Saturday, August 27, 2005

8.5 with another storm brewing

The shortcut is easy to find going the other way, but now I know exactly where it is, have a tree for a landmark, and will find it coming into the bay as well as leaving it. Took the north route up towards the houses. It looks to me like this is natural bayou area, but then some of the paths must be cut channels. It was nice to see another new area and I found some other places to explore up there. Today was a race challenge and I'm worn out. Two bends away from the boat ramp it was 11:15 and I had to be somewhere at 12:00, so I was breaking speed records getting back. Good conditioning for my next race!

Creatures included one jellyfish in the bayou and another in the gulf, lots of egrets and herons, an average number of fish, no gators, no mammals. Caught this heron taking flight with the Pentax. It's a bright sunny day with few small clouds, but hurricane Katrina is spinning up to bring devastation somewhere near here by Monday. It was high tide while I was out today... wonder how high the water will get...

A little philosophy for today. I was thinking how kayaking is like life, you get choices along the way and decide which way to go. Sometimes you can turn back easily if you change your mind, other times you have to stay with your choice and follow it through. There are clues as you travel which help you make smarter choices if you're paying attention. This ability to review the trip with the GPS track gives valuable feedback. There are things like that in life where feedback is available to show you what you did right and wrong, and it can really help you develop your skills for the next time.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Expert GPS says by my tracklog I went 9.5 miles today!! I got lost in the swampgrass, is why I went so damn far. I set out to do a distance trip, to the gulf and back. Took two small side trips into interesting areas, and went farther out than I have before from the mouth of the bayou. Coming back I thought, I'll take the short cut down past the boat ramp and through to the south side of the bay. It was high tide, and I had been through once before from the other direction. Well, it is not so easy to find, going back. The picture of my track shows where I went, and where I missed it, and where I then gave up and went ALL the way back around through the main bayou.

First trip with my new Maui Jim sunglasses, and they were great. I see now how the polarized lenses work - mainly to cut through the sun's reflection on the water. They work extremely well in some light. Other times there's not much difference from other sunglasses, but they are very confortable and give great protection for your eyes. I saw more under the water, though still there is so much going on that I can't see... those big fish cruising around... and I didn't see a single gator today, which is highly unusual. What I did notice is a lot more mud trails of things scooting away as I go by. Flounder? Crabs? Skates or stingrays?

Saw one new creature when I stopped on the sandspit at the gulf, a horseshoe crab wandered up right to the water's edge and then back down to deeper water. The birds were out today in force and I started wondering about their seasonal habits. What will they be doing when the weather gets colder? They seem so at home in this area, as all the other living things. How many creatures live there. How long have they lived there. How long has this bay and this area been as it is today. It is well-taken-care-of right now, which means no one is messing with it too much. I think it will stay that way, because there's not much to change in the surrounding area. Glad to see it as it is intended.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Until last week, I had only kayaked in Mississippi. While in Ft Walton Beach I rented a sit-on-top kayak in 2 places, Choctawhatchee Bay and the Santa Rosa Sound. Both were really nice, the clear water, the Florida sand. In the bay we say a pod of dolphins catching baitfish and ended up in the middle of them. Nice scenery along the edge of the water. The sound was a half mile across but the storms to the north threatned to overtake our position so we stayed close to the marina after a short venture to the other side. Florida is nice but it's not home. I feel like an imprinted bird who woke to the surroundings of one place and will always consider that natural habitat. Went out tonight in the bay back here at home, and saw an unexpected sunset, extremely orange through the clouds, shining pretty on the water. No gators, lots of fish. Funny I was in the middle of the bay coming back across, and the tide was so low I was hitting the bottom at two feet. It's like a huge puddle, teeming with life. The crabs are so thick on the bottom it looks like you could scoop them up straight into a pot. My paddling technique was good tonight. I've got it right and can go the distance now. When can I make the run to Horn?