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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Tom Fink invites us on a flash paddle at Bayou La Batre, as follows:

1. Led by Tom Fink on Monday July 5, 2004.
2. Meet at 8 AM at Bayou La Batre. We will meet at the mouth of the Bayou La Batre (in the town of Bayou la Batre, further references refer to the water Bayou!) in the sand parking lot uphill and across the street from the paved boat ramp. We will load from the Mississippi Sound side and not at the paved boat ramp. There is a small park on the Miss. Sound side that no longer has bathrooms!
3. Paddle facts:
1. We will run a shuttle first, leaving most cars at the Bayou.
2. One mile crossing to Isle aux Herbes (Coffee Island).
3. Paddle south 3.2 miles down Isle aux Herbes, stopping briefly at middle to fish and walk around. We will stop at southern most point at the “sand beach” and look at birds.
4. Less than 2 mile crossing east to Marsh Island.
5. Continue east to Cat Island. The crossing here is only 0.5 miles. Look at nesting birds. We must all stay together and walk mostly in water to avoid disturbing birds.
6. Leave Cat Island and proceed east, with one-mile crossing, to Barton Point.
7. Barton Point to Heron Bay cutoff and out. Will involve some slogging through mud and reeds.
8. Complete shuttle.
4. Length of paddle: About 12 miles, more of course if we go crooked!
5. Duration of paddle: This will take a good day.
6. Difficulty of paddle: Intermediate based on distance, and perhaps potential wind and waves. However this is a fairly protected locale, but be prepared for stiff winds and small waves.
7. Boats: You should have a sea kayak and be capable of say 2.5-3 miles an hour (leisurely but steady pace).
8. Equipment: You must have a working skirt and life jacket (and wear it unless the water is like glass). You should have about a gallon of water, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, poncho or rain coat (for our almost daily thunder showers), food, no impact bathroom stuff (pack out toilet paper in a ziplock bag), spare paddle, paddle float (or be able to roll reliably, or stay with a buddy for assisted rescues), pump (or good sponge, or bailer). If the water is rough all should secure skirt at or near shore. You might want to bring insect repellent, but insects will probably not be a problem during the day.
9. Purpose of paddle: Sightseeing, slight fishing, bird watching, exercise by default not by design (i.e. we are not preparing for the Phat Race!).
10. Money: Bring $5.00 in case we are diverted to Cedar Point Pier area and need to use their boat ramp. The cost is probably less, and we should not have to use it, but heck I live in Louisiana and things might have changed here.
11. How to get there: Most of you will be coming from the east. Head south to Dauphin Island on Route 193 and make a right (west) on Route 188 at Alabama Port. You will cross over Fish River, cross over Coden Bayou (lots of cool Shrimp boats). Once over the Coden Bayou make a left on Railroad Street, then left on Shell Belt Road (going south to Miss. Sound), bear right west on Shell Belt Road proceeding along the water. Take Shell Belt Road to the Bayou la Batre and make a left at the intersection and stay on Shell Belt Road (now heading south again, the Bayou is directly across from the intersection, you can’t miss it, lots of big Shrimp Boats). Follow road to end make a right on State Docks road (just follow road it will take you right to the ramp on the Bayou). If you mess up and stay on route 188 just watch for Alba elementary school on the left, then watch for Shell Belt Road on the left, immediately before the huge lift bridge on the Bayou la Batre in the middle of the town of Bayou la Batre. Make a left on Shell Belt Road and follow it all the way to the boat ramp. It is a cool drive with lots of pretty shrimp boats and fishing life scenery. Also lots of boat building. A really cool drive.
12. How to contact me: Saturday and Sunday I will be in Chickasaw, Alabama (10 miles north of Mobile) at 251-457-0325 or tomjfink@comcast.net. I should be leaving Monday morning about 5 to 6 am to eat breakfast and then arrive early at the Bayou. Note:I will only see the e-mail starting Saturday late in the day.