White ibis

White ibis
Ibis

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sunday Sail on Lake Anahuac

Last weekend, my friend, Natalie, decided to organize a sailing trip across Lake Anahuac and  then up to the boat launch in White's Bayou Park. This way we could have the wind at our sides or backs all the way.

She cobbled a sail together from a piece of plastic shelving, a couple of PVC pipes, and a cloth into which she had sewn tubes.  She used the two posts at one overturned end of the shelf to hold more PVC pipe on which she slid the sail cloth.  I used my big golf umbrella.  Dave brought his kayak that has a complete sailing rig that lets him tack at will.  (It also has a pedal apparatus to drive it if there is no wind.) Bob tried an umbrella also, but mostly ended up paddling.


Natalie, Ellen and Zootie getting on board

Our supervisor - this baby alligator was very interested in our proceedings

Sunday morning, we put in on Lake Anahuac at the destroyed boat launch around 9:45A. The winds were already picking up.  I went out and tried my umbrella and found I could make 2-3 miles an hour with it.  Then I waited for everyone else to get ready.


A beautiful but deadly water hayacinth - but only one




Finally we were all on the lake.  I was trying hard to steer, hold my umbrella, and see where I was going.  I finally slid my seat back a little and used the stern of the canoe as part of my rudering system.  I found my balance and could hold a line on a fast long reach that took me almost to the east shore near the end of the houses along the east side of the lake. The wind kept building and some of the gusts got my adrenalin flowing as I fought to keep my balance and also do a little ruddering with my doubleblades.   Everyone else had sailed further west, so I shut down my umbrella and paddled towards them. Dave was racing all over the place while Natalie, her daughter, Ellen, and her Springer spainiel, Zootie, were going at a pretty good clip.  Bob had lot of trouble steering and holding the umbrella, and, as the wind and waves grew, decided to paddle.


Dave in his sailing kayak

Natalie sailing and Bob paddling

Finally all of us but Dave were back together and looking for the boardwalk of the visitor center for Anahuac NWR. We soon found it and stopped for a rest.


Edge of Lake View

At the Visitor Center Boardwalk - now if we could only visit from here

Zootie, Natalie's new paddling buddy

We still had not found Dave and the waves were continuing to grow so we decided to paddle on to the entrance to Turtle Bayou and stop there for lunch while waiting for Dave to reappear.  We finished a leisurely lunch and had decided to go on to the take-out when we heard what sounded like an air horn.  Bob went to check if it was Dave and it was.  So we happily pedaled, paddled and sailed up Turtle Bayou to White's Bayou and the takeout.



Natalie's picture of me sailing up Turtle Bayou


The paddling family and Bob
Ellen and I stayed with the boats while the rest ran the shuttle.  Then Bob and I went for my car and thus missed the most entertaining action of the day.  A teenager started showing  his friend  how close he could get down the boat ramp to the water and still be able to back up.  He must have gotten into the slick growth of algae at the end and just kept going into the bayou.  When we returned, the only sign of the truck was a set of tiny bubbles watched by some of the kids that had been there, three police cars - one with the kid in the back seat - and a wrecker. We didn't hang around for the rescue as it appeared that it was going to take a while.

Just another wonderful day on the water with good friends and a favorable wind.