Sunday, August 10, 2008

Walk #15

(As always, click on a photo for a larger view.)

We have had rain off and on for the last couple of days and nights. For that reason, we got an email from our Permittee last night telling us, if it was raining this morning to just wait until it stopped and do our ‘Turtle Walk’ after.

It rained again at times during the night, with a pretty heavy rain and thunder going on when it was time to get ready this morning. After checking the weather online, it seemed like the best idea was to go wait at the starting point and as soon as the rain stopped, make a dash for the beach and hurry around our zone, before the next clouds came.

At 6:30 the rain stopped and we started off in a hurry. The eastern sky looked pretty with the dark clouds hiding the sun. It was still dark enough out, that you could still see lights shining from Ft. Myers beach. The western sky was all dark with clouds coming our way.

With trash bags in hand and an umbrella under my arm, we hurried as fast as we could walk. It was getting light out very quickly, making it possible now to see quite a few people on the beach near the light house area.

The tide was in and up rather high, the waves made a nice soothing sound, as did the birds. There was no air moving at all, making it feel very warm and humid.

We were hurrying along, grabbing up bottles and cans, then found a large hole in the sand with these little beach shoes sitting beside it.

Just a little further on, near the water, this critter was lying in wait. I think it must be a sea serpent of some sort that was left by the now receding tide. :-)

As we neared the public beach parking area, I found a pamper lying in the sand near the dunes. (Picture me sadly shaking my head here.) Now I ask you, if you can pick it up and carry it to the grass, why couldn’t you put it in a trash can?

Just beyond that was a wet, sandy towel laying in the bottom of a hole. I picked it up and hung it on a post by a beach access, just in case it belonged to someone up further on the beach. But, I seriously doubted that. It will probably be waiting for the person doing the turtle walk in the morning. I doubt if anyone else will take the initiative to move it to a trash can before then. It’s really sad when you see so many people on the beach and they all seem to be oblivious to the trash left around them. No matter where we go on the beach, if I see trash, I pick it up. It only makes sense, that if you want a beautiful, clean place to go; you have to help keep it that way. But, it is a shame that each of us, who care, have to clean up after lazy -----. (Sorry ‘bout that! Just couldn’t hold it in.)

Well, what can I say? The babies’ lazy mother strikes again! Now it’s time to go to a dumpster in the parking lot to throw away two bags of trash. I don’t believe that the people actually vacationing on this island are the ones leaving the majority of trash; more likely people coming to the first public beach on the island for the day and some who like to come here at night to party on the beach near this parking area. I never see trash like this anywhere else on our beaches.

We have been meeting or passing folks on the beach that had that ‘Sanibel Stoop’ thing going on. I’m not sure what they are looking at though, because there are hardly any shells at all, only a few white ark shells. To be called the ‘Shelling Capitol of the World’; shells have been a little scarce lately.

I took this picture of a man who had just set up his tripod and camera, just as he turned to look at me. Oops, I hope he didn’t mind.

Several people had their cameras and were taking pictures of the clouded sky. I walked right behind this lady to pick up the can you can see lying there, and she turned to smile at me after we started walking again.

The sky looked almost like a water color painting, as we checked the third and only turtle nest left in our zone. It looked undisturbed. The other two nests have hatched. The first nest had 113 hatched and the second nest had 136.

As we walked behind the light house, I wondered how long that little weather station had been on top of the tower. Strange I had never noticed it before.

The people, who live in the two historic houses next to the light tower, are very fortunate to have this view to enjoy each morning. Who could resist sitting out on a porch, drinking coffee for way too long every day?

The sun was finally beginning to peek out. There’s also a bird sitting on the tip of a limb waiting for the sun to dry its feathers.

As I turned to start walking again, I spotted a heron and an egret, walking in the water. Some other birds were flying around a school of fish. I guess that is like…..getting breakfast ready? The highest section of the Sanibel Causeway is in the background.

The night heron standing beside the fishing pier, obviously hasn’t noticed it isn’t night anymore.

After picking up lots of trash around the pier and throwing it in the trash cans, we walked back onto the beach to what looked like an explosion in the sky, just over the heads of the campers.

Yes, that’s right; the same campers are back again, with even more people, tents, chairs, umbrellas, kayaks and fishermen. I suppose that will also generate more trash. We had already picked up 6 empty beer bottles thrown down, right before passing their camp and 3 more bottles right after.

I think they remembered me asking them nicely to please pick up their trash before they left, the last time I saw them there, because after we passed they started laughing. Well, you know the saying, what goes around comes around; you reap what you sow, etc, etc.

Two of the campers came out of the bushes just after we passed by. There was a whole row of egrets at water’s edge, maybe waiting for fish to escape the fishermen’s cast nets.

After that encounter, it was really calming to see three beautiful egrets, standing in the water.

I made my last look back toward the sunny clouds, because we had to leave the beach one access from where we usually do, Sea Grape. Wow, the clouds are beautiful!

This was the reason we are leaving the beach at this access. The beach is blocked off because the huge rocks are being moved from the home owner’s yard.

OK, so we didn’t get to see a new turtle nest on our walk, but as we turned away from the beach, we saw a turtle. That’s right, a turtle! All is not lost, after all; or is it?

Yes, I had to look back again, couldn’t stop myself.

Just up the street, (that I hadn’t been on before), I noticed some different looking cactus plants. One looked like its flower buds were Hershey’s kisses and the flowers were star shaped. I have to look that up, ‘cause I want one!

Where this street met Periwinkle Way, there was a tree just begging to have its picture taken.

We had just made it back to where we began, when it started pouring down rain again. Now that’s what I call good luck!

Until next week…..

To answer some questions that were brought up in comments and emails I received after this post:

Yes, it is illegal to camp on Sanibel beaches, plus their vehicles have to be illegally parked also, if they're there over night. Below is a short piece of the Sanibel Code:

Sec. 42-2. Sleeping overnight, camping or temporarily residing prohibited; exceptions.
(a) Prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to temporarily reside, camp or sleep overnight in any place within the city except in a lawfully existing-use mobile home park or a recognized dwelling unit under the Sanibel Plan. For the purposes of this section, sleeping overnight, camping or temporarily residing shall include but not be limited to sleeping in the open, in sleeping bags or tents and in or on any motor vehicle.
(b) Presumption of violation. The occupancy of any parked motor vehicle between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m. shall be presumed to be in violation of this section.
(c) Exception at residences. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the owner of a recognized dwelling unit or other person with such owner's consent may camp or sleep overnight, defined as sleeping in the open, in sleeping bags or tents, but not including in or on any motor vehicle or recreational vehicle, on the immediate lot or parcel of such owner's dwelling unit for temporary and infrequent periods of time for recreational camping purposes.
(d) Exception for special permission. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, any person involved in a recognized scientific study may apply to the city manager or his designated representative for permission to encamp at or near site of the scientific study. Such permission may be granted for a limited period of time. Civic, scouting and similar groups and organizations shall also be permitted to encamp at designated locations and for limited periods of time upon securing written permission from the city manager or his designated representative, which shall state the time and place such camping is authorized and such other conditions as may be necessary.

The other question was if Pampers are bio-degradable. We looked that one up and they are, but just plan on them being around for about 25 years. They do have a brand that will take less time, but I haven't seen any of those on the beach. And of course that only brings up the question of: Do you really think it would matter to the people leaving them in the sand anyway? I don't think so.

Did you know?

From the time hatchlings leave the nest, up to 24 to 72 hours after entering the ocean, hatchlings remain in a state often referred to as frenzy. During this period, they remain in a swimming state. It has been suggested that this may serve to get the hatchlings away from shore and coastal predators, out to deeper waters. Very little is known about sea turtles from the point that hatchlings enter the ocean until at least 20 years later when the females become sexually mature and come ashore again to nest.


Snowbird said...

Absolutely gorgeous pictures. I am still amazed that people actually camp on the beach. I would love to know what the city laws are about this.

Snowbird said...

Thanks for the answer on camping on the beach. So, it is my understanding, that unless these people are camping in front of someone's home, then they are there illegally, right? So, Tootie, you've got a cellphone with you on your morning walks. Why don't you just manage a call to Sanibel's Finest one of these mornings--especially when you hear the campers laughing at you when you pass them.

As for the left behind Pampers--I still don't understand people. I think, though, that you are right about it being people day trippers or those who come over to party at night who are leaving trash behind. They could care less. Those who stay on the island, even if for a couple of days, respect our environment enough to help clean it up when they leave.

Tink *~*~* said...

Thanks for another great narrated turtle walk, Tootie. My guess is that the campers will eventually be prosecuted, either because the police happen to find them, or because someone turns them in.

That's just a guess, mind you.


Tink *~*~*

Norm said...

wow! a perfect capture, very impressive..what an excellent pictures you have, very beautiful and I love them all. Thanks for the visit.

ChrisC and JonJ said...

I have been wondering why the Sanibel Poloce don't do something about the campers.
If you can't flush a Pamper down a septic tank,they can't be any good for the ocean.