Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rock Beach

When the ocean waves at you, ... wave back.
It's just good manners.

Black Friday's beach trip did not end at Fort Matanzas. It was too beautiful a day, and there was still one more beach hopper special I had to get to, while the other shoppers were in the malls and big boxes.

A few miles south of Marineland, there's a state park called Washington Oaks State Gardens. (Google it Miz S, and add it to your list). The park straddles both sides of A1A, but I was only interested in the east side this time.
What makes Washington Oaks so worth the trip is the fact that there is a rocky beach here ... a natural rocky beach, not some granited armored jetty, built by humans.

True rocky beaches are pretty rare in Pure Florida. There are some way down south, the worm rock beaches near Hutchinson island and farther south some limerock outcrops pop up too.

The rock here is Coquina, a natural shell stone that my ancestors used to build their forts and any other important buildings in old St. Augustine.

The beach "sand" along this stretch is composed mostly of shell fragments. This "red sand" is very treacherous to autos, and even 4 wheel drives mire in it sometimes. On this stretch of beach south of Matanzas Inlet, there is no beach driving, but you have to be careful if you drive down on to the beach north of Matanzas.

Avoid the red sand.
Trust me.

Near the wave sculpted rocks, the beach is almost all shell bits.

The willet came here to eat, I came back for the scenery and to soak up some very pleasant memories of "Rock Beach".
I climbed over them as a kid, practiced my photography here as a teen, and I let my own kids clamber all over, under, and through the eroded rock passages when they were small enough to fit.

As always, this beach rocks.


Anonymous said...

Morning FC,

I LOVE that wave! Years ago we decided to grill at Summer Haven. Loaded everything and headed down. Too bad we didn't check the tides. The water was up to that rocky "cliff" on old A1A that we had to climb down. I love the rocks in that area! We went back a bit later when the tide went out and grilled away. You have a way of letting me remember some pretty perfect days! Thanks!


cinbad122 said...

Personally, I like Blowing Rocks Beach in Jupiter!

Buford Nature said...

There's an old FGS paper on the mire-ability of Florida beaches. It turns out that pure silica sand packs down hard when wet, and is easily driven on. Sand composed of shell and silica, however, is quite soft when wet because the rounded silica grains slide like ball bearings against the flat, lubricated faces of the wet shell grains.

St Augustine Beach just may be the worst beach in Florida for driving a vehicle, but St Augustine Beach was (still is?) the last place in Florida where one could legally drive on the beach. Oh, the irony of it all!

lisa said...

That first picture was awesome! We brought home some of the Coquina and put it out next to my pond. Pretty cool stuff!

Thunder Dave said...

Simply awesome shots of "Rock Beach". St. Augustine is probably my second favorite city in Florida and I need to get Lightnin over there on one of our next trips down!

Suwannee Refugee said...

Those rocks add a bit of mystique and West Coast (California) feel to the beach. They're nice to have, but I'm still a fan of just plain ol' sandy beaches:)

Dani said...

What a cool place! We need to get our old VW bus Stinky out of the garage and go on an adventure.

Floridacracker said...

Neat. I spent a lot of time in Summer Haven growing up. My Dad was the rural route carrier there.

Of course you do you little south Floridian!

To think once, precondo, it was all ours to travel.

LOL! When I go north, I always bring some rock home too!

She will love it!

Variety is the beach spice of life.

Why Dani ... you're a hippy! LOL! Yes get over there and see it for yourself!

Julie Zickefoose said...

That is a beautiful willet. I wish I were on a Florida beach right now.

cndymkr / jean said...

Just looking at the sand filled with shell bits makes me miss Florida. It's a bit chilly here in NJ, just 38 degrees out there now. Shiver.

Carol said...

What a great capture!!!

Kimberlee said...

Awesome photography, FC! And what a cool thing...those shell beaches. I've seen pebble/stone beaches before, but never broken shells like that. Seems like broken shells would be pretty scary to walk on barefoot. Or maybe they're not as sharp as they look?

Miz S said...

A boulder beach! I love it. It's on my list.

Deb said...

I did not know Florida had a rocky beach-my family must not have made it there in our beach excursions.

Nice willet photo!

moi said...

Howdy. We have a Culinary Throw Down Winner. Drop by when you get a chance!

JRandSue said...

Great willet shot,lovely image.

Anonymous said...

Hi FC,

Bet your jeep is glad it doesn't live here:


Floridacracker said...

It's 48, cold, and grey with a drizzle right now. Might feel just like home!

See above. We are only a little warmer.


These are fluffy soft. They have been tumbled so much.No real sharp edges here. Not like oyster shells in a marsh.

Miz S,
I will keep looking for new list items for you!

Thanks! This one is one of few. Not that far from your childhood stomping grounds.

Went there, did that! Excellent post!

JR and Sue,
Welcome to Pure Florida!!

Joey B said...

Ah... Washington Oaks. "The Rocks" as we always called it. My family used to have picnics on special occasions there. It's one of my favorite places on earth.

I was just thinking of it the other day. Thanks for posting this.

When I was making up a present for my daughter on her birthday, I found out that coquina rock only formed in a couple of places on earth, from the Carolinas south into Florida and in New Zealand.

Floridacracker said...

Happy Birthday to your daughter!
I had read that too, I think I saw some mention of Cuba as having it also.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Our beach here is a mix of sand and shell, but down in the 10000 Islands you only get a few scattered sand beaches on the outer most keys.

Rurality said...

Had almost forgotten about the shell bits like that. Dang it's been a while since I've been to FL!

One of the last times I was there, I drove on the beach at night and got stuck. A man from GA pulled me out, and the only payment he wanted was for me to cheer for the Bulldogs. :)