Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Gators rule

GPS: Garmin etrex Legend
Software: Expert GPS
Trusty camera: Pentax Optio S

Tonight's post warrants both a picture and a GPS track. The law of the land was in full force this evening! Big fish chasing smaller fish. Gators ruling the water. I love the little gators. Their little eyes peeking up above the water, nose sticking out just enough to see that they're small and not a threat. But the big ones, man! I saw a 10 footer tonight. Right where the GPS track stops, which is also the left side of this picture. I sat there a while debating whether to pass where he had splashed into the water over to the other side, but decided against it, as no one knew where I was exactly and it might not be wise. They are INCREDIBLY fast. I've read that the big males are territorial sometimes. What would they do, exactly? Cause if they came after me I sure couldn't get away, as quickly as they move. I don't think they're likely to come after me though, and I don't worry too much. Mostly they stay in the water and stay away. But you do have to wonder what might set off that little pea brain to go towards you instead of away from you.

The little fish were like fireworks in the water. Something cruising up after them, and they go shooting out in all directions trying to not be the last one in line. I call them waterfall fish, because sometimes they make sort of a rainbow-waterfall as they jump over each other out of the water, and they're shiny in the sun.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


How to make sunset last an hour: Take the kayak out on the bay when the sun is about 15 degrees above the horizon. Head away from the sun at a sprint. Get a rhythm going and enjoy the speed and the sound of the water. As you approach the other side.... glide.... listen to the quiet ripples of water, the birds, the fish jumping. Slowly move toward the shore in the otter home, and sit for 15 minutes watching the amazing array of fish, birds, shrimp, unidentified water cruisers making ripples in the water. The sun slowly goes down and gives it's last firey blaze. Then the clouds above come to life as the angle of the sun shines up on them. This is the time to head back, watching every second change the scene and the light as the water glides by around you. Last step: on the west side of the bay, drift close to the marsh grass until the last brightness of the sky stands out behind the grass in dark contrast. One last look towards the east and the full moon rises above the water, leaving it's reflection dancing. A summer night in coastal Mississippi... beautiful!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


I love it when I can make computers do what I want. Downloaded the pictures from the camera. Downloaded the route from the GPS. Selected the route and changed the display. Used screen capture to select it and - voila! The route tells the story. I was wandering tonight, not too energetic at first, but the adventure of new places pulled me forward. I went to the gulf via a shortcut. Not too pretty I must say - the canal is man-made and has none of the natural beauty of the meandering bayous. But it was interesting, and I met a lady at the end who was curious about how I got there, as the canal comes up behind the houses and seems to not connect to anything. I stepped out of the kayak, and as I suspected, the gulf was only about 30 feet away on the other side of the dirt road that came in from the other side.

Found a nook in the trees with all kinds of birds. There were so many herons in there, I saw feathers flying around in the air as I got to the end and they flew off, stating objections to my presence. I like the bayou areas near trees, the trees are pretty, but the stubborn scrubby trees more out in the open interest me the most. They look like they endure so much and stand their ground. Kind of like the pitcher plants that grow in "nutrient poor soil." At first thought it may seem like plants like that are not so grand, if all they live in is the poor soil -- but no, it is just the opposite. They are the strongest and most resourceful; the only ones that can live in those challenging conditions. Like explorers on Mt. Everest. These scrubby trees remind me of that.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Favorite Route

Although I didn't go out tonight in the kayak, I experimented with Expert GPS and captured my favorite route from previously saved tracklogs. The track is hard to see in black and white image, but goes across the bay and through the bayou, which looks like a river. I've done this journey three times and I believe it's about 7 or 8 miles total. This was from Sunday, July 3rd, actually it was the one I wrote about in First Blog. The oysters are halfway down the bayou and almost in the gulf. The entrance to the gulf is a little hazardous, as the waves are coming in while the tide current is moving through the channel. The beach out front is nice but nothing to get excited about, as the Mississippi coast waters are brown with sea life and mud. People catch a lot of speckled trout in the bayou. I like it in through here because there's not much boat traffic. Every time I've been out I've seen more wildlife than people... and that's the idea.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Calm before the Storm

Smooooooth as glass. The bay just looked like it was wishing for a kayak to slide across it. Mom and I each took our kayaks and went over to the otter home. Couldn't find him, again, but saw a night heron, several gar, and a great blue heron. It was already after sunset when we went out, and almost completely dark when we got back, but all the light in the twilight sky was doubled by it's reflection on the water. The pink, blue, and gray gleamed like it was polished on the surface of the water. The sliver of the moon next to Venus was jewelery on an already pretty background. It was so quiet. Two favorite things of mine: when you build up speed and then coast in the water, you hardly feel yourself moving but the scenery changes around you ever so slightly, gradually altering your perspective. Also if you put your hands in the water you are flying through it. The water is warm and balmy, and seems such a pleasant place for the birds and the fish.

Hurricane Dennis churns into the Gulf tomorrow, setting it's sights on the coast. Maybe we'll get lucky once again and it will stay far enough away. One thing's for sure, the water will continue to be there, ready for wanderers like me...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Bayous Post-Tropical Storm Cindy

Wasn't planning a trip tonight, but there was so much activity in the water due to the storm I wanted to check out things from the water. The sky and the air are so clear and beautiful once the storm moves on, it's hard to believe that much of a change can take place. The water in the bay came up about 6 feet -- more than halfway up the yard. The entire dock was underwater. Luckily no damage. Now everything's good as before, except for a big tide line of bay trash deposited at the high water line. So impressive, though; both in that line of trash and with all the debris in the water, not one piece of human trash. It's all dead grass, sticks, leaves, and branches. I headed straight out from the dock south across the bay, and went up the third gut towards the causeway. What a ride! The current out of the bayou was fast and furious. Each turn was an adventure trying to head the kayak back the other way. Not too strong of a current to fight, but just enough to wonder which way it was going to catch as I rounded a bend. Not that it would have been anything to contend with in a shorter kayak. Just that mine is not meant for maneuvering turns. I was surprised to not see much activity with the birds and other animals, but I suppose it's not a big deal to them, just a little wind, rain, high water. They are also waiting for the water to recede so they can go back to business.

Once again, an easy trip. An upper body workout like a walk or a jog around the block. When I started it was quite difficult. Not many activities utilize the upper body in endurance exercise. Not only are my muscles stronger, but they seem to be getting more connected together and working in harmony. Just feels like something I should keep on doing.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

4th of July splash

Took my friend's 10 ft Loon out in the bay yesterday just for fun. Space opens up when you have something to float in. No longer are you sitting on the edge of the water, on a dock looking out at the water, submerging in the water. The water is open and accessible, you can drift and go where you want. The Loon is extremely maneuverable and feels very short after being used to my Millenium 160. I didn't even intend on going out, but why not? It's like taking a little walk. The tide was extremely low again and went to see if the gators were hanging out on the bank, but didn't see them. They're out in the bay now and very bold. Hope they don't want to knock over a little boat :-)

Tropical Storm Cindy visits tonight. Will have to take another evening this week, as there is another one on the way due to arrive this weekend.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

First Blog

Attempting to build endurance for the big run to Horn Island, I made another run to the gulf today from the bay. The birds seem to be more natural now. I watch them preening their feathers, stepping through the mud, skimming for fish, and it now feels more like I'm catching moments of their life, rather than a quick glance of what they want to show me. The tide was very low today. I wanted to collect the oysters at the side of the bayou, but the fishermen I asked said they are not edible, due to high mercury levels. Something to learn about. I saw a raccoon picking things out of the mud. It made me think of a story Tyler and I read a few months ago about a raccoon (Rascal).

The GPS said I went 8 miles. I will download the track with ExpertGPS, and see what it looks like. Need to learn to reset the odometer each trip, then will have an accurate assessment of the distance I've travelled. Will see if Paul's 3 mile per hour holds up with me. I think I have much more potential, but even now travel faster than the average kayaker.

A good paddle, after an already full day on the water! Good holiday weekend.