Finally, four months after coming home, I got the chance to get out on the water. J.B. Converse (Big Creek) Lake is a great spot for a day of fishing on relatively calm water; today's winds kicked up about a 6"chop, making the ride a little interesting without a spray-skirt. Even then, the cockpit remained dry, except for the mud and a few drops of water tracked in boarding and disembarking a few times.
55 degrees and sunny, plugged in to Pink Floyd on my MP3 player. It doesn't get much better than this.
All told, I paddled 5.3 miles, or so the track from the bargain-basement GPS I finally broke down and bought says:
Note: The waypoints are marked fixes. My paths between weren't ruler-straight, I just plotted the fixes on Google Earth because I am too cheap to get a GPS capable of uploading route tracks to the computer.
For the last few years, South Alabama has been in mild drought conditions; between that and ongoing repairs to the dam and spillway, the water level isn't what it ought to be. Tree stumps jut solemnly out of the water, normally several feet below the surface and posing no risk to boaters. These days, unless you're in a small, light craft such as a kayak, you'd best be on your toes on Big Creek Lake.
A thicket of exposed stumps. Normally these are well below the surface. Great kayak-handling practice though, wending one's way between them. Big Creek Lake is just low ground at the confluence of several creeks and streams, dammed to create a water supply for a city of 200,000. Some of these stumps have been submerged for more than 50 years.
Once again, for FAR less than the cost of a PS3, I have found a great way to keep myself occupied (and a new hobby to allow me to give Nigerian spammers a break). Didn't have to rob anyone or wait for two days in line to buy the kayak either.
Also, once more, I can't help but laugh at video gamers' flaccid attempts to entertain themselves electronically.
I'm happiest out-of-doors and miles from other people anyhow.