Sunday, July 13, 2008

Walk #11

This morning started out almost like any other, but we did go to the beach 30 minutes later because the sun is rising later. The streets were free of cars, bikers and joggers this morning.

Even with a later start, it was still dark. It must be because of clouds. After arriving at the beach access, we waited for another 10 minutes or so before starting our walk. There was very little light as we crossed the boardwalk.

Strangely there was no tropical breeze to meet us and the humidity seemed very high. The water was calm, but still the soft sound of the waves welcomed us.

It very quickly became apparent that it was cloudy this morning and there might not be a beautiful sunrise to see. But gradually the sun began peeking through the clouds.

It was light enough to see two pairs of bare foot prints; one large pair and one medium sized pair. A little further away from the shore, the same twosome had made their way back again.

As we checked the first two turtle nests we noticed several holes a short distance away that ghost crabs had made. One of them was out for an early morning walk when it spotted me and froze in its tracks. I would hardly have noticed it since they are the same color as the sand and virtually invisible; thus the name ghost crab, I suppose. I tried taking a picture of him because it was so much bigger than the ones I’ve seen before. He quickly began side-stepping to escape. When I looked at the picture later, I wondered why I had taken a picture of the sand. Maybe they are really ghosts!

This morning there were the usual deep holes dug in the sand here and there. But there wasn’t as much trash littering the beach as usual. We think the rainy weekend may have had something to do with that.

There were three beach chairs that had been left folded and scattered about on the sand, along with a bucket full of odd pieces of snorkeling equipment; we dragged all of it to the nearby dumpster in the public parking area.

The sun was lost again behind more clouds, as we reached the tip of the island. The tide was much higher than usual and it meant walking in the water to get around the bushes.

When we reached the small picnic area by the light house, three young people were standing there in bathing suits and wrapped in towels, getting ready to take a morning swim.

The flowers along the path looked so fresh this morning. All of the trees and plant life here are looking wonderful now from all the rain.

From there to the fishing pier, the Osprey cries were very loud. It almost seemed like there was an argument going on between a male and female couple. One flew away from the nest and the other screamed at it for a few seconds and then went flying after it. They seemed very angry!

A crab trap came into view; there sure seem to be many of these that find their way up onto the beach. As I looked down at it, there was a very small starfish lying in the sand. I picked it up to toss it back into the water, but it was too late for this little guy.

I could already see that the fishing pier was crowded with fishermen this morning.

What seemed like a whole colony of pelicans, divided into smaller groups, went flying over. I think they must have been on a surveillance mission to locate schools of fish for breakfast.

Walking around the fishing pier, I noticed that the sun was beginning to peek out again; making a pretty pink glow in the sky.

Beside the fishing pier, three guys were using cast nets, gathering bait fish and putting them in a cooler.

On the left of them, sitting on the limb of a tree, was a night heron watching. It didn’t seem to mind having its picture taken at all.

Once again, we had to make a stop to untangle and pick up two big bunches of discarded fishing line. It is a bad sign when we find this kind of thing each week. Carelessness like that could cause injury or a slow and painful death to fish, dolphins and aquatic birds. Fishermen are so fortunate to have a wonderful place like this to go; I just wish they would respect our environment and dispose of these things properly.

Next we passed the spot where the young family had a little camp set up last week. Again, we both stood there shaking our heads. There were tissues scattered all over in the sand and bushes above the high tide line, along with empty glass beer bottles, plastic soda bottles, etc. (Now you understand the reason for wearing rubber gloves.) The most frustrating part of this story is the fact that they had a small child with them who is being taught this same behavior.

A short way up the beach, we passed a young man standing on the seawall fishing. He cheered me up again as he looked at me with a huge smile and said good morning. I looked back at him once more after passing and noticed the beautiful sky. Thank goodness we are fortunate enough to have such sights to see.

Next there was the usual heron, standing tall as he fished for his breakfast.

I looked back one more time, as I always do when I’m leaving the beach. Now there were rays of sunlight shining down. I remember as a child I thought that was God looking down on us, I still do.

Just thought I would add this because I found it humorous. Just one street over from where we begin our walks, we saw these signs one morning. I know they aren’t sea turtles, but pretty cute!

I forgot to mention that the picture of the hatching turtle nest was taken in the daylight. It hatched very early morning.

Did you know?

Loggerhead Sea Turtles were once intensively hunted for their meat and eggs, along with their fat which was used in cosmetics and medication. The Loggerhead Sea Turtles were also killed for their shells, which are used to make items such as combs. As a result both subspecies are now internationally protected.

Today the main threat to the adult loggerheads lies in shrimp trawls and crab fishing nets, to which many loggerheads annually fall victim. Furthermore, adults are often injured by speedboat propellers and by swallowing fishing hooks or getting caught in nets.

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