Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Black and White Wednesday, Exchange Island

Usually B&W pictures look good but for this subject it doesn't matter. This is just somebody's mess plain and simple. There is just no good reason for people to leave a mess like this. If they ever want to go back to this spot it is covered in trash. I would hate to plan an outing and be greeted by this. The sad thing is to get to Exchange Island you have to go by boat. So stuff like this can't be blamed on any one except the people that are actually using this island. 


Here are some nicer looking pictures. These flowers are nice they have great colors (see the Post below) They also look good in B&W because of the contrast.
This Egret was taking off as I came around a bend. Look at that wingspan. These birds are great flyers and are really good at fishing. 
I spent most of my time picking up trash on this trip so I didn't take too many pictures. I did go home with 2 bags of trash, a milk crate and a boat fender. Which I gave to one of the power boaters that was launching at the ramp when I got back. 

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Trash pick-up

I thought I would start this entry out with a nice picture. These flowers are growing in big patches all over Exchange Island. Last weekend the weather was bad enough to keep my off the water. Today the weather was a bit nicer. I started out paddling up current but downwind. This did make for some small waves. The boat handled it quite well, and paddling wasn't too hard.
This is a picture of my boat sitting on the shoreline notice the trash bags. I picked up 2 bags of trash within site of my boat. I was able to pick up about 30 bottles in one pile. I was really surprised at how much styrofoam I picked up. I found about 200 plastic screw top lids as well. The wind was blowing and starting to pick up so I cut my trip a little shorter then planned. I had another bag that I planned on filling. I talked to a couple in a kayak out on the water Frank and Lisa and they said they would fill up the bag so all is well.

This is a picture of a campsite on the island it just makes me angry that people would just leave this kind of mess. Now if they come back they are greeted to the trash and will probably just move to a different spot and leave that one a mess as well.
I wanted to end with a nicer picture The shoreline is quite nice even with the bridge in the background. This is a nice place to paddle and hang out. I have already picked out the next spot on the island where I will pick up trash next time. 
Just remember there is plenty of trash to go around so if you are on the water take a few pieces with you and talk to every one you can and see if you can get them to do the same. I think we can get a handle on this and it starts with people talking about carrying out what they take in.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

This is not the weather report you wanted to read

The National Weather Service in Jacksonville has issued a lake wind advisory... which is in effect from noon today through 8pm EDT this evening.

An intensifying storm system will track well North of the area today. The tightening pressure gradient over the area will produce Southwest winds of 20 to 25 mph with gust to over 30 mph.

A lake wind advisory is issued when sustained winds of 20 to 25 mph or gusts of 30 to 39 mph are expected. Small Boats will be especially prone to capsizing. Boaters in the advisory area should avoid open water and stay close to shore in wind protected inlets. High profile vehicles should use extra caution when traveling as well.

This was the forecast I was greeted with this morning. I was going to go pick up trash on Exchange Island this morning. However I have to paddle across some exposed waters to get to the island. I felt the conditions were not good for the trip and were supposed to get worse as the day goes. I will have to try again another day. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The bad side of the island

I spotted this boat along the shore line it is obviously home made I would be afraid ride too far in this boat. It does sport quite a paint job however. The bad news is it is abandoned here on the island. I can imagine the builders running this thing up on the beach afraid to continue any further in this craft.
This was a piece of plastic the I think had blown off the bridge and landed here in the trees. 
This is part of some body's floating dock and of course it is surrounded by smaller pieces, cups, bottles and such.
More plastic trash.
Enough complaining about people littering. I am going to take matters in my own hands and start cleaning up this island. Over the next several weeks I plan on returning there every chance I get and picking up as much trash as possible. I will have to work on the big things and figure something out. Some of that stuff just won't fit in my canoe. The River keeper has a program for adopting a shore line I am going to adopt this island. My challenge to other boaters is to return with a few more pieces of trash then when you leave. We all enjoy the outdoors. Do your part and pack out what you take in and if you can bring another piece or two out even better. 

Black and White Wednesday, Exchange Island pt.2

I was unable to get out on the water last weekend due to weather, Mother's Day and teaching Woodturning. However I had some pictures that weren't posted last week that I did like so here a few more. I was drifting along Exchange Island. The breeze was pushing me along nicely. The Matthews Bridge is just ahead. If I kept going about 15 more mile I would end up in the Atlantic Ocean. I may have to make that trip another day. The currents move about 3 kts. through here all the way to the ocean.
This is another picture of the lagoon on the island. The water was perfectly still here. The clouds are reflected on the surface along with the trees.

"The wind was my friend today"
The wind was helping me today. I drifted along the Island and managed to stay out of the current the length of the island. When I reentered the current which was going against me the wind was pushing me so they just about canceled each other out. The current is moving from right to left in the picture with the wind going the opposite direction. This forms waves which made it a little interesting. I was defiantly keeping my eye on the conditions.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Animals of Exchange Island

as soon as I got on the island I spotted these tracks. I believe they are raccoon. They disappeared into the thick underbrush so I didn't follow them too far. There were a ton  of birds on the island. They weren't very cooperative and kept their distance. They would manage to stay in just enough brush to make them hard to photograph.
I was drifting along the shore line and watched this egret go in for a landing on the island. While I was changing lenses I almost drifted over these manatees. When I looked up my first thought was I was about to drift into a rock. As I was back paddling trying to avoid the rock it moved and I saw it was a manatee. I managed to get a few pictures as they moved off into deeper water.
I spotted this Cormorant flying along. I really like these birds. They are good flyers and they swim as well. And they have the coolest Turquoise eyes
Not a great day for wildlife photography, however I did see 2 manatees some egrets, ospreys, and some small greenish birds. I didn't see the owner of the tracks but they still made an impact on me. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Black and White Wednesday, Exchange Island

My canoe awaits me.
I landed in the lagoon and pulled my boat ashore. The water is very dark here and the lagoon is very protected. In fact it was blowing about 5 kts. out on the river. And being as protected as it was the bugs were very bad. 
This is the view standing where the canoe in waiting. We are looking towards the opening of the lagoon. The water has an almost perfect reflection. 
The next 2 pictures are of the Matthews Bridge. This bridge is tall enough for large ships to go under.
This is after I went through it and turned around to take some pictures of the bridge. 
I hope you have enjoyed these Black and White pictures. I have 2 more posts coming up on this trip so stay tuned.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Exchange Island, St Johns Island, Jacksonville

Paddling on the St. Johns River, Downtown Jacksonville. I started from the Arlington Road boat ramp and paddled over to Exchange Island. The island is actually located across from the industrial part of town on one side and residential on the other side of the river. It has a bridge that straddles the river and uses the island for a support. The only access is by water. On the southern portion of the island is a small lagoon. This monument was put here in 1960. It looks as if people have been vandalizing it. My brother and I camped on this island about 15 years ago. I remember seeing this monument but I don't remember the damage to it. I am thinking that is fairly recent. The other thing was all the trash. I am going to try and organize a trash pick up event. (More on that later) I will also dedicate a post to the some pictures of the trash. 

On the second part of my trip the wind was cooperating. The island was shaped so I was protected from the current which was just starting to come in and the wind was behind me and pushing me down the shore line. I was enjoying listening to the birds and there were quite a few fish jumping. 
This is my boat peeking through the weeds. I went ashore to walk around I pulled my boat up on the shore inside the small lagoon. 
This is the Matthews Bridge. It connects Arlington with the East side of the river. It is one of the 4 bridges that cross the river in the downtown area.
This is just part of the ship yard. I looked like they were unloading this ship. I thought about paddling over and taking some pictures of my canoe next to the ship but the current was getting stronger.
Todays paddle was different from the places I usually go but it was still a nice to be on the water. I went out early and returned at around 10 am. The power boaters were just starting to show up at the boat ramp. It looked like it would be a busy day.