East Hewitt Bayou Road
to Mack Bayou
(Santa Rosa Beach, FL)
Once again I really did not pick the right wind conditions for this trip. When I got to the “almost ramp” at the end of East Hewitt Bayou Road just after 6 a.m. I found the wind to be out of the North East. Fortunately, it was not blowing very hard, so there was just a light chop coming onto the shore.
Having put in and moved my truck off to the side of the road I paddled west to Mack Bayou to take a look at our sailboat, which is at a friend’s dock while I try to get some work done on her. The paddle over to Mack Bayou was pretty easy down the wind, with the light swells helping me along and was, in all but the channel into Hewitt Bayou, in water that would barely cover my knees if I stepped out of the kayak.
Rounding the point into Mack Bayou the water stilled and I paddled down the eastern shore 'till I came to our little boat nestled safely at her dock. I gave her a once over and then paddled on down to the end of the bayou, or at least the navigable end.
I had not been back that far before, but I slipped over a fallen tree and kept going 'till there really was not much room left to paddle. Things were a little smelly back in the marsh as the water was low and that left a lot of mud exposed. On the way in I gleaned a few bits of trash, including a life jacket, out of the bayou, just to leave things cleaner than I found them.
I paddled back up the western shore and saw a little Night Heron on the bulkhead by the fish camp. I had actually seen one really close up towards the end of the bayou but I came around the corner too fast and frightened him away. Then I paddled on to the man-made cut that goes under Mack Bayou Road and went all the way to the end. It must be a bit tight getting a couple of the boats that people have back there, out under the bridge.
Once I was out of the cut I realized I had been paddling for almost two hours so I set off back to the launch, stopping only to snap a shot of a grey heron on someone's dock. It is amazing how many of them there are around the Bay and bayous. Of course the wind had picked up a bit and indeed I think it strengthened even more as I paddled. Good job we added the splash cover on the bow at my last birthday.
There were actually three kayaks at the landing when I got back, two landing and one launching. The fishermen in the two that were landing said they had not had any luck.
All in all a fun morning on the water even if my shoulders are now pretty stiff. Best advice I have for anyone paddling a kayak is to always make sure there is a hot tub available at the end of your paddle.