Friday, February 25, 2005
The next meeting of the Mobile Bay Canoe & Kayak Club will be on Tuesday, March 1, at 7:00 p.m., at the Fairhope Yacht Club. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month, same time, same place.
After the usual club business of reporting on and scheduling paddles, Casi (pronounced Casey) Callaway of Mobile Bay Watch will talk generally about the Mobile Bay Watch organization, and then focus on some of the many projects they are currently involved with, with a focus on the Causeway project. She welcomes questions about any or all projects.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
1. Our monthly meetings are held the first Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. at the Five Rivers Delta Resource Center. Anybody and everybody is welcome to attend. There is no charge. The typical meeting lasts less than 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.
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2. Mass emailing of club activities typically occurs through our Yahoo Groups site. We encourage all members to consider joining the Yahoo Groups as the mass e-mails may be more timely than the website. However, the webmaster makes every effort to place all information pertaining to the club on the website, so please check the website often for late breaking news. To join the Yahoo Group, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mbcakc/ and select the Join This Group button.
3. We regularly post “want ads” for individuals seeking and selling used boats. E-mail a description of the boat desired or for sale (type, make, model, length, weight, age, condition, accessories included, etc.) to the webmaster listed at the top right hand column of the website and they will post your “want ad” to the website. We get a lot of inquiries about where to buy a used boat – the answer is that if we know about a used boat for sale, we post it on the website. If it’s not posted, we don’t know about it.
4. Apart from “want ads” from individuals, we don’t advertise. We mention a few businesses in these FAQs because those businesses actively support our club, are owned by and employ club members, and/or are the only local sources we know about for particular paddling products.
5. People frequently ask “where is a good place to paddle?” The answer is “just about anywhere.” The best single source of print information about put-ins and paddling trips in this area is this club’s separate website for paddle reports, http://www.paddlereport.blogspot.com/. The best way to get acquainted with local paddling destinations is to come paddling with us. Keith Map Service in Mobile is the most comprehensive source of maps and charts, but Fairhope Boat Co. and Pensacola Kayak and Sail also carry some maps and charts.
6. Another FAQ is “where can I buy or rent a boat?” Sunshine Canoes in Mobile rent kayaks and canoes. Fairhope Boat Company (251)928-3417, Five Rivers Outfitters (251)626-8464, and Pensacola Kayak and Sail (850)456-5856 sell and rent boats.
7. 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.
8. We have over 200 interested people locally who actively participate, or occasionally paddle, or just come to meetings or picnics. We receive dozens of inquiries from newbies and journalists via e-mail each month about our club, where to paddle, where to buy a boat, etc. So please be patient with us if we can’t respond in detail to every e-mail we get. But if whatever you need to know is not in these FAQs, please feel free to e-mail the webmaster with any additional questions you may have. If they can't answer your question, they will try to find somebody who can.
9. 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. Each person is responsible for their own decision about whether to participate in each event. The leader of any given paddle can tell you about the expected paddling conditions, duration, level of difficulty, etc. 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.)
10. It is usually a good idea to contact the trip leader for any paddling trip to let them know if you plan to join the paddle and to get directions to the meeting place and/or put-in. 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.
11. What should you bring? You should bring a PFD and drinking water on every paddle. You should also bring whatever you think you’ll need in the way of snacks or meals, if anything. If we will be on the water after dark, you are required by law to bring a single, white light. (But don’t turn it on unless you need it for safety and/or the trip leader tells you to. White lights ruin night vision.) We also appreciate paddlers who choose to carry a trash bag to collect litter along the way. They make it nicer for everyone.
HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH US
The volume of information and e-mails we receive in connection with the club websites and e-mails is very high. Here are some ways you can make all our paddling lives a little easier. :-)
Checklist for announcing paddling trips
We suggest you print the following checklist, keep it near your computer, and bring it to meetings so you can refer to it if you plan to announce a paddle at that meeting.
If you e-mail a trip announcement to us, and if that trip announcement is longer than three sentences, please list the requested information in the following order so we don't have to sift through your creative writing to find the basic information we need to know to join your paddle. Items marked with an asterisk/star are always "required." The last few, un-starred items of information are not "required," but it helps all of us if you let us know whether they are relevant to your particular paddling plans.
We encourage anyone who can paddle a boat to lead trips consistent with their skill level, but it helps everybody if you communicate your plans clearly -- regardless of how skilled you are! (Remember, paddlers on all club paddles always paddle "at their own risk." Each club member is responsible for getting the information they need to make their own decision whether they will enjoy or can safely participate in any given trip, based on their personal paddling skills.)
*Date: [And day of the week.]
*Time: [Or, just say a general time of day (afternoon, evening, and "Call the trip leader for the exact time." Some trip leaders like to do this so all participants will have to contact them and they will know for sure who is planning to come.]
*Place: [Meeting place, put-in, and/or destination, described in such a way that people either know how to get there or know they should call you for driving directions. If you don't write out your driving directions or explain them at the monthly meeting, we won't publish any driving directions.]
*Fee: [If you are launching from a private facility that charges a nominal fee for launching kayaks.]
*Contact/Leader: [Regardless of whether you want folks to let you know they are coming, we need your phone number and/or e-mail address so we won't be bombarded with questions members should be asking you.]
Length: [Give a rough estimate or a firm deadline, as you please. If you don't know (or care) how long the paddle will last, just say so! It will save us a lot of questions.]
Directions: [Provide directions to the launch site, address, or request that paddlers contact you as trip leader for more info.]
Skill level: [Beginner, moderate, or strenuous? Big-boy or sissy :-)? Speed/training or leisurely? Are any special skills required, such as self- or assisted-rescue? A minimum speed? A maximum speed :-)? Is there anything folks might like to know about the expected conditions or environment? If you don't know (or care) about the expected skill-level, just say so! It will save us a lot of questions.]
Special gear or supplies: [--If any. You don't have to tell us about the "usual" gear. The "usual" gear is a boat, a paddle, a PFD, and drinking water. But if the paddle should not be undertaken without a touring boat and spray-skirt, or if paddlers should bring self-rescue devices, swimsuits, sleeping gear, hiking boots, lights, lunch, potluck, etc., please say so.]
Comments: [--If any. This is where you get to include all the "creative writing" you want -- at the end of the paddle announcement, please. Do you want to brag about any expected highlights of the paddle (the x-flowers are in bloom, the current is swift, the water is clear, it was fun last time, we've never paddled here before, etc.)? Dinner plans for after the paddle? Is it likely you will make a last-minute changes in paddling plans? Is there a limit on the number of paddlers who can participate (due to camping space or leader preference)?]
Please don't be offended if we change the first-person singular ("I") to plural ("we") or third-person ("Ellen led a paddle here last month"). Readers tend to assume that a written "I" refers to me (Brint), then they correspond with me instead of with you, which is a hassle for everybody. We will do our best to convey trip leaders' enthusiasm and details while maintaining a consistent editorial style. We recommend against your saying "I" when you write paddle announcements.
We are happy to fix spelling, grammar, structure, and formatting but anything you can do in the way of saving us some work in this regard is always appreciated. We try to keep the editorial style of the websites and e-mails fairly consistent for the sake of overall appearance and as a courtesy to our readers, so please don't take it personally if we don't publish exactly what you write.
We love fan mail! Keep those letters and raves about the kayaking experience coming. We treasure this club, the paddling experience, and correspondence with you. Please forgive us, however, if we don't respond to or publish all the dozens of e-mails we get each week from our 200+ members. You'd probably be surprised by how many judgment calls we have to make each week about whether club correspondents intend to communicate with personally, or with the club as a whole. It helps if you tell Brint, when you e-mail him, whether your e-mail is intended for publication to the club.
We will remove any special formatting, such as hard returns, hanging indents, tab stops, fancy fonts, colors, graphics, tables, etc., so do us a favor and leave them out in the first place. The reasons? (1) Special formatting just doesn't work on our websites, which we diligently strive to keep as low-tech as possible, so people with low-end computers can read them. (2) Many of our members don't have the technology for high-bandwidth e-mails, many members' ISP spam filters reject attachments, and not all members have compatible text-editing/word-processing software.
We appreciate plain-text e-mails, HTML e-mails, rich-text attachments, MS Word attachments, or WordPerfect attachments -- all with minimal formatting. If I don't have the software with which you write your e-mail attachment, I can't read it, and I can't pass it on to the membership.
We prefer that you send us links to photo's hosted on a separate website, many of our members have a dial-up connection. If you send photos to be attached to a trip report or for sale advertisement, do not be surprised if the photo is cropped and reduced in size, if it is included at all.
Don't hesitate to ask the webmaster, if they don't have an answer, they will try to find someone who does. Remember that trip leaders can always tell you more about a particular trip than the webmaster. Please ask the trip leader any questions you have about any particular paddle.
CONTACT LIST AND LINKS:
Click here to go to the MBCAKC’s weblog of “trip reports” on past paddles. You are encouraged to submit trip reports of whatever genre, as well as your favorite links. Also, check individual club members' blogs, which are listed below, for trip reports.
CLUB MEMBER BLOGS
Brint Adams, http://www.kayakadams.blogspot.com/.
Ian Brosnan, http://www.out2sea03.blogspot.com/
It would be great if more club members would start individual blogs and group blogs about their paddling adventures. Send your blog address to the webmaster for inclusion on the website.
HOW TO GET A PERMIT TO PADDLE BOILING CREEK
To apply for or to renew your Eglin Air Force Base Recreation Permit, here is the information. You can obtain the permit by mail (recommended) or you can apply in person at the Jackson Guard at Eglin (you will be required to watch a movie about unexploded ordnance). Please call the the number listed below to confirm that you enclose everything they need in your request. If you hear anything other than what is posted below, please let me know!
Please note that permits are valid from Oct.1 thru Sept. 30 of each year. When ordering permits by mail, please allow three weeks for delivery (ed. note, I usually see them in about a week). Send your requests to:
Eglin Air Force Base
Natural Resources Division, ACC/EMSN
107 Highway 85N
Niceville, FL 32578
Specify the number and type of permits desired together with the proper payment and proper identification, or a copy of anything with a date of birth on it, or your old permit. Payment of $10 should be made by money order, certified or cashier's check payable to AFO Eglin AFB, Florida. Personal checks are also accepted, with proper identification.The Natural Resources Branch of Eglin is open Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. only. They are closed on Sundays and all Federal Holidays. Information may be obtained by calling Jackson Guard at (850) 882-4164.
There was a typo in one of the many recent posts and e-mails about the Econfina trip. As you know, the designated campsite is full. Gary recommended the Ebro Motel as alternative lodging, but we got the phone number wrong. The correct number is 850-535-2499.
Thanks to Mary King for getting the correct number. She advises there are just a few rooms left if anyone is interested, at reasonable rates under 35 dollars. So make a reservation now if you're interested.
For further information contact Gary Worob, firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-259-9337 cell, or Bob Andrews: 251-367-4144.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
There are going to be opportunities coming up this spring and summer to visit Boiling Creek and other paddles in Eglin AFB, FL. If you have not applied for a permit to use the Eglin property, click here and scan down for all the details necessary to get a current recreation use permit. The cost is $7.00.
Friday, February 18, 2005
Date: Saturday, February 19, 2005
Time: 9:45 AM
Place: Bruno's parking lot, Spanish Fort - corner of Hwy. 31 and 225
Contact: Jim Chamberlain - 251-654-2550 (cell)
Comments: Will caravan up Hwy. 225 for 6.3 miles to Cloverleaf Landing Lane on the left (go past the entrance to Blakeley State Park) and continue to the boat launch area. There is a $3 launch fee. The paddle will head north along the east side of Tensaw River and turn into McVoys Lake. This ends in a nice Cypress forest area. After exiting, the paddle will travel downriver to Blakeley State Park for lunch and return to Cloverleaf. This will be about a 6-7 mile paddle. The group may also hike the trail around Blakeley as well.
Friday, February 11, 2005
February 25 - 27
For those wanting to paddle but not camp, Gary advises a reasonable alternative is the Ebroe Motel, just down the road from Econfina. For reservations, call 850-535-2499.
Also, for those coming to the campsite, please bring camping or folding deck chairs for dining and sitting around the campfire. Gary is a Kum Ba Yah kind of guy!
Thursday, February 10, 2005
REPLACED WITH NEW PADDLE/CAMPING TRIP TO DELTA PLATFORMS
Bob Andrews cancelled this trip due to high winds and rescheduled a camping trip to two of the platforms in the Mobile Tensaw River Delta. Call Bob at 251-367-4144 to see if he has any overnight camp openings left for either Friday or Saturday nights. The trip will start by leaving a car at Rice Creek Landing and then putting in at Hubbard's Landing on Friday afternoon. The first paddle will follow the course noted here to Canal Island platform for dinner and camping. Saturday will take them around to Tensaw River and into Bottle Creek to the Indian Mounds site for lunch, and down Jessamine Bayou to the Jug Lake platform that night. Sunday will be an easy paddle back to Rice Creek Landing, where they will meet the Matt Darring group at 1:00 PM.
Brint Adams will likely lead a Saturday day paddle from Rice Creek to meet Bob's group at the Indian Mounds for lunch and back. Call Brint at 251-583-9919 for more information.
Casi Calloway from the Mobile Bay Watch will speak at our next monthly meeting on March 1, 2005. She will speak about the causeway project and the many other projects they are involved in around the region. Please plan to attend this informative presentation.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Gary Worob reports the 25 person campsite limit has been reached. He says there may be dropouts, so if you are interested, give him a call to be placed on a waiting list.
As an alternative, the website here has information about other campsites nearby, which may be available. There is no participation limit for the paddles, just for the campsite, so anyone may show up for the paddles and the potluck dinners.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Dates: Friday, Feb. 25 - Monday, Feb. 28, 2005
Time: Open for us at 2:00 PM on Friday and check-out by 10:00 AM on Monday
Place: Blue Spring Campground, North West Florida Water Management District
Directions from Mobile: Go east on I-10 to Hwy 81 in Florida, about 2 hours. Go south to Hwy 20 at Bruce and turn left (East). Go past Hwy 79 and a few miles past Hwy 77, you will come to Econfina Creek and there will be Pitt Springs on your left. Continue a short distance (maybe a mile) and Blue Springs Rd. North will be on your left. DO NOT GO RIGHT ON BLUE SPRINGS SOUTH. Take a left on Blue Springs Rd. North and go about a mile. Ignore the private signs and drive carefully as the road winds alot. ON YOUR LEFT will be two gates. The second gate is for us. The lock combination is 9337.
What to bring: bring your own food, water and please bring firewood. Saturday night will be a potluck dinner. NWFMWD does not want to “SEE” alcoholic beverages, so be discrete. Bring your own tent, or camp in Tom Meyers giant teepee that will hold 16. Contact Tom for more details; or van camp. We are not supposed to bring rv’s.
This site will hold 25 campers and no limit on paddlers. We will be camped near our own set of springs. Tom and I will be setting up a sweat lodge for the big feast/celebration on Saturday. Bring musical instruments. Bring your canoes & kayaks. Bring wet suits and snorkeling gear, if you plan to explore the springs the closeup way.
Events: Friday, arrive anytime after 2:00 PM, when we will set up camp and play in our backyard. Saturday, we will have a shuttle to the Hwy 20 bridge for paddling up and downstream to explore the beautiful springs, to be followed by enjoying the sweat lodge (if you choose), feast and fun.
Sunday, for those leaving, there will be a trip to 7 Runs Creek in Bruce/Red Bay. This is an amazing short paddle into a beautiful Cypress Forest. Bob Andrews, Brint Adams, Fritz Jackson, Paula Brewer and I are the only club members to have paddled this before, and it is very exciting. From Hwys. 20 and 81, go north about 4 miles, until you come to Dead River Road on the right, next to a very old cemetery. Go 2.2 miles to put in. Time will be determined at the campground.
Contacts & phone numbers: Gary Worob: email@example.com or 850-259-9337 cell
Bob Andrews: 251-367-4144
Friday, February 04, 2005
FOR THOSE WITH VOLUNTEER SPIRIT
February 9, 2005- 9:00AM-2:00PM - Great Mardi Gras Cleanup - To register for the cleanup call 208-6029 or just show up at the Keep Mobile Beautiful office at 352 Government Street on Wednesday, February 9.
February 19, 2005- Alabama Coastal Foundation Cypress Tree Planting Project - There are seven planting sites in the Mobile-Baldwin County area. For more information on how you may participate in this effort, click on Alabama Coastal Foundation.
Spring-Summer 2005- For those interested in participating in the Mobile Bay National Estuary Oyster Gardening Program this summer, please review qualification details at Oyster Gardening or contact Kara Lankford at 251-431-6409 or email Kara for more information.
On the MBNEP site under projects, there are many other interesting volunteer opportunities listed you may click on for more information, such as:
Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Gardening
Healthy Coastal Communities Initiative
Derelict Crab Trap Program
Alabama Coastal Birdfest Oct. 20-23, 2005
Bay Area Earth Day April 17, 2005 at Fairhope Pier Park
Alabama Coastal Cleanup
Thursday, February 03, 2005
February Flash Paddles will be posted on the baykayaker.blogspot.com website and sent by email as they are announced. So, check out this site frequently to make sure you do not miss any opportunities.
Second Annual Super Bowl Paddle and Party
Harriet and Fritz Ingraham
Date: Sunday, February 6, 2005 - rain or shine, cold or warm
Paddle time and place: 1 p.m. at the former Lulu's location, US 98 under the Fish River Bridge
Party time and place: after 5:30 at their home.
Comments: You don't have to paddle to party. We MUST know if you are coming (how else will you know where we are paddling or how to get to our house)- contact by phone 928-4568 or email. Bring a dish for everyone to share and bring your drink of choice - remember to be a responsible alcohol beverage consumer - let someone else drive you home. We will provide either grilled chicken. IF YOU WANT YOUR FOOD HOT, you guys must promise to go outside and talk to Fritz while he grills - he was left alone last year and missed most of the party. If you don't promise to go talk to him while he cooks - then he will cook before the paddle and we will have cold food. We will have 2 computers on with slide shows of various paddle trips of 2004. The Super Bowl will be on 2 TV's. SPECIAL HALFTIME EVENT (better than last years TV event!!! - now if this doesn't get you here, nothing will). Directions to our home will be sent to the members by e-mail or phone.
St. Vincent Island
Date: February 11-13
Contact: Bob Andrews - cell: 251-367-4144
Place: St. Vincent Island
Comments: Call Bob to get on the waiting list. This trip is booked up.
Date: February 13
Time: 1 p.m.
Contact: Matt Darring 463-8523 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Place: Rice Creek Landing
Comments: Wear red and/or bring your sweetheart.
Econfina Car Camping and Paddle
Date: February 25-27
Time: Campground reserved for Feb. 25 (Friday from 2:00 PM) until Monday, Febuary 27 10:00 AM
Contact: Gary Worob email@example.com 850-259-9337
Place: Blue Spring Campground
Comments: Gary has 25 openings for overnight camping and 19 are filled as of the Tuesday night meeting. The Econfina campsite has toilets but no potable water. Fine deep springs upstream and downstream. On Sunday, he plans another paddle through very old cypress swamp near Bruce, FL. More details and clarifications later in separate announcement.
The baykayaker website has a link to our long range calendar with paddle dates already extending into early fall. Take a look and plan ahead.
Thank you Cara Lankford of the National Estuary Program for the presentation on Oyster Gardening and the beginnings of the Crabwatch program. The NEP has offices in the old Brookley complex. If you may be interested in volunteering for their programs to improve the health of Mobile Bay, contact them.
Harriet has newly designed club business cards. If you want a few to pass to potential members, just ask Harriet. We passed the hat at the club meeting to cover costs of printing them. We have no dues and really low expenses with this club.
News item: The January 27, 2005 issue of the Baldwin Press has an article on page 8 about the possible renaming of Justin's Bay. The United States Board of Geographic Names requested that the Spanish Fort City Council consider a name change from Justin's Bay to Chastang Bay. In addition, the board requested the name Duck Skiff Pass be added to the small channel that connects Sardine Pass to Justin's Bay.