Beach Adventures (or Dodging Dead Fish)

The past several weeks at the beach have been quite interesting.

I usually marvel at how the beach changes from time to time due to the tide.  When we lived in FL, some days there were sand bars and some days they were gone, some days there were scarps  (little cliffs in the sand from erosion) while other days the water’s edge was flat.  We’d find a clean beach or lots of sea weed, shells or not a single one.  Once in a while we’d have to dodge sea foam (basically frothy plankton) and diving shore birds. We’d  also take note of how the water temperature keeps rising and at what point it’s no longer refreshing to take a dip.  In Florida, we used some of these changes to know what days were great for biking on the beach and when to search for sand dollars. We still have a ton of them.

We live in South Alabama now and go to Gulf Shores.  We’ve found that if you go down early on Sunday, everyone’s leaving town (11am checkout) and we have very little traffic.  Stay for a few hours at Gulf State Park beach and then miss all the northbound traffic that left earlier.  So we’ve been going Sunday mornings lately.

It’s always different.  We’ve had a day, actually 2 consecutive weekends, of jelly fish (with only a yellow flag one of those days).  We had a day of dodging tar balls, mostly the size of my fist.  I ended up dragging a blob home under my foot.  One weekend there was the wildfire across the marsh and this weekend we had dead fish.  I found out from the life guard that only one type of fish has been washing up dead.  It’s the scaled sardine and has been washing ashore since Wednesday of this week.  The “authorities” have taken samples and tested the water; the water is safe.  There are no other species dying and these fish are being avoided by the birds so they’re still searching for answers.  I’ll be following this story in the paper if someone decides to write about it.  As of this writing there is nothing written about it.

The beach stunk.  We hung out an hour (shorter stay than usual, which put us in the northbound traffic jam).  Gary did swim; he was determined to get his hydro-therapy for the week even if it meant dodging dead sardines.  The kids and I hung out on the beach trying not to inhale too much.  On the  bright side, we not only got a good dose of vitamin D but watched 7 dolphins play just offshore.  Some were jumping; very cool to watch.  But, because of the dead fish, not a single shorebird was hanging about the beach except a congretation of them just west of us. 

Can’t wait to see what next weekend’s trip will bring.

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