Friday, December 28, 2007

Red Tide Beach Day

Dick and I went to Stuart Beach on Hutchinson Island with Laurie, Dylan and Jana. The weather was gorgeous, but there was something in the water called the Red Tide. It's a growth of algae that's a real irritant, both in the water and onshore. We all were coughing, eyes watering, and noses running. It's just an irritant to people, but it can be deadly to sea creatures. We heard that as many as 46 manatees may have died this week because of it.

Jana and Dylan enjoyed the water anyway!

Laurie and I stayed on the sand, and Dick was the official photographer with his new Nikon which we all love!
Around the corner and down the road is the Oceanographic Center with nice displays and a cute gift shop. There is a huge tank there filled with stingrays. At 3 p.m. there's a nature talk about stingrays, and an opportunity for anyone who wants to participate to feed fish to the stingrays! Laurie and Jana were the only two of us who tried it.
Just down the road from the Oceanographic Center is the House of Refuge at Gilbert's Bar. It's the only house of refuge still standing. These place were a lot like the life-saving stations along the Great Lakes. After storms, the keepers would search the nearby beaches for survivors of boat wrecks and provide them with refuge. It was an interesting place in a beautiful setting.
A professional photographer was on the beach while we were there trying to take pictures of a small group of people. They had to scrap the photo session - everybody was wheezing and coughing because of the Red Tide, and it was enough to ruin all of the shots!