005

7-17-05 A Little Surfing

I left Mike's House on Bailey's Creek about 3pm. The creek was absolutely calm.

I approached the bridge, hoping to see my little gator bud but again he was nowhere to be seen.
As I approached the mouth of the creek and entered into the bay
I realized that it was a little bit windier and that the Bay water was a little choppier than I expected.

I considered just hanging around the creek today and just staying in the calm waters there, but after a few minutes I decided that my adventure for today lay out in the rough waters. With that decision made I paddled my little 13 foot Old Town Kayak out into the Mobile Bay.
I turned North, heading again for Great Point Clear and the Grand Hotel. I had about a 7-10 knot wind behind me coming out of the south, which caused some 1 to 2 foot waves moving with me to the North.This was my adventure for the day.
I found myself surfing on the waves as they approached from my stern (backside). Each time I caught a good wave I let out a good old South Alabama "yeeee-ha!'. (I'm sure the Pelicans thought I was nuts....perhaps I was!

Anyway, I made it almost to the Grand in record time, which caused me to realize suddenly, that the very cause of me making it the 2 miles to the Grand so quickly, (the wind and the waves), might just be my downfall going back home. So I turned around and started the long trek home. Talk about a workout....WOW! I really couldn't let up because everytime I stopped paddling to rest, my kayak immediately headed back North.
About half-way back to Bailey's Creek I heard a motor coming up behind me. I thought it was a motor boat but as I turned around I saw a vintage Navy Bi-plane flying over the bay at about 200-300 feet above the water. The plane flew right over me and as I waved to him with my paddle....He waved right back to me by rocking his wings as he flew right over me....too cool.

I finally reached Bailey's Creek after about an hours hard paddle. I was beat. As I left the chop of the bay and entered into the slow moving waters of the creek, I propped my feet up on the deck of the kayak to rest and just let it ease into the creek, nice and smooth. As I rested my arms from the run through the waves and the kayak slowly and quietly made its way up the creek I thought to myself,"I am truly blessed to have had this experience."
As my paddling friend, Rob Nykvist, said to me today,"...almost every trip I go on turns into an adventure." I believe he is right.
I am looking forward to more adventures to come. Thank you for coming along for the ride.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

July 15, 2005 Playing With Dolphins

My original plan for the day was to get up early and get out on the kayak. As my alarm went did the thunder, so I just rolled over and went back to sleep with the rain pouring outside. when I woke up about 9 the sun was shining and I decided to get over to Baileys Creek and put the kayak in the water.

( heading to the Mobile Bay going down Baileys Creek)

I had a little camera with me so that if my alligator bud showed up I could get some pics.

( this is Scenic 98 at Bailey's Creek. The Gator I saw the other day was just beyond this bridge)

He wasn't anywhere to be found so I went on out into the bay.

My goal for the day was to reach The Grand Hotel at Point Clear point.

(the Grand Hotel is on the point on the right side of the pic)

As I reached Zundalls (about 1/2 way), I heard a loud "whoosh" sound of air right behind my left elbow in the water. It just about scared me to death!! I turned immediately to see what made the noise and I saw a large dolphin next to my boat going back down into the water. WOW!!! Then 5 other dolphins surfaced all around me and I started following them. As long as I was paddling they stayed right near my kayak, within 4 to 10 feet of the boat, but everytime I stopped to take a picture they moved about 20 yards away. Then I would start to paddle again ... and here they would come.

(one of the dolphins coming up for air about 25 yards in front of me)

We played like this for about 45 minutes,with not a sound around but the lapping of the water against the kayak, my paddle as it cut in and out of the bay, and the constant surfacing and blowing of the dolphins all around me.

after a bit, I realized that I was about a mile from shore and decided to head back in. As I turned back east towards the Eastern Shore, the dolphins continued on west in the direction of Dog River.

This was a day I will never forget.

Sorry the pics aren't real great. I'll have to get a better camera soon!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

First Post

Well this is my first post on my new blogsite. I have just begun to Kayak so part of this adventure is going to be the learning how. Might be scary, huh?
Anyway, I am working on building up my strength and endurance a little at a time. I have been out on the Mobile Bay 3 times. I am putting my kayak in at Bailey Creek 2 miles south of The Grand Hotel in Point Clear, AL.
The first two times I went into the bay I paddled about a mile north and then back. (I know that sounds pretty lame...but I am trying to get into shape.)
Yesterday, however, was a trip!! I had my first alligator experience. It was a hoot. I am putting the kayak in about 200 yards up Bailey creek at my buddy Mike's house. I had started down the creek towards the opening to the bay. As I came around the next to the last curve in the creek I spotted about a four footer sunning himself on the bank. As I approached he went into the water and the his head surfaced. I stopped paddling and was drifting along just to see what he would do. He came within 2 feet of my kayak then went under. I started paddling towards the bay and then I felt him bump my kayak just under my butt twice. He surfaced on the other side and swam off. It was truly a rush!!!
I continued on and moved out into the bay. It was a beautiful morning and I paddled north almost to the Grand Hotel (about a mile and 1/2) then I turned around and headed back. It was a Great workout, the bay was beautiful, and the little gator was just the icing on the cake.
I didn't have a camera with me...but I'll be sure to have on next trip.
well, more to come. Have a great Day and remember,

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away."