Thursday, 23 November 2017

MB "Downtown" or "City Center"

OK, quirky quilting friends in London asked to see what my "downtown" looks like - I think they are hoping for 1950's beach charm - what is known here as "Old Florida" but often means beachy version of slightly run down American wild west.

Here's our new modern city hall building and 'downtown' Madeira Beach (click for map) - don't blink and don't get too excited! We also have a new fire station, small library, chemist (AE=drugstore) and grocery store within walking distance.

Very quiet and breezy on Thanksgiving Day at a'chilly/damp' 73 F (22 C).

Madeira Way
Periodic Craft Market on Madeira Way

here's our beach 'Snack Shak' at Archibald Beach Park

1.5 miles down the road is out 'tourist shopping area' known as Johns Pass (in 1848 a hurricane blew through and separated MB from Treasure Island creating a break in the sandy barrier island first noticed by fisherman John and hence known as Johns Pass - so hence the 'fishing village' tourist area is known as Johns Pass).

That's it folks! But keep reading for my holiday 'taking a break' blog post below.

2x Happy Holidays

We have returned from the 1st Annual Sea Turtle Trackers End of Season Celebration Cruise (a record year for sea turtle nesting here in Florida) to Roatan, Honduras and Cozumel, Mexico and now ...

... it is what mini me calls the 'Silly Season' here in the USA with Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the run-up to Thanksgiving (always the 4th Thursday in November with Friday as a day off as well) and Christmas. Two major family holidays so close together means it is hard to get most anything done other than conspicuous consumption of food and material goods!!

For my UK friends: Since Thanksgivig is the only 4 day holiday in the USA (where 1 in 4 move home long-distance in any given year), it is also the busiest travel weekend as many people have family get-togethers for this holiday. Each year some American asks me if Thanksgiving is celebrated in the UK and I gently remind them of the origins of the holiday.

So mini me has been busy crafting charity pillows (only 100 this year) and gifts. Now is the time for taking a blogging hiatus/rest!  Happy Holidays and all the best for 2018!!

Table topper /hot pad

wine bottle cozy

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Beach Finds

our shimmering sands
After last Sunday's rough seas (with high surf advisory on the 29th October), we had a bit of debris on the beach.

stone crab pot washed ashore
so many sponges we thought of a new business . . . 

stone crab fisherman
they take only 1 claw
picture through my new 'scope'
new local 'tram' - but boarding with a shopping trolly???

Dune Restoration under state permit 

But some dunes grow on their own - anywhere
including over the sea wall and into the condo block!

And this weekend was the 'King of the Beach' fishing tournament and general town outing. You can see the event for yourself - notice the full moon.

why do bands always start late?
Good for hurricane flood waters?

And for those who like sunsets-those are pelicans on the wing

PS Tuesday the 7th November saw a rescue of a pelican with broken wing just in front of our condo; s/he has gone to rehab . . (bird in arms of man in green on left)

Monday, 9 October 2017

Hurricane Nate Sculpts & Cleans Our Beach

Hello Nate!
Well I spoke too soon. Temperatures in the 90s F (~33C) are back and it is very muggy & sticky. Ah well, we still have a little breeze. I have been waiting to see if the tide goes under our building into the parking garage - let me explain.

Things were pretty quiet on the beach . ..  a fair number of people out, sand washed back in from Hurricane Irma; life was  . . . well dull.

The biggest excitement was this cherry picker with caterpillar tracks moving down the beach and a silly silly woman feeding the birds looking like the pied piper as they followed her on her sandy stroll . You can see in these photos the Gulf of Mexico looks as calm as a small pond.

Our impact from Hurricane Nate, arrived Saturday the 7th October.

surfing with a float!
Over the past few days we had onshore to offshore winds that pushed water away from the beach.  We also had a full moon and hence a high Spring Tide.

The winds and waves bring out the kite surfers, body surfers and the kid in all of us. Saturday afternoon the water approached our under building parking . . .

These two things - wind blowing offshore and Spring Tide - combined with Hurricane Nate travelling through and stirring up the Gulf brought back the water pushed outward. Hence the groynes were totally submerged and hidden. The size of the waves and the height of the tide on the beach has waxed and waned over the past day.

See how the dunes protect the beach -- except where there aren't dunes . . . and hence water comes close to our under building parking.

Monday morning I can see Nate has re-sculpted the beach flattening out the storm scarp and the cliff edge created by Irma. He removed a bit of sand (like Irma) so more groyne pillars are exposed, but I expect that sand to return over the next week.

The BBC weatherman forecasts the remnants of Nate will help bring up southerly winds and warmer temperatures for my London friends later this week.

Taken Sunday morning, there is still lots of debris from Hurricane Irma to be picked up.

And here's some more fun dolphin shots sis' took on her recent visit. I got a scope and tripod for my big birthday, so hopefully soon I can take these myself!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Dolphins Hide & Islands Divide in Hurricane

Yami with Yukon by Ann Weaver
Ever wondered what happens to dolphins and sand in a hurricane?  Well Irma gave us some good clues! If you think the answer is dolphins dive deep, well that is part of the answer - see the detail in this article by Ann Weaver, our local dolphin researcher.

Ann says in an earlier article that this is mom Yami with baby son Yukon born 2016. She believes they were playing a tickling game last August when she took this picture.

Source: Science News for Kids
Here's a video that shows how Shell Key had a 'breach' across the island; it started out as two islands, grew into one, and has 'breached' several times since.

Hubby and I did a whole presentation of 'Shifting Sand' for our FMNP course last July. It's hard to show as a single snap shot in time how barrier islands change, but the picture above is a good example of Assateague,Maryland which once was just 1 island! Now the southern end - a nature preserve - is moving inland while the developed northern end cannot shift due to man-made barriers.

September was the most hurricane active month on record. After Irma, we had Jose, which tracked off the East Coast, Kati, which hit Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, while Lee stayed out in the Atlantic ocean, and Maria devastated Puerto Rico, but missed Florida. Now Ned is likely to make landfall this weekend in Louisiana.  Jose, Maria and Ned all were forecast at some point to come our way - but didn't.

In the meantime, work continues here to clean-up from Irma. There is still lots of yard debris to be picked up and signs and building siding to be replaced. Hubby is fixing our little leak.

one tired beach biker
Sis arrived for a visit and for fun we tried out beach bike riding, but these balloon tires, instead of making it easier, actually were exhausting!

We went to the annual autumn start of the local Corey Market and found some Chinese Noodle Beans to try - yummy, just saute.

hatchling by CMA

pretty close in to shore!
My turtling for the season is about over as the last nests that survived Irma are hatching.

But the dolphins came out to play around our boat trip in the Boga Ciega Bay as well as outside our window. The dolphins are attracted inshore by a schools of bait fish which also bring out the pelicans for a dining feast.

heron on right below man
We've had some pretty hard rains which has left water on the beach . . . including enough that the tide has stranded some fish and made a tasty treat for this heron. A cold front passed through a couple of days ago and hallelujah, after a really hot, humid and sticky summer, it seems "autumn" has arrived with temperatures in 80s, a BIG breeze, and slightly lower humidity!! I can go outside without turning into a sweat ball.

At long last, I finished my Roseate Spoonbill fabric and stuffed a few more charity pillows with the help of friends.