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Archive for the ‘Gulf of Mexico Beaches’ Category

♫ “So Many Colors in the Morning Sun” ♪

Posted by Jody on July 13, 2015

Pastel Clouds at Sunrise, Orange Beach, Alabama

Pastel Clouds at Sunrise, Orange Beach, Alabama


“There are so many colors in the rainbow
So many colors in the morning sun
So many colors in the flower and I see every one”

 ~Harry Chapin, Flowers Are Red 

~~~

Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Toes in the Sand and Lights on the Water: Sylvan Beach Fireworks

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

Some of you regular readers out there are probably a little Sylvan Beach-ed out by now, but I just keep having more to say about it!  For one, I’m there every chance I get, and for another, many of La Porte’s awesome community events take place there.  The one I’m featuring in this article is the yearly 4th of July fireworks at the beach, which are truly spectacular because they’re fired from the end of the fishing pier and the lights shine twice: once in the sky, once on the water.  Even better, for about half an hour before our fireworks started, I could see the Baytown and Seabrook community fireworks displays, which also shone on the water, though a little farther away to the north and south respectively.

Now, once upon a time I could see fireworks displays over the Pacific Ocean any weekend I felt like walking or catching a bus to Waikiki, so you’d think I might lose my fascination for this sort of thing, but that most certainly isn’t the case.  There really is nothing more enchanting than seeing fireworks over the water with my toes in the soft sand and the waves lapping at my ankles, and the charm increases exponentially with the brevity of the walk it takes to get me there (in this case, it’s 7 minutes, so I am still exuding glee 24 hours later).  I got a couple decent little videos with my cell, and I thought it would be fun to share them with the wonderful Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches crowd.  Here’s the clip with the finale:

Even in low-resolution, it’s pretty spiffy, and it’s amazing the video turned out so well, considering I paid absolutely no attention to the camera while I was watching that.  I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!  I quite literally extended invitations to the event to  my family already, even though none of them know where they’re going to be next July.  In any case, the event is worth sharing, so I hope they can all make it.

I hope you all had a great Independence Day, and hey, it’s summer!  If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, go find yourself a beach- E.G.D.

Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Gulf of Mexico Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

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 »

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 »

On a Summer’s Day

Posted by Jody on July 13, 2014

 

Rest is Not Idleness

Rest is Not Idleness

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day,

listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time”

~Sir John Lubbock, The Use of Life

~~~

Posted in Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Today's Special | Tagged: , , , | 11 Comments »

It’s National Clean Beaches Week!

Posted by Jody on July 5, 2014

Feeling the Love on Harrison County Sand Beach, Mississippi

Feeling the Love on Harrison County Sand Beach, Mississippi

Celebrated annually (July 1-7) as the “Earth Day” for beaches, National Clean Beaches Week is a friendly reminder that the planet’s shorelines deserve a little tender loving care. The Clean Beaches Coalition leads the way with a “network of coastal organizations and individuals committed to promoting clean, healthy and well managed beaches around the world.” Who doesn’t think that’s a great idea!?

Here’s our very own up close and personal look at why our beaches need to feel the love too:

Yep!

Yep!

Not really feeling the love!
Not feeling the love!
Still not feeling the love...
Still not feeling the love…

 ~~~

OK, so now I'm feeling the love!
OK, so now I’m feeling the love!

~~~

The Clean Beaches Coalition (CBC) certifies deserving beaches as “Blue Wave.” Blue Wave Beaches are accredited according to their active participation in embracing and promoting the “7 Blue Wave Ethics.”

They are:
1. Leave no trace
2. Move your body
3. Don’t tread the dunes
4. Know your limits
5. You are what you eat
6. Feed your mind
7. Respect the ocean

Is your favorite beach a Blue Wave Beach? Or perhaps it has a different certification? We’d love to hear about it!

Rockport's Blue Wave Beach (Texas)

Rockport’s Blue Wave Beach (Texas)

~~~

Helpful links:

Blue Wave Beach Certification

Harrison County Sand Beach, Mississippi (Photo #1)

Rockport, Texas  ~Texas’ First Certified Blue Wave Beach~ (Photo #6)

 

 

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

Most of the Way to LA: McFaddin Beach

Posted by E.G.D. on June 17, 2014

Beautiful Day at McFaddin Beach (Photo by E. G. D.)

Beautiful Day at McFaddin Beach (Photo by E.G.D.)

The Sign (Photo by E.G.D.)

The Sign (Photo by E.G.D.)

The other day, one of my many jobs sent me to Nederland, TX, which is about two hours east of the part of Houston in which I live. I needed to be in Nederland for a grand total of two and a half hours. Crazy, right? I drove a total of four hours for a job that lasted fewer than three! Suffice it to say, I felt the need to justify all that driving with a bit of fun, and I wound up driving an extra 20 minutes east so that I could visit McFaddin Beach (and I highly recommend you click that link, because the article is EXTREMELY worthy of note, especially if you are interested in finding fossils on a beach). McFaddin Beach, also known as the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge, was on fire last time I passed it by. Mom (known more commonly here as Jody) and I tried to visit Sea Rim State Park on our way to Louisiana last summer, and we didn’t make it very far because there was an extremely smoky brush fire raging there. McFaddin is immediately past Sea Rim State Park on the same road, and I am happy to report that it was absolutely fire-free this time around.

High Tide (Photo by E.G.D.)

High Tide (Photo by E.G.D.)

In fact, I had the great good fortune to enjoy it on a truly beautiful day! I was at first disappointed that I arrived at high tide (the water was all the way up to the knee-high, three-yard-wide pile of seaweed that separates the parking area from the water), but over the course of the two or three hours I wandered there, the tide receded somewhat, and I found a startling array of truly remarkable shells! I found no fewer than nine whole and completely undamaged angel wings, two brightly colored and unoccupied shark-eye snail shells, and some very nice whelk pieces, among other things. I even found a very nice piece of green sea glass.

While I wandered, I passed kids playing in the silt, a good number of adults wading, swimming, and sun bathing, and an older gentleman searching the beach with his metal detector. I watched whole flying and floating flocks of some sort of very large bird I never managed to identify. I discovered a weathered coconut, looking rather lonely and a bit out of place on a Texas beach. I startled a few ghost crabs back into their holes, and I returned a couple of beached, live snails to the water (those were actually before I discovered the two unoccupied shells). I will say, though, that I did not pass anything at all along the lines of bathroom facilities, showers, or lifeguard towers. If you plan to visit McFaddin beach (and if you happen to be anywhere near Port Arthur, you really should), bring a jug of water to rinse your feet off and go to the bathroom before leaving town! While you’re at it, I recommend that you pack a picnic, sun block, a hat, and an extra large bag in which to stow your shelling treasures. You’re in for a fun and productive day at the beach!

Anyone Know What These Birds Are? (Photo by E.G.D.)

Anyone Know What These Birds Are? (Photo by E.G.D.)

Treasures (Photo by E.G.D.)

Treasures (Photo by E.G.D.)

Fun stuff!  Have a great day, hopefully at the beach. -E.G.D.

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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