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Archive for the ‘Beaches of North America’ Category

Sylvan Beach Festival 2015

Posted by E.G.D. on May 6, 2015

Brown Water and Crashing Waves: Day After a Storm (photo by E.G.D.)

Brown Water and Crashing Waves: After a Storm (photo by E.G.D.)

I’ve been hearing stories about Sylvan Beach Festival since I started working in Pasadena in January 2014, and when the banners went up around La Porte in the early spring, I was pretty excited!  The town sent out pamphlets with information about who would be performing on the stage, the town’s tiny monthly newspaper rejoiced, and I made plans to go on Saturday 4/25.

I was therefore, not unnaturally annoyed when I woke up to a violent lightning storm that lasted straight through the scheduled time for the parade.  As you can tell from the photo above, though, by 1:00 in the afternoon the weather had changed its mind, and there was barely a cloud in the sky!  Granted, the water was more brown than I have ever seen it, and the waves were actually crashing!  Seriously.  Crashing!  In the bay!  I have never seen the like at Sylvan Beach, and let me tell you, the 40-or-so kids who were playing in the swells were having the time of their lives.

A few feet away from the beach, the festival was in full swing by the time I arrived, with stalls selling pretty much everything, midway rides, cooking competitions, live country music, and a cook-off.

Stalls on the water (photo by E.G.D.)

Stalls on the water (photo by E.G.D.)

The music was pretty good, though I’ll admit I’m not a big fan of country.  The stage was right on the water, so even with the amps booming, everyone in the audience could hear the crashing waves mixed in with the instrumentals ^_^.

Stage (photo by E.G.D.)

Stage (photo by E.G.D.)

I didn’t actually do anything at the midway, but I did take a picture:

DSCN0436It reminded me a lot of state and county fairs I’ve been to.  It was fun, and it was worth the $5 admission fee.  Normally, the beach is free, but normally the beach doesn’t have live music and a midway. I’m definitely going to the festival again next year, and maybe next year I’ll get to see the parade ^_^. -E.G.D.

Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Tiny May be the Next Big Thing: Sylvan Beach, La Porte… Again!

Posted by E.G.D. on March 29, 2015

Jumping for Joy on Sylvan Beach (Photo © E.G.D.)

Jumping for Joy on Sylvan Beach (Photo © E.G.D.)

The weather here on the Texas gulf coast has been absolutely stellar lately, and I am pleased as punch to have a beach easy walking distance from my home.  Not unnaturally, one of the best parts about having a beach right next door is sharing that beach with my friends and family.  Now, I realize that I have posted about Sylvan Beach before, but yesterday’s Sylvan Beach experience is worthy of note because my sister (and noted doctor of geo sciences), Kristie, decided to start a tiny rock collection, and of course the kids, my friend Travis (of guest posting fame) and I joined in with gusto!

Collecting (Photo © E.G.D.)

Collecting (Photo © E.G.D.)

Now, between the five of us, we had a really substantial collection going… but because we were collecting tiny, tiny treasures, the pile was small enough to easily fit into the palm of, say, Oona’s kindergardener-sized hand.  Kristie thought that a collection of tiny rocks would be much easier on the movers when next she moves than, say, the truly substantially-sized rock collections she and her fellow geologist husband have accumulated over the years (“What’s in these boxes, anyway, rocks?!??” … “Um… actually…”), and I must agree, though I don’t think she and Ryan have any intention of ditching the larger rocks along the way.  Anyhow, fun, right?  We found some really good treasures.  Behold!

Tiny Treasures (Photo © E.G.D.)

Tiny Treasures (Photo © E.G.D.)

A budding collection (Photo © E.G.D.)

A budding collection (Photo © E.G.D.)

They’re colorful, they’re cute, and they’re smooth and shiny from being tumbled in the bay.  Also, we really enjoyed collecting them, and I have resolved to find a tiny salt shaker to put them in for display.

The moral of the experience?  One beach-goer’s large grain of sand is another beach-goer’s new tiny rock!  Have a great day, preferably at the beach ^_^ -E.G.D.

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Cabrillo Beach, California: a Monday Evening Walk

Posted by E.G.D. on February 21, 2015

Aloha, Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches world!  I know a good many of you have been asking “Hey, why haven’t Jody and Greg been posting as often?”  It is time for the big reveal: they were super-busy getting their business affairs in order so that they could go on the cruise of a lifetime!  Of course, now that they’re actually on said cruise, we all get to enjoy the fruits of their labor through their quite delightful photographs. Behold!  Cabrillo Beach:

Have a great day, preferably at the beach- E.G.D.

Posted in Beach Birding, Beaches of North America, Pacific Coast Beaches, Southern California Beaches | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

My Kind of Magic!

Posted by Jody on February 9, 2015

Greg and I recently spent some time at Walt Disney World in Florida. The Magic Kingdom was more crowded than we had ever seen it. Spending time with family was wonderful, but I’d bet you can guess where the real magic happened!

Here’s a look:

 

It was at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort! That’s my kind of magic!

~~~

Posted in Beaches of North America, Inland Shores, Monday Miscellaneous, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Walking With the Winter Waves at Sylvan Beach

Posted by E.G.D. on December 31, 2014

All the cool birds hang out here.  (photo by E.G.D.)

All the cool birds hang out here. (photo by E.G.D.)

Sylvan Beach in La Porte, TX, always a treat in the warmer months, can be equally awesome in the winter.  The waves crash with a little more violence and froth, the seashells are as abundant as ever, the clean public restrooms are still open, and the birds are a heck of a lot bolder than they are when there are more people around.  The other day, the kids and I literally had a pelican fly right up to us.  I warned the kids “don’t touch it!  It’s a wild animal,” and it was so close that it was actually necessary to say that.  Liam held up his fingers in a square and said “CLICK!” but by the time I went back to the car for a camera, the blue guy who’d nearly landed on our feet was gone.  We saw a yellow one by the bait shop later, though, and I did get a picture of him.  Anyhow, the entire purpose of this article is actually to give the kids a bit of the limelight.  I invited Liam (currently a second grader) to write an article on his winter beach experience, and this is what he wrote:

We had a great time at the beach.  We collected shells and saw two pelicans.  It was cold and windy.  We also saw baby seagulls.  The ocean was trying to catch me, but it couldn’t.  My feet stayed dry.  The end.

Tada! The second pelican (photo by E.G.D.)

Tada! The second pelican (photo by E.G.D.)

Oona can only write her name without a reference, so she is going to dictate a story:

We collected shells.  We picked purple shells, and shells that are cool, and big shells, and clear shells, and it was a windy day.  I found, what is it called again? A sea bean.  I saw pelicans.  And we had a wonderful time.  And we went to the beach to also play in the sand.  At the water, the sand was cold and wet.  We had a nice time there, and I want to go again with Nana.  I hope we can go with Dadu, also.  We are going to do is making crafts out of the shells, like necklaces, and like paper and shells art, and coloring the shells on the paper with the shells.  We hope we have a nice time there again next time we go to the beach with Aunt Elisa.  I love the beach because it has the shells that I want to see.  The end.

Oona's shell collection from our winter day at Sylvan Beach (photo by E.G.D.)

Oona’s shell collection from our winter day at Sylvan Beach (photo by E.G.D.)

OH, THE GRAMMAR!  Oh, to be five again and not to specially care about grammar!  As you probably already surmised, I edited both for spelling, but not for grammar or syntax.  They are totally authentic.  In any case, Happy New Year, everybody!

Gray, but great (photo by E.G.D.)

Gray, but great (photo by E.G.D.)

See you at the beach- E.G.D.

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Beach Birding, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

A Stroll on Bryan and Quintana

Posted by E.G.D. on November 29, 2014

Last month, I drove down to Lake Jackson to do a Halloween Mad Science event at the mall there, and I couldn’t possibly justify not going to the beach while I was at it!  Now, as some of you probably know, there are a good number of options in the area, but I wound up going to Bryan and Quintana because it’s the drive with the best signage (I didn’t need a map to get there, and I didn’t have to ask directions).  Now, I have no idea what part of the beach is Bryan and what part is Quintana.  The signs sit on opposite sides of the sand road leading onto the beach highway: quintanabryan

Basically, insert road here.  These signs are even angled so that they sort of face each other.  Anyhow, it was a spectacularly beautiful day!  I found a remarkable number of beautiful shell treasures, none of which I took home (I was in the middle of a move, and when I’m moving I have a pretty strong aversion to the acquisition of things, even if they are small things), and I saw a really amazing array of birds.

Seashells galore! (E.G.D.)

Seashells galore! (E.G.D.)

So many nice shells! (E.G.D.)

So many nice shells! (E.G.D.)

I saw plovers, pelicans, and a family of seagulls that included chicks!  At least they looked a lot like the seagulls in coloring, and they were hanging out with the adult gulls.  What do you think?

Baby Gulls?  (photo by E.G.D.)

Baby Gulls? (photo by E.G.D.)

Whatever they were, they were super-cute!  Anyway, aside from shells and birds, I came across a good many people picnicking, fishing, using metal detectors, walking dogs, and swimming, and I also came across a very clever and enterprising ice cream truck.  Here in Texas, a lot of our beaches are actually designated highways, so this system actually works:

Ice cream at the beach, anyone? (photo by E.G.D.)

Ice cream at the beach, anyone? (photo by E.G.D.)

I didn’t wind up buying anything, but I was amused.  In all, it was a really delightful walk, and I certainly get the impression that everyone on the beach that day was having a really wonderful time.

Fun times! (E.G.D.)

Fun times! (E.G.D.)

Right before I left for home, the shadows were getting long, and I got artsy with my camera.  I’m not going to insert a slide show here (though I probably could!  I got a whole series of seriously artsy shots), but for fun, here’s an interesting shot of a buried driftwood branch/log. DSCN0230Aaaaaaaaaand that’s the story of my most recent trip to Bryan/Quintana.  Fun, right?  It’s a lovely beach, and I recommend it to anyone, but bear in mind that there are no restroom or shower facilities, and there didn’t appear to be a lifeguard on duty.  On the other hand, there was ice cream!  If you’re going to have to choose your amenities, that might be the better way to go on a hot day. Have a great and beachy holiday weekend, everyone! Thanksgiving, not Halloween.  Better late than never- E.G.D.

Posted in Beach Birding, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Celebrating Labor Day USA

Posted by Jody on September 1, 2014

Celebrating Labor Day

Celebrating Labor Day

“The beach is not a place to work; to read, write or to think.”

~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

~~~

Posted in Pacific Coast Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

♬ Above the Blue and Windy Sea 🎶

Posted by Jody on August 26, 2014

“There’s a beach in San Francisco?” We get that a lot! In fact, it’s only a very short jaunt from Fisherman’s Wharf to this popular stretch of sand! Simply head east on Jefferson Street, and you’ll find Aquatic Park Historic Cove and the exceptional city-side Aquatic Park beach.

This entire area is part of the National Park Service’s San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Lots of  words…even more fun!

Here you can bike, run, swim, paddle board, play in the sand, or just watch the world go by:

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The next time you’re in the City by the Bay, you can use this handy National Park Service site to help plan your visit to San Francisco’s Aquatic Park Cove beach: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. And you’ll, too, be singing ~ “I Left My Heart in San Francisco. High on a hill, it calls to me…”

🎶 “My love waits there in San Francisco
Above the blue and windy sea
When I come home to you, San Francisco
Your golden sun will shine for me”♬

 “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” by George Cory and Douglass Cross

~~~

Posted in Northern California Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

By the Wind Sailor

Posted by Jody on August 23, 2014

Greg and I recently returned from another fantastic visit to the Bay Area (and points north).

Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach

While strolling Stinson Beach one perfect July afternoon, we happened upon a large number jelly-like oval-shaped creatures washed up on the sand. :-( They were the most striking deep blue in color. I recognized them right away, even though I had never seen one of these strange little life forms in person before.

By the Wind Sailors on Stinson Beach

By the Wind Sailors on Stinson Beach

By the Wind Sailors on Stinson Beach

By the Wind Sailors on Stinson Beach

Their distinctive “sail” was the give-away!

By the Wind Sailor

By the Wind Sailor

By the Wind Sailor

By the Wind Sailor

Nobody (except the scavenging gulls) seemed to pay them any mind at all. Harmless to humans, these amazing marine organisms are called “by the wind sailors” (Velella velella ). They live on the surface of the ocean and can be found on both the Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast of the United States. By the wind sailors are commonly seen scattered about the sands of Stinson Beach during the late spring and early summer, and along the west coast as far north as Washington State, when especially strong winds can cast counteless numbers of these ill-fated critters ashore.

Look closely for the By the Wind Sailors.

Look closely for the By the Wind Sailors.

Harmless to humans: blue stinging tentacles around the rim.

Harmless to humans: blue stinging tentacles around the rim.

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s SIMoN website:

Velella velella is incredibly stabile and seaworthy by design. The sail is triangular, slightly thicker at its base, stiffened by superficial thickened ridges, and yet still quite flexible. This incredible design allows smooth bending when its sail is under load, recoiling when the wind lets up, and overall minimizes the risk of kinking. The whole animal tilts when under sail, hull broadside to the flow of oncoming water.

Velella velella drifts before the wind, almost always tacking about 45 degrees to the right of the prevailing northwesterlies. This is normally enough to keep them offshore, however southerly or extremely strong onshore winds can cause them to spin around and follow the wind at a much closer angle that brings them toward land. Once washed ashore, the animals die and disintegrate within a few days.

And here’s a little something extra for your next beach/trivia party! According to Oregon State University: The sail is set diagonally to the long axis of the animal. On our side of the north Pacific Ocean, their sails are set in a northwest to southeast direction. On the other side of the north Pacific, the sails are set in a northeast to southwest direction. In the southern hemisphere, sails are reversed.”

Apparently, 2014 has been a bang-up year for the beaching of these remarkable, translucent, ocean-going creatures. Stories of mass sightings abound.

Here are a couple more helpful links in case you’d like to learn more about the (often hyphenated) by-the-wind sailor.

Bay Nature.org

National Geographic.com

Serenity, Sand and (yes) Sharks of Stinson Beach (Stinson Beach)

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Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Northern California Beaches, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Orange Beach is Golden!

Posted by alainaflute on August 5, 2014

Flip Flop Parking Lot

Flip Flop Parking Lot

After last year’s National Flute Association convention in New Orleans, Mom (Jody) and I traveled east along the Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana through three more states: Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. On our coastal driveabout, we saw beautiful white sand beaches, tumbled shells, great blue herons, and surfers. I expressed shock and glee simultaneously at my first jellyfish sighting (my mom was less than impressed).

We made Orange Beach, Alabama our home base. Our hotel was right on the beach, and we took in the refreshing sea breezes from our balcony. We ate breakfast on the sun deck and kicked off our sandals at the flip flop “parking lot.” The beach was as long as any I’ve ever seen. To be honest, I had no idea how wonderful those gulf beaches could be! The sugar-white sand squeaks under foot and goes on for miles and miles (really, we just set a time limit for our turn-around because the beach just kept on keeping on).

Here’s a look at our golden day on the white sands of Orange Beach:

Click on any photo to enlarge and scroll through.

~~~

Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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