August 16

Today was the day I have been looking for. I knew at some point I would need to cross over a large portion of open water to get into position to cross Mobile Bay. I could follow the shore of the mainland and get there or I could paddle 10 miles off shore to the barrier islands and follow those. After the past few days I needed to change something up. When I was ready to leave camp the water was calmish and the skywas blue. No rain forecasted. I went back and forth on what to do. Finally I yelled out "YOLO" and went for it. I started paddling out into the great unknown. I couldn't see the islands, I just prayed they were there. I pointed the nose of my boat south east and dug in. As I watched the shore of the island I camped on get smaller I got more worried that I still couldn't see my destination. About 2 miles in I saw a fin pop out of the water. I stopped paddling and froze. Then I saw another and heard a blow hole clear and shoot water up. It was a couple dolphins. I called for them to come over thinking I could hold onto the fin and get a tow to the islands but they must have had somewhere else to be. I kept checking my GPS to make sure I was heading the right direction. I was a little off a straight line which is understandable since I was paddling into wide open space. I corrected and at about 4 miles I thought I saw land and pointed towards it and kept paddling. I then realized it was moving. It was a ship passing in the shipping lane. At 5 miles in I finally saw what looked like land and it wasn't moving. It was a great feeling but also a curse. The miles seemed to get longer when you see the destination. I finally landed on Petit Bois Island. It felt amazing. The island was beautiful. Perfect white sand beaches.  Clear water. You could see tons of crabs in the water and on shore. I hopped straight out of the boat, glad to be able to stand up. I plugged my phone in to charge and walked around the point to the front of the island to see what the water was like if I should paddle on the ocean side. When I got to the pass between the islands I saw a massive fish jump out of the water. Shark. No it was just a dolphin feeding as the fish went between the islands. Then I noticed another dolphin. I counted 15 separate ones. They kept jumping and popping out of the water. And I didn't have a camera. I ran back to to the boat and grabbed my phone and GoPro. They were still there when I got back. I started walking out in the water to get closer with the GoPro. Once the water got chest deep I realized I wasn't going to get close enough so I retreated back to the boat. I tried to get some video of the little crabs under water with the camera. They kept scurrying away. While I was chasing one, his buddy pinched my foot. I ran on water to the beach. I got the point they didn't want me there. I felt good so I kept paddling the 6 miles to the other end of the island on the back side. It was easy paddling. When I got to the other side I landed on the beach and decided it was for the birds. No really it had signs saying that the area was closed for bird nesting. I decided to make the next crossing to Dauphin Island. It's only 6 miles, nothing compared to the 10 miles I had just done. Or so I thought. It started off calm but the waves off the ocean had to be about 2 foot rollers. Nothing I couldn't handle but realizing I was so far away from the mainland definitely added a thrill factor. I made the island with no problems and tucked in behind for the calm water. This end of the island is just like the other. Deserted and beautiful. I cruised a few more miles till I found a small spot above the water line to set up my tent. When I got in it looked like a murder scene with the blood stains from all the bugs I killed last night. With no rain forecasted tonight I have the rain fly off. Safe from bugs but staring up at a million stars. I only have 10 miles tomorrow to the other end of the island where there is a village and I plan on camping to try and make the Mobile Bay crossing early Friday morning.