Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Inauspicious beginnings...

...can sometimes lead to the most wonderful outcomes. Our first trip to St. George was in a run down, rather dirty duplex across the street from the beach in a sort of no-man's land, yet, it is where we discovered our love for the area some 8 or 9 trips ago. As I already mentioned, this trip started somewhat badly as I wasn't feeling well with tummy troubles, head aches, and odd recurrent urticaria along with the rental place changes and rainy weather. But within a couple of days, all of those issues resolved leaving me feeling well, under beautiful blue skies, and in a great place to stay on the beach. This trip was truly one of my most relaxed and magical beach trips, beating out a stay I had with a couple of girl friends in Gulf Shores where I lived off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and swam with huge sting rays the summer before I moved to Chattanooga.

I so enjoyed all the creatures at St. George. We watched multiple pods of dolphins in the surf while we ate our meals on our porch. They seem to enjoy themselves so much. On the dock at our "original" place we watched a huge gar swim by as Brent and Rosie used the casting net to catch bait fish. Turned out they were the only two of us who caught anything but it was fun. Mullet were jumping while the egrets and herons watched quietly and red winged black birds and grackles twittered in the reeds. On the beach, brown pelicans flew in formation overhead, while terns fussed and gulls laughed. The sand pipers were busy on shore, becoming irritable if you came too close. We saw innumerable little mollusks of all shapes and sizes, busy hermit crabs, all sorts of sand crabs, and incredible numbers of blue crabs. Out at the park we even saw medium sized rays swish lazily by. It made my spirit soar to see them all and share their space...as well as filled me with worry for them, should man and his pollutants spoil their world.

The surf was filled with sea weed after a recent storm when we arrived, but I assured the kids it would be gone within a day, and sure enough it was. We all had so much fun playing in the waves. Something we hadn't done much of in recent years because of increased numbers of sharks in the waters during those visits.

In our family, finding a sand dollar on the beach indicates supreme good luck...way better than a lucky penny or rabbit's foot or any of that sort of nonsense! We have collected them for years and we know just when and where we found them. Well....this trip we were the luckiest people in the world!!! I found a couple, Brent found several and Rosie was the sand dollar queen, finding them dried pure white and beautiful on shore, and by the handful in the sand below the surf....alive and gray with little surrounding 'legs' wiggling like crazy! It was amazing!

But our streak of wonders was not yet done. On Saturday, our last morning before leaving on Sunday, Rosie wanted to get up early and watch the sun rise at high tide. So...Brent and I agreed to get up with her at 0600. Bleary eyed we all walked out to the beach just outside our house. At first it seemed that some kids had piled sand in a very strange way, but then Rosie noticed an odd trench and tracks coming from the water and a large lump.....It was a loggerhead turtle (named Sally!!!) laying her eggs on the beach just in front of our house!!!!!!!!!!! In all these years I've never seen a sea turtle on the beach and always wondered how people knew that turtle eggs were present in those special cordoned off areas you see occasionally. But there she was!!! We watched as she laid her eggs, covered them, and with great difficulty, made her way back to the gulf. After the excitement, panic set in as I wanted Sally's eggs cordoned off special as well and as soon as possible. Not many people are answering the phone about turtles at 0600 on a Saturday, but we kept at it and finally Brent reached someone at the Park Service who said the "Turtle Man" would be coming by checking the beach very soon. Sure enough, down the beach he came. He noted the tracks and put up flags around the area and assured me he would be back to put up real posts and warning ribbons. About an hour later he returned. First he carefully dug down to find the eggs at the edge of the nest. And there they were. White and leathery looking. Turns out Sally had made 5 attempts on the beach above us, and finally deposited her eggs at our house. He packed the sand back around them and put up the protective perimeter. He told me that they should hatch in 60-80 days. Unlike their mom, baby turtle are not strong swimmers, they simply crawl to the water, swim just long enough to reach a current, and then drift. Since that was the case and the current is now filled with oil which would kill them, he said he would be coming back in 50 days to remove the eggs in order to protect them and allow them to finish hatching at a facility on the east coast. (Another little turtle fact: Even if Sally's babies are placed in the ocean somewhere other than St. George, it is still the place the females will return to to lay their eggs.) Isn't that all just the most amazing thing ever?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think Brent was a little worried that I might just have to stay at St. George for 50 more days...but I trust that the Turtle Man will take care of things.

And then.....Sunday came and we had to leave. Just a quick walk out to the beach once more, and there it was....a beautiful rainbow with a complete arch...and yes, indigo WAS in there, just as it should be.

May all your inauspicious beginnings turn out so well - c

Pics on following posts...........


  1. What a great story teller you are my friend! I felt like i was there. I am so glad you all had a great trip. Love and miss ya.

  2. Miss you, too!!! May get to stop by Peds Care on Friday on my way to Atlanta to pick up Rose from her Ga Tech orientation. Love you. C

  3. it would be great to see you!

  4. I'm sorry you weren't feeling well at the beginning. I love the sand dollar finds and seeing the turtle must have been really cool. Ending with a rain bow well, that's just perfect!

    I love you!! Kik