Saturday, February 3, 2007

Mobile River/ Chickasaw Creek 3 FEB 07

Hooked on kay-rack

As you all may have noticed from my last two posts, I was tweaking. The last time I was in the water was two weeks ago, and I wasn't about to allow a minor detail like a totaled car to keep me from getting my fix of kayak.

Since I had a relatively early start today, I decided to stretch the route out a bit, and to take my time. No self-punishing 4mph-pace, 2- to 3-hour race against daylight today.

Here's the map, showing 12.3 miles covered in 5 hours:
As you can tell from the numbered photo marks, this is going to be a long one.

1: Scrapyard (near Highway 43):What an eyesore. There are so many apparently abandoned vessels, barges, etc. that Chickasaw Creek downstream of Highway 43 looks like a junk-strewn redneck lawn writ large.
2. Pumphouse Canal, entry:

Eroded tree-stump. Wave action from motorboats, tugs, etc. wears out the roots of the trees along the waterline. I have no idea if this erosion happened before or after this tree died. Either way, the same erosion undercuts the trees along the banks of these rivers and creeks, causing them to fall into the water and create navigational hazards. The state of the "No Hunting" sign shows you just what sort of assholes live around here, and why I kayak armed.

3 and 4. Pumphouse Canal tree-falls: This narrow waterway is made even less navigable by all the fallen trees. I passed through at low tide, so I might have bumped and scraped a few more times than usual.

5. Dead Alligator: I really don't know whether to pin this down to poachers or to natural selection. A bloated, beheaded gator which would have probably measured 11 to 12 feet in one piece. Contrary to the sign, there were 2 boats with hunting gear (yeah, the lack of fishing gear and the presence of boxes of ammo in the boats are a good giveaway, geniuses) about 300 yards upstream from this gator carcass. Makes me wonder.

6. Logjam: Damnit. Portage time. I had to haul out, a task made challenging by the slimy, slick algae on the bank and on the logs I had to traverse to get back into navigable water. What a pain. This also committed me to pressing on via the Mobile River, since there was no safe (and dry) way to make it back up and across from the other side of this jam.

7. Birds on the Mobile River: So many of them, it looked like an avian Spring Break. This was around 1 pm, and as warm as it would be all day (around 55). From about 1 onwards the cloud cover increased and the temp began to drop; it was down to the 40s by the time I was back in Chickasaw Creek. Not that temperatures or weather have deterred a trip yet.

8. View toward the city:
As seen through the Cochrane bridge, viewed here from the Mobile River side, instead of from the creek. Of course, the only visible building is the near-complete RSA Tower. I contemplated paddling towards downtown, but really didn't want to beat back 2 1/2 miles with the current in my teeth.

9. Barges: Space between a mass of apparently unused river barges. I could probably get lost back there, between these corroded hulks.

10. Caribbean Mercy: The last time I was up this creek, I took a spectacular picture of this vessel with the sun setting directly behind her. They've moved her out of that berth, closer to the fairway. According to some of the men working aboard, she was being readied for a trip to Nicaragua in a few weeks to deliver medical supplies. The non-profit that runs this ship sounds promising, but their website's down, so no link for them. Yet.

This was quite a ride. I'm going to go feed the kayak monkey again tomorrow, with another trip to Dauphin Island.


kissyface said...

That abstracted photo of the barges is beautiful. The color is gorgeous (if you could just bring out the blue and green tones a touch more in the water, but no matter), composition's about perfect. If I had a good print framed, I'd hang it in my home, which is what you should do.

Citizen H said...

I thought to take this picture creeping around one of those barge anchorages. The corroded hulls reminded me of sandstone walls, as though they were monolithic ruins. Keep your eyes peeled! There are so many pictures from the last couple of months that I haven't uploaded, watch for a massive post soon with photos that I haven't posted.

steve said...

I like #3- I'd frame this one, though whatever you shot it from gave it a built in frame... was it shot out of a pipe or a Dead-light or what?
With regard to nicotine gum- I have quite a few years on you and am badly out of shape, but when I started riding a bicycle two years ago, my cigarette consumption dropped from the mandatory pack a day to a pack a week over the period of a year... I wasn't trying to quit, it just seemed my body and mind were rejecting them. The last pack I bought was 3 weeks ago and they were around for the next two weeks. I have been out for a week now, and maybe I'll buy a pack next week, maybe not.
It just doesn't seem to matter. Perhaps this would have happened with your habit had you not already been a heathy young man, I don't know. But I do wish you the best of luck in quiting such a horribly debilitating addiction. The bicycle, I believe has saved my life.

steve said...

That is to say- "extended my life"- if i can keep from getting run over.

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