Category Archives: Florida

Spring Break 2016

Scroll down to see the rest of the fish!

You’ll have to scroll down to see the rest of the fish (too big to fit in this photo hahaha)

Spring break! Woooo!!! The week was a whirlwind tour of some of my favorite spots and things to do in southwest Florida (where I grew up).

Slow zone

Slow zone

Here you can see the water is amber colored (this is in the Caloosahatchee river)

Here you can see the water is amber colored (this is in the Caloosahatchee river which flows out of Lake Okeechobee) oh, and some dolphins!

Conveniently located bait shop

Conveniently located bait shop haha

'Tween Waters

‘Tween Waters

Osprey with a fish

Osprey with a fish

Toes in the sand

Toes in the sand

Lots of shells

Lots of shells

Beautiful beach!

Beautiful beach!

Little fiddler crabs

Little fiddler crabs

On Captiva

On Captiva

Another osprey

Another osprey

We spotted lots of dolphins in the river, estuary and Gulf

We spotted lots of dolphins in the river, estuary and Gulf

Out in the gulf they are even easier to spot!

Out in the gulf they are easy to spot!

Fish huts

Fish huts

Those structures are called fish huts, or fish shacks or fish cabins…The Department of Natural Resources, as the Florida state environmental agency was called in the mid 1980s, believed the structures were navigational hazards and destructive to sea grasses.  And they also believed that since they had no plumbing, the people using them as bunk houses were likely creating sanitation problems.  So the state started burning them down.  Locals who wanted to preserve the fish huts were able to debunk these concern, according to Gladys Schneider of Bokeelia.  She was hired as a consultant to compile the documentation needed to have the shanties declared historic.  So our fish huts are still with us and a number are listed on National Register of Historic Places. (source)

Fish hut

Fish hut

Pelican

Pelican

Pulling up to North Captiva

Pulling up to North Captiva (Gulf of Mexico)

North Captiva; a long but very thin island; only a hundred yards or so wide

North Captiva; a long but very thin island; only a hundred yards or so wide in places (that’s Pop walking to the estuary side of the island)

Chasing birds

Chasing birds

Royal Terns, Black Skimmers and other birds

Royal Terns, Black Skimmers and other birds

King's Crown shell

King’s Crown shell

The water isn't as clear in the estuary as on the Gulf side but it is one of my favorite types of habitats to explore

The water isn’t as clear in the estuary as on the Gulf side but it is one of my favorite types of habitats to explore

There are many live shells in the estuary

There are many live shells in the estuary

Live shells on the gulf side too! This is a large horse conch

Live shells on the gulf side too! This is a large horse conch

Mmm looks yummy (haha; we threw it back)

Mmm looks yummy (haha; we threw it back)

This ground cover plant was very cool

This ground cover plant was very cool

The shallow grassy flats (the areas darker in color) are great places to spot lots of little creatures like sea horses, pipe fish, live shells, crabs and fish

The shallow grassy flats (the areas darker in color) are great places to spot lots of little creatures like sea horses, pipe fish, live shells, crabs and fish

Sandbar

Sandbar

The water on the estuary side of the island is brackish (a mix of fresh and salty water that changes depending on things like tide, rainfall and how much water is released from Lake Okeechobee (80 miles up the Caloosahatchee River from here).

Around the docks there are sea stars, sea slugs, fish, shells, crabs and other little creatures

Around the docks there are sea stars, sea slugs, fish, shells, crabs and other little creatures

Bow and arrow for fishing

Bow and arrow for fishing

Hunting for bait…While we were in this spot we saw a small bonnethead shark (illegal to shoot; quite unsportsman-like to catch with a bow and arrow (it would be like shooting fish in a barrell) (couldn’t resist haha). We were searching for rays (the fishing guide called them skates but really they are Southern Stingrays).

Got one (actually 3!) ; and the fishing guide we went with shot a few more and then we were off...

Got one (actually 3!) ; and then we were off…

Fish oN!

Fish oN!

It's a big one!!

It’s a big one!!

Woah!

Woah!

Checking it out: it is a Goliath Grouper (and that guy is a fishing guide)

Checking it out: it is a Goliath Grouper (and that guy is a fishing guide)

Goliath Grouper

Goliath Grouper

300lbs!!

300lbs!!

Catch and release, of course. These are endangered; due to being extremely easy to catch and being heavily over-harvested until 1990! Case in point…10 minutes later…

Then Pop caught this guy! A 200+ pounder!

Pop caught this guy! Another huge one!

The best St. Patty's Day photo!! (this was on the 17th!)

The best St. Patty’s Day photo!! (this was on the 17th!)

Not the greatest shot; but see the iguana on the beach? (Gasparilla Island)

Not the greatest shot; but see the iguana on the log on the beach? (Gasparilla Island)

Again, not the greatest shot; but that is a sea turtle coming up for air (Boca Grande Pass)

Again, not the greatest shot; but that is a sea turtle coming up for air (Boca Grande Pass)

While in Florida we also got to drive up to Sarasota and visit some cousins!

Cousins (they grew up in the same neighborhood in Long Island, NY!)

Cousins (they grew up in the same neighborhood in Long Island, NY!)

She and her husband are both vets and have some great animals!!

She and her husband are both vets; the kids loved meeting their cousins and their pets!

This pony's name is Trouble. ahahha

This pony’s name is Trouble. ahahha

A bearded dragon

A bearded dragon

Cool reptile

Cool reptile

Spanish moss

Spanish moss

We had such a nice visit!

We had such a nice visit!

Back out on the water…

Enjoying the boat ride

Enjoying the boat ride

Dolphin

Dolphin

Little footprint

Little footprint

So many shells!

So many shells!

The many faces...haha

The many faces…haha

(dead) Horseshoe crabs

(dead) Horseshoe crabs

Cormorant on a channel marker

Cormorant on a channel marker

A nice collection of (dead) horseshoe crabs

A nice collection of (dead) horseshoe crabs; we brought several home (and they survived the flight home!)

Playing in the surf

Playing in the surf

Catch of the day!

Catch of the day!

A shiny piece of a sea pen (a type of shell)

A shiny piece of a sea pen (a type of shell)

Delicious lunch here! (on North Captiva)

Delicious lunch here! (on North Captiva)

Exploring the mangroves

Exploring the mangroves

And playing games, while waiting for lunch

And playing games, while waiting for lunch

We also caught a spring training game...

We also caught a spring training game…

Where the Yankees beat the Red Sox! Wooo!

Where the Yankees beat the Red Sox! Wooo!

Really great seats

Really great seats

Spanish moss and lichen

Spanish moss and lichen

My old Strawberry Shortcake; who Baby says looks like Chuckie. Hahaha

My old Strawberry Shortcake; who Baby says looks like Chuckie. Hahaha

My mom's paintings

My mom’s paintings

Great Grandma (my grandmother who I am named after)

Great Grandma (my grandmother who I am named after)

Cayo Costa

Cayo Costa

A mermaid!

A mermaid!

Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico

Cayo Costa

Cayo Costa

Nana & Pop; thanks for the best spring break ever!!!

Nana & Pop; thanks for the best spring break ever!!!

May Days

Love-in-a-mist flowers

Love-in-a-mist flowers

Spring Thyme!

Spring Thyme!

Some type of succulent?

Some type of succulent?

Smoochie, Dexie, Baby

Smoochie, Dexie, Baby

Celosia (looks like a poinsetta!)

Celosia (looks like a poinsetta!)

Lots of...

Lots of…

blackberries growing!

blackberries growing!

Baby in the garden

Baby in the garden

Knockout roses

Knockout roses

Watching...

Watching…

Baseball (see who's pitching?)

Baseball (see who’s pitching?)

#7

#7

Pitching

Pitching

Pitching

Pitching

Coaching

Coaching

Pitching

Pitching

Baseball Panorama Field #7

Baseball Panorama Field #7

Our street

Our street

Orach

Orach

Orach leaves are so deeply pigmented!

Orach leaves are so deeply pigmented!

Celosia

Celosia

Stump spiral

Stump spiral

Yellow wonder strawberry

Yellow wonder strawberry

These have a great tropical flavor

These have a great tropical flavor

Entitled: A Great Day for Statistics

Entitled: “A Great Day for Statistics”

Wide Mouth

“Wide Mouth” haha

Copperhead belt?

Copperhead belt?

Snakeskin

Snakeskin

Even beheaded, the face is quite animated

Even beheaded, the face is quite animated

Copperhead Totem

Copperhead Totem

Final Project was a movie about animals that live in the forest at Baby's school (that's Baby on screen pointing out deer tracks)

Baby’s final school project was a movie about animals that live in the forest at Baby’s school (that’s Baby on screen pointing out deer tracks)

Schools Out!

Schools Out!

At the creek

At the creek

So relaxing!

So relaxing!

Swimming

Swimming

Bank

Bank

Splash

Splash

Dexie

Dexie

Rocks

Rocks

Catching tadpoles

Catching tadpoles

Jumping

Jumping

Creek

Creek

Creek

Creek

Dexie

Dexie

Large rocks on a bluff above

Large rocks on a bluff above

Spring fed creek

Spring fed creek

Missouri River

Missouri River

Bridge

Bridge

A note…

Last day of school...

Last day of school…

lol

lol

Stylin

Stylin

First day of...

First day of…

summer break!

summer break!

At brunch

At brunch

Shopping

Shopping

DIY...

DIY…

Basketball...

Basketball…

Hoop

Hoop

Hahhaha

Hahhaha

Playing...

Playing…

"Family fish"

“Family fish”

Garden fish

Garden fish

Tarwi Q'Ollo (similar to a white bean)

Tarwi Q’Ollo (similar to a white bean)

Hope you all have a great memorial day weekend!

3. War and Pouf Sleeves

At the impressionable age of eighteen in the 2000 US presidential election at a small church in Fort Myers, Florida, I arbitrarily cast my vote. I didn’t read the paper, watch the news, or vote in the primaries. I chose Dubya in the little voting booth and decisively punched my chad (no hanging or pregnant chads here!) and went on with my life. I wasn’t particularly proud of the vote at the time. My parents rarely discussed politics with me (I, being an obnoxious teenager, they being conservatives) and I had no idea who they voted for until after the voting was over. In the 1980’s my dad paid cash for a new boat, house, and cars. We traveled to Europe and took cruises around the Caribbean. My mom chaired a charity ball, where I (one of the privileged children allowed into the ball) donned a white dress; ruched at the torso and chiffon at the knees with a black cropped jacket—short sleeved, sparkly, with pouffy sleeves.

Adorbs Hahahahaha

Adorbs Hahahahaha

But an outfit is not an outfit without a Hair Concept. Is that really a thing? Yes it is!

French Braid

French Braid

I wore the dress and French braid hair concept at the Ritz Carlton in Naples, FL. This girl I know did some sculptures that, now that I think about it, kind of reminds me of that place. These memories: riding horses at summer camp, learning to sail, snorkeling in the Virgin Islands, and playing outside with wholesome neighborhood kids, defined the ideal political state for me. Perhaps I connected this time with republican ideals and thus voted for Bush? It wouldn’t be much of a stretch, but I never really read into it at the time.

The next August I flew into Bradley International Airport to attend Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. Surrounded by new ideologies and non-Christians I felt encouraged to explore these new, previously taboo, ideas. I heard a lot of complaining about “the man” and recognized an acute attention to the faults of the United States. The fact that I mentioned, on several occasions, in the company of these “progressive thinkers” that I, in fact, voted for Gore, and was therefore clearly disparate from the bumbling idiocy of Florida, reveals that I was more interested in talking about most anything other than politics. Admitting to voting for Bush would’ve meant a barrage of questions. Questions would lead to a debate that (at that time) I would’ve entitled, The World’s Most Boring Conversation Ever.

My 19-year-old sentiments exactly!

My 19-year-old sentiments exactly!

My little white lie reveals a total lack of political conviction. There was a lot of complaining about things I had never heard complaints about. “White people are too privileged.” “Americans are stupid and don’t care about the environment.” Growing up I intensely enjoyed the Floridian wildlife: catching and watching hundreds of different species from barracudas to coral snakes to panthers to manatees, I felt protective of these creatures. I invented a portable photometer to measure water clarity (it would replace the Secchi disk)! Surely I was an environmentalist?

Secchi Disk How-To

Secchi Disk How-To

I liked to paint and wear weird clothing. Surely I was avant-garde? I was as hip as these hipsters? But still, I never related to the incessant airing of grievances against “the (ever oppressive) man”. I thought that I must not be passionate about politics. I didn’t really know where I stood and didn’t think much about it.

homer

Just after September 11, 2001 I went to an on-campus vigil. I was confused, and mostly sad and worried about the people suffering as the world trade center smoldered. I don’t remember really listening what the speakers had to say (again, a testament to my lack of interest in politics), but the last one, a student, ended his thoughts with a chant of, “No More War.” My heart started pounding and I felt enraged and even offended to be enveloped by this stupidly idealistic cry. I looked to the outer bounds of these chanting twenty-somethings to see a group of 20 or so Middletown residents, some with children, protesting the hippified plea with “U-S-A”. I knew then that I may have a little bit of hippie in me, but I was no liberal. I did not chant along with either group, because chanting, frankly, is just un-cool. My political disinterest remained and I mostly remained silent when politics were discussed still mostly thinking it was a boring topic.

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Two semesters and I was off to a summer job in northern Maine as a white water rafting guide. The river manager of the rafting company and I immediately hit it off and haven’t been apart since. He served in the Marine Corps from 1992-1996 and I feel fortunate to know a veteran’s perspective when forming my political opinions. Understanding the importance of morale for troops in war times was important in my understanding of the war on terror, and specifically the war on Iraq. Fighting against terrorists didn’t seem like such a bad idea. Plus, to be honest, the “Hey y’all watch this!” mentality appeals to me in most activities.

I am, after all, from south Florida.

I am, after all, from south Florida.