Sunday, September 23, 2018

Not sure I understand customary use of the beach

We are to prove that the beach has been in use without interruption by humanity. That is what I think, the affidavits being collected by our county will prove. Prove that to someone or some organization defies logic. Add this to the long list of things that humans do that confuse me. This one at least, so far, has not had fatalities. I first visited Grayton Beach in the 1970's. Don't know how my travel mate and I found the road to get to it but we did. I also, came in the 80's this time passing through Seaside and as we kept driving west on 30A we ended up in Miramar Beach where we stopped the car and literally ran across the bright with sand and into the beautiful gulf water. I'm a Florida native and have seen beautiful water on every coast but living here for 16 years I must say, some days the water here is so beautiful it almost hurts to look at it. Anyhow, my affidavit has been signed and turned in with thousands of others who seek to reinstate our customary use of the beach in Walton County. Something is supposed to come of that action in November. Stay tuned.

So today, accessing our beach through a county controlled beach access, I began my customary morning walk along the water's edge. Full disclosure: Bruce walks the beach every morning religiously; I try to get there 3 times a week. We sometimes bring chairs and stay for a few hours but mostly we just walk. I like our Blue Mountain Beach access on 83 because you usually see neighbors there coming and going. I ran into Jack first thing because he is there a lot. He surfs, he paddles, he swims, he walks, he stretches, he and his wife bring their grands down quite often, etc. He's a big-time customary user. We chatted about his wife's new truck, saw a large fish breaching just past the second sandbar and answered a tourist's question about dogs on the beach. Seems to me, the tourists this time of year that come are somehow nicer than our summer people. Less frantic or something. We also heard the passing grumblings from another local about the Private Beach signs littering the view. It's true some "private beach" owners are littering the beach with signs. BTW, they have to be an obstacle course for Sea Turtles. I would argue that the beach vendors are littering the beach with empty chair set-ups and white storage boxes for the chairs. And the tent's people bring these days are also an eyesore. It happens at every Florida beach. I must find the late 50's photo of my big sis and I taken at Marco Island. Talk about changes.

South Walton is going through growing pains. As a state, we made the mistake of letting people buy property down to the water's edge. And some folks figured out how to "quiet title" even more waterfront property. That seems criminal. Why our county hasn't done that is another item for my list. The beach is our only claim to fame, we need every foot of it. As a local, I find all of this confusing and complicated so I gotta thinks guests are as well.

A beautiful white heron has been hanging at the Redfish dune lake lately. It looks like it knows what it is doing and where it should be.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Summer's here and the time is right

Summer's here and the time is right for tourists to come. I blurred the image a bit just for fun...like an old postcard. I love the umbrellas with colors. Some of the resorts have the most boring colors for their umbrellas. Gray and black, brown, doesn't make sense to me.

It's been a year since I posted on this blog! What the heck happened? Lots of life experiences but no reason to be away. So I'll be back at it because I like posting pretty pictures.

First of all Turtle Nesting Season has started. Do not leave trash or holes on the beach and keep it dark at night. Very important to help the mamas right now and later the same rules apply to help the babies.

Yesterday was amazing. The temperature in the 80's I think which is getting a little warm for me off the beach but on it, there is usually a breeze so it was pleasant.


Bruce and I came upon a number of these little beauties washed up on the beach. There's usually something interesting that washes up. I don't get crazy about it anymore, it's natures way. I do get crazy about plastics that wash up because that is not natures way but I digress. I call these little guys Bottle Cap jellies, but it turns out they are not jellyfish at all. Today I got an email from Laurie Reichenbach, the person in charge of the Turtle Watch Beach Ambassador program educating us so that we are in the know. She tells us that they, Blue Buttons, have the more formal name of Porpita Porpita which doesn't sound very formal but absolutely does suit them. It is a "colony of polyps" and that you should check out because it's kind of fascinating. But what most people want to know about it is do they sting. They do, but it is described as a skin irritation. I have not experienced it, but I try not to step on them. Interesting info about Porpita Porpita:


Oh and just because it's an annual thing that happens at our house, a photo of the 2018 crop of blue jays from our porch. In the nest and a first flight.
 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Beach chairs in South Walton

Your ready to spend time at the beach. Gotta make some decisions like which beach, what to take in the cooler, what towels, toys, etc. One of the most important decisions is what to sit your bottom on. There are many ways to sit at the waters edge but for most people a chair is the most comfortable. But which kind? Arrange for a beach gear service and have them set it up for you or bring your own?  If you are at a resort, you may have to use a rental service but generally, South Walton beaches give you the choices. Here are a few pros and cons.
The Bring Your Own Option
Pros:
BYO is cheaper than a service.
Its easier to move BYO chairs with the change in tide line.
Choice of cheerful colors.
Chaos. Not everyone likes the chaotic set-up of individual sun worshippers out there every which way but I think it’s the most fun aesthetically.

Cons:
You do the manual labor getting them to and from the beach everyday.
You are probably not going to be as good at getting the umbrella to stay up.
If you don’t get out there early on a busy day it can be tricky to find a good spot.
Beach Chair Rental
Pros:
They do the manual labor.
They get down to the beach EARLY to set-up.
Order. Lined up beach chairs and umbrellas are symmetrically pleasing.

Cons:
Expense. Beach gear rentals can be pricey. Shop it. 
Order. When it’s busy, it is busy for everyone. At the public accesses, even the rental services maneuvering between themselves. Folks that bring their own chairs can set-up anywhere so eventually may break-up the orderly rows.

Rules and regulations. I’ve been in Walton County for 15 years and cannot keep track of the rules with any certainty so don’t quote me on anything. There are HOA rules, county rules, state rules and federal rules, private beachfront property owner rights and there are beach vendor territories and rules that must be considered. The rules are very confusing. The one that gives me the most guidance is the customary use ordinance. The customary use ordinance was passed and went into effect April 1, 2017. As of this posting, April 23, 2017, we beach goers have a right to use the beach respectful of specific guidelines. You can find out exactly what that means by reading the ordinance. To me it says keep 15’ away from the toe of the dunes on any beach, no smoking, no tents, no bad behavior. Walton County also enforces the Leave No Trace ordinance so take out what you bring in every day and for the safety of turtles, birds and humans please fill in any holes you dig. And of course the best rule is to have fun while being nice to one another because no matter what you are sitting on, you are lucky to be here enjoying the Florida panhandle beaches.