Friday, August 31, 2007

A quiet place

"The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man."

~~Author Unknown

Life on the shore

"In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.

~~ Charles A. Lindbergh

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rising above

"Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them."

Washington Irving (1783 - 1859)


"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."

~~ Confucius

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thunderclouds over Range Point

Cumulonimbus clouds in the distance pale in comparison to the one over me. Time to hightail it for home!

The feisty crab

I stared at him
And he stared at me.
"Are you looking for legs?"
He asked, testily.

"No! I was starin' at you
'cause you were starin' at me!"
(My knowledge of crabs
is as slim as can be.)

So I bid him goodbye,
though he scowled back at me.
A feisty sand crab
on my walk by the sea.

~~ Barrier Island Girl

The coast is clear

We're coming up on Labor Day Weekend, but already the beaches are clearing out. I biked about a mile past Portofino and saw one person sitting on the beach between me and Portofino Island Resort.

September and October, in my opinion, are the most beautiful times of the year to visit Pensacola Beach. It is still fairly hot in September and it is the height of hurricane season, but October is just about perfect as you can get.

"That's when it always happens,
Same place every year,
I come down and talk to me
When the coast is clear."

~~ Jimmy Buffett

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A 180

View to the east

View to the south.

View to the west.

Well, perhaps it was more a 160! Storms are moving onto Pensacola Beach out of the Gulf of Mexico.

Adopt a walkover!

What's a girl to do on a stormy day when she can't get out on the beach to take photographs or ride her new beach bike? Develop a campaign to prevent littering on our beach? It's probably not what you would expect from me and I admit I'm not very creative when it comes to marketing. If, however, I had such talent I would certainly throw it behind an anti-littering program for Pensacola Beach.

1. Adopting a walkover closest to your neighborhood might be a place to start. Promise yourself that even one or two days a week you'll pick up trash around 'your' walkover. It could make a difference. And, your example has more influence than you might think.

2. How about a "Hold your butt on the beach" campaign? Okay, that could be taking things a bit too far, but cigarette butts are at the top of the list of trash items found on the beach. Smokers who think they are helping by burying their cigarette butts do not stop to think how quickly these small items are undercovered on wind-swept beaches. They may either end up in the stomach of sea birds, sea mammals or fish.

I am 'preaching to the choir' by posting this on my blog, so instead of developing a campaign on a stormy day, I will simply thank all of you who take time to help keep Pensacola Beach - or your own neighborhoods - clean. As I said above, you may not realize just how much influence your actions have on those around you.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A view from Panferio

A view from Panferio Drive shows towering cumulonimbus clouds over the mainland. I'm only steps away from the Harry G. Gowens Memorial Park, looking north over Santa Rosa Sound and the Intracoastal Waterway.

A little "now and then"

"Some people never find it.
Some only pretend.
But me, I just want to live happily ever after,
every now and then."

~~Jimmy Buffett, "Happily Ever After"

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mr. Sandman, building a dream

(Sing to the tune of Mister Sandman")

"Mr. Sandman, building a dream,
Make it the cutest one our beach has ever seen.
Give it a moat, some towers, and a stairway,
And high enough so it can last past mid-day.

"Mr. Sandman, you’re not alone.
We all are building some dreams of our own.
Please don’t stop on count a’ me,
Mr. Sandman, keep building, please."

~~ Barrier Island Girl (with apologies to Pat Ballard)

Rain in the Gulf

Could we possibly get rain today? The forecast calls for a 50-50 chance, but so far it appears to be staying out in the Gulf.

As always, if you hear thunder, please get off the beach. Thunderstorms generally pass through rather quickly, so err on the safe side and take a quick break.

Different paths

"I dreamed a thousand new paths. . . I woke and walked my old one."

~~ Chinese proverb

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Three Amigos

Three amigos watch the waves on Pensacola Beach.

Pensacola Beach - today

Have you been out on the beach today? It is breaktakingly beautiful. Much of the seaweed which washed up mid-week from the effects of Hurricane Dean, hundreds of miles away, have now been reclaimed by the Gulf of Mexico.

Come on over! Breathe that salt air! Let the salt water tickle your toes.

A matter of perspective

"Poor little bird," I thought, "he only has one leg."

"Poor thing," he thought, "she can't fly."

Friday, August 24, 2007

"Saga of the Sea Turtle"

As promised, here is the e-mail address where you can contact the grandson of Blackie Cruz (Edison Cruz, Sr.):

They call the book "just a family thing", but it is a unique look back at the life of a young fisherman in the early to mid-1900's. There is a wealth of information about sea turtles in the language (and tales) of a boy mesmerized by them and whose fascination lasted a lifetime.

For those interested in contacting the Cruz family: cost of the book is $19.95, plus $2.00 for shipping and handling.

Harry G. Gowens Memorial Park dedication

Dedication of the Harry G. Gowens Memorial Park on Via de Luna Drive was held at 5:30 p.m. this evening. A small Boy Scout Color Guard advanced the Colors and led attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. A Pensacola News Journal photographer captures the moment. In the distance, Ice Pilots cheerleaders are in attendance. I think Harry would have liked that.

Savannah Green, a Pensacola Beach resident, sang the National Anthem with full confidence and effortlessly. I could not believe the voice that came out of this tiny 7th grader.

ICE MAN!! The Ice Pilots' mascot was also in attendance to the delight of the children. The playground echoed with laughter.

Harry G. Gowens Memorial Park.

"Saga of the Sea Turtle"

This morning, for the second year in a row, I was privileged to observe Loggerhead sea turtles hatching on Pensacola Beach. In this photo, the first tiny heads emerge from the sand.

Climbing atop one another, the hatchlings push their way up and out of the sand. Research indicates that the sex of the embryo may be determined by the temperature of the nest. "Lower nest temperatures produce more males; higher temperatures produce more females." That must mean this year we had a record number of female hatchlings!

The Loggerhead sea turtles are on the Endangered and Threatened Species list.

Just think of all the jellyfish these little turtles will eat in their lifetime.

"Head for the water, guys!"

This nest had been relocated by Gulf Islands National Seashore Bio-Techs and volunteers in order to keep it safe. Does this photo bring to mind the old commercial about herding cats?

Hatchlings use a small, temporary egg tooth to break their shell.

A Loggerhead hatchling weighs about one ounce when it emerges from the shell.

Kirsten Dahlin, a Gulf Island National Seashore Bio-Tech, and volunteer Monica Cain, SCA, attend the hatchings.

After the hatchlings made their way to the surface, Kirsten and Monica began to carefully scoop sand back, searching for stragglers. Then they proceeded to recover broken egg shells and any unhatched eggs.

Ahhh, they found a straggler and stopped to allow him to make his way to the surface.

Monica begins the process of shell recovery and discovers one more hatchling almost 15 inches down!

Since the hatching took place during the day (an unusual occurrence), the tiny sea turtles were confined to a cooler with sand where they will be allowed to continue "nesting" throughout today. They will be released in the Gulf of Mexico tonight. Hopefully that will reduce their mortality rate from predators such as birds.

Sea turtle eggs look very much like a ping-pong ball, but are rubbery to the touch. Bio-Techs retrieve the eggs so they can be tested to determine why they did not hatch. Factors may include lack of fertilization, developmental problems, or high levels of pollutants.

Monica digs approximately 18 to 20 inches down to recover all the eggs or shells.

[Postscript: I recently obtained a book, "Saga of the Sea Turtle" by Edison "Blackie" Cruz, Sr. which was published in 1985. It was written by a young man who lived in Key West, Florida in the early 1900's and became fascinated with sea turtles at an early age. At 14, due to hard times and very little money coming into the household, he was allowed to sign on with a fishing boat. From that point forward the book is his journal of trips at sea, his search for sea turtles, and what he called "practical research" with Loggerheads.

I plan to donate the book to the Gulf Breeze Library next week, so it will be available to anyone who would be interested in reading it. I also have contact information for the author's grandson, who has a small supply of the 300 page, self-published book should someone be interested in purchasing a copy of it.]

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Harry Gowens Memorial Park

Dedication of the Harry Gowens Memorial Park will be held at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow at 200 Via de Luna Drive.

Mr. Gowens was a long-time resident of Pensacola Beach who passed away early in 2006. He was instrumental in helping to establish the first school on the island, Pensacola Beach Elementary School, which was founded in 1977. Classes that year were held in an empty A-frame house which Mr. Gowens donated for the school's use.

Harry G. Gowens Memorial Park

A lovely, spacious playground for all children on the island.

A basketball court with an incredible view!

The Park is located at the corner of Via de Luna and Panferio Drive.

A picnic shelter is available.

"...When most of you for the first time realize what life here is all about, you will begin to see that your life here is almost nothing but the sum total of every choice you have made during every moment of your life. Your thoughts, which you are responsible for, are as real as your deeds. You will begin to realize that every word and every deed affects your life and has also touched thousands of lives.

~~ Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross "On Life and Living"

Dean dying down

The waves were smaller today, but local surfers still appeared to be enjoying the swells.

There were more than a dozen of them still going strong by the time I got to the beach around 8:30 this morning, more than two hours after the first probably arrived.

It is a fun way to start the day.

Now this is about the only board I'd be able to stand up on. As long as it remained on the sand, of course.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Dean delights Dudes

Hurricane Dean finally brought the big waves crashing onto Pensacola Beach. The surfer dudes were delighted!