I was in New Smyrna for a closing on my new house, and my son and I took a look at the beach. It was four days after Hurricane Matthew and we wanted to see how badly the beaches were hit. Happily I found that Breakers Restaurant, right on the beach, was still standing, and open for business!
If you’ve ever visited the area, you will know it’s the pink building at the end of Flagler Ave., with that awesome view of the ocean. If you are lucky enough to get a seat at the front, you can eat at the bar and watch the waves roll in.
The parking lot across the street from Breakers is no longer free to park (that stinks), so we drove in just long enough to get a few pictures. It was raining, so my photos aren’t that great, but I wanted to share the better ones I took. I would have liked to get out and walk around, but the weather did not allow for it.
The ocean was churning up sand and the tide was high – at least the water was high – I don’t’ know what the tide schedule was. The beach entrance was blocked off to drivers (you can drive on the beach here), mainly because there was no beach. Below is a bad photo of the sign at the beach entrance.
One thing we noticed as we drove around the area was that the coast had been hit with more wind than we were inland. Everywhere we saw debris piled up along the roads ready for removal. Power trucks were everywhere, which meant that a lot of people were still without electricity. Buildings had shingles missing, and trees were down in some areas. Some places had tarps on the roof.
Luckily, the damage was a lot less than what was predicted. Many people along the coast evacuated, and had to sit for days wondering what shape their homes were in.
We headed south at Peninsula Ave. and took the south causeway home. The north causeway has a drawbridge for tall boats, mainly sailboats I would assume, but the south causeway bridge does not open. We headed home feeling very lucky that, at our rental house inland, we did not even lose power during the hurricane.
Sea urchins are some of the coolest creatures living in the sea. They have long spikes that help them navigate under water, but we usually see them spike-less.
The Pixabay site has some new, awesome sea urchin photos which I will share here.
Remember that these are free images, which have been added to the public domain, and you can find more like them at Pixabay.com.
When I began this blog, many years ago, I was not much of a writer. (And still, I am not!) The fun of blogging was new to me, and boy did I have a lot to learn. My first blog was created at Google blogger, but I found that platform difficult to learn. Once I was introduced to WordPress I never looked back. This blog was my first one here at WP.
When I started Seashells by Millhill, I knew next to nothing about blogging, or seashells. I had just opened my seashell photography store, and related wedding stationery store. While creating tropical wedding stationery, from my own seashell pictures, I realized that I had finally taken more of an interest in those shells sitting in a bowl.
There are many ways to enjoy the beach and there are some things at the beach that can ruin your fun too. One reason we love being near the ocean is that it is ever changing. From the tides coming and going, to the creatures we see walking the shoreline there is always something new to see. And some days there will be jellyfish to contend with.
They are not something we really want to swim with at the ocean, but some jellyfish found on Florida beach shores are harmless. In fact the clear blobs that look like a lump of transparent jelly are actually part of the former jellyfish. The mesoglea, as it is called is the part of the jellyfish that was the “bell” shape on top.
Also the “moon jellies” are round, flat and clear, and the other type you may see is the Cannonball jelly. It has a clear bell attached which is yellow to brown. Ovate comb jellies can be seen glowing in the surf at nighttime if you are lucky enough to see them.
It’s best not to touch any jellyfish if you aren’t sure what it is. Some can still sting you after they are dead. The huge Lion’s Mane jellyfish is one that can do so, but it prefers cold water so you would only encounter it dead in Florida – my guess. I’ve been stung, by something, while swimming and had welts all up the back of my leg. I never saw the jellyfish though.
Check out this video of divers who found a Lion’s Mane jelly.
Many people head south to Florida this time of year. At least in my area of New England they do. When I lived in Florida, every spring was interrupted by relatives who invaded my life with their vacation plans of heading to Disney (of course) and the beaches. And they always wanted us to tag along. In fact, if you live in Florida, you know what I mean when I say that your home becomes a hotel for the people visiting from the north. Mostly I didn’t mind, and living in the sunshine year round made it difficult to relate to their sun and warm weather cravings, so we did the beaches and that was always fun. (More fun than Disney in my opinion). Who can go to the beach and not have fun?
April is the month that the weather (nights mainly) stay warm enough for the pools and oceans to warm enough to be swimable. I am talking about the central Florida weather, because Florida is a huge state and has a variety of climates from the panhandle to the Keys. I lived in central Florida and from April to October we visited the beach to swim.
Although Daytona Beach is well known (picture below), our favorite beach by far was in New Smyrna. It is easy to get to since Rt. 44 turns into A1A and that dumps you right onto it. It’s a popular place and we would try to get there early in the day to get a good spot to park (parking is right on the beach and on busy days you may not find a spot). We also watched the tide reports and went during low tide if possible since that gives you more beach to keep the kids away from traffic.
Another beach that we would go to was Bethune Beach. It is south of New Smyrna and there is no driving on the beach. It was much less crowded but there were reasons for that. First, it was a longer drive. After reaching the New Smyrna beach on-ramp you turn and head south on A1A for a long drive. It’s the only way to reach Bethune Beach. You park and have to carry all your gear down onto the sand and then of course you have to carry it all back up when you leave. There are no lifeguards (at least there weren’t when we would go).
Visiting the beach is wonderful and even when it’s full of people, it’s very relaxing and beautiful. Be sure to rent some boogie boards because they are a blast. Vacationing on the beach is even better because then you get to go out and walk in the evening when the tourists, cars and crowds have left. Now I’ve made myself homesick for the beach.