Tag Archives: Florida Beaches

Where We Are Today

This morning's beach shot by Scott Spradley.
This morning’s beach shot by Scott Spradley.

Scott, over on Flagler Beach, gets up every morning to catch the sunrise. He posts pics almost every day. What a nice way to start the day. If you’d like to follow him on Facebook, he’s here:

 https://www.facebook.com/scott.w.spradley

I’ve been a real slacker this year, both in writing and blogging. I didn’t have any resolutions, so I didn’t set myself up for failure, but I have not been terrifically productive either. I have done no guest posts, no interviews, only a couple of promotions for others, and a couple of book reviews.

I have been busy though. I have two outlines for Naked Eye series books. I received my final edits back for Naked Alliances and have been very busy polishing that manuscript. Right now I’m on chapter twenty-five with five more to go. This last chapter has been the most challenging to get through. There was a scene that I personally felt wasn’t working as it was written, so I cut quite a lot out of it and did some rewriting. The rewriting was easier than deciding what to cut.

Knocked out for a couple of days with a broken tooth. It’s not fixed yet, but it’s not hurting either. I have an appointment scheduled to have a root canal with posts and a crown to be put on February 10th. I missed an author symposium and book signing. I also have jury duty February 5th. I try to do my Civic duty, but honestly, I’d like to get out of this one.

We’re also dealing with the stolen boat situation as best we can. It’s a tough call. The place where the man said they bought the money orders that he claims they cancelled (the ones that never made it to our bank) says it can be sixty-five days to get a refund, which is what he says he is waiting for. That would give him until March 13th to pay up. If we file a stolen vessel report and they find him, he could be arrested and not be in a position to pay (IF he intends to pay).

The attorney has basically said he is in the business to sue people and wants a $200.00 retainer and $2000.00 settlement if the man pays (That’s nearly a quarter what we are owed.). The thief has not responded to his request to provide proof of the money orders, return the boat, or pay the balance. The Lee County authorities don’t have it high up on their priority list and haven’t permitted us to file a stolen vessel report yet. They seem to want to see more of an effort to collect first, and had us send notification of intent to pursue legally (which, again, the man did not respond to).

The RS is thinking we should give him until March 23rd, and then file the stolen vessel report if he doesn’t pay at that time.  Major frustration! Meanwhile, we’re making payments with interest on a boat he’s living aboard for free.

Scariest thing is that it is a documented vessel with Homeland Security in our name. If he smuggles drugs, runs it aground, wrecks into another boat, or crashes into a dock, we’re liable.

On a positive note: We’ve been babysitting the grandkids from time to time and the grandson is not screaming for hours when he’s with us anymore. Thank God for sisters.

abbysitting 006

A Day on the Space(y) Coast

Just got back from a trip we made into Brevard county. It is a short drive to the Space Coast from where we live in Central Florida. Home of the Kennedy Space Center. But away from the tourist attractions, you will find one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. Beautiful, because it is unspoiled, which also means you have eco-friendly toilets and nowhere to shower off the sand. Playa Linda Beach and the Black Point Wildlife Refuge are isolated scenic places.

Some of the best kept secrets in Florida that the locals enjoy but many tourists overlook are the federal lands.
Some of the best kept secrets in Florida that the locals enjoy but many tourists overlook are the federal lands.
Before you get to the national seashore you have to cross the intercoastal waterways That separate the barrier islands from the mainland. . Early morning sunrise over the intercoastal waterway.
Before you get to the national seashore you have to cross the intercoastal waterways That separate the barrier islands from the mainland. Early morning sunrise over the intercoastal waterway.
Find a boardwalk across the dunes and before long...
Find a boardwalk across the dunes and before long…
...you are on the beach! Sunlight quickly burns off the clouds. Don't worry, they'll be back!
…you are on the beach! Sunlight quickly burns off the clouds. Don’t worry, they’ll be back!

 

No condos, no hotels, no commercial enterprises...just you and the beach.
No condos, no hotels, no commercial enterprises…just you and the beach.
A few people meander down the beach in early morning.
A few people meander down the beach in early morning.
A few fish and a few swim.
Some fish.
Shelling is popular because the shore is not so picked over as the crowded beaches.
Shelling is popular because the shore is not so picked over as the crowded beaches.
Families enjoy fun in the sun.
Families enjoy fun in the sun.
A trip across the boardwalk and you'll find an explanation on why the dunes are so important and why we need to keep off.
A trip across the boardwalk and you’ll find an explanation on why the dunes are so important and why we need to keep off.

 

You'll also find words of caution. This is Federal land.
You’ll also find words of caution. This is Federal land.

On a side note:

The Legal Scene

Is Public Nudity Legal in Florida?

by Marvin Frandsen

“Here’s what the Florida courts have to say about that. The following is from Florida Statute 800.03:

It shall be unlawful for any person to expose or exhibit his sexual organs in any public place or on the private premises of another, or so near thereto as to be seen from such private premises, in a vulgar or indecent manner, or so to expose or exhibit his person in such place, or to go or to be naked in such place. Provided, however, this section shall not be construed to prohibit the exposure of such or the person in any place provided or set apart for that purpose.

The Florida Supreme Court and lower courts have repeatedly ruled that mere nudity (as in sunbathing and skinny-dipping) is not in violation of this law. Nudity is not lewdlascivious, or indecent exposure. Clothing-optional recreation does not harm the public’s health, safety, welfare, or morals. There are no harmful “secondary contrary effects” of skinny-dipping or the sight of a person in the natural state of being unclothed on a public beach. The public has nothing to fear from a live nude body. (Emphasis added.)”

“Itʼs definitely cultural. It think we ought to be more like the French in most

everything, and the Germans as well. Weʼre way too uptight here; its a beautiful thing

over there.” (Rush Limbaugh, on nude beaches, from an Internet site).”

So, you might encounter scenes like this.
So, you might encounter scenes like this.
Or this. We nudists call these "cottontails".
Or this. We nudists call these “cottontails”.
Or this. Actually, mostly this.
Or this. Actually, mostly this.
The waters here create tidal pools. Fish and sea life get trapped in them,. They are fun to explore.
The beach and waters here create tidal pools. Fish and sea life get trapped in them. They are fun to explore.
Ibis hanging out on the beach with the nudies.
Ibis hanging out on the beach with the nudies.
There are sharks in the water  (and no life guards).
One reason you don’t see a lot of folk out far in the water swimming. Most only wade out into the shallows. There are sharks in the water (and no life guards).
Other fish also.
Other fish also.
But lots of sharks.
But lots of sharks.
Back across the boardwalk and you'll see that the locals ordinances are always at odds with the Feds. There are ongoing court cases, where locals and traveling Europeans  are fined anywhere from $25.00 to $500.00 for violating local nudity ordinances.
Back across the boardwalk and you’ll see that the locals ordinances are always at odds with the Feds. There are ongoing court cases, where locals and traveling Europeans are fined anywhere from $25.00 to $500.00 for violating local nudity ordinances.
As this guy proves with his willingness to pose, many nudists ignore the warnings.
As this guy proves with his willingness to pose, many nudists ignore the warnings.
Storms move in quickly and move along and out just as fast. You never know how the weather will hold through the day.
Storms move in quickly and move along and out just as fast. You never know how the weather will hold through the day. Often they threaten, with clouds, high winds, and lightening, but not a drop of rain falls.

Leaving the beach area you will find many little park and wildlife refuge areas like this one at Black Point on Merritt Island. There are boardwalks that let you get really close to the wildlife. The birds are spectacular.

The marshy brackish waters of the intercoastals and all around places like Blackpoint Wildlife Drive Park where you can do bird watching.
The marshy brackish waters of the intercoastals and all around places like Blackpoint Wildlife Drive Park where you can do bird watching.
White pelicans, American egrets, Hooded Merganzers, rosette spoonbills and more flock here.
White pelicans, American egrets, Hooded Merganzers, rosette spoonbills and more flock here. The sound can be deafening.
Ducks cover the ponds.
Ducks cover the ponds.
A nice way to end a day at the beach. The sky is constantly changing from bright to cloudy to bright again.
A nice way to end a day at the beach. The sky is constantly changing from bright to cloudy to bright again.

 

 

A trip into Titusville is never complete without a stop at Dixie Crossroads, a local dining establishment that has been around for decades. There are several indoor and outdoor dining areas connected by boardwalks and corridors.

Their specialty is shrimp. Any kind of shrimp, any kind of way. Not these guys though.

Get there early enough and you might be treated to a crawfish boil
Get there early enough and you might be treated to a crawfish boil
You can dine outside under the live oaks.
You can dine outside under the live oaks.
On buckets of roasted oysters from Apalachicola. I won't eat them from May to August. Only months with an 'R' in them.
On buckets of roasted oysters from Apalachicola. I won’t eat them from May to August. Only months with an ‘R’ in them.
Scallops, rock shrimp, and pink shrimp. The rock shrimp tastes like lobster, only juicer.
Scallops, rock shrimp, and pink shrimp. The rock shrimp taste like lobster, only juicer.
Seafood not your thing. They gotcha covered.
Seafood not your thing. They gotcha covered.
Carving station.
Carving station.
You will almost always find a row of these outside.
You will almost always find a row of these outside.

They draw a huge crowd come nightfall.

Last look over the waterway.
Last look over the waterway.
Here's a map of where we have been today on the Atlantic coast.
Here’s a map of where we have been today on the Atlantic coast.

Cape Romano: Our Secret Sanctuary

We have our very own “secret sanctuary” in sunny Florida.  A curious and interesting place, Cape Romano is at the southernmost tip of Ten Thousand Island (the uppermost of the mangrove islands). It is located just a few miles south of the luxury resort community of Marco Island, on the Gulf side. The sky is a lovely, brilliant blue, the sun is shining, the air is dry, and a cool breeze is blowing with temperatures in the mid to low seventies during the winter months.

sanibel-island-beach-shelling

Florida has both a cosmopolitan appeal in places like Jacksonville, Miami, and Orlando, as well as old world charm in places like St. Augustine, Marco Island, and Amelia Island.  All of these places are wonderful in their own way, but the most wondrous places in Florida are the most obscure.  Many people have come to love the beaches at Panama City, Sanibel Island, and Captiva, but there are a tiny few remaining beautiful beaches that are a bit more remote. The beach at Cape Romano is one of these places.

Accessible only by boat or Jet Ski, Cape Romano is a quiet place for reflection in the early morning or late evening, but it does get swamped by visitors from Marco on Jet Skis by mid-day on the weekends. During the week; however, in the twilight of dawn or dusk, it is as if you have transported into a surrealistic dystopian, sci-fi, or fantasy world.

081209NS-CapeRomano_t607

To travel to this location you will find yourself on the Tamiami trail, mentioned in many books set in Florida, otherwise known as “Alligator Alley”. The best way to approach the island is in a little flat bottom jon boat you can launch from the Goodland marina.  Goodland is a sleepy little fishing village located in the midst of the mangroves at the very beginning of the Ten Thousand Islands.  Their biggest boast is a visit from Donald Trump, back when he was considering installing a casino at Cape Romano.  I am glad he did not choose to destroy the splendor of the sanctuary, for it surely would have.

As you motor carefully through the shallows of the brackish waters of Gullivan Bay, the dolphins swim alongside your boat in playful pods teasing and tempting you to join in a swim as they guide you out to deeper waters. You won’t miss the Cape when you see the unique dome home that was established here by Bob Lee in 1980.  This is Bob with his fresh caught snook. You can read more about Bob, his adventurous project, and his family here:

http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/09/07/cape-romano-uncovered/ in this article by Natalie Strom.

Once self-sustaining, powered by solar panels, with a 23,000 gallon fresh water cistern, the home is no longer habitable.

Hurricane Andrew came through in 1992 and stripped about 600 feet off the beach sending most of the dome dwelling, and a couple of other homes in the boating community, into the sea. The Environmental Protection Agency ordered the removal of the structure in 2007, (which has not been done and it is assessing the owners fines daily). Building on the sanctuary island is no longer allowed.  There is a cut through the middle of the island called Morgan’s Pass, also created by hurricane activity, where an estuary runs into a deeper pool of salt water. Fascinating sea life thrives here. Anemones, starfish, urchins and other small sea creatures abound.

On one side of the Cape, the seashore is two feet deep in shells. On the other side, there are miles of white sand and driftwood.  There are many little sandbar islands dotting the turquoise waters around the Cape that are covered with birds and are protected bird sanctuaries.  They feast on the abundant shell life. The birds nest here year round. Their calls can be deafening when they are disturbed.  Most all of the larger sandbars for bird sanctuaries are marked off-limits to humans.

Not my best pose in a bikini, but about the only one I would consider making public.
Not my best pose in a bikini, but about the only one I would consider making public.

Shelling is my favorite pastime here, collecting hundreds of samples over the years.

IMG_2023

There are certain currents at specific times of the year that bring King’s Crown and whole sand dollars washing ashore in great heaps.  I hope that civilization can preserve the sanctuary, and it remains as unspoiled as possible for future generation to enjoy.