Tuesday, June 30, 2009

At dawn

"The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you; Don't go back to sleep..."

~~ Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi (1207 - 1273), 13th century Persian poet

Monday, June 29, 2009

Another blue heron

I hope you don't get tired of these photos. Great blue herons are such graceful birds and I enjoy photographing them on my sea turtle patrols. This was taken at Ft. Pickens. The other stretch of beach you see in the background is Perdido Key, just across Pensacola Pass.

More fish!

Looks like we have another redfish dinner in our future. Look at this beauty Sarah caught today.

The whole family enjoys fishing and are out nearly every day while here. Sometimes they go out early in the morning; sometimes they go out late at night. They're hoping to have enough to take back to West Virginia with them next week, but we're not doing very well at saving it.

Derek wanted to pose with his mom's fish before it got filleted!

More swimming lessons

Eleven year old Mariah is turning out to be a very good swimming instructor.

Derek is floating more comfortably.

And now he's starting to paddle around a bit. Mariah is very patient with him. He'll be swimming as good as she does by next year.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A trashy topic

People were very happy when Ft. Pickens reopened to the public and many people have been taking time to visit the old fort, enjoy the beaches, and do a bit of fishing from shore.

Unfortunately, people who do not respect our beautiful island have been given the same access to these pristine areas which have rebounded with wildlife in the years the park has been closed. Now, in addition to the elegant herons, osprey, and playful dolphin, I'm also seeing large amounts of trash.

On the Sunday morning Ft. Pickens patrol there is always more trash than I can possibly pick up in my Mule. Plastic bags are everywhere - some full of trash, others blowing around on the sand until they end up in the Gulf of Mexico or Santa Rosa Sound.

A large percentage of the trash I pick up is plastic bottles.

Oddly, I've been finding a lot of fireworks. At the site of the photo above I picked up around 60 pieces. About half were bottle rockets. The other half were larger displays. Is there any wonder the poor sea turtles are frightened away from shore when they are looking for an area to nest?

Empty packaging of the smaller fireworks are strewn about also.

Some people are wonderful about picking up after themselves and even go out of their way to help when they see trash left behind by others. They are setting a good example for the next generation. Still, it's sad to realize there are other people who have such little regard for our environment.

If you are interested in Ocean Conservancy or would like to learn more about International Coastal Clean-up Day (September 19, 2009), please click HERE. You may also be interested in checking out the website of Emerald Coastkeeper, a local Waterkeeper Alliance Member, by clicking HERE.

My special thanks to those who go out of their way every week to help keep our beaches clean and trash-free.

Tracking turtles - Another False Crawl

Just before 6:00 a.m., about three miles into my patrol, I came across a false crawl of a loggerhead sea turtle. Something must have frightened her away, or perhaps she didn't like the look of the area where she came ashore.

You can tell which way she was going by the tracks of her flippers as they pushed back the sand, slowing pulling her large body back into the water.

It's not uncommon for the tracks to ramble around, but not this one. She left behind a perfect half circle.

Maybe tomorrow a nest will be found!


A large osprey in the Ft. Pickens area of GINS takes a break from fishing, but keeps a watchful eye on the Gulf of Mexico.

Friday, June 26, 2009

No other life but this

"You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this."

~~ Henry David Thoreau


If only we knew its history.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hazy days

A Great Blue Heron looks out over Pensacola Pass on a hot, hazy summer day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


My beautiful stepdaughter Sarah is proudly holding up the Redfish she caught today! This, plus a couple more that her husband Joe caught near our dock are being prepared for dinner as I write. Couscous, grilled vegetables, and french bread round out the menu.

Oops, I forgot to mention the fabulous mango salsa from a recipe Chef Angela Miller shared with us recently at a Distinctive Kitchens event. We think it will go great with the fish. Thanks for sharing, Angela!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Swimming Lessons

Why is Derek smiling? Because his big sister, Mariah is giving him a swimming lesson today!

First he has to learn to float.

Oh, he got scared and water got in his face! Mariah comforted him, "You can do it Bubby."

"Just relax....and pretend that you are light as a feather."

"Close your eyes. Forget the water. Pretend you're laying on your bed..."

{{{Shhhh...don't tell Derek that Mariah has let go.}}}

Yea! Derek just got through his first lesson! He learned to float. What a great sister he has!

Fishing for breakfast

A blue heron checks out this young man's fishing technique - perhaps hoping he'll share.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Pensacola Pass

On my sea turtle patrol days, I enjoy watching the fishing boats and charters heading out to the Gulf through Pensacola Pass. In the photo above the Pensacola lighthouse is seen behind the 'Entertainer'.

I generally make it to the old fort by 6:30 a.m., That generally coincides with the timing of Pensacola Beach charters which pull out of the marina around 6:00 a.m.

Avid fishermen may arrive even earlier and it's not usual for me to see boats dotting the horizon as the sun rises.

This is the place I enjoy stopping for a quick cup of coffee before continuing my run. I think you can see why.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunrise Silhouette

A blue heron stands atop the dunes overlooking Pensacola Pass.

Sunrise over Bob Sikes Bridge

The sun rising through a heavy haze over the Robert Lee (Bob) Sikes bridge this morning. I was well under way on my turtle patrol before sunrise.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dance with me

"Don't be afraid, take my hand..."

"Forget the world. Will you dance, dance with me..."

"As time fades away, my arms will keep you safe..."

"Dance with me; I'm dancing with you..."

"For this moment in time my dreams have come true."

~~ Drew Seeley, Selected lyrics from 'Dance with Me'

The photos above were also taken last night at Evenings in Old Seville Square.

Eric Jenkins is owner of Just Dance at Berryhill. If you are interested in dance lessons, you may contact Eric 850-910-2747 or e-mail justdanceatberryhill@yahoo.com.

The beautiful (and extremely limber) lady dancing with Eric above is Mrs. Charline H. Ruttan of Pensacola. She is now my hero!

By the way, Mrs. Ruttan is 88 years old.

Evenings in Old Seville Square

JUNE 18, 2009 - Swingin' Dick Tracys

I love Evenings in Old Seville Square, but if I had to choose only one date to attend out of the whole summer, it would be to hear the Swingin' Dick Tracys! I absolutely love this band and all the swing dancers that come out for the evening.

Their playlist includes great swing, jazz & standards and the crowd loves it.

Hey guys! So good to see you and those beautiful smiles.

Little Macy Drees plays with a couple of friends in Fountain Park while her grandparents Morrie and Mary Drees enjoy the music.

Look closely at this photo! There is a large amount of young people in the area who are passionate about swing dancing and they are a true joy to watch. You can feel the energy.

Very talented dancers doing the Curly Shuffle!

And little ones are transfixed.

Learning the steps!

Friends practice together (Sienna Miller and Savannah Dalrymple are very good, too!)

What a dip!!

Dancin' in the 'aisles'.

WOW! Calling me effusive is generally an understatement, but Dylan Dalrymple and Sienna Miller were fantastic!!!!

Ahhhh, look at those little cuties.

Josh Bohannon and Amethyst Stickland in a perfect pose.

It was my favorite evening of the summer so far!

For those of you who would like to know more about swing dancing, click HERE to visit the Pensacola Swing website. They have forums, video lessons, photographs, info on Saturday night swing dances, and even swing apparel!