Ten people from the Sea Kayak Fleet headed down to Birdseye, Indiana for our Every-Other-Year trip to Lake Patoka. Three of us arrived on Thursday and claimed the three great waterfront campsites in Fishermen’s’ Camp. The view is great and it is a convenient spot to launch our boats.
On Friday, I went out for an early (8:00 am) paddle in the fog which was sitting on the lake and paddled out to a stand of dead trees across the lake from the camp. One of my favorite areas since you can slalom your way through the trees and since they are a bit spooky in the morning light and fog. Later in the day, Mariann, Deb, and I went on a 3 hour paddle up the finger of the lake where Fishermen’s’ Camp. We paddled under IN164 and up into the headwaters of the lake.
On this paddle, we noticed blobs that look like egg sacks floating in the lake or clinging to underwater sticks and stumps. After getting home and googling “gelatinous blobs in Lake Patoka”, it turns out that they are freshwater bryozoans – these animals live in colonies and are related to coral. They create colonies that filter water. Kellie told me that the presence of these creatures indicate that the water quality of the lake is good.
Near sunset, everyone who had arrived by then paddled out and enjoyed the sun glinting off the water as we explored the bay just south of Fishermen’s’ camp.
On Saturday, 9 of us set out paddling past the island about a mile to the swimming beach where we had lunch before paddling back. On the return trip, we had a light headwind. This turned out to be a 10-mile paddle.
On Friday and Saturday nights, we had great campfires on the point near the water. Both nights the skies were clear and we had a great celestial display complete with shooting stars.
On Sunday Morning, a weather front came through with strong winds and bands of rain/potential thunder storms so we packed up and headed back home rather than paddle to the quarry from Little Patoka Ramp in these conditions.
Patoka is a great lake to paddle with hundreds of bays to explore and very little development along the lake. It is only the third largest lake in Indiana but is very spread out so there is a lot of interesting shoreline and areas to explore.
Background image provided by Karl Zemlin www.zemlinphoto.com
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