Archive for November, 2011
Blowing Rocks Preserve is not the typical Florida beach. Small gentle ripple of waves do not lap up against soft white sugar sand. The barrier island that forms Blowing Rocks has a under lying substrate of Anastasia limestone, better known in Florida as coquina. Centuries of rain have cut holes into the sedimentary rock giving it a rough face and pocketed surface.
I was told we could go snorkeling if we wanted. The shore entry looked very difficult. Not sure if I want to face a wave of water larger than a concrete warehouse coming at me.
But the waves are mesmerizing. At times, images of Poseidon formed, some smiling, some daring me to edge closer to the water. Seeing I had a land camera, not one that was water proof, I decided to not let the Greek god tempt me to tip-toe any closer.
Blowing Rocks has other features to see, such as a hardwood hammock. These thick clumps of trees on sand dunes or on a rise in the middle of a swamp have given rise to many theories of why they are called “hammocks”. The one I like, true or not, is that ancient sailors found this area to be dry and the trees just far enough apart to tie their bedding (a hammock) in between the skinny trunks.
We’ve been so swamped with spam, almost 300 a day, that we’ve added a registration feature to the blog. You ‘ll now have to register with a user name and an email address. The blog will send you a password. Use that password to enter the blog at your profile and then you can change the password to something that is easier to remember.
I hope this isn’t too much trouble. Deleting all of this spam is has been a big pain and a time waster for us.
Thanks for your understanding.
The remnants of Rina swept over us yesterday, today, and supposedly tomorrow. Forecasters predicted Rina to walk over us as a category 3 hurricane. Didn’t happen. Wind shear tore the storm apart. The system moved south and only rain bands whisked over us dumping 3 to 4 inches of rain. Florida is still suffering from a drought and the news media complained of the rain.
After checking the radar and seeing that clear skies were south of us, Kitty and I decided to explore the mangroves at Gumbo Limbo.
Gumbo Limbo sits on a barrier island that straddles the Atlantic Ocean and the intracoastal. It is on the western (estuarine) side of the island where the mangroves thrive because of the low tidal energy. They don’t do well with a crashing surf. The root system of these trees provides a protected area for fish nurseries. Several species of fish that mature in this brackish water eventually swim out to the reefs to finish out their lives.
The red mangrove is the one I consider the pioneer, the adventurer, the guy that is out their exploring no-man’s land. This is the tree that stretches out into the brackish water extending the island’s circumference. All the other types (black, white, and buttonwood) follow behind this unfearing plant. But what surprises me, seeing this tree stretch first into the salty water, is the least tolerant of the salt. The least bit of salt that gets in the leaves could kill this landloper. The root system has a micro filter build into them that excludes the salt from the water that is sucked into its circulation system.
The black mangrove usually follows behind the red like a faithful soldier invading the watery world. But sometimes, he gets ahead of the leader by the use of his underground root system that from time to time sprouts upward out of the mud and projects above the water line looking like pencils. This is my favorite mangrove. He doesn’t care if salt gets past his roots and into his circulatory system because his leaves excrete the unwanted salt. Often I’ll run my finger across the top of the leaves scraping the salt onto my index finger. If for some reason you think your diet needs more salt, visit a black .
The next species of mangrove is the white, known for the tannin in its bark. It is this chemical that turns the water a tea color and is used in “tanning” leather. The last species, the buttonwood, is usually found on higher ground, but it is not unusual for him to get his feet wet.
I like hiking through the wet lands. My sight is often on the ground looking for the land crabs with oversized pinchers or looking into the water watching minnows dart among the thicket. Rarely do I look upward. This I should do more, because perched in trees is another ecosystem. A high pierced sound caused be to look skyward. That’s when I saw the falcon perched on a leafless branch.
Another treasure of nature has been shared with me.