Thursday, March 24, 2011

Walking the beach

Photos taken at midday are not the best, but I wanted to share shots from my walk with other volunteers around the end of the island today.  We crossed over the seawall and continued west, walking parallel to the Naval Air Station, the Lighthouse, and Fort Barrancas.

Looking west from the tip of Santa Rosa Island across Pensacola Pass toward Perdido Key. 

Although you can't see it from these photos, the Gulf of Mexico was beautiful hues of sapphire and turquoise today.  A few cobia boats are starting to venture out and will be in full force in April. 

I drive past this small lake/pond near the old fort during my turtle patrols, but I did not know until our guided walk with Ranger Becky Breeding Mims today that it is freshwater. (It becomes brackish for a time after hurricanes or tropical storms that cause a storm surge or breach.) Ranger Becky has also been on a exploratory dive of the pond where she learned that it is at least 30 feet deep, the point at which it became to murky to continue. She also told us that Park visitors are allowed to fish in the long as they invite her to dinner!

The beach is looking fabulous and I was able to see firsthand many improvements made at Ft. Pickens during the winter months.  It's so exciting to look forward to a brand new sea turtle patrol season!!

Postscript:  After this publishing this post, I received an e-mail from a friend of mine, Mr. Morrie Drees.  He has lived here for many years and is always generous with his knowledge of the area.  This is an interesting tidbit he shared about the lakes and ponds of Ft. Pickens: 

"... when I was a flight instructor at Sherman Field. we had a land mark where we checked in for landing called three lakes. There were 3 fresh water lakes east of FT Pickens where we would report over for landing on runway 24 at Sherman. They were very visible from the air and were a good landmark. I believe over time the hurricanes buried them."

I have been trying to find out if the three lakes he mentioned are still there, but have not yet heard back from the park biologist.


Pat Harris said...

Hi DJ,
Is the pond on the island? I don't remember there being a fresh water pond. I'm so confused! lol Miss the beach as usual. Blessings, Pat
PS. I found out the house we had in Milton was blown away during Ivan. I'll bet there are a lot of changes since we lived there.

Barrier Island Girl said...

Hey Pat,

The lake/pond (not sure what to call it), is right next to the old fort on the Gulf side. Here is a link to an aerial photo which shows it. It's quite large.

There are other smaller bodies of water which I would definitely refer to as 'ponds' within Ft. Pickens area of Gulf Islands National Seashore. I would guess they are freshwater also and wonder if possibly they are spring-fed.

Lots of changes in this whole area. Time for you to come back for a visit!!! :-)


Anonymous said...

Sir Morrie is correct; Three Lakes are still there, if you go by post hurricane sat pix