Since I finished my kayak shop time has been slipping. I was afraid of this but I am enjoying myself! I started with a fair breeze blowing out of the North. Very overcast but radar had shown the rain leaving the area.
I got on the water about 9 am and start working my way though ĎThe Islandsí. They provided pretty good shelter from most of the wind but you do have deal with the milfoil (aquatic weeds) because of all the shallow water. Thatís when you really appreciate a Greenland paddle. They are easy to paddle in the weeds once you learn how.
When I reached the last island I made a quick stop to stretch my legs because I knew I was about to hit the wind and a long stretch before I would reach Goat Island. I didnít expect to find a good stopping point before then.
After coming around the island I was in open water and paddling against the wind. I picked out a couple of points far off in the distance and paddled toward them for at least half an hour. When I finally got close enough I was surprised to find one of my points was a yellow shirt a fisherman was wearing. It was quite amazed at how visible it was from so far away.
About this time I heard what I assumed was a hawk calling. I decided to double back to see if I could catch a glimpse. To my surprise I flushed two mature Bald Eagles out of a tree and they were not happy with me!
They flew over my head saying things I can not repeat. Seriously I have never heard Eagles make so much noise. I turned and paddled back towards the two fishermen and to my surprise I flushed out two more Bald Eagles that were just as vocal. I assume it was the same pair that I had just upset a few minutes before. But it was a beautiful site. I love seeing Eagles. And I have never heard Eagles carry on like that before. That was worth the trip!
I paddled near the fisherman and talked for a couple of minutes. They were both older gentleman and were fishing for catfish. I invited myself to supper but they said I had to furnish the fryer and I obviously didnít have one with me.
Just past the fisherman above Goat Island are some limestone bluffs that look much like the Painted Bluffs below Guntersville Dam but much shorter. But they have some of the same coloring.
If you have never been there, Goat Island is nothing to but a great big rock with some dirt scattered around on it. Lots of trees there but I am surprised anything grows on that rock. I paddled behind the Island looking for a landing because the front looks like nothing but a bluff. The backside has a low bank but very rocky. I found a couple of possible landings but decided against them for different reasons. I finally found a decent landing spot at the far end of the Island. There is no beach just more rocks just under the surface large enough for the boat to rest on. I found a nice spot with a view of the dam and made myself comfortable. I rested a while and ate some lunch I had packed in the boat.
As I sat there I noticed the wind picking up and I stated to notice a few white caps on the waves. The waves were growing and I realized that I was going to have to be careful getting back in my boat. I decided I had better leave just in case it was going to get worse. With my small Ocean Cockpit itís not that easy as it is to get in the boat but add the waves bouncing the boat around and the all the rocks... it could get interesting if this got worse. I got in no real problem but it wasnít easy to keep the boat off the rocks and wiggle in balancing the boat with a paddle and trying to keep it upright.
I worked my way through another open area against the increasing wind. I gave in and worked my way back toward the bank to get out of the wind. I paddle along more bluffs and finally found the Bat Cave. I knew about where it was but it had been years since I had been down there and couldnít remember exactly where it was. My plan had been to paddle to the dam but it looked like itís about a mile away and I am starting to get tired. Itís a long ways back so I decided to turn around and head home.
With the wind to my back I made such good time going back that I didnít even stop. Of course the way my legs felt I know I should have stopped and stretched. Except for a couple of sections behind some of the Islands the winds pushed me back. The return trip took half the time it took me to paddle up. I was out a total of six hours and less than 2 hours of that was coming back.
I took a lot of photos but due to the overcast weather not that many were worth keeping. Look for the Lake Gíville 9-6-08 Gallery