kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

Sunday, November 17, 2013

In Search of the Pink Dolphin: Part Deux

About a year after we moved to Lake Charles in 2007, I heard rumors, read news articles, and saw photos of a rare albino dolphin in the Calcasieu River ship channel in Cameron, Louisiana. Naturally, I’ve been curious and eager to see this animal ever since.

In May 2012, my kayaking club ventured to Cameron for a paddle. We saw lots of birds and shrimp boats. And even a few dolphins. But no pink dolphin. You can read about that trip here.

A few weeks ago, the club returned to Cameron, and they did see the pink dolphin on that trip! Naturally, I was in Pennsylvania.

This past weekend, Bob said it was a good time to go sailing. We’d wanted to take an overnight trip to Cameron for quite some time, so off we went. It took us about four hours to meander down the ship channel from Lake Charles to Cameron where the Calcasieu River meets the Gulf of Mexico. It looks like this most of the way.

Sea gulls and pelicans flock behind the shrimp boats. Easy pickins.

When we arrived at the inlet where we anchored for the night, a lone dolphin greeted us. No sign of the pink dolphin.

But we saw lots of jellyfish the size of turkey platters.

We saw the moonrise . . .

and the sunset . . .

and the sunrise the next morning.

Despite the gentle lulling sway and rock of the boat, I didn’t sleep well. We anchored across from an industrial port and heard the drone of diesel engines from big ships and the beep beeps of construction-type vehicles throughout the night.

The next morning, Bob and I naturally wanted coffee. We remembered to bring coffee, but we forgot the cream and sugar, and neither of us drink coffee black. Bleh. The only sweetener I could find on board was some M&Ms in a bag of trail mix. So I doled out about eight salty M&Ms into each cup and we poured the coffee over them. And stirred. I was temporarily baffled as to why just one of my M&Ms wouldn’t melt. 

Until I realized it was a peanut.

I can honestly say that was the worst cup of coffee I’d ever drank in my life.

Then I decided to fish for awhile.

It was a little foggy that morning.

A month or so ago, Bob and I bought fishing licenses. We have yet to catch a single fish. The thing is, I think most of the fish like to hang out in the shallows along the shoreline. Our boat drafts 5.5 feet, so we have to stay in deeper water. Excuses, excuses . . .

Once the fog burned off enough to see, we set off for the jetties. Now here, we saw countless dolphins! For some reason, dolphins love to swim alongside boats. These amazing creatures are playful, and apparently, it's fun.

Check out this video I took.
But no pink dolphin.

This is what it looks like when you are out in the middle of the Gulf.

Well, maybe not the middle. We were maybe a mile or so out. But we couldn’t see land.

So I held out hope that we’d see Pinkie on the way back through; but alas, we did not. So my quest continues.

If anyone wants to take me fishing where I can actually catch some fish, please let me know!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Autumn in Southwest Pennsylvania

I love Louisiana, but there are many things I miss about the northeast. Fall foliage is one of them.

For the first time since moving to the Bayou State six years ago, I returned to Pennsylvania during the peak of autumn. I timed it perfectly. When I landed in Pittsburgh on October 24, I was shocked by how much green I saw. And I had worried I missed it! Over the course of two weeks, I watched green ease into gold, red, and orange.

Seems it can transform almost overnight. When I return to Lake Charles in a couple days, I suspect the trees here will be nearly bare. It all happens so quickly. One night of wind and rain gives the demise a big boost.

Throughout my visit here, I've collected a few of the prettiest leaves I found and pressed them into a notebook. I’ll lay them on my dining room table when I get home, as a reminder of the beauty of southwestern Pennsylvania this time of year.