CLUB MEETINGS ARE HELD THE FIRST TUESDAY OF EACH MONTH AT THE

5 RIVERS DELTA RESOURCE CENTER (map) AT 7PM. SEE THE POSTS BELOW FOR MORE DETAILS!

To post information to this website or for further information about this website, just ask Tracy at tracy@thelannies.us
Current Club Coordinator: Tracy Lannie
MBCKC would like to express our appreciation to 5 Rivers and it's staff for all they do.

Disclaimer: This site provides general information & links on topics of paddling. Paddlesports can pose serious risks of damage to personal property & serious bodily injury including permanent disability & death. Anyone participanting in any MBCKC event or participating in any event mentioned on this website does so at their own risk and agrees to hold MBCKC harmless from any liability as a result of such participation or use of information contained herein.

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Flash Paddle: Sibley Creek
Date: Thursday, December 19, 2002
Place: Meet Frank Laraway in the parking lot at Bruno's in Spanish Fort, Alabama at 10:30 a.m. Put in at Buzbee's Fish Camp on C.R. 225
Contact: Frank Laraway (251) 945-5504
Comments: Accompany two Civil War History buffs as they explore an historic crossing. Look for a beaver dam. Bring foot wear for wading.
Cost $3.00 for the launch fee. Bring a lunch.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Click here to read a trip report by Bruce on Sunday's paddle to and around Gravine Island.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Flash Paddle: Bruce's Cookie Paddle
Byrnes Lake to Gravine Island (then around the island)

Date: Sunday, December 15, 2002
Place: Meet in the parking lot of Bruno's in Spanish Fort. Bruce will leave Bruno's at 10 a.m. to go to the put-in at Byrnes Lake Park on C.R. 225. To get to Byrnes Lake from Spanish Fort, go north on county road 225 past Blakeley State Park. A large green metal sign on a brick wall on the left hand side (west side) of the road marks the turnoff. Turn left and follow the main dirt road to the park.
Contact: Bruce (251) 625-2156
Comments: Byrnes Lake Park is a Baldwin County park with free access to the water. No sanitary facilities. Dock, cement boat ramp, and soft bank on Byrnes Lake. Gravine Island is in the Tensaw River west of Byrnes Lake. The north side has a white sand hill which will be our picnic place. Bring lunch. Bruce will bring cookies to share. (Bruce makes great cookies.) (Really great cookies :-)

A light wind is forecast but the temperature is forecast to be in the 50's to low 60's. A rising tide is forecast, which may reduce the river current.

This is an easy paddle for beginners; it just takes time. It takes about 45 minutes to get to the island on a fair day, then Bruce plans to paddle south around the west and south sides of Gravine Island after the picnic.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Click here to read a trip report by Bruce about Bob's recent paddle in the Delta, exploring the Cutoff. This is worth reading for Delta-explorers (like me) who did not know that the Cutoff can't be reached in low tide.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

December 8 Bob's Surprise Paddle will start at Buzbee's Landing at 12:30. The destination is The Cutoff. See you on the water.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

DECEMBER CALENDAR OF EVENTS

December 8, Sunday: Bob's Surprise Paddle
Contact: Bob Andrews 344-8664
Comments: Bob will decide where to lead a paddle based on weather conditions and the interests of participants.

December 17, Tuesday: Roll, Self-Rescue, and Skills Class
Time: 7 to 9 p.m.
Place: Homestead Village
Contact: Bob Andrews 344-8664

Comments: Bob Andrews and Jeff Breit will teach you to roll, or any other paddling skills you ask them to teach you. These guys are experts, and they donate their time and skills to the club for free. The fine folks at Homestead Village charge us for the use of their heated pool, though (and it's very much worth the nominal cost, because the Homestead pool is a very comfortable place to practice skills). Five people have already signed up, so we can expect to pay less than $20 per head for the use of the pool, then we all get free roll and skill lessons that we would pay $50-$75 each for elsewhere.

If you are new to kayaking, you should come and at least watch this skills class, even if you do not want to roll. Anybody who paddles a kayak should know how to do a "wet exit" (which is a technical term for falling out of your boat) (without hurting yourself), and get back into it at sea (without hurting yourself). Even better (and actually easier, with practice), you should know how to roll. If you are an experienced paddler, then I don't have to explain to you what a good opportunity this is to practice, learn, and share skills. So come watch or come play -- either way, you will pay a minimal fee, and you will learn a LOT.

If you don't have a rollable boat, rollable kayaks will be available for you to borrow during the class.

Please pre-register by calling Bob. Bring or wear clothes to get wet in (changing rooms will be available). We will have to clean our boats before we get in the pool. Dirty boats make the pool dirty and make our club unwelcome by our hosts at this ideal pool.

Christmas Parades of Boats
I don't have any details about these yet. It is my understanding that there will be boat parades on Dog River and Magnolia River, and that we may be able to participate. If anybody has information about these parades, please let me know and I'll pass it along to the rest of the club: jrobber@worldnet.att.net

-------------

The next regular club meeting will be on Tuesday, January 7, at the Fairhope Yacht Club, at 7 p.m.

-------------


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

General Information:


1. Our monthly meetings are held the first Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. at the Fairhope Yacht Club. Anybody and everybody is welcome to attend. There is no charge. The typical meeting lasts two hours. We start with a review of the previous month's paddles, continue with plans for and announcements of paddles for the next month, and end with a presentation. Presentations may include slide shows of past paddling trips by club members, member reviews of paddling gear, and safety and skills presentations.

2. If you e-mail a request to jrobber@worldnet.att.net, Julie will put you on the club's e-mail list. You will receive a monthly newsletter, which includes a calendar of events, and e-mail notices of "flash paddles" i.e., club paddles that are planned and announced on short notice. (If you used to be on Gene's e-mail list for the club and are wondering why you suddenly stopped receiving club e-mails, it's because Gene's e-mail list suddenly died. You need to "re-subscribe" by e-mailing Julie, if you want to get on the new e- mail list for the club.)

3. We are a group of people who enjoy paddling and sharing our experiences with others. We are not a formal organization. There are no dues, no application forms, no membership lists. All you have to do to "join" our "club" is show up at a paddle, come to a meeting, or just decide you're a member.

4. Our intention is for safety to always be the first priority. It is up to each individual to decide for him/herself whether the paddling conditions for each event are within their enjoyment and skill range. Everyone must be responsible for their decision whether to participate in each event. The coordinator of the paddle should be able to assist with information on the expected paddle conditions. However, always remember that the weather and other conditions can, and quite often do, change both quickly and dramatically. (In other words, paddle at your own risk.)

5. You should always contact the trip coordinator for any paddling trip to let them know if you plan to attend. If they don't know you are coming, trip leaders cannot contact you with changes in plans or cancellations, and you may find yourself waiting alone in a parking lot while the rest of us are off having fun somewhere else.

6. Thanks to the paddlers who choose to carry a trash bag to collect rubbish along the way. They make it nicer for everyone.

Contact list:

If you would like to subscribe to the club e-mail list, or if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this website, please e-mail Julie at jrobber@worldnet.att.net.

Click here to go to the website of the West Florida Canoe Club. (I have heard a rumor the WFCC has or is about to put a new website on-line. If you know the new web address, please send it to Julie at jrobber@worldnet.att.net.)

Click here to go to the website for the Bartram Canoe Trail.

-----------------------

Reminder: Permit for Boiling Creek

A current permit is required to paddle Boiling Creek in Eglin Air Force Base. The permits are good from 1 October to 30 September. They cost $5.00. You get a map along with the permit that is worth more than the fee.

Request the Recreational Permit, which is the one for paddling. You can get the permit from one of the gates or by mail. Permits may be obtained from the Jackson Guard Office (Natural Resources Branch), located at Highway 85 North, Niceville FL 32578 (850) 882-4164. The mailing address is:

Eglin Natural Resources Branch
107 Highway 85 North
Niceville, FL 32578

For each permit requested, send a photocopy of either a driver's license or identification card which contains full name, current address (including zip code), current phone number, and date of birth. Specify the type of permit (recreational) desired. Be prepared to wait three weeks for delivery (though recent turn-arounds have been only a few days). Payments can be by personal check, money order, or cashiers check made payable to DFAS-LI Eglin AFB. Cash is not accepted.

Sunday, December 01, 2002


!!!!!!!!!!!MEETING REMINDER!!!!!!!!!!!!
The next meeting of the Mobile Bay Canoe and Kayak Club will be on Tuesday, December 3, at 7:00 p.m., at the Fairhope Yacht Club. Monthly meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month, same time, same place.

After the usual preliminaries of paddle reports and trip planning, we will have our annual Christmas party. Bring a covered dish or other goodies to share. This is a great opportunity for new people to get to know regular participants in the club, and vice versa. So don't be shy about coming, even if you've never been to a club meeting before.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Click here to read a paddle report by Bruce on a reconnaissance trip to a designated campsite in the Delta.
Click here to read a paddle report by Gary on Chickasabogue Creek. This is a creek I don't recall our having paddled as a club, and it sounds like a great paddle.

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Flash Paddle: Bay Minette Basin
Date: TODAY
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Place: Put in at Buzbee's Landing (on Highway 225 north of Spanish Fort, take a right just before the bridge) and paddle to Bay Minette Basin and/or elsewhere in that section of the Delta
Contact: Julie h) 928-4623 cell) 422-8138
Comments: The weather is too pretty NOT to paddle, and Bruce and I are in the mood to see the Basin. This will be an easy paddle. Mr. Buzbee charges $3 to launch, and your car is safe there.

Monday, November 18, 2002

I have received additional information from Tom Fink regarding the Sixth Annual Florida Gulf Coast Sea Kayak Symposium that will be held on Feburary 21-23, 2003. We now have complete information about how to you can sign up to take lessons from the some of the most expert paddlers in the world. The information Tom sent me is lengthy and detailed, so I won't post it here, but you can e-mail me or Tom and we'll be glad to forward it to you. Sign up now - space is limited.
Flash Paddle: Bay Minette Creek
Date: TODAY
Time: 3 p.m.
Place: Put in at Buzbees' Landing (north on Highway 225 from Spanish Fort. Take a right just before the bridge)
Contact: Bob Andrews 344-8664
Comments: This is an easy, beautiful paddle. There is a $3 charge to launch your boat from Buzbee's (and your car will be safe there).

------------------

Thanks to Jane for hosting a wonderful party at her home last night to celebrate the club's anniversary. I have received e-mails asking for Jane's e-mail address because folks want to thank her personally. Unfortunately, Jane's computer is currently indisposed and she does not have e-mail.

------------------

Some confusion arose last night about when the Leonid meteor shower is supposed to peak. My current understanding is that the best viewing will be at 11 p.m. tonight and after 4:00 a.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) morning, but what do I know?

-----------------

This just in from Tony Kramer: "For anyone interested in the meteor shower, there is a good web site you can get info: http://aio.arc.nasa.gov/'leonid/ . The web site has a chart that will tell you the peak time for your area. Peak for Mobile should also be around 5:30am. The show should start around 12pm. I watched the shower last year from the North Georgia Mountains and it was an awsome site. I've never seen anything like it. By the peak time it was like fire raining out of the sky! If you didn't see it last year, you need to see it tonight!"

I (Julie) could not get Tony's link to work, but I did find this: http://astrobiology.arc.nasa.gov/news/expandnews.cfm?id=9371, which has "viewing tips" and links to other info on the meteor shower.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Tom Fink writes us as follows:

I don't know if you or others are aware of the great kayak symposium in Feb. in the St. Pete area. Starts off with ACA and then BCU instruction weeks, followed by the symposium in which some of the world's most prominent kayakers (e.g. Nigel Foster, Derek Hutchison) will be there giving instruction and demos. Also lots of boats to try out. Their web site (http://www.sweetwaterkayaks.com/) has the info for the 2002 symposium, but the 2003 is very similar. I am going down for BCU training (BCU is much more skill intensive training than ACA, and ACA is moving towards BCU training) and then for the symposium. I am especially interested in taking Greg Stammers Traditional Paddling course on SAT am and pm. Greg won in his age class for rolling in Greenland some time ago. I love Traditional paddling: easier gentler rolls, paddle much more buoyant and much easier on hands and paddle much superior for bracing. The costs for 2003 are very similar to 2002. I have the new dates and prices of courses in an e-mail back at my USDA office, I can e-mail that to you if you want. At the symposium there are lots of short courses (rolling, paddling in surf, navigation, tides). Sweetwater kayaks is one of the most prominent kayak stores/instruction in the US (along with Kayak Georgia on Tybee Island) and is owned by Nigel Foster.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Update on the club e-mail list:

As already announced in a previous post to this website (see below), the club e-mail list that was tirelessly maintained by Gene since the birth of this club is no longer usable, and Gene is taking this opportunity to retire from the e-mail business, at least temporarily.

Until somebody better volunteers to take over, I, Julie, have started building a NEW e-mail list for the club. Until somebody better volunteers to take over, I, Julie, will send out the club's e-mails. But in order to get on the new e-mail list, you have to e-mail ME, Julie, at jrobber@worldnet.att.net.

Think of it this way: Your subscription to the club's e-mail list has expired. It's time to renew your subscription. Just like you have to renew your newspaper and magazine subscriptions, except this is FREE.

In the interest of KISS (keeping it simple, stupid), I will add you to the e-mail list if and only if you e-mail me. Don't bother phoning me. It won't work to give me your business card at a meeting. Don't give me a piece of paper with all your friends' e-mail addresses written on it. YOU HAVE TO E-MAIL ME and tell me, "Please add me to the club e-mail list" or something to that effect, preferably in English. (Or French, if it comes to that. I can read a little French.)

If and only if you e-mail me, I can add your address to the club's e-mail list with with a couple of mouse-clicks, and I won't lose it, misspell it, or otherwise screw it up. (Wait a minute; I take that back. I should never underestimate my own ability to screw something up. But e-mail me anyway.)

Friday, November 08, 2002

!!!!!!!HELP WANTED!!!!!!!

The ancient, tottering, and unwieldy e-mail list that Gene Boothe has maintained for this club for years has, basically, kicked the bucket. His computer has been chewing away at it for quite a while now, and appears to have finally eaten it altogether. We may be able to resuscitate it temporarily, but it's time for us all to face reality, accept our loss, and move on. Anybody who has ever owned a computer knows how it feels to watch their work disappear into cyberspace, and can sympathize. (Quiz for all you literary types: Exactly how many metaphors did I mix in this paragraph?)

Please rest assured that the cause of this ongoing problem was NOT a "virus." Nobody in this club has ever been exposed to any computer virus by any club e-mail. Gene has always used state-of-the-art antivirus software, and the MBCAKC always will.

Gene's deteriorating computer resources coincide with a diminution in the amount of time he is able to devote to the club. He needs a break. He can't keep doing the e-mail list right now. IT IS TIME FOR SOMEBODY TO STEP IN AND FILL THE BREACH.

It is also time for ALL OF US to inundate Gene with e-mails of thanks for his YEARS of untiring and witty efforts to keep club members updated on club news via e-mail. Click on boothecg@bellsouth.net to express your gratitude to Gene by private e-mail, straight to his in-box.

Do you have a computer with Internet access and anti-virus protection? Can you type with two or more fingers? Would you be willing to donate an hour or two per month to help the club in the comfort and privacy of your own home?

Then this deal is for you: Just e-mail Julie at jrobber@worldnet.att.net to volunteer. In return, Julie will give you FREE e-mail lessons, and you will win the gratitude of all your fellow/sister MBCAKC members by continuing the beloved tradition of the MBCAKC newsletter and e-mail list.

Gene hopes, and we all hope, that he will resume responsibility for club e-mails when his personal and professional responsibilities make it practical for him to do so. In the meantime, WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please e-mail me, Julie jrobber@worldnet.att.net, with any questions, comments, proposals, or nominations, or to offer your help. IT'S EASIER THAN YOU THINK!

-------------------------

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs) (revised 11.08.02)

General Information:


1. Our monthly meetings are held the first Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. at the Fairhope Yacht Club. Anybody and everybody is welcome to attend. There is no charge. The typical meeting lasts two hours. We start with a review of the previous months paddles, continue with plans for and announcements of paddles for the next month, and end with a presentation. Presentations may include slide shows of past paddling trips by club members, paddling tips, member reviews of paddling gear, and safety and skills presentations.

2. We are a group of people who enjoy paddling and also enjoy sharing our experiences with others. We are not a formal organization. There are no dues, no application forms, no membership lists. All you have to do to "join" our "club" is show up at a paddle, come to a meeting, or just decide you're a member.

3. Our intention is for safety to always be the first priority. It is up to each individual to decide for him/herself whether or not the paddling conditions for each event are within their enjoyment and skill range. Everyone must be responsible for their decision as to whether or not to participate in each event. The coordinator of the paddle should be able to assist with information on the expected paddle conditions. However, always remember that the weather and other conditions can, and quite often do, change both quickly and dramatically. (In other words, paddle at your own risk.)

4. It is always a good idea to contact the trip coordinator for any paddling trip to let them know if you plan to attend. They can contact you with important information, such as trip cancellation, etc. Also, thanks to the paddlers who choose to carry a trash bag to collect rubbish along the way. They make it nicer for everyone.

Contact list:

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this website, or want to post something on this website, please e-mail Julie at jrobber@worldnet.att.net.

Click here to go to the West Florida Canoe Club webpage.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Flash paddle: Overnight on the Perdido River
Gene tells me that there will be an an overnight trip on the Perdido River this weekend. Contact Bob Andrews for details: h/w 344-8664; cell 367-4144.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

NOVEMBER CALENDAR OF EVENTS

The calendar of events is short this month, in keeping with the changing of the seasons. Bob Andrews reminded us at the meeting tonight, however, that there is no better time to paddle Whiskey Ditch than right now. The burr marigold and pickerel weed are in bloom. This is a great suggestion if you're looking for a place to paddle when the weather clears.

November 17, Sunday: Club Anniversary Party
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Place: Jane Agee's house on the Magnolia River
Contact: Jane Agee, 251-965-7154
Comments: This is one of the biggest, funnest events of our club's year. Everyone is invited, including (especially :-) new people. Please RSVP and bring a covered dish for potluck.

November 18, Monday: the Leonid Meteor Shower
Time: 4:30 to dawn
Comments: The view of this phenomenon from Mobile Bay was spectacular last year, and we won't get the chance to see it again for a while. Stay tuned to the television, your favorite astronomical new sources, and this website for news on the best places to view this phenomenon.

November 19, Tuesday: Full Moon Paddle WITH PARTIAL ECLIPSE AND METEOR SHOWER
Time: 6:00 p.m., unless Bob changes his mind :-)
Place: put in at Byrnes Lake and paddle to Gravine Island
Contact: Bob Andrews: h/w 344-8664; cell 367-4144.
Comments: This paddle is a club favorite, and if the weather is kind, this should be a particularly good paddle because we will have both a full moon and the remains of a meteor shower. Bring food and refreshments, and at least one white light for your boat.

--------------------

Thanks to Keith Golden of the Alabama State Lands Division for stopping by tonight's meeting to update us on the Bartram Canoe Trail (click on http://www.dcnr.state.al.us/bartram.htm). This is a project of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (click on http://www.dcnr.state.al.us). The DCNR is also working on the completion of its Rivers Discovery Expedition (click on http://www.dcnr.state.al.us/riverdiscovery/index.asp).

These are all projects of interest to all us paddlers, and Keith Golden says he'd be glad to receive our comments and suggestions. His phone number is 205-580-2063.

------------

Our next regular meeting will be on December 2, and we're thinking it will be the same as last year: a potluck at the FYC. This is a good time to meet new people, and a good time for new people to come meet us. Stay tuned to this website for further details.

Sunday, November 03, 2002

!!!!!!!!MEETING REMINDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our next meeting will be Tuesday, November 5, at 7:00 p.m., at the Fairhope Yacht Club. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month, same time, same place.

Friday, November 01, 2002

Reminder: Permit for Boiling Creek

A current permit is required to paddle Boiling Creek in Eglin Air Force Base. The permits are good from 1 October to 30 September. They cost $5.00. You get a map along with the permit that is worth more than the fee.

Request the Recreational Permit, which is the one for paddling. You can get the permit from one of the gates or by mail. Permits may be obtained from the Jackson Guard Office (Natural Resources Branch), located at Highway 85 North, Niceville FL 32578 (850) 882-4164. The mailing address is:

Eglin Natural Resources Branch
107 Highway 85 North
Niceville, FL 32578

For each permit requested, send a photocopy of either a driver's license or identification card which contains full name, current address (including zip code), current phone number, and date of birth. Specify the type of permit (recreational) desired. Be prepared to wait three weeks for delivery (though recent turn-arounds have been only a few days). Payments can be by personal check, money order, or cashiers check made payable to DFAS-LI Eglin AFB. Cash is not accepted.
Flash Paddle: In the Delta
Bob wants to take advantage of the good weather and go paddling this afternoon. Depending on the wind, the probable location may be either Whiskey Ditch or Byrnes Lake. Contact Bob for details at H = 344-8664 or C = 367-4144.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Larry Mickelsen writes us:
I sttill have two kayaks for sale: one ten-foot sit-on-top and one sixteen-foot sit-in. Red Boat Mickelsen ph#990 3044

Friday, October 18, 2002

Mark your calendar: Presentation on Paddling Alabama
Date: Tuesday, October 22
Time: 10:30 a.m. & 7 p.m.
Place: Fairhope Public Library, 161 North Section Street, Fairhope
Comments: The Fairhope Public Library's Book Review/Lecture series presents Joe Cuhaj and Curt Burdick with their new book Paddling Alabama. Admission is free. Info: 251-928-7483

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Flash Paddle: Bayou Cumbest
Date: Sunday, October 13
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Place: Parking lot of the Wal-Mart at I-10 and Rangeline Road (193) in Tillmans Corner
Contact: Carl (251)604-7268
Comments: Carl will be exploring Bayou Cumbest just west of the AL/MS border, and plans to check out Crooked Bayou, PT Aux Chene Bay, and the Rigolets. Expect approx. 10-15 mile paddle at moderate pace. Meet at the parking lot of the Wal-Mart at I-10 and Rangeline Road (193) in Tillmans Corner at 8:30 a.m. Alternatively, meet at end of Bayou Cumbest Rd. at 9:15 a.m.
A transcript of the news story on the MBCAKC that appeared on WKRG-TV 5 tonight can be found here. Thanks to Jere Hough for such great reporting, to the the fine folks at WKRG for posting a link to this website, and to all our members who appeared in the story and were such great representatives of our club!

If this is your first visit to our website and you have questions, please see the "frequently asked questions" (FAQs) that are posted below on this web page and feel free to e-mail me (Julie).

Sunday, October 06, 2002

A message from your webmistress:

I am happy to report that I am receiving an increasing number of "paddle reports" and "trip reports." I would love to have more. You don't have to be an "artist" to write a trip report; all that's required is a few notes about what you did where.

Please bear in mind that directions to put-ins are welcome additions to any paddle report, as are descriptions of distance and level of difficulty. One of the purposes of a paddle report is to provide information to other paddlers who are looking for new trips and planning new paddles.

Given the increasing number of both trip reports and calendar events on this website, I have decided to build a new, supplemental website exclusively for our "trip reports." From now on, the primary purpose of this website will be to post the club FAQs, the monthly calendar of events, and notices of "flash paddles" and other events. In contrast, our "trip reports" website will be where we share our stories.

Whenever I post a new article on our "trip report" website, I will post a link to it on this website. So to get things started, click here to go to your NEW website: "MBCAKC Trip Reports" and read the first two trip reports posted there, by Frank Laraway, on his trips to Buffalo River National Park in Arkansas and the Boundary Waters in Minnesota.

As always, questions, comments, and suggestions about this website (as well as the new website) are always welcome, to me, Julie, at jrobber@worldnet.att.net.
A message from Gene:
If you have suddenly stopped getting e-mails, and you don't know why, it is probably because of a computer glitch. Computers just act funny sometimes, for no good reason. So if you want to be included on the e-mail list and you still haven't been, or you suddenly aren't any more, please e-mail Gene and tell him so, at boothecg@bellsouth.net, and he'll do his best to make sure you get (and stay) on the list.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Flash Paddle: Bayou Heron, Sunday, October 6
Contact: Carl Hlavenka, (251) 604-7268. or (251) 443-3025 chlavenka@hotmail.com
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Place: meet in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart at I-10 and Rangeline Road in Tillman's Corner
Comments: Moderate paced 10-ish mile paddle from Bayou Heron on the Mississippi/Alabama border. We will paddle out into Bayou La Fourche Bay.
FLASH PADDLE
Saturday, October 5, 2002
Meet at 10:30 a.m./ Launch at 10:45 a.m.
Dauphin Island

Depending on conditions, we plan to circumnavigate Little Dauphin Island or Sand Island. Both are really fun paddles with lots of undeveloped beach. Dolphins are always possible. Bring lunch & skirt. Paddlers should be comfortable with 10 -14 miles, waves and changing conditions. Tides should be back to normal by Saturday.

If you plan to attend CALL or EMAIL and leave a number to reach you the morning of the paddle. (This is also the only way to find out the launch site.) Hope to see lots of paddlers.

Lisa
ersmoore@bellsouth.net
689-3934

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

OCTOBER CALENDAR OF EVENTS

October 2, Wednesday: Set your VCRs (again)
The "County Road 5" segment on the MBCAKC has not yet shown on Channel 5 WKRG-TV, because it was pre-empted by Tropical Storm Isidore. It will be shown during the 6:00 p.m. news on Wednesday, October 2. If it is pre-empted because of yet another storm, it will be shown during the 6:00 p.m. news next Wednesday, October 9.

October 9, Wednesday: Whiskey Ditch
Contact: Bob h/w 344-8664, cell 367-4144
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Place: Tensaw Eco Tours on the Causeway
Comments: The burr marigolds are in bloom in the Ditch at this time of year. Plan to join us for dinner afterwards, probably at one of the Causeway restaurants.

October 12 or 19: Learn to test water quality
Contact: Fritz 990-5987, phritz@bellsouth.net
Comments: Catherine Golden will hold a class at least one Saturday this month to teach the public how to test water quality. She is seeking volunteers to test water in and around Fly Creek and Rock Creek. (FYI, County Road 13 is about to be extended/connected, which is expected to have an impact on both of these creeks.) Call Fritz for the time, date, and place, which have not been set as of this writing.

October 17-20: Okeefenokee Swamp
Contact: Bob h/w 344-8664, cell 367-4144
Comments: This is a joint trip with the West Florida Canoe Club. We will car camp at the Stephen Foster State Park and make day trips into the swamp. Only primitive campsites are available at this time, but it is always possible that cabins will become available due to cancellations.

October 20, Sunday: Delta scouting expedition from Rice Creek Landing
Contact: Matt h) 343-1196 w) 341-1712 iama@backpacker.com
Place: meet at the BP across from the Stagecoach Restaurant in Stockton, put in at Rice Creek Landing
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Comments: The destination of this paddle will be a WMA designated campsite between Bayous Jessamine and Tallapoosa, where we will stop for lunch. Matt's goal is to scout this location for a possible overnight trip in the future. Bring lunch. We will have dinner at the Stagecoach after the paddle.

November 16, Saturday: Annual Anniversary Bash
Contact: Jane 965-7154
Place: Jane's house on the Magnolia River
Comments: Bring a covered dish, BYOB. All are welcome. This is a major annual event for us. Gene will e-mail directions to Jane's house closer to the time of the event. Further information will be available at the next club meeting, on Tuesday, November 5.

-----------
Jeff plans to do some kayak-surfing if we get some surf from Hurricane Lili. Call him if you're interested. (I don't have his phone number. Maybe Fritz or Matt has it. Or maybe Jeff will send me or call me with his phone number.)

Bob expects to announce a flash paddle in Boiling Creek this month.
-----------

Boiling Creek permits expired as of October 1. The instructions for getting a new permit are posted below, in the "FAQs." If you don't want to send a copy of your driver's license, you may simply send them your permit from last year. Some of us who already have the map that Eglin gives you with the permit are going to ask Eglin not to send us another (save a tree and some postage).

Friday, September 27, 2002

Flash Paddle:
Saturday, September 28
Dauphin Island: Sand Island/ Little Dauphin Island
"Gee, look what the storm did" Tour.


Contact: Lisa Moore Haywood, ersmoore@bellsouth.net, 251-689-3934
Comments: Depending on conditions, we will either paddle around Little Dauphin Island or out to Sand Island. Meet at Ship & Shore Store (on right shortly after arriving on Island) at 10:00 a.m. for approximately three-hour tour. Bring snacks and skirt. All paddlers must determine for themselves if conditions are within their skill-level. Conditions should be mild, but you never know. PLEASE e-mail or call Lisa by 11:00 pm Friday if you plan to come. The meeting point could change and Lisa won't know to advise you. Hope to see a lot of curious paddlers Saturday.

-----------------

!!!!!!!!!!!!!MEETING REMINDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The next meeting of the MBCAKC will be on Tuesday, October 1, 2002, at 7 p.m., at the Fairhope Yacht Club. John and Kathy Mitchell will do a presentation on their recent trip to Alaska. Meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month, same time, same place.

-------------------------

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

General Information:


1. We e-mail our monthly newsletter to anyone who requests it from Gene at boothecg@bellsouth.net. Gene also snail-mails our newsletter to those members who request it. Contact Gene if you would like to receive a newsletter in either format.

2. We are a group of people who enjoy paddling and also enjoy sharing our experiences with others. We are not a formal organization. There are no dues, no application forms, no membership lists (other than Gene's e-mail list). All you have to do to "join" our "club" is send Gene your e-mail address, show up at a paddle, come to a meeting, or just decide you're a member.

3. Our intention is for safety to always be the first priority. It is up to each individual to decide for him/herself whether or not the paddling conditions for each event are within their enjoyment and skill range. Everyone must be responsible for their decision as to whether or not to participate in each event. The coordinator of the paddle should be able to assist with information on the expected paddle conditions. However, always remember that the weather and other conditions can, and quite often do, change both quickly and dramatically. (In other words, paddle at your own risk.)

4. It is always a good idea to contact the trip coordinator for any paddling trip to let them know if you plan to attend. They can contact you with important information, such as trip cancellation, etc. Also, thanks to the paddlers who choose to carry a trash bag to collect rubbish along the way. They make it nicer for everyone.

Contact list:

If you want to get on our e-mail list, please e-mail Gene at boothecg@bellsouth.net.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this website, or want to post something on this website, please e-mail Julie at jrobber@worldnet.att.net.

Click here to go to the West Florida Canoe Club webpage.

-----------------------

Reminder: Permit for Boiling Creek

A current permit is required to paddle Boiling Creek in Eglin Air Force Base. The permits are good from 1 October to 30 September. They cost $5.00. You get a map along with the permit that is worth more than the fee.

Request the Recreational Permit, which is the one for paddling. You can get the permit from one of the gates or by mail. Permits may be obtained from the Jackson Guard Office (Natural Resources Branch), located at Highway 85 North, Niceville FL 32578 (850) 882-4164. The mailing address is:

Eglin Natural Resources Branch
107 Highway 85 North
Niceville, FL 32578

For each permit requested, send a photocopy of either a driver's license or identification card which contains full name, current address (including zip code), current phone number, and date of birth. Specify the type of permit (recreational) desired. Be prepared to wait three weeks for delivery (though recent turn-arounds have been only a few days). Payments can be by personal check, money order, or cashiers check made payable to DFAS-LI Eglin AFB. Cash is not accepted.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Paddle Report : D'Olive Creek September 23, 2002

Between weather systems, a cold front had just passed and Tropical Storm Isidore was threatening, Larry Sr. and I went for an afternoon paddle from Daphne Bay Front Park to the end of D'Olive Creek. The put in at the park is looking better each time we go. The construction projects at the park appear to be done for now. The waterfront is clean with a soft sand beach, and the day we went we had plenty of water depth. At lower tide levels, shell banks can slow one down.

Paddling north from the park, we noticed waterfowl over to the west. We passed the Lake Forest Yacht Club on our right. The shoreline northward of the yacht club has an increasing number of trees. A thick stand of cypress with some Spanish moss hugs the water's edge and grows taller than the bluff behind it. Open water closes in due to a wedge of marsh that extends out from shore in front of the Hampton Inn almost all the way up to the Interstate - 10 Bayway.

North of the Bayway we spotted and explored three short waterways into the reeds. The first waterway cuts a little to the north west and ends up at the causeway if you can get that far. The second waterway meanders through the reeds and floating plants and flowering vines. It got shallower and shallower in the marsh. The third waterway was rather open initially and went into an area with some cypress trees growing out of the the water below the bluff at Spanish Fort. This waterway was better hidden and completely unexpected to me. Here we surprised several birds and turtles resting on branches.

We backed out and crossed south of the Bayway to pick up the mouth of D'Olive Creek. The creek comes around the north side of the Hampton Inn and we paddled toward the Highway 98 bridge and the Main Street bridge in Daphne. The water here was rather scummy, but it had no particular odor. As we passed under the Main Street bridge the water improved and we startled the first of four large alligators we encountered in this creek. All the gators were resting singly on or near the north bank. We passed into the trees and held to the right side of the creek as much as we could; my goal was to get to the dam in Lake Forest and I know that we needed to take a right branch of the creek to get there.

The trees hang over the creek and make nice canopy in places. The air is noticeably cooler in there compared with the bay air. We meandered around tree limbs touching the water and tree trunks in the water for perhaps four hundred yards and came out into the open at the dam. The lake behind the dam must be full for the water was trickling over the top in several places as well as rushing out the spillway, aerating the water below the dam. Behind the dam lies a long lake with homes and apartments along the shore and no
public access. Perhaps we could return to the dam later and portage over to the lakeside?

The return to the bay was uneventful. We took our time to explore the marsh in front of the Hampton Inn. At one point we caused a flock of white ibises to take flight; they tried to go straight up! Small gators and big fish splashed as we crossed near them. The section of this paddle I liked best was the cypress trees along the bluff. They are old and wild and many great blue herons roost in the limbs. We can paddle right up to the trees with no problem.

We were back at the park 2 hours after we left. This is a fine short trip for any level of paddler.

Monday, September 23, 2002

!!!!!!!!!!Notice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Set your VCR to record WKRG 5 News (on channel 5) this Wednesday Sept. 25th at 6pm. Jere Hough's County Road 5 should air (highlighting our club). (That is if there are no major problems like a hurricane.)

----------------

Gene is having e-mail problems, so he is temporarily unable to send out reminders and such. Please stay tuned to this web page, and I will try to keep you informed until Gene gets sorted out.

----------------

Paddle Report: Full Moon Paddle, Buzbee's Fish Camp on Bay Minette Creek, Friday, September 20, 2002
by Gene Boothe

I always worry if I am spelling that word correctly. Anyway, when Bob announces that his paddle is for 6:30, he doesn't mean to be driving up then. That is when the flotilla was taking off. However, I wasn't the last one to arrive. At one time I counted 25 boats. We met the 26th on the way back in.

You get to the fish camp by taking Hwy. 225 north off of 31 in Spanish Fort. Go a little over a mile until you are going downhill toward Bay Minette Creek. The fish camp is to the right immediately prior to crossing the bridge. The husband and wife proprietors live on the site and will meet you to collect the $3.00 boat launch fee. They are long time residents and their company during the launch is part of the enjoyment of the trip. This is a very secure location in which to park your automobile.

Bay Minette Creek is to the north of the launch and is another good paddle. We headed west into the sunset, under the bridge, toward Bay Minette Bay. Carolyn and I were in a tandem (two person) kayak. I temporarily lost interest in the beautiful skyline when my rudder jammed, turning us toward the hornet nest overhanging the creek and Carolyn kept paddling.

Cypress Point is a prominent point of land on the south bank, where the shoreline takes a sharp turn to the left (south). We often see osprey fishing near here. This is where the Confederate defenses of Spanish Fort were breached by the northern troops during the closing days of the war. On our last moonlight paddle here, we took a right at this spot and headed about a half of a mile north into Bay Minette Basin to watch the sunset. This night, Bob led us straight ahead about a mile further into Bay Minette Bay. There was a reed island ahead of us, which we rounded to the right. This took us through a scenic channel among the reeds. If you paddle this on your own, you can go a more direct route left around the island, but this is where the motorboat traffic will be if there is any.

We paddled near the right shore (of reeds) into a striking sunset, highlighted by small rain clouds rimmed in spots with orange. The full moon rose over the tree line behind us.

Bay Minette Bay terminates at a point on the north shore (of reeds) called Cedar Point. There is a channel beyond this point leading south into the Blakeley River. Most of whatever boat traffic there in passes through here. Bob led us right, from this spot, into a little finger of water called Yancey Bay. There were small clumps of trees silhouetted against the sky. The light was plenty bright enough to see the water and outline of the shore, but not to look for flowers. In a short while, we paddled into a cut (think ditch) through the reeds, often used by fishermen to get into Blakeley River about a 1,000 yards away, called Fishermen Cut. The cut maybe averaged ten feet wide. It was striking to suddenly emerge into the wide-open Blakeley. The visibility may have been over a mile on the water, at least we could see across the river and the car lights on the causeway to the south.

All the water on the paddle was flat and calm, although the tide was noticeably flowing north at a fast enough rate to require us keep paddling south to remain in the area. We didn't want to lose track of where the cut through the reeds was, as that was the way back home. We stayed in the area, paddling south then drifting north, bumping in to old friends and meeting new ones in the moonlight. This is always one best parts of the trip, especially when a tray of special snacks somehow emerges from the cockpit of Peggy's kayak. The loud pop that broke the silence was not an after hours duck hunter, but a bottle of Robert Mondavi Chardonnay.

The paddle back was refreshingly uneventful, just screen and beautiful. We met boat number 26 on the west side of the reed island by Cypress Point. We all made it back in. It didn't seem to take any time to load the boats, everyone helped everyone else. This may not come as a surprise to some, but the last rendezvous of the evening was at the Original Oyster House on the causeway. Join us next time. There is always plenty of room.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Trip Report - Boiling Creek - Wednesday, September 18
by Larry McDuff

Five Slackers in four kayaks and a solo canoe turned out for the Boiling Creek Trip led by Bob Andrews. We met at the Oasis truck stop on I-10, loaded kayaks belonging to me, Nancy, and Lacey in Bob's truck, and drove to Florida with Peggy in the shuttle vehicle. Peggy left her car at the Highway 87 bridge across the Yellow River. With her kayak loaded on Bob's truck we all piled in and drove on Eglin dirt roads to Boiling Creek.

For those of you who haven't been there, this water is like something coming out of a Florida limestone spring - clear, cool, and flowing rapidly. On a hot day Bob wasted no time in pronouncing the first swim call, a call that was to be repeated often as we drifted downstream.

The fall flowers were spectacular, with pitcher plants along Boiling Creek and Cardinal flowers on the Yellow River among my favorites. We took a side hike on a sandy bottom stream where we saw beaver signs, a deer trail, and a small carniverous plant whose name I don't remember. Peggy brought a picnic table and hot dogs which we set up in Bob's canoe for lunch. The vegetarians feasted on Nancy's cantelope and carrots.

After a final swim in the swift-flowing Yellow River and a final Bob Andrews scenic detour which was actually a short cut, we arrived at the take-out. While Bob and Peggy went to get Bob's truck, the rest of us talked to two guys who had just bought a motorboat and were launching it for the first time. They told Nancy they couldn't pay their rent, but at least they now had a motor boat.

Maybe next time they will buy a kayak AND pay the rent.
Paddle Report on Johnsons Beach September 20, 2002
by Bruce Zimmerman

How to get there: From Alabama take U.S. 98 east into Florida and turn south (right) on 293. Take 292 (Sorrento Road) right and cross the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway. Look for Johnsons Beach Road on the left just before 292 makes a sweeping turn to the right . Follow Johnsons Beach Road into the park.

Gulf Islands National Seashore

Ann and Larry McDuff took the lead on this trip to Johnsons Beach, a part of Gulf Islands National Seashore. They planned to camp there the night before and paddle the bayside the next day.

The weather had been quite humid, but on the night of the 19th the wind was kicking 15 to 20 mph which made a delightful cooling effect on the beach. Surf on the Gulfside was breaking about 3 feet high making a pretty good roar. On the bayside the water was just about dead calm, not mirror smooth, but calm with some ripples for texture. An almost full moon rose above the horizon after 6 p.m. The fresh sea air drove away biting insects and city smells.

The park rules specify parking half a mile west of the end of the road and primitive camping begins half a mile east of the end of the road past a PVC pipe marker labeled F. We dropped our packs at the end of the road and went back to park the car in the legal zone. The walk back to our gear was easy on flat pavement. We were walking along with a view of sunset colors on remnants of cumulus clouds and the moon peeking out brightly between them. We picked up our packs and took the last of the many wooden crossover walkways to the Gulfside beach and hiked east in the twilight. The moonlight enabled us to read the PVC markers easily and once we found the F marker ( F had a companion marker, a larger striped pole) we hiked a little farther to a high open area without vegetation (another park rule is don't camp on vegetation) to set up camp.

Ann and Larry had arrived earlier and paddled with their gear to find a campsite. I think that is a spendid alternative to hiking because they had their boats with them and had the option of a twilight paddle on the bay. Ann and Larry really know how to have the most fun. The night was great for sleeping, even out in the open.

Just after dawn, a civilian helicopter treated us to an overflight at 20 feet altitude.

We hiked back to the car and drove to the park pavilion for rest rooms and a picnic table breakfast. The road had several joggers out and about. A family from Lillian arrived at the pavilion after us and split up to go exploring the facility in different directions.

We returned to the crossover where Larry's car was parked, the last crossover on the bayside. The crossover made the portage down to the water easy. We could see a kayaker coming from the east as we set down the first boat on the sand. By the time we brought down the second boat, Larry was beaching his Shenai next to the first boat we set down. Good timing, Larry.

We paddled east along the bayshore to meet up with Ann who had stayed at the campsite. The bayside water was clear, easily 6 foot visibility near the shoreline and better visibility off the beach. The bottom varied between light colored sand and dark colored eel grass. The cleanliness of the water, I thought, was comparable to Joseph Bay. From our vantage point on the water, the reason for the rule to camp half a mile from the end of the road was more apparent. Hurricane damage to the dune system was still evident in that first half mile stretch of beach. In several places, wash through left a gaping hole in the dune line. Further eastward, the dune size was higher, and the dune vegetation was more mature.

The four of us paddled on to the east towards Langley Point and two coves. Rounding Langley point, we noticed four white cylindrical buoys across the mouth of the cove prohibiting combustion engines inside the cove. We paddled in and Larry who was in the lead called out Look at the rays! A pair of brown colored rays with about a three foot wingspan and long slender black tails came flying underwater towards us. The water was shallow and clear giving this cove an aquarium look. This cove also held a sailboat wreck five feet above the tideline. We stopped to take a look at it close up.

We departed, finishing paddling the inside of this cove and returned to the bay and our eastward track. We could see on the north shore pretty houses which at this distance look like colorful boxes in the trees. Some big boats cruised the channel on the north side leaving the southside for us and small fishing boats trolling with electric motors. We took our lunch and a swim at Redfish Point. The day was sunny and warm so the swim refreshed us. Further to the east, a high island of white sand rose out of the bay, a spoil bank, somewhat like that at Gravine Island. It was tempting to go look, but we decided to save that for next time. We had had enough sun and fun for the day. We paddled back eager for a freshwater shower at the park pavillion.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Late-breaking news:

Roll and Self-Rescue Class, Tuesday, September 24, 2002 at 6:00 PM at the Fairhope Yacht Club (FYC).

Canoe/Kayak 3-Day Camping Trip to Okefenokee Swamp with the West Florida Canoe Club, October 17, 18, 19, & 20. These paddles will be day trips based out of Stephen Foster State Park (1 800 864-7275), approximately seventeen miles NE of Fargo Georgia. Camp and paddle out of there for three nights. There are eight cabins on site, which are all booked at this time. Call the state park for reservations. Contact Bob [W/H= (251) 344-8664, C = (251) 367-4144] to let him know if you are coming and any for additional information needed.

This will be on flat water and all levels of experience should enjoy the paddles. As I understand this, Arrive Thursday, prior to the gates being locked at 7:00PM Eastern Time. Friday and Saturday, paddle swamp canoe trails on the upper Suwannee River. Sunday, depart for home, trying to paddle the most beautiful River in Florida, the Ichetucknee, on the way.

----------------------

The wind recording for Mobile Bay may be on-line again. Check it out at 990-JIBE.

John and Kathy Mitchell will present a video of their recent trip to Alaska at our next club meeting, October 1, at 7:00 p.m. at the Fairhope Yacht Club.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Paddle Reminder Friday, September 20 (Full Moon)
Contact: Bob Andrews at 367-4144
Place: Buzbee's
Time: 6:30 PM
Comments:Bring a light, snacks, and fluids. Bug spray would be a good idea also. Please call Bob in case the weather doesn't cooperate.
Roll Class Wednesday, September 18
Contact: Bob at 367-4144
Place: Fairhope Yacht Club
Time: 5:30 PM
Comments: Bob and Jeff are once again offering this class to us free of charge. You can't find a better price or instruction.
Paddle Reminder
Wednesday, September 18: Boiling Creek
Contact: Bob Andrews at 367-4144

Friday, September 13, 2002

Kayaks for sale:
Larry Mickelsen, Sr. has two kayaks for sale: (1) a Pacific Northwest Designs "Kwanat," which is a 10-foot long, blue, sit-on-top, for $250 or best offer, and (2) an Aquaterra "Chinook" yellow sea kayak, for $500 or best offer. Phone # 990-3044.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

A late addition to September's Calendar of Events:

September 22, Sunday: Smith Bayou

Contact: Matt Darring w341-1712(MWFSat) or h343-1196.
Time: 9:30 AM
Place: meet at Bruno's on 225 and 31 in Spanish Fort
Comments: An all day paddle at a moderate pace. Please call Matt for details.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

SEPTEMBER CALENDAR OF EVENTS

We are strongly encouraged to call the trip "contact" before showing up for a paddle. If the leader doesn't know we are coming, the leader cannot keep us informed of important changes in trip plans, including time, place, and cancellation. Trip leaders can also provide information regarding the skill level of the paddle, whether to bring food, etc.

September 7, Saturday: Caring Cup Regatta
Contact: Carolyn Boothe 928-1107
Place: Fairhope Yacht Club
Cost: $15 to benefit the kids of the Eastern Shore
Comments: Times and other information are posted on the bulletin board at the Fairhope Yacht Club, or contact Carolyn for additional information. After the days events, including paddling and sailing, there will be a party with entertainment by Rondell and the Kit-Kats.

September 10, Tuesday: Delta Paddle
Contact: Carl Haywood 689-3935
Place: Meet at Tensaw Eco Tours on the Causeway, next to the Blue Gill
Comments: Contact Carl for further information.

September 18, Wednesday: Boiling Creek
Contact: Bob Andrews h/w 344-8664 cell: 367-4144
Comments: This paddle is a club favorite. You will need a current recreational permit for Eglin Air Force Base to participate in this paddle. Instructions for obtaining such a permit appear below, in our club "FAQs."

September 20, Friday: Full Moon Paddle
Contact: Bob Andrews h/w 344-8664 cell: 367-4144
Comments: This will probably be in the Delta. Stay tuned to this web page and/or contact Bob for further details.

September 20, Friday: Johnson Beach
Contact: Larry McDuff, 928-1582
Place: Johnson Beach, in the Gulf Island National Seashore, on the eastern end of Perdido Key, in Florida. Put in will be on the bayside, at the last walkway on the left.
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Cost: There is an $8 fee to enter Johnson Beach, or $25 for an annual pass to the Gulf Island National Seashore.
Comments: Call first. Bring lunch. Camping is permitted on Johnson Beach, so you can also spend the night before and/or after the paddle on the beach. Larry plans to spend the night of Thursday, September 19 on the Gulf side.

September 21, Saturday: Little River
Leader: Mark 458-7574
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Place: Stagecoach restaurant in Stockton
Comments: A downriver float with a shuttle. The Little River is very pretty this time of year. Expect to be out of the water by about 3:30 or 4 p.m.

Lisa also plans flash paddles off Dauphin Island and at Big Creek Lake during the month of September. Stay tuned to this web page or contact Lisa for further details: 689-3934, ersmoore@bellsouth.net

Our next meeting will be on October 1, same time, same place, and will include a presentation on the Rio Grande.

Monday, September 02, 2002

!!!!!!!!!MEETING REMINDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The next meeting of the Mobile Bay Canoe & Kayak Club will be held on Tuesday, September 3, 2002, at 7:00 p.m., at the Fairhope Yacht Club. Curt Burdick and Joe Cuhaj will speak to us about their new book Paddling Alabama.
Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every month, same time, same place.

Everyone and anyone is welcome at our meetings. We are a very informal group, with no dues, no membership lists, and no special requirements for "membership" in our "club." We just like to paddle and get together once a month to review and plan paddles, talk about paddling, and maybe even learn something about paddling.

----------

FYI, Lisa did find manatees during her paddle yesterday from McNally Park. And you might too, if you go paddling in that area. Please remember that it is illegal to harass manatees in any way. If a manatee (or any other wildlife) changes its behavior because of your presence, then you are probably closer to it than you should be. Let's all do our part to ensure that manatees and other wildlife continue to visit our area.

------------

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

General Information:


1. We e-mail our monthly newsletter to anyone who requests it from Gene at boothecg@bellsouth.net. Gene also snail-mails our newsletter to those members who request it. Contact Gene if you would like to receive a newsletter in either format.

2. We are a group of people who enjoy paddling and also enjoy sharing our experiences with others. We are not a formal organization. There are no dues, no application forms, no membership lists (other than Gene's e-mail list). All you have to do to "join" our "club" is send Gene your e-mail address, show up at a paddle, come to a meeting, or just decide you're a member.

3. Our intention is for safety to always be the first priority. It is up to each individual to decide for him/herself whether or not the paddling conditions for each event are within their enjoyment and skill range. Everyone must be responsible for their decision as to whether or not to participate in each event. The coordinator of the paddle should be able to assist with information on the expected paddle conditions. However, always remember that the weather and other conditions can, and quite often do, change both quickly and dramatically. (In other words, paddle at your own risk.)

4. It is always a good idea to contact the trip coordinator for any paddling trip to let them know if you plan to attend. They can contact you with important information, such as trip cancellation, etc. Also, thanks to the paddlers who choose to carry a trash bag to collect rubbish along the way. They make it nicer for everyone.

Contact list:

If you want to get on our e-mail list, please e-mail Gene at boothecg@bellsouth.net.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this website, or want to post something on this website, please e-mail Julie at jrobber@worldnet.att.net.

Click here to go to the West Florida Canoe Club webpage.

-----------------------

Reminder: Permit for Boiling Creek

A current permit is required to paddle Boiling Creek in Eglin Air Force Base. The permits are good from 1 October to 30 September. They cost $5.00. You get a map along with the permit that is worth more than the fee.

Request the Recreational Permit, which is the one for paddling. You can get the permit from one of the gates or by mail. Permits may be obtained from the Jackson Guard Office (Natural Resources Branch), located at Highway 85 North, Niceville FL 32578 (850) 882-4164. The mailing address is:

Eglin Natural Resources Branch
107 Highway 85 North
Niceville, FL 32578

For each permit requested, send a photocopy of either a driver's license or identification card which contains full name, current address (including zip code), current phone number, and date of birth. Specify the type of permit (recreational) desired. Be prepared to wait three weeks for delivery (though recent turn-arounds have been only a few days). Payments can be by personal check, money order, or cashiers check made payable to DFAS-LI Eglin AFB. Cash is not accepted.

Sunday, September 01, 2002


Possible change in plans:

Lisa advises that the weather forecast does not look good for viewing the manatees this afternoon, so it may be necessary to cancel the flash paddle she posted on this webpage yesterday. If you were planning to go on this paddle, please call Lisa before 4:30 at 689-3934 to discuss the weather situation. If you try to meet her at the put-in without calling first, you may be the only person there. :-)

------------------

I (Julie) am back in town and will see all of you at the meeting on Tuesday, if not before. Feel free to call me if you need anything posted on this webpage.

Saturday, August 31, 2002

Flash Paddle
Sunday September 1st
Time: 4:30 PM
Place: McNally Park Public boat launch (Mobile)
Contact: Lisa Moore Haywood at 689-3934 (cell) or 471-2050 (home)
Comments:Lisa is going to try to find the Manatees that have been sighted in Mobile.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

WKRG Paddle Report
Wed morning, 5:00 a.m., August 21, 2002, Buzbee Landing on Bay Minette Basin; 15 paddlers attended the live filming of the WKRG channel 5 morning news with Jere Hough and his camera-man Kevin. Bob Andrews did a fantastic job as commentator for the group. He orchestrated all 15 kayaker and canoers moves at the same time he was being interviewed live on the broadcast. Jeff Breit demonstrated the eskimo roll, much to the amazement of Jere Hough, and I am certain, the viewing public. There was a kayak race between Fritz and Harriet - to show the speed of kayaks (and yes, Fritz won), and much synchronized free-style paddling by all the other members. There has been much response to the show, with Tony Chavers (Fairhope Boat Company) having received numerous calls about the club. We had a wide representation of boats for the viewers to see. Despite the fact that as 7 a.m. approached we began loosing some paddlers to work committments, the representation was wonderful and the exposure for the club couldn't have been better. Many thanks to all who showed up. It was a great team effort and everyones efforts are appreciated. This is why we are such a successful club.
In addition to the live program, we will be featured on the County Road 5 segment coming in the near future. Leana Hanson, our inside connection at WKRG will be contacting Gene Boothe when the date is set for our show. He will post it on the web-site so all can set their vcr's.
Allow us all to express our appreciation to Bob Andrews for representing our club so well, to Leana Hanson, for setting this program up for us, and for the team of Jere and Kevin at WKRG, for spending the morning with us. They are 2 great guys who, I believe, had a great time with us.
Breakfast followed at the Daphne Waffle House at 9:00 a.m.
written by Harriet King
Tuesday Night Paddle
Tuesday, August 27th
Contact: Fritz Ingraham @ phritz@bellsouth.net or 680-8928
Meeting Place: Meet at the public launch east of Meaher Park on the south side of the Causeway.
Time: 6:00 PM
Comments: Easy, short paddle. Length to be determined at the launch.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Flash Paddles
Saturday, August 24th
West end Of Grand Bay
Contact: Carl Hlavenka at 604-7268
Time: 8:00 AM at Wal-Mart at I-65 and Rangeline Road or 8:30 AM at the end of Henderson Camp Road in Grand Bay.
Comments: Should be an 8-10 mile paddle.

Sunday, August 25th
Bayou Tallapoosa
Contact: Carl Hlavenka at 604-7268
Time: 8:30 AM at the Stagecoach Inn or 8:40 AM at Rice Creek Landing.
Comments: Should be a 12 mile or so paddle.

Wednesday, August 28th
Theodore Industrial Canal
Contact: Carl Hlavenka at 604-7268
Time: 4:00 PM at the SW corner of the Bridge off Rangeline Road
Comments: Should be a 6 mile paddle.
A Time Of Year Too Hot To Paddle:
DOWN THE LAZY FISH RIVER
___________________________________________________________________

A new friend of mine with an intense interest in Civil War history, has
asked me to show him several of the Civil War sites along Fish River which I
have been researching and doing field work on for the past thirty years. He
is about to return to his home in St. Paul, MN so I consent to violate my
better judgment and get out on the open water on a July day. It is hot, very
hot.
So because of this state of affairs, we meet at the corner of highways 48
and 33 at 6:00 a. m. to head south, past Clay City, over Cow Pen Creek to the
end of Highway 33 where it meets Fish River. The area from just north of the
Clay City Road all the way to South River Park was a staging point for Union
armies just before they marched on to take Spanish Fort and Blakely in March
of 1865. The entire area was surrounded by an earth work that closed on Fish
River on the north and south. The base of operations was at what is now the
marina, erroneously named Farragut's Basin by tradition. It is unlikely that
Farragut ever came near this place, for the taking of Fort Morgan by the Navy
under Farragut, occurred in August of 1864, long before this event. This was
mainly an army operation with boats being used merely as transports.
We launch our boats at the end of Highway 33 behind the barricade there.
The tide is low so we have ample room on the white-sanded beach to place his
canoe and my small Neckie kayak. We paddle up river first, passing the old
Marlow ferry crossing, then slightly further north to see the Marina basin.
Somewhere near the Marlow crossing, the Federals installed a pontoon
bridge to cross the bulk of its force marching from Fort Morgan. They had
spent a harrowing set of days on the march through terrible rains on a route
that took them east along the peninsula all the way to Helton's place near
present day Orange Beach, then back east to cross the Magnolia River with a
pontoon bridge, headed for what is now Marlow.
The basin has changed but little in over fifty years save for the large
docks for yachts and some residential development south of the marina. In
1865 the south end of the basin was the log holding pond for Danly's
(Dannely's) Mill. The basin was used by the Federals to turn around their
large transports that brought men and supplies from the Fort Morgan and Cedar
Point. The troops camped for a week here, but much higher on the hill near
Highway 33.
We make a rest stop at the marina store and then head back down the river
past our original launch point. Just below our launch on the same side of he
river is another Civil War site called Smith's Mill. Even earlier in August
of 1864 a flotilla of "tin clad" ships and transports brought troops to make
a raid on the mill as it had been furnishing lumber for the Confederate
military in Mobile.
This contingent of Michigan and Wisconsin troops had just come from a
raid on the Bon Secour salt works where they had destroyed the furnaces and a
number of military buildings farther up the Bon Secour River. From this
raid, they headed directly over to the mouth of Fish River at Weeks Bay.
At the mill, they found fresh cut lumber and the steam engine, ditched in
the water in an attempt to hide it. Smith is in Mobile at the time of the
raid. They load the lumber on the transports and head back down the river.
From the high cliffs on the east side of the river they are bushwhacked by a
contingent of Confederate cavalry. The bow cannon throwing out grape shot
scares them off as the other troops take shots from behind the load of
lumber. Around the next bend in the river, they are ambushed again. The
boats eventually throw up sufficient lead shot into the woods to scare off
the Confederates. The prize of lumber is taken on to Fort Morgan.
The three of us paddlers pass on down river past this mill site. We are
in the midst of much residential development occuring on the east side of the
river. However, there are numerous stretches of river on the west side that
have been spared development to the water, due to the swampy nature of the
river banks. Here we find many osprey and hawks perching on naked cypress
dead heads. Brown pelicans are diving for fish. At the water in many of the
little tight bayous and creeks, is blooming a lavender colored morning glory.
It is conspicuous by its blooming in this hot time of the year. Yet it is
still early morning. They will soon close for this day to awake early
tomorrow.
Just before we get to the mouth of Water Hole Creek, we turn around to
paddle back up river, making comparisons between the character of Fish River
and the lakes and rivers of Minnesota. There is practically no current in
Fish River this far down stream so the paddle back up stream is easy. As the
morning awakes, we begin to encounter motorized boat traffic. We paddle near
the sides of the river and thereby find many residents awakening to "the good
life" on Fish River. It is beginning to get "July-hot" though, so we decide
to call it a day. We have our boats out of the water by 10:00 a. m. and head
home. This is an area of Fish River still worthy of paddling but in cooler
weather or in the evening. It is very hot in Alabama this time of the year
and no time to be out in open water!

FRANK LARAWAY

Sunday, August 18, 2002

Paddle Notice
The Tuesday Night Paddle has been cancelled in order to allow us to wake up and get to Buzbee's at 5:00AM Wednesday morning for the WKRG Paddle!
Wednesday, August 21st
Time: 5:00 AM
Contact: Bob Andrews at 367-4144 for further details.
Comments:Try to make it if you can if only for the first shot!! It will be a live feed to WKRG at 5:15 AM!! There will be a paddle to the Basin with live feeds as the paddle continues.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Flash Paddle
Bay Minette Basin
Friday, August 2nd
Time: 6:00PM
Contact: Bob Andrews at 367-4144 or 344-8664
Comments: Meet at Buzbee's on Hwy 225 north of Spanish Fort. Always a great paddle! Make Bob show you the hornet's nest! Bring bug spray and snacks. Possible dinner afterwards.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

A message from your webmistress: I finally got my phone fixed, but now I'm leaving town for almost the entire month of August. In my absence, please continue to e-mail anything you want posted on this webpage to Fritz at phritz@bellsouth.net.

This means I will not be at the next club meeting, on Tuesday, August 6, at 7:00 p.m. at the Fairhope Yacht Club.

I usually prepare the monthly calendar of events based on announcements at the monthly meetings. Then I post it here and e-mail a copy to Gene to be forwarded to the entire club e-mail list. Because I won't be here for the next club meeting, somebody else will have to prepare the August calendar of events to be posted on this webpage (by Fritz) and e-mailed (by Gene). I'll bet Fritz or Gene could do this, but I'll also bet they wouldn't mind if some other club member offered to take notes at the meeting and type up the calendar!

See you when I get back,
Julie

-------------------------

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

General Information:


1. We e-mail our monthly newsletter to anyone who requests it from Gene at boothecg@bellsouth.net. Gene also snail-mails our newsletter to those members who request it. Contact Gene if you would like to receive a newsletter in either format.

2. We are a group of people who enjoy paddling and also enjoy sharing our experiences with others. We are not a formal organization. There are no dues, no application forms, no membership lists (other than Gene's e-mail list). All you have to do to "join" our "club" is send Gene your e-mail address, show up at a paddle, come to a meeting, or just decide you're a member.

3. Our intention is for safety to always be the first priority. It is up to each individual to decide for him/herself whether or not the paddling conditions for each event are within their enjoyment and skill range. Everyone must be responsible for their decision as to whether or not to participate in each event. The coordinator of the paddle should be able to assist with information on the expected paddle conditions. However, always remember that the weather and other conditions can, and quite often do, change both quickly and dramatically. (In other words, paddle at your own risk.)

4. It is always a good idea to contact the trip coordinator for any paddling trip to let them know if you plan to attend. They can contact you with important information, such as trip cancellation, etc. Also, thanks to the paddlers who choose to carry a trash bag to collect rubbish along the way. They make it nicer for everyone.

Contact list:

If you want to get on our e-mail list, please e-mail Gene at boothecg@bellsouth.net.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this website, or want to post something on this website, please e-mail Julie at jrobber@worldnet.att.net. E-mail to Fritz at phritz@bellsouth.net when Julie is unavailable, as she will be for the entire month of August.

Click here to go to the West Florida Canoe Club webpage.

-----------------------

Reminder: Permit for Boiling Creek

A current permit is required to paddle Boiling Creek in Eglin Air Force Base. The permits are good from 1 October to 30 September. They cost $5.00. You get a map along with the permit that is worth more than the fee.

Request the Recreational Permit, which is the one for paddling. You can get the permit from one of the gates or by mail. Permits may be obtained from the Jackson Guard Office (Natural Resources Branch), located at Highway 85 North, Niceville FL 32578 (850) 882-4164. The mailing address is:

Eglin Natural Resources Branch
107 Highway 85 North
Niceville, FL 32578

For each permit requested, send a photocopy of either a driver's license or identification card which contains full name, current address (including zip code), current phone number, and date of birth. Specify the type of permit (recreational) desired. Be prepared to wait three weeks for delivery (though recent turn-arounds have been only a few days). Payments can be by personal check, money order, or cashiers check made payable to DFAS-LI Eglin AFB. Cash is not accepted.

Monday, July 29, 2002

IMPORTANT NOTICE
TUESDAY NIGHT'S PADDLE HAS BEEN MOVED TO TENSAW ECO TOURS ON THE CAUSEWAY
Time: 6:00PM
Contact: Fritz at 680-8928 or 990-5987
Comments: A recon mission found that Savage Ditch was too long a paddle for after work. See you Tuesday at Tensaw Eco Tours!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Until Further Notice
Julie's phone was struck by lightening, so if you need anything posted please contact me at phritz@bellsouth.net or home at 990-5987.

Sunday, July 21, 2002

Tuesday Night Paddle
Time: 6:00PM
Place: Pelican Point
Contact: Fritz Ingraham Cell 680-8928 or Home 990-5987
Comments: Exact paddle direction will be determined at the launch depending on group size and weather conditions. Bring lights and snacks. Dinner afterwards.

Friday, July 19, 2002


Gene writes to announce plans for a ------
Paddle: Overnight on the Styx & Perdido Rivers

Overview:
Put-in on the Styx River midday Saturday. Spend Saturday night on a sandbar, maybe a 3-hour paddle away. There will hopefully be plenty of time to swim, explore, and perhaps do a little river clean up along the way. The worst trash should be within a short distance away from the put-in. On Sunday, paddle about 5 hours to a very small island campsite, past where the Styx River merges with the Perdido River, just below Black Lake. Should someone need to take-out Sunday, they can paddle up the Perdido for about ½ miles to Ruby’s Fish Camp. They will need their own transportation from Ruby’s, as I will continue on downstream with the main group. We will camp Sunday night on the island. This is an incredible campsite with high ground, a sandy landing/swimming area, cleared tent sites, and the breeze from the river. If it is already taken, I looked at two alternatives.

The take-out in a moderate 45 minute kayak paddle from the island. So, someone should be able to paddle to the take-out by Sunday afternoon if needed. On Monday, there is plenty of time for a swim, and exploration of the area. I plan a noon lunch on a shaded beach and then very short paddle to the take-out. This is intended to be a leisurely paddle that will afford time to enjoy the environment and the fellowship of the fellow paddlers.

Details:
Date: Sat. – Mon. July 27- 29

Put-In: Hwy. 87 bridge & Styx River

Meet at the Hwy. 87 bridge over Styx River at 12:00 Sat., or rendezvous with me at the new Robertsdale Post Office parking lot on U.S. 90 at 11:30. We can caravan to the Hwy. 87 bridge, drop the boats & gear there, then caravan to shuttle to the take-out at Hurst Landing (850 944-5496) Fish Camp in Florida where the Perdido River empties into Perdido Bay. Mr. Hurst will give us a special rate of no charge to take out and $1.00 to park each night. For those wishing to paddle only a day trip or one overnight), they can take-out at Ruby’s Fish Camp (850) 944-2537, ½ mile up the Perdido from where the Styx and Perdido converge. They will give us a special rate of $2.00 take-out and $2.00 overnight parking.

Eat lunch Saturday prior to rendezvousing or take it with you to the bridge. We could possibly plan to meet at a fast food restaurant in Loxley off of I-10 or in Robertsdale, if desired. I will probable eat at the Better Burger on Hwy. 59 in Robertsdale just south of the intersection of 104 & 59 in the Winn Dixie parking lot at 11:00.


Directions:

Put-In:

From Hwy. 59 (the I-10 to Gulf Shores route), turn east on Hwy. 90 at the triangle (highway intersection) of flags. From the east end of the triangle, it is perhaps ¼ of a mile to the Robertsdale Post Office on the left (alongside Hwy. 90) and 8.6 miles to the Hwy. 87 intersection on 90. Turn left (north) on Hwy. 87 at the Texaco station. I have not yet measured the distance on 87, but stay on it until you go under I-10 and then get to the Styx River Bridge, thereafter. The bridge is unmarked, but is the first real bridge over a river. Pass over the bridge and immediately turn left on a dirt road to drive under the bridge. Stay in the hard dirt. The plan is to unload everything, including spare people (to watch the boats). This is a popular local hangout and you will be able to guess why we will not want to leave out cars here overnight. I have felt comfortable with everyone I have met there, once I got to know them

Take-Out:

From here, we will retrace the route on 87 back to Hwy. 90 at the Texaco station. At Hwy. 90, we will turn left (east) onto 90 and cross the Styx and then, the Perdido Rivers. Ruby’s Fish Camp is approximately ½ mile on the left, off of 90, past the Perdido, at the first road to the left, called Ruby’s Fish Camp Road – can’t miss it. Anyone wishing to take out at Ruby’s can leave their car there. We will then continue east on 90 for a couple of miles to where Hwy. 90 splits: left on alt. 90 to Milton and right, Hwy. 90 (south – the way we want to go) to Pensacola.

In a couple of miles, turn right (south) on Hwy 99. Hurst Landing is at the terminus of 99. This is a 35-mph road, and should be. Go straight through a 4-way stop onto Hurst Hammock Road. This is not marked, but there is a sigh noting that there is no outlet. The speed limit here properly drops to 25. The boat ramp is at a bend in the road, marked by a "boat ramp" sign. There is limited parking. Mr. Hurst asked that we park (after dropping off the boats), in the vacant lot to the left of Hurst Landing Road. Note the clockwise direction of travel on the loop drive to the boat ramp. There are restrooms! Hold the handle down a little longer than you might be accustomed to , to complete the process.

The shuttle is still being worked out. Volunteers willing to drive people from Hurst Landing to the Hwy. 87 bridge are encouraged to contact me. I may have enough help already, but could use a back up.

Expenses: launch fees, and possible donation to the shuttle for gas.

Paddle Coordinator: Gene Boothe, H = (251) 928-1107, C = (251) 422-7451, e-mail = boothecg@bellsouth.net

Comments:
I plan to take members of my high school Sunday school class and anyone else that would enjoy going. I think of this as being an intermediate level paddle due to the length. Except for the length and expected hot weather, beginners should do al right. The days should be hot with possible rain. Yellow flies may be a problem. I am guessing that the first day will be about a 3-hour paddle with the next two being 5-6 hours of moderate paddling with frequent swim stops along the way. I want to take it easy and enjoy the trip. This includes the so called Indian mound (if we can find it), paddling through the tunnel (long culvert) into Black Lake, Blackwater River, Reeder Lake, Alligator Bayou, looking at flowers, an osprey nest, etc.

I have paddled the entire distance except for the second day (last sandbar on the Styx to above Black Lake), but will try to do so before the trip. If anyone would like to accompany me on this exploratory paddle – a day trip, please let me know. I paddled from Hurst Landing to Black Lake by myself yesterday. This included landing several times to swim, and explore possible campsites. No particular danger concern was noted. Obvious precautions for heat, snakes, etc. should always be observed wherever you go at this time of the year, but I had no problem paddling, wandering through the woods or wadding along the shoreline.

There are numerous twists and turns in the rivers, along with many islands, bayous, etc. Navigation is important, but not that difficult. I have excellent charts for the whole way. It will be important to stay with the group unless you feel confident you know the route. I will take volunteers to alternate running sweep for us. The topographical charts I use are: Elsanor, Seminole Quadrangle, and Lillian Quadrangle.

There was a noticeable downstream current on the bottom part of the Perdido, which will favor us.

The first campsite will be the last sandbar on the Styx south of I-10. The second is a small island just south of Black Lake.

Bring: own canoe/kayak & gear (paddles, lifejacket, etc.) or coordinate with others to share, trash bags for as much of a river clean up as we can, and perhaps a trash gabber.

Camping Supplies: tent with bug screen, sleeping gear (mat, covers-sleeping bag), garbage/dry bags to seal sleeping gear & change of clothes in to keep dry), optional: grown cloth for tent, long extension chord for hair dryers

Clothes: paddling clothes (swimsuit, long sleeve shirt for me), sleeping clothes, possibly a change of clothes for camp wear if others get wet, wide brim hat), rain jacket, water shoes

Food: breakfast Sunday & Monday (at campsites), lunch Sunday (somewhere along the way) and Monday (shaded beach), supper Saturday & Sunday (campsites), snacks for trip.

Water: Take enough to drink and cook for 2 ½ hot days. We should be able to resupply half way down at Ruby’s Fish Camp near Hwy. 90 on Sunday, if needed.

Misc.: flashlight, yellow fly spray/ointment ("Repel", from Wal Mart is recommended by the proprietor of Hurst Landing), sunscreen, small first aid kit, medicines you may take, TP & a small garden type hand shovel (I’ll explain if needed). These are just ideas. You may need other stuff. Those wishing to may leave emergency information with me with such information as who to contact in case of emergency, medications on and allergic to, family physician, car tag number, and any other information the emergency personnel might want to know, are encouraged to do so. Children should obviously be chaperoned.

I may go a little overboard on instructions and precautions, but have been a Boy Scout leader, platoon commander in the Marine Corps, a school teacher, and have found it expedient to be prepared for emergencies.

Also, I have been use to going into detail in giving instructions to my mentally handicapped students, before shifting to the gifted program. So, I hope that you will forgive my wordiness. Please contact me concerning any information you might need help with. Do contact me if you plan to paddle and need or can share gear.

Be conformable, but think light & compact. As we get a roster, we can think about sharing camping gear, canoes, etc. Gene Boothe

Thursday, July 18, 2002

Friday Night Flash Paddle
Time: 6:00PM
Contact: Bob Andrews Cell 367-4144
Meeting Place: Public Launch on the Causeway next to the Texaco Station
Comments: This will be another attempt to circumnavigate Chacaloochee Bay since the Tuesday Night Paddle was rained out!

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Tuesday Night Paddle
Time: 6:00PM
Contact: Fritz Home 990-5987 or Cell 680-8928
Meeting Place: Public launch on the Causway next to the Texaco Station
Comments: We will attempt to circumnavigate Chacaloochee Bay depending on water level and weather conditions. Paddle length, about 5 miles. Easy to moderate pace.

Saturday, July 13, 2002

Tony Kramer writes us:

Hey Guys,

I just wanted to tell everyone I enjoyed meeting with the Club on my last trip down to Fairhope. Thank you for the hospitality!

I will be making another trip down for classes in August. I will hope to see you guys when I come back down! My trip to Sand Island Light house was great! Parking at Fort Morgan was not a problem at all. In fact, I was able to park right at the boat launch on the front row next to the beach. There was a big crowd at the Fort to catch the tall ships, but we were able to slip by the crowd and in the water, paddling in no time.

My paddling partner, Shorty, had never done any type of off shore paddling before. So this was a new and exciting experience for her. She normally paddles a Perception, Prism. Not the boat you would want to paddle to the light house in! So Jack West at Middle Bay outfitter put her in a Wilderness Systems, Freedom.

The Freedom is a sit-on-top, but with more of a faster touring hull and better maneuverability. I've been looking at using the Freedom or the Tarpon in my fleet, for those paddlers who just want to do some day touring and get claustrophobic in a sit-in kayak. I must say I was very impressed with how the boat handled the conditions we found on our trip!

Paddling out to the light house we were in one to two foot sea's and the tide was in our favor. Although we were facing a steady 10 to 15 knot wind.
Shorty's paddle stroke was strong, but she has one speed - slow!

The trip out took us about two hours, so at that speed we were really just riding the tide out while paddling to keep our position in the wind.
After skirting the shoreline at Navy Cove and coming to point on Fort Morgan, we headed out to the light house staying well to the east of the shipping channel. The wind was out of the west-southwest, so we had to ferry to the island by keeping our bows pointed west of our destination.

Buy the time we arrived at our halfway point to the channel, the Coast Guard, Eagle was making it's way into the bay and past the light house. It was an awesome site! I had my camera at the ready and HOPEFULLY got some good shots as it past by the light house. I will share them with you guys if they turn out ok.

The boat traffic in the bay was not quite as bad as I thought it would be, provided the festivities. But the shipping traffic was the busiest I have ever seen! While on the paddle out, there were many service boats headed out to the rigs. And while on the island at least three tankers passed through the channel.

One thing I will say if you ever want to paddle to the island and explore the light house: be sure to pull your kayak well up on the rocks or even to the landing at the base of the tower.

It is a treacherous haul up the rocks with a fully loaded kayak slung on your shoulder. But if you leave the kayak on the rocks at the water, you will be in for a shock when the first tanker goes by. It¹s an awesome site to sit and watch the huge tankers slip by the island, but more so when you turn around to see your kayak floating out to sea!
The swell created by the passing ships will wash the best placed kayak away in a heartbeat. I will carry my kayak to the highest point if I have to. Just so I know I will have something to paddle home.
As the afternoon wore on we watched the storms began to move into the bay from the north. I knew we would get afternoon storms and had come to the light house prepared to bivy if the conditions were to warrant a stay.
Looking back to the north, the tall ships had anchored off Fort Morgan. We watched as the lightning flashed across the sky creating a orange glow back drop behind the fleet. It was a wonderful sight!
I began to wonder if we would have to spend the night, but by 8:30 the storms had died off and I knew we could make it back with no problems. Waiting the storm out also put us in better conditions with the tide. Now we could ride the tide in just as we did going out. Yeah right!
Although the tide was in our favor, the wind was not. Waiting the storm out also meant a 180 degree change in wind direction. We were now facing a 20 to 22 knot head wind that kept us paddling in one spot for about an hour. And with a northerly wind on an incoming tide, the surf had kicked up two to three foot seas.
Because of the heavy shipping traffic, I picked a course from the light house that would get us across the channel and out of traffic as quickly as possible. But this also put us on top of Dixey Bar. Dixey Bar is a shallow sand bar due south of the fort and it makes a good path for kayakers because no large boats can cross it. But it can also be a challenge in high wind because the surf hitting the shallows of the bar will create large breakers. It takes some skill and nerve to negotiate the breakers in the dark.
I felt sorry for Shorty. This is the only down fall to paddling a sit-on-top, or any boat that is not designed for high wind and sea conditions. In a blowing wind, the high profile of sit-on-tops make the boat one large sail. Added to that was Shorty's large paddle blade. Her paddle is designed for powerful strokes while paddling a recreational type of kayak. But now, it too was a large sail keeping her in one spot. For a painfully slow hour!
Did I say I felt sorry for Shorty? Not only was her boat and paddle a sail catching every ounce of wind and pushing her back, but also her stroke - One speed. Slow! She got though the bar like a champ! And with no worries! At least she said she wasn't worried. I'll ask her again some time. Needless to say, by the time we made it back to shore it was 11 p.m.!

Before crossing the shipping channel I had turned on my marine radio to listen to boat traffic and alert any ships that might catch us unprotected in the middle of the channel. Shorty wore my strobe and I had my headlamp on as a back up signal to any ships. The radio soon became a buzz of activity as the first ship came up well off starboard. He was out to the south of us when he began to pick something up on radar. "A faint hit," he said. When he caught sight of the strobe and my headlamp, he hit us with his light.
"Where the hell did yall come from?" came a crack over my radio.
"Cuba," I said.
"Damn, you came a long way didn't cha?"

From there on in, even while we were well out of the shipping lane, all ships coming in or out of the bay just had to check us out! Everyone wanted to get a hit on our position. I was thankful that we were being watched out for, but it is very hard to make any headway paddling while talking on the radio.

I can hear those Captains now, as they sit around the bar telling stories of their journeys - and those damn kayak fools paddling from Cuba!

The Sea Kayaker
Tony Kramer
770-403-8346
tkramer@mindspring.com