Meanwhile, out in the Gulf of Florida ...
Well, it's good to get out of the mangroves for a little while. The breeze has freshened a bit, but the UV is blasting, so you'd better slap on some more of this SPF 200 sunscreen.
We'll walk north along the beach. Better keep your sneakers on, this is an eroding shoreline with beaucoup fallen trees to clamber around.
Yes, I know this doesn't look like the travel brochure beaches. I grew up on those. They're on the East coast where wave energy is higher. These Gulf island beaches are not so wide, but at least this one will never have a condo or motel on it.
How can I be so sure?
Because it's a federal refuge dude, we own it together.
Hey, there's a cormorant. We can get pretty close to him since he really doesn't want to fly unless he has to do so. He's a better swimmer than flyer.
Check out the feathers on his back. Subtle, almost hidden beauty in an apparently dull colored bird.
This island really took some hits during the last few years of hurricanes. A lot of the fallen trees we're climbing over were standing not long ago. There's a big fallen oak up ahead that I have a picture of when Jr. was little. He and I are high in the living branches overlooking the beach.
Now it's horizontal and half in the water.
Hmmm? No, it's not sad, just a reminder that barrier islands aren't static. They shift, they move ... they disappear sometimes. It's why they never should have been built on in the first place.
This beach is a major horseshoe crab nesting area. Keep an eye out for mating pairs.
What? Yes, I know there's been a lot of mating at Pure Florida lately.
Pretty nice having an island to yourself, eh?
Yes, I know I'm here with you, but other than that. Pretty cool, you gotta admit.