Monday, September 03, 2007
Finally - the Horn Island trip!
I've been talking about paddling to Horn Island since my very first blog post and practically since I first got a kayak. The logistics, planning, weather, and free time just never seemed to come together, especially since Katrina. Things were looking pretty good this weekend. With today being Labor Day I wasn't sure how crowded the boat ramps and waterways would be, but there was plenty of room at the ramp and I didn't encounter much traffic.
The original plan was to paddle TO Horn Island from Belle Fountaine Beach. I plotted the route along the blue dotted line going to the dock out there on the north side of the island. However the weather was a little iffy so we decided to take the Blazer Bay plus kayak all the way out there, for me to paddle BACK. We put the kayak out as close as we could get in the boat. I went to the island first, took a few pictures, then headed straight north all the way to the beach in front of St Andrews golf course. The red line is my paddle trip - 6.75 miles straight from the middle of the island.
I could see Belle Fountaine beach the whole way. Dale says I wasn't too visible except the yellow PFD so that's definitely a recommended item. He fished a bit here and there, and visited me a couple of times along the way. He got this picture when a pod of dolphin were swimming nearby.
The water was very calm. "Smooth-to-a-light-chop" as they say on the weather radio station. It was great paddling conditions. I didn't see a lot of fish, but did run into three patches of these jellyfish, each about a foot and a half in diameter. Each time there were over a hundred of them around me in view. I knocked into a few of them with my paddle.
It's so quiet out there. It's a neat place; the water only 15 feet deep or so, far from shore but yet in protected waters on the north side of the islands. This is where the shrimp and so many other sea creatures live and breed. I saw a blue crab swimming up at the surface of the water. Just coming up for a look?
Pelican came by to check out the kayak.
At the end of the trip I approached the beach at the same funny round house I've seen on bike trips. And more pelicans... the pelicans just love Belle Fountaine beach.
It's so shallow in there I could only paddle in to about 100 yards from the beach. Turned around and met Dale in the boat and we loaded the kayak back on and went around to Graveline (blue line) to head on home.
The preparation was good, getting to know the route was good. I'm ready to do it again sometime soon. The sense of adventure will be more in heading the opposite direction, towards the island. I could go farther than just the 6.75 miles, but I don't know about all the way there and back. Maybe out there in the morning, back in the afternoon? There's always the weather to worry about. I don't want to paddle in rough seas. The kayak could handle it and the waves themselves don't scare me, but any more than 2 foot seas makes me seasick, even in a kayak. Anyway, today was two big accomplishments -- the Horn Island kayak trip, and getting the kayak to Horn Island, which holds big promise for exploring the lagoons and paddling around out around the island for fun.
Awesome Mississippi Kayaking!