|Sept 4 – 6, 2023
|What we learned:
|Get up early
|Would we go back?
|Gamble Rogers State Park
After a short morning kayak trip up Bull Creek to photography the Scarlet Rosemallow, a Hibiscus species found in swamps and marshes, we left for the beach.
We stopped at Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic Park and ate our lunch and walked the trails. We photographed a bunch of mushrooms here last year but this year we only saw one. The drive into the park is 1 mile down a 1 lane dirt road with oak trees over hanging. It is just gorgeous.
We scored an actual oceanside campsite. Though we could not see the ocean from our site we were right next to the over look. There are only about 3 or 4 sites on the oceanside that you can actually see the ocean from the site. The saw palmettos have grown up and block most views. But I am not complaining.
You could hear the surf as it was still pretty rough since Idalia went by late last week. Wayne took a night off from cooking and we walked to High Tides Snack Jack for dinner. The local restaurant has been around since 1947 and is right on the beach just north of the state park. The food was delicious and the staff was great. You have to get there early as the place closes at 8:00 pm. We will definitely go back.
Both mornings we walked the beach to catch sunrise and we hoped to catch the turtle people. We were lucky 1 morning and 2 nests were excavated. One nest had just over 100 eggs and 70+ hatched on their own. Thirty died in the nest as the sand was too deep due to the hurricane and about 5 did not hatch at all. The second nest there was about 100 eggs as well. This is the nest that had the 4 live baby loggerhead sea turtles that crawled into the ocean. There were about 10 eggs that did not hatch and they were left in the nest near the surface just in case. The second morning the sunrise was a bit better with the waves calming down and shore birds. The turtle people went miles down the beach to work on nests so we were unable to follow. Wayne photographed the dune flowers and I sat trying to photograph and video the rising sun, waves, and shorebirds. During the day we stayed in camp as there were some Fleabane behind the campsite that was hosting a party of bees, bumblebees, wasps and butterflies. So I practiced my photography and took 100’s of pictures. I finished just in time as our friends Chip and Kathy drove in to visit. We celebrated Chips birthday with a fine bottle of rum and a delicious Mahi Mahi dinner. It was great to catch up and go over old stories and new adventures. Wayne and I are so bad at taking photos of people we forgot to get one of all of us. Next time.
Wildlife sightings: Pelicans, Seagulls, Snowy Egret, Loggerhead turtle hatchlings, Plovers, Sanderlings, Bees, Wasps, Butterfly
I looked on the map for anything interesting to see on our way home before we had to drive I-95 South. There is a lighthouse at the end of the road on A1A past Daytona Beach. So we headed that way. Boy did we stumble upon a great little area. Not only was there the Ponce De Leon Lighthouse but also a nature conservation center with seahorses, a touch tank with cow nosed rays and stingrays, but also a sea turtle hospital and bird rehabilitation center. We stayed for hours wandering around and climbing the lighthouse steps.
Note: All photos and videos unless otherwise stated are property of Wayne and Margaret Shoemake. If you would like to use any of them please click the contact page and email us.