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Paddle Black and Red — May 16, 2015


Paddle Black and Red — May 16, 2015

Red light canoe at night.

With our recent moonlight paddle to Spanish Lake and the BREC Sunset Paddle on University Lake fresh in our minds, when someone suggested it was time for a new moon paddle, we jumped at the idea.

Moonlight paddles are fun, but the calendar has to fall just right to make them work.  Ideally, you want a weekend day two nights before the actual full moon, as that puts the moon high enough in the sky early enough to be useful.  Add in hopes for clear skies and your opportunities can be rather limited.  On the other hand, if you just skip the whole natural light concept, things open up.  Add in some red lights so you don’t run into things (and to see alligator eyes), and you’ve got a recipe for a great evening.

Twilight on Ward Creek

The plan was to start at seven, but due to traffic, crossed signals, or whatever, we got a rather late start.  Those of us who were early just rolled with the delay and had some nice conversations about paddling, Ward Creek, Bayou Fountain, and so on, and eventually we were all heading downstream.  Jonathan had his lightboat, and he had a kayak similarly bedecked with red LED strip for one of our other paddlers.  I had my solo canoe with light deck (but no big PaddleBR sign this time), and we had Matt and son on his kayak.  With the skies starting to fade, we headed on down Ward Creek.

Passing under I-10

Photos really don’t do night paddles justice.  Nowhere was that more apparent than when we passed under I-10.  The lights from our headlamps and boats set against the streetlights shining on the bridges and bayou made for a somewhat surreal and rather fantastic scene.  (That there was an alligator right there in the water beside the bridge only made things that much more amazing.)  We’d love to have photos that could properly convey everything, but alas, the only way you’ll be able to truly know the feeling is to just come out and join us one evening.

Dragon paddle!

Once we made it to Bayou Manchac, the pace picked up quite a bit.  I’m not sure whether it was a current behind us or just enthusiasm, but we were certainly having fun.  Trying to get stable night photos while paddling fast in a solo canoe was a bit… interesting… but the ones that turned out give at least a bit of an idea how cool it was out there (in the figurative sense).  Oddly enough, I did not note a single mosquito bothering me, which was surprising after the cloud on Bayou Fountain earlier in the day.  Perhaps the “dragon paddle” (as I call it in the photo above) scared them all away.

In not much more than three hours, we arrived at our destination on Camp Drive.  Considering the last-minute scheduling for a night paddle, we had a decent turnout, and it was another great trip.  We even discussed a bit about the secret project, for which we’ll hopefully manage a private test run soon.  We’ll certainly be having more night paddles coming up (and some day ones, too).  I, for one, can hardly wait.

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