Saturday, June 9, 2012
Enjoying the Emerald Coast
Thank you, Ralph Waldo Emerson. US essayist & poet (1803 - 1882) I WANTED to show you what it is like living on Florida's Emerald Coast. It's so beautiful...with the sugar white sand (whose color is caused by the Appalachian quartz that arrives at the coast from the mountains) and the emerald green water which creates the area’s namesake hue from the light reflecting off the micro-algae giveing it a lovely green tint. The water's clarity results from the fact that no large sediment-bearing rivers flow directly into the area's gulf waters. The incoming water is filtered through the estuary of Apalachicola Bay. Thank you, God, for creating such beauty! IT WAS SO HOT (it was so hot I thought I was gonna have to git under the porch with the dogs) the first couple of days...temps in the 90s, humidity in the 90s...you had to stay in the water...or under the umbrellas or go to the pool. Thankfully that lasted only a couple of days. I THOUGHT these "ghost clouds" were cool looking...later discovered it was smoke from a controlled and then later uncontrolled burn. ON ANOTHER DAY we took a boat ride to Crab Island which is not actually an island at all but an underwater island located on the bay side of the Destin bridge. This is where the boat owners anchor in the knee-deep to waist-deep water to spend the day and enjoy beautiful water and weather. Do you see why we call it the Emerald Coast? To me there is nowhere else more beautiful than FL's Panhandle on the Gulf of Mexico! ONE OF OUR TRADITIONS when we go to Crab Island is the Hermit Crab Races! As soon as we anchor the children with their nets and some adults jump in the water and search for hermit crabs and also live sand dollars. Before we pull anchor we position the crabs on the back deck of the boat and watch them race back into the freedom of the water. Another tradition is to eat ice cold watermelon. This year my husband cut off the ends of the watermelon, hollowed them out, and made watermelon hats for the children and later became buckets for the hermit crabs...made another memory...watermelon heads!! AFTER A RIDE through the Destin Harbor we headed back through the Santa Rosa Sound at sunset, and we were blessed with another treat... bottlenose dolphin! These are the most fascinating and delightful of all marine animals and we enjoyed them with their little ones for about 15 minutes. THE STRAWBERRY MOON (as listed in the Farmer's Almanac using the Native American names for the full moons) was showing all her glory as her moonlight reflected off the Gulf waves. The relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June from New England to Lake Superior where the Algonquins lived. In Europe, June's full moon is called the Rose Moon. This was the only night we had a view of the full moon...it was either smokey or cloudy the other nights. Those are the lights from the Okaloosa Island pier on the left. This public fishing pier opened in 1998 and goes out almost 1/4 mile. WE WERE JUST MINDING our own business, enjoying a day at the beach and then turned around to see this storm rolling in! Sometimes the prevailing winds from the South keep these storms away from the beach as it did on this day. It was threatening enough for everyone to leave the beach, but it never actually rained. FOR THOSE OF YOU familiar with this area, you know that these 6-8 ft. waves are not the norm for the usually calm Gulf. A disturbance in the Gulf brought out the local surfers and the Red Flag from the beach flag safety system. Red Flag means high hazard warning because of the rip tides. HERE'S THE RAIN that had been forecast all week. Someone didn't take their umbrella in...it wasn't there when they went back...those 15 mph winds took it on a magic carpet ride up into the wild blue yonder! THE VIEW from my sliding glass door on the balcony: As you can see the wind was quite fierce as the balcony is 8 ft. deep and the wind drove the rain so high up on the glass door. I took the opportunity give my little potted begonia a drink of rain water. HOPE YOU ENJOYED THIS LITTLE TOUR OF THE EMERALD COAST! Oh, and if you're wondering if I found any "treasures" on the Gulf Coast...YES, I did...but that's another post!