Monday, July 27, 2009

Boating on Fowl River

I've lived in Mobile for seven years now but every now and then I feel like a tourist in my own town. This weekend was a case in point. My husband and I were invited by our good friend, Paul, to go out on Fowl River with him in his boat. Now I know that Mobile has several rivers that run through the area but I don't know one from the other. When Paul extended the invitation I was embarrassed to admit that I had no idea where Fowl River began or ended. My husband explained that we would launch the boat at the Fowl River Marina on the Dauphin Island Parkway in Belle Fontaine. That gave me some point of reference at least.

The marina features the Pelican Reef Restaurant, the Landing Lounge, a convenience store/bait shop and gas pumps. The cost to launch your boat is $5.00. The Landing has live music on Friday and Saturday nights. I'm not a power boat enthusiast (I prefer sailboats) so I wasn't sure what we would actually be doing once we got out on the water. I really thought we were going to troll up the river for 30 minutes or so and then turn around and come back. I thought it would be boring but I really enjoyed myself.

Hanging out on the river is a lot like hanging out at the beach. You find a variety of people at both locations and those people are involved in a variety of activities. On the Fowl River I saw folks swimming, fishing, jet skiing, water skiing, sun bathing and just hanging out with friends. Of course a lot of people seemed to be doing what we were doing, just riding up and down the river, taking in the sites. Everyone we passed took a friendly moment to smile and wave.

I was amazed to see how many homes had been built along the river. Homes of every size and description. I drooled over every one of them, the big and the small, because they all seemed to have the "cool factor" that comes from living on the water. They're like the homes you see in the French Quarter down in New Orleans. Some might be nicer than others, but you know you'd be happy to live in any of them.

Every house of course has a boat dock and the boat docks were, for me, the most fascinating sites on this trip. It was fun to compare the different choices used to decorate the boat houses and docks. There were slides that emptied into the river and diving boards to jump from. I saw man made beaches complete with beach chairs and umbrellas. Some of the residents had installed playground equipment near the river bank and others had tied rope swings in the overhanging trees.

My only real disappointment of the day was the lack of wildlife. I had hoped to capture shots of alligators floating in the water or herons wading along the shore. I didn't even see a water moccasin swimming down stream. There were a ton of pelicans hanging out at the mouth of the river but the water was too rough out in the bay for our little boat to venture near enough to get good photos. Maybe next time.

We cruised up and down the river all day between Pelican Reef and Memories Fish Camp. There are points along the river where you can cruise very fast, creating a wonderfully cool breeze while you jump wakes. Others areas are no wake zones. These are great places for taking pictures and watching fish jump. The winding of the river added a small element of surprise since I never knew what might be revealed around each bend.

It was a terrific way to spend the day and cost us next to nothing. Thanks to Captain Paul for inviting us to come out on the maiden voyage of his new boat. If you have access to a boat take it out on Fowl River. If you don't have access to a boat, find someone who does and make friends with them. Bribe them with gas and lunch. Offer to stock the boat's beer cooler. You won't regret it.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Wow! That looks fascinating! What a fun adventure!