Woke up bright eyed at 1:00 am feeling full of energy. Moon was shining brightly overhead. Marine forecast called for smooth waters in the upper Bay. Wind forecasts predicted 0-5 mph winds and 3 inch waves. Perfect forecast for a 10 mile crossing of Mobile Bay to Fairhope and back.
Nearing Dog River Bridge. Waters slick as glass.
Going under Dog River Bridge.
Got to pay attention on night paddles. That green light is on top of a Mobile Bay Ship Channel navigation post. Hard to see the post eh? Not all the posts in Mobile Bay have lights on them. The lights in the background are on the Dog River Bridge.
Made it to Fairhope Beach by the Pier. The 10 mile crossing took 2 hours and it would be another 2 hours on the return crossing. Wind was from the NNW and was closer to 10 mph causing foot high rolling waves. The Bay waters were anything but smooth. I was disappointed. You can never trust marine forecasts. Open water Kayakers should always be prepared for stronger than predicted winds. Paddling at night in cross waves can be challenging if there is no moon. Rogue waves can blindside you causing a capsize or a really good soaking. Luckily my kayak is 27.5 inches wide so it is really really stable in cross waves.
The nearly Full Moon shed enough light to illuminate the waves giving me enough time to rock the kayak on the bigger waves. That way I avoided getting soaked from the spray when the big waves hit the side of the kayak.
That is the downtown Mobile skyline to the North barely visible on the horizon.
Enjoying the 6:15 am Sunrise on Mobile Bay.
Toward the west, even though the sun had already risen, the moon was still visible. Flocks of birds that call Gilliard Island home were seen flying in all different directions as they commute to their feeding grounds.
Finally getting close to Dog River bridge again. That meant the waves were getting smaller.
Ahhh, sure enuf, no more freaking waves. The Bay crossings which I expected to be on smooth waters was certainly NOT on smooth waters. 3 out of the 4 hours on open water was like kayaking in a never ending boat wake hitting the kayak from the side. You know you have been kayaking in open water waves for a while when hours after the paddle is over you are still feeling the motion of the waves even though you are on solid land. 5 hours later and the room is still rocking...