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:


Aug 25, 2011

Fort Pickens Revisited

Fort Pickens is a beautiful fort built in 1834 to protect Pensacola Bay, FL. It is one of only four forts in the south that was never held by the Confederates and the only real action it saw was when the Union soldiers were defending it during the Civil War. Beyond its historical relevance, it is a fine piece of architecture to photograph. Some of you may remember me posting about it last year here, Fort Pickens. You can read more about Fort Pickens in the links below this post.

View from Officers' Quarters

Interior Photos

Mineral deposits (salt) on ceiling

Casemate rooms where cannon sat

Silhouettes of my youngest son

Entrance to lower area

More casemates

More mineral deposits and moss

Cannon atop bastion

Another interior shot

Dave behind the embrasure

Views of the fort below showing the corner bastion that is blown out. They used to store munition powder there. There was a fire and when it reached this area the powder caught causing a massive explosion. Bricks flew all the way across the channel onto the main land some 1 1/2 miles away.


Sources For More Information:

National Park Service


Aug 24, 2011

Wild Hen Chase - SemiWordless Wednesday

Treasures found in the woods. If you would like to read more about what happened and why it is a hen chase, you can find the story on the baby blog, Id Principle.

Heart Shaped Mushroom

Green Moss


For more Wordless photos, please visit: