Aug 26, 2011

Gulf Islands National Seashore

All summer long, the GUIS National Seashore, where Fort Pickens is located, has been running a beginning snorkeling program on the sound side of the island. There were only two dates left for the summer so off we went. On Wednesday, we got down there and the event had been cancelled. A storm had whipped up the moon jellies. Even though they are not poisonous, they make people uncomfortable. Even with the lack of snorkeling, we found other things to look at.

The boys hanging out in the pavilion.

Walking along the shore with their dad.

My kids found this Ghost Crab.

Moon Jellies

Spurred Butterfly Peas (purple) and Standing Cypress (red) flowers.

Beach Grasses

Beach Morning Glory

Pine from one of the pines.

These two photos are my Sky Watch photos. The first is a dead tree reaching up into the sky. It was killed when Hurricane Ivan washed the salty ocean water onto the island, causing a large portion of trees to die.

The second is also a dead tree, that an Osprey has recycled as a nesting perch.

Finally we were able to come back for the next snorkel session on Saturday and actually snorkel! Not a jelly fish in sight. Here my mom is teaching the boys the how-to's of snorkeling.

When the hour was up, the rangers had us bring all our treasures to the collection tank. Here are some of the things our group found.

Blue Crabs. Both of these adults were ladies. One of the rangers taught us a little trick about IDing them.

Have a look at the abdomen of this one. Do you see the shape on it? Females have the Capital Dome (rounded shape), males have the Washington Memorial (long, skinny shape). Hence, this is a female.

Baby Blue Crab. He or she has some growing to do!

Baby Florida Stone Crab. To give you an idea of scale, the thumb in the photo belongs to a very small child. This was an itty bity crab! It came out of a shell that also had a hermit crab inside.

Yes, there is a hermit crab inside this shell as well.

For more sky photos visit Sky Watch Friday:



Kathy said...

Looks like a fun time!
Your boys are growing up so quickly. I like the different kind of crabs.

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Very nice post and your photos, too.


Anonymous said...

very nice Jess Wish I could have gone with.

the cuby poet said...

A really interesting blog. Moonstone Jellyfish are new to me.
Lovely photos.