Saturday, July 17, 2010

Panhandle happenings

St George Island
This is an island across the bay from Appalachiacola/Eastpoint.  It is home to lots of stupid-looking beach rental condos(tall, elevated, narrow, with parking underneath) and lovely old 50/60's "beach shacks" mixed with newer style "beach shacks" that no normal person could pay the insurance on!  You can tell which I prefer.  This is usually where we go to the beach when we visit, it is lovely!  On this particular day, the waves were 3-6 feet and we spent most of the day in the water.  I was making sure the kids were not getting pummelled by the breaking waves while they were trying to bodysurf.  After getting beat-up by the waves for about 3 hours, we were exhausted!
Next day, we took a drive to Cape San Blas where there is a lighthouse and you can climb to the top, which we did.
It is 131 steps to the top.  I have never been in a lighthouse before, let alone climbed to the top of one.  It is  kind of a wierd feeling climbing up a spiral staircase in an enclosed area- a bit claustrophobic.  They do have 3 windows, which were open, and a very nice breeze blowing in through them.  We made it to the top with the view as a reward...
Everyone was a bit cautious when we stepped out on the platform, however the breeze felt so good that after a bit we loosened up.  The Rocket was practically running around the lighthouse showing us how brave he was.  Looking down, it was a loooooong way down!  The views were much better to look at!
Back inside and looking up at the lens...
This is the view of the steps as you are leaving the top.  They are about 6 inces wide at the widest point, and there are 20 of them.
Then the rest of the way down inside are these, they are about 10 inches at their widest point...
It took about 15minutes or so to climb up and to come down it took about 10 minutes.  You don't want to go too fast either way because you will get dizzy, and these steps you DO NOT want to fall down!

The next day, we visited a favorite place that we always visit every time we come, The Appalachiacola nature center.  That's not the official name for it, but that's what we call it.  It is free, and there is an enclosed aquarium building that the kids LOVE. 
There are three big tanks with bigger fish and animals in them like turtles, sheepshead, redfish, grouper, flounder, stingrays, baitfish.  One of the big tanks is freshwater and has gar, bass, turtles, and frogs.  There are some littler tanks that have smaller creatures in them.
It is a filter feeder, and therefore one of the first indicators of a problem in the water(think oil/BP).  The eyes are all along the waves of the shell.  They are blue and when you go scalloping that's how you find them, because their eyes are rows of shiny blue glinting in the sun.  If they weren't so good to eat I would have a hard time harvesting them 'cause they are so beautiful!  It is a very kid friendly thing to do though, think easter egg hunt under the water.  Instead of an easter basket and dress clothes, your equipment is mask/snorkel/fins, a bag, and for the squeamish( that's me) a glove on the grabbing hand to keep the little buggers from pinching you when they close!
Mantis Shrimp
Inside classroom with lots of things to touch and learn about!
Juvenile dolphin skeleton display
Birdwatching area.  (I could sit here all day!)
There is all kinds of informative pamphlets to take with you when you can tear yourself away.  They are in the process of building a new center that looks promising by the pictures.  The new buildings will be over in Eastpoint, and it looks like the beach will be a part of the nature walk there.  I believe it will be done sometime in August and I do hope they are able to keep it free to the public.
Sweetie pie modeling the latest in beach resort fashions, we bought the hat...


D'Ache' said...

Sucker.....not the scarf?

Amber said...

the scarf was $40.00!!!! heck no! : ) i figure i can make that in my spare

D'Ache' said...

Okay, you're good then. :) By the way you can get plenty here for at the most.....45TL and that's for a silk one and translates to about $30.