Tag Archives: ocean

Sharks Along the Coast of Florida and Why We Don’t Care

Shark (photo: derwerbepool @ Pixabay)

You may have heard the recent story of a half eaten shark washing ashore on New Smyrna Beach, in Florida. This is where I live, and it’s the beach I visit most often.  Usually shark stories involve people being bitten, but this time the shark got chomped, presumably by a much larger shark. And he did not live to brag about his shark bite scars!

The story was out there to read on many sites. Some made a big deal out of it, and others (mostly Florida based) did not.  That is wildlife for you.  The bigger stuff eats the smaller stuff.  This time the smaller stuff was a five-foot shark.

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-10-11-04-amI have a friend who finds it difficult to believe I will go swimming at Florida beaches. (He lives in Michigan) He’s read all the stats about Florida having the most unprovoked shark attacks, and (incorrectly) believes anyone who ventures into the ocean, or any water, in and around Florida will be putting themselves in danger.

Florida is full of creepy stuff. Animals AND people make up that category. We live among alligators, poisonous snakes, and big nasty spiders, and yes, predatory ocean life. But, just like the land creatures don’t keep us out of our yards, the sea creatures don’t keep us from swimming, surfing, and waterskiing.

We have to be careful and observant. Sharks can be found close to the coast all around Florida, but the bites tend to happen in certain spots more than others. The jetty, where the waves break, attracts surfers, and surfers tend to be the ones who get bit.
I have been lazing about in the warm ocean water just offshore only to see a large fish silhouetted in a wave.  It’s pretty cool really. Or suddenly we spot a fin only a few yards away… is it a shark fin? We are not sure, so we hightail it out of the water. But we can’t stay out.  And that fin may have been a dolphin or some other non life-threatening fish.  We splash back in, our fears forgotten.

The weather is too hot to NOT go swimming. The water is too beautiful and warm to NOT enjoy it. The beauty and wonder overtakes the fear. So we swim and don’t worry about what might be out there swimming around near us. For the most part we are left alone and get back home unscathed, except for the sunburn where we missed with the sunscreen.

As I float in the unbelievably warm ocean, and feel the waves roll me up and down, it is my own little paradise.  No negative thoughts allowed, and that includes sharks!

I can only pity my friend who does not know what he is missing.

A New Love

(All photos on this page came from the free, public domain site, Pixabay)

The Deadly Bacteria in Florida Sea Water

English: Beach at Destin, Florida: sand, ocean...
English: Beach at Destin, Florida: sand, ocean, sky, clouds (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My son, who lives in Florida, called me last night and said there had been nine deaths there from people simply going into the ocean water. Of course that news won’t be widely reported (and I hadn’t seen anything about it up here in the northeast) since Florida is a tourist state.  And the ratio of people who die, to people who swim in the ocean, is very small.  This deadly, flesh-eating, bacteria gets into your body through an open wound and if you are not a healthy person, it could kill you.
My son goes fishing a lot, and the sea water is so warm, that he is in and out of it all the time. Pulling up to one of the many little islands along the ICW is the perfect place to cast a line. This bacteria news is a bit scary, but with all the millions of people visiting the coastline, only 9 have died. It seems pretty safe for the average person, and once the water cools off the bacteria will vanish.
In the meantime, don’t eat raw fish. As the fish feed (this includes shellfish) they filter out this bacteria which is not harmful if the fish is cooked.
Not everyone will die if they are infected, but you sure won’t feel very well.  Symptoms include redness and swelling at the infected site – like a bad bug bite, and then they expand to cover your body.  Read more and view a video here.

Florida Waterways, Lakes, Backwater, Ocean and Gulf Water

Sunset from the Intracoastal Waterway in Hobe ...
Sunset from the Intracoastal Waterway in Hobe Sound, Florida. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Florida is not only surrounded by water, it is full of water.  There is literally water everywhere in this state that sits barely above sea level in many places.   That little lake in your backyard may dry up and become a shallow hole when a drought hits, but it will fill up again nicely when the rains come.

Florida is a very touristy place.  The state lives off it’s tourism and has no problem getting vacationers to visit.  There are plenty of things to do, both indoors and out, and many revolve around water, or include water.   Tanning, swimming and (awesome) fishing can be done just about everywhere.  Even Disney World has a fireworks show that takes place on the water.

But the different types of water are something to be familiar with, especially if you are planning to buy a home “on the water”.  Small lakes or ponds are generally very shallow and can completely dry up at certain times.  Larger lakes and rivers can hold unwanted, nasty creatures such as alligators and poisonous water snakes.  I would never want to live on a lake or river in that state after seeing the news stories I have over the years.  (By the way, the small ponds can contain these things too!)

The Atlantic Ocean side of the state has beautiful beaches, many of which can be driven onto with your vehicles, and the water has waves and occasionally rip currents.  In certain places surfing is allowed.  Some beaches have lifeguards and some don’t.  The water is not very clear most of the time, but some days are better than others, and the temperature is quite nice in summer months being in the 80’s.

The eastern side of the state has calmer gulf waters that are also warm.  The waves tend to lap at the shore rather than crash, and the water is clear and beautiful for the most part.

All around the edge of the state the islands and outer land areas that separate the mainland from the ocean contain shallow waterways and canals that are brackish and are known as “backwater“.  Brackish water is part saltwater and part freshwater.  It is the water between the land and the sea, and Florida has a lot of that.  Part of the east coast Intracoastal Waterway runs along this inner area.  And yes, you can find seashells there.

When talking about Florida’s abundance of water and it’s variety, lets not forget the thunderstorms.  Water will pour as if from buckets from the sky, flood roads in an instant and shoot lightning bolts like you have never seen.  If the sky looks dark anywhere near you, get inside.  It’s not called the lightening capital of the world for nothing!

The Ocean For Your Wall

scenic ocean photography
Photography by Tom Purse

I have a friend who I work with at Zazzle and he takes beautiful scenic photos of the Pacific northwest, including the ocean along the Oregon coast.

I live in New Hampshire and have never been west of Kentucky, but viewing Tom’s photos take me to beautiful places I will most likely never see in person.  I’ve been an admirer of his work for years as he is a true professional.

I especially want to point out his gorgeous seascapes.  Click this link, or the photo above, to see more.  If you are in the market for some scenic art for your walls, you will not be disappointed when visiting Tom’s store.  He also photographs other subjects like flowers, wildlife and even fantasy creatures.

Now if I could just get him to head to the tropics and get some palm tree and seashell photos!