Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gulf Fritillary

We're still seeing several Gulf Fritillary butterflies in the area despite the cooler temps.

These lovely butterflies are common all along the Gulf Coast.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Low tide

We had an incredibly low tide this weekend, lower than I've ever seen it before. If it hadn't been so darn cold and blustery, and if I had on waterproof boots instead of tennis shoes, I would have taken the opportunity to explore!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Mermaid's Purse

Yesterday morning, right after my Wildlife Observer shift ended, I headed toward Ft. Pickens with my friend and fellow Wildlife Observer, Melanie Waite. We were participating in The Great VISIT PENSACOLA Beachwalk.

I was very disappointed in my photos because most of them were slightly blurred. It shouldn't have been a surprise since I did not have a tripod with me, nor would I have taken time to set up even if I had, due to the cold temps and breezy conditions. Secondly, after twelve hours on the beach, then another hour+ on the beach getting to our starting point and waiting for sunrise, both Melanie and I were shivering like hairless chihuahuas, hence more-than-normal camera shake.

But I have to share a couple of photos of the Mermaid's purses which we saw washed up on shore.

Mermaid's Purses are very unusual and I love their name, even though they are really just egg capsules of marine creatures like shark, rays and skates. The one's we discovered yesterday are those of a ray or skate, I believe.

Unfortunately, as I write, it comes to mind that I left them in my vehicle overnight, so this post will come to an abrupt end, with no links, while I rush to remove them and hope I am not stuck with a bad fishy odor in my car for the next six months! Shell Collecting 101: Never leave uncleaned shells in your vehicle overnight!

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Great VISIT FLORIDA Beachwalk

(September 9, 2010)

Tomorrow morning after our Wildlife Observer shift ends, my friend and mentor Melanie Waite and I will join more than 2,500 other people across the state of Florida in The Great VISIT FLORIDA Beachwalk . We laughingly say we want to see just how much thinner we can spread ourselves in one day!

Beach-lovers from St. Augustine to Miami to Pensacola Beach plan to walk at least one beach mile of the 825 miles of Florida beaches tomorrow morning, take photographs between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., and upload them to the VisitFlorida website. We will help them show, as they state on their site, "All of the Sunshine State’s 825 miles of beaches and 1,260miles of coastline are clean, clear and “Open for Business.” We invite you to see for yourself on Florida Live at"

(September 19, 2010)

Melanie and I will be walking and photographing Ft. Pickens Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore after sunrise. As all my blog followers know, Ft. Pickens is the most dear to my heart not only because of its beauty, but the hours I've spent patroling it during sea turtle season. Some of my other friends such as Lila Cox and Sandi Johnson will be walking areas between Casino Beach and Ft. Pickens and uploading their photos also, helping to showcase our beaches as close as we can in real time.

(September 20, 2010)

The message will hopefully go out that our beaches are beautiful and there are treasures to be seen and enjoyed in Florida. We are indeed "OPEN FOR BUSINESS"!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Time Flies

Time flies and all I have to offer is an old (and rather unusual) photo, which I promise was not Photoshopped!

Some of my blog followers have been concerned about my absence, so I wanted to update you. After the Pensacola Beach Art & Wine Festival, I drove my mother back to Tennessee and spent a few days with her, helping out with projects around the house and yard.

On my return from Tennessee I went straight back to work at night as a Wildlife Observer for the Sand Shark crew. This week I am scheduled for six nights. With the sun setting earlier, our shifts have been changed to 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. In addition to that, all operations were moved to Perdido Key for a week surrounding DeLuna Fest. That added a 45-50 minute drive from my house to Perdido Key/Johnson Beach.

I try to get in bed by 7 a.m., but rarely get to sleep past 1 p.m. Then I have just a little time to eat, make the bed, get some laundry done, and complete a few chores before it is time to go again. I am not complaining at all. I love being on the beach and being part of the clean-up effort. Now as for clean up efforts around my house...... Ha! I may soon need a hazmat suit for that!

I'm not sure how much longer our Wildlife Observer positions will continue, but I plan to be on the beach as long as we are needed. For those of you who follow my blog but live out of state, the Sand Shark just received authorization to dig as deep as 24 inches to remove oil. This is great news for us. Although our beaches look beautiful now, we knew a lot of oil was hiding deeper below the surface and were anxious to have it removed, but now we can proceed with the deep cleaning.

By spring I hope our lives and schedules are back to more normal conditions. 'Til then, please hang in there with me!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

B.I.G. thanks!

A B.I.G. thank you to everyone who made the Art & Wine Weekend a success. I also want to extend a special thank you to my blog followers who came out to meet me and say hello! WOW! How amazing.

I met folks this weekend who've been following my blog literally for years! And to those folks, write me! I want to make sure I remember your names, especially those in Atlanta and those who've actually moved here to the island and found their heart home like me. It's very humbling to learn how our lives touch each other, how connected we all can be, and it makes me evermore conscious of remaining positive in my life...just in case I'm quoted around the dinner table! ;-)

Friday, October 01, 2010

Art & Wine Weekend

It's here at last and I'm finally prepared...I think...for this year's Art & Wine Weekend. I've been busy all week matting up my photos and packaging my notecards.

My tent will be located between Island Realty (45 Via de Luna) and Paddy O'Leary's (49 Via de Luna). As I've told others, just follow the sound of laughter because Cajun Stitchery and Sisters of the Beach will be nearby. All these wonderful ladies are a hoot!

I hope you'll stop by and say hello. Sometimes it can get very busy, but then I may get a break in the traffic and have an opportunity to chat a minute. It's always fun to meet my blog readers when they stop by.

Wish me luck!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Floating on sunshine

Thank goodness the rain has stopped. For three days we've had intermittent downpours on the beach. I'm ready for sunshine and low humidity, but not for low 60's at night! {{{shiver!}}}

Friday, September 24, 2010

Another sunrise

Seagulls, a willet, and a sanderling walk along the beach during this short video clip of sunrise on Pensacola Beach. We still have June grass washing ashore this late in the season, but shorebirds enjoy foraging through it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Be The Match!

Having my own blog allows me the freedom to go totally off topic if the notion hits me. This is one of those times.

For a few years I have considered taking the steps to join the Bone Marrow Registry.

A few weeks ago my kit arrived, but sadly got pushed aside using a busy schedule as my excuse. This morning, however, I decided this was the day to make a commitment.

I took four swaps inside my inner cheek and the whole process took less than a minute.

But who knows how much time may be given to someone else if a match is made.

If you are interested in learning more about the National Marrow Donor Registry, click here to Be the Match

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A quiet sunrise

A quiet sunrise looked over the horizon at me - soft, silent, and unhurried. Nothing can rush it. Nothing can slow it down. It is perfection.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Second Look

Sometimes we have to stop...

allow ourselves to get a wee bit closer...

and take a second look...

to see someone's or something's true beauty.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


"Next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leave you speechless, remain that way. Say nothing, and listen as heaven whispers, "Do you like it? I did it just for you."

~~ Max Lucado

Taste of the Beach

Casino Beach was hoppin' this weekend as more than 20 island restaurants turned out for the third annual Taste of the Beach.

Each business offered small plates of their signature dish or drink. Prices ranged between $2.00 - $5.00.

And at the end of the festival a People's Choice Award was presented to the restaurant which received the most votes.

The Dog House Deli received praise from my husband for their Red Beans and Rice.

There were several new participants this year, including Margaritaville Beach Hotel, Frank & Lola's Love Cafe, Castaway's, The Grand Marlin, and Beach Pops.

This is becoming a very popular event, so be sure to bookmark the new Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce website and watch for the dates next year!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sea Oats

The sea oats have ripened and seedheads are full. I have them planted all around my house, so birds have already started swooping in for snacks throughout the day. If only they grew as fast on the beach as they do in my yard, we'd have dunes to the sky by now!

Taste of the Beach

Taste of the Beach Travel Tumblers (say that 3 times in a row!) will be available at the event today.

On one side of the mug is the Taste of the Beach logo, on the other is the sponsor's logo: Levin-Rinke Realty (yellow); The Grand Marlin (blue); Sandshaker (green); and Pensacola Beach Chamber (orange). Each mug is $5.00 and during the two day long event you may have free refills of water when you bring your travel mug back to the tent.

Ten dollar tees from the Pensacola Beach Advocates which remind everyone to Be Kind to the Beach are also available.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Taste of the Beach

Taste of the Beach begins tomorrow, so be sure to head out to Casino Beach this weekend where most of our great island restaurants are offering their signature dishes!

Later today I'll also share photos of this year's tee shirt and water bottles. As my blog followers know, I was very excited about the Be Kind to the Beach recycling and reuse program which the Pensacola Beach Advocates, Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce, and Santa Rosa Island Authority teamed up to promote last year. This year they will be offering brand new water bottles for you to purchase and you'll see a preview of them all right here this afternoon!

'Vettes on the Beach

Pensacola Beach has so much going on in the next couple of weeks: Taste of the Beach, the 'Vette Show, Art & Wine Weekend.

As you can see from a couple of last year's photos at the 'Vette show, there are some gorgeous vintage corvettes on display.

This event is generally held on the first day of Taste of the Beach - which is tomorrow, September 18th.

Come on out to Casino Beach and have a great time.

Art & Wine Weekend

Don't forget that the Pensacola Beach Art & Wine Weekend is coming up October 2 & 3. It's just around the corner, so put it on your calendar and come by my tent to say hello and see some of my Barrier Island Girl photos like the one above and also new notecards available this year.

Nature's gift

Standing on the beach at dawn is like opening a birthday present - you never know what you will find until first light uncovers a spectacular gift!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Egret

Egrets are very shy and it is difficult to get photos of them, much less a video clip. I saw this fellow looking for breakfast at Ft. Pickens this weekend.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Winging it

As the sun peeps over the horizon, sea birds rouse and wing their way from shore to the Gulf, looking for schools of baitfish.

You can estimate my location if you note the tip of the fishing pier in the distance. June grass is still heavy in some areas - as shown along the shore above - but nothing like the thick mats we were seeing last week.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sea Turtle Quiz

Here is a test for all my blog followers! Just how much do you know about sea turtles? Follow this link to a National Geographic quiz about sea turtles, get your score, and perhaps learn even more about these ancient creatures!

National Geographic Sea Turtle Quiz


I captured a short video clip of this fella feeding on bait fish while patrolling at Ft. Pickens this morning. Perhaps someone can identify the type of shark by the dorsal fin and give us a length estimate.

Can't you feel 'em circlin' honey?
Can't you feel 'em swimmin' around?
You got fins to the left, fins to the right,
and you're the only bait in town.

~~ Jimmy Buffet, "Fins"

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In remembrance

In sadness we remember September 11, 2001, and the overwhelming emotions that followed. Too often our world can be changed in a heartbeat - as it was with 9/11. We do not forget, but the human spirit perseveres to move ahead.

"After a stormy period of mixed feelings of prolonged sadness, there comes a calm. After we become convinced that we are at the very brink of eternal despair, or fear, or guilt, or sadness, we are given a reprieve. We have a breathing space that eventually leads to whole days that have personal value and offer us the opportunity for affection. Then we recognize that no period of misery is endless and unrelenting; it is instead, changeable."

~~ Carol Staudacher, A Time to Grieve

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Observation Tower

The World War II Observation Tower at Battery 234 in Ft. Pickens is silhouetted at daybreak.

I've noticed there are still a couple of Full Moon Walks at Langdon Beach (which is located with Ft. Pickens Area -Gulf Islands National Seashore) scheduled this fall:

Full Moon Walks (Ft. Pickens) at Gulf Islands National Seashore

Dates: 9/22/2010, 10/22/2010

Time: 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Location: Langdon Beach gulfside

Details: Full Moon Walks Wednesday, September 22, 6:30 p.m. and Friday, October 22 6:00 p.m. Enjoy the full moon on the beach while learning about the importance of dark skies to the park`s endangered sea turtles. Meet at Langdon Beach, gulf side. (1 hour)

Fees: $8.00

Contact: Steamer Lawhead

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Sunday at Pensacola Pass

It is great to see boats, fishermen, and lots of sea and shorebirds at the western tip of the island at Ft. Pickens and Pensacola Pass again.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Bamboo Willie's - Anything that Floats...

Labor Day Weekend on Pensacola Beach brings around one of our most fun (and wet) events on the island: Bamboo Willie's Anything that Floats and Bath Tub Races.

I took this photo around 1:30 p.m. yesterday afternoon, but two hours later you wouldn't be able to see much of our white sand in a retake. Pensacola Beach really needed folks to come out and support their businesses after "the summer that wasn't" -- and boy did they get a crowd on Sunday afternoon. Traffic was backed up all the way to Gulf Breeze mid-day.

This little fellow didn't mind as we switched to 'island time' and delayed the race for those caught in the traffic jam. He just started practicing his short-board moves. What a cutie!

Here come the bathing beauties! {{{Tiny bubbles}}}

The VFW float wins their first race...and, yes, those are empty gallon jugs.

They don't call this event "Anything that floats" for nothing!

And they're off.

Father and son make a great team and win this one.

The Hampton crew pulls ahead.

Row...row...row your tub.

Wow! The Women's Club did an awesome job and won their race.

SRIA member Thomas Campanella waits for his round! Isn't this much more fun than those SRIA meetings, Thomas?