Place – Sanibel Island/Wildlife

What lies beneath these dark waters?

A hint was the low rumbling bellow we heard. Alligators bellow to communicate their size. The bellows were loud and seemed close.

We stayed only a few minutes, walking across boardwalks right on top of the water, not being able to see what was in the water surrounding us, I’ve got to say, we both found it creepy. I love wildlife, but I am not going to be lured into an area where alligators roam free and might be hungry. I’ll keep my alligator viewing confined to my cable wildlife channel.

The dark water the massive predators dwell in brings to mind deceivers in the Media. Residing in the murky swamp of chicanery they bellow false narratives about the recent election in the United States. Tell me, why would someone concede victory to even one lie before seeking truth first? Even those blindly voting for an apocalyptic agenda know there has been fraud, massive fraud. How can anyone in their right mind promise a dark winter instead of pointing the way to light? My hope is that the truth, at some point in time, will be revealed. Funny isn’t it, people who voted against liberal agendas don’t seem to be burning cities down. The Media Machine, combined with other dark forces, is spreading a red carpet for evil to waltz into every aspect of our lives.

We are living in a hellish reality where good is called evil, and evil is called good.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! ~Isaiah 5:20

It’s akin to saying, “Wade right into that swampy water, that bellow of hatred you’re hearing is only a love call, there’s no danger there.”

I’m praying that an attitude of peace will prevail in the USA. But, I am also praying that anyone who was involved in any election voter fraud, who has not totally turned to evil and chaos, will have such an attack of conscience that they will find no rest until they try to put it right. Prayer changes things.


“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” ~James 5:16

Place – Sanibel Island/The Shells

Have you heard of the Sanibel Stoop?

The Washington Times describes the Sanibel Stoop as “the bent-at-the-waist posture used to collect seashells on Sanibel Island.” Of course. While other postures and positions of the human form are primarily designed to reap a benefit directly related to health, wholeness or physique building, the Sanibel Stoop takes aims purely at the aesthetic, esoteric and artsy side of our being. ~Sundial Resort

This is my attempt at creating a daisy out of an iridescent array of pen shells. I didn’t bring any of this variety home. The edges are sharp and the shells are fragile, breaking easily into smaller pieces.

I did bring quite a few seashells home though. These are my finds, cleaned in the shell hut, a small open air shed with a sink, built by the West Wind Inn for the purpose of cleaning your shells. (This also keeps their plumbing, in the rooms, from becoming clogged with sand and beach debris.)

I thought ahead and brought some heavy duty zippered plastic bags I had saved from a recent purchase.

By nestling several together, we were able to bring home shells for all the children, grand-children, grand-nieces and nephews, and many for ourselves. I had read great advice in a blog post by another traveler to save plastic containers when you buy food on the island, and these also worked great to pack our shells for the flight home. Almost every shell made it back without breaking packed between layers of clothes in our carry-on bags.

Place – Sanibel Island/The Sea

Sanibel Island has warm water and strong surf. This helps bring up shells, and also sweeps them back into the sea. We were amazed a few times to find the beach, filled just hours before with thousands, if not millions of shells, swept pristine clean.

The waves are strong. I was knocked backwards once by one that caught me by surprise. Even strong swimmers need to be aware of the strength of the surf. I didn’t see any lifeguards while we visited in October. It’s definitely a swim at your own risk area.

We were able to see sunrise in the mornings from the beach in front of West Wind Inn, and in the evening, beautiful sunsets, featured in the photos above.

Captiva Island is next door to Sanibel. My  husband rented an hour on a sailboat at the Yolo shop located at the far end of the island. Yolo stands for ‘You Only Live Once.’ While my husband was having fun living life to the fullest, I had my only bad hour on the vacation. I watched from the beach in street clothes rather than a bathing suit, and by the time he sailed back to shore, I was about the hottest I have ever been. I will be wiser if we do the same thing in the future and wear a bathing suit and sit in the water to watch.

The Bubble Room, on Captiva Island, is an amazing restaurant filled with all kinds of interesting memorabilia. Despite the pandemic, and wearing masks upon entry, we were able to have a wonderful lunch of prime rib sandwiches.

This post is part of Skywatch Friday.

Place – Sanibel Island/The Land

I am not exaggerating when I say I have wanted to visit Sanibel Island, Florida, for more than four decades. We tried to drive down once with our seven month old son in his car seat. We only drove for seven hours before realizing the nightmare of a long drive with an active baby was not going to work for us. That son is now over forty, and that’s at least how long I have wanted to see this beautiful island.

You might wonder why. What is the pull? Easy to answer…the lure of the island for me is the seashells. Sanibel beaches are considered some of the best for shelling in the world. After visiting in early October of this year…I can totally support the claim. I have never seen so many shells, or so many beautiful varieties, strewn across a beach.

Beyond the lure of the beaches and warm water of the Gulf of Mexico is the beauty of the plant life. I love flowers and foliage of all types. The island supports many tropical plants and trees. The West Wind Inn, a beautiful place built on the beach, has gardens filled with lovely flowers and trees.

I’m not sure what this tropical beauty is named, but I am using it as part of Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Another flower I saw in abundance was this tropical version of Black-eyed Susans. The flowers resembled the ones I grow, but the foliage was very different, thick and dense, able to withstand the heat and salt in the air.

We visited two beaches in addition to the beach in front of the West Wind Inn. The Lighthouse Beach has a fishing pier. We saw dolphins in the water there. There is quite a bit of parking, but the restroom facilities were a long hike.

Our favorite beach was Bowman’s Beach. It was a long, long walk from the parking area/restroom facilities to the water, but so worth it. We went here twice, and some of the best shells we gathered were found on this shoreline. I waited a long time to go to Sanibel, I hope I can go back soon, and not have too many years between my visits.

Place – June in Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

When we visit Longwood in winter we briskly walk to the conservatory. In June, we take the opposite direction and stroll toward the lake.

The beautiful weather brings out many people to visit the gardens.

A gigantic frog floated unafraid as we passed by. He must see hundreds of people daily and is not fazed at all by being oohed and aahed over.

The water droplets in the fountains look like diamonds and the shapes they create are awesome.

I might sign up for solar if I could have flower power like this design instead of roof panels.

Birds were everywhere serenading the visitors.

There was something so serene in these fabric panels blowing in the wind. I want to  find a way to do something similar for a picnic or evening dinner. Thanks for  walking along with me today.

 

Place – Spring Walk/Ocean City, New Jersey

Ocean City Boardwalk North

Spring’s warm weather brings hundreds of Shoobies to Ocean City to walk the boards. Shoobie is a slang term for daytrippers who visit the Jersey shore for a day or weekend. I’m not ashamed to admit the moniker ‘Shoobie’ can often be applied to me.

It’s sometimes difficult to decide which way to turn on the boardwalk, but our starting point is usually Ninth Street. Why? Ninth street is where our favorite pizza place, Manco and Manco, is located.

Ocean City Boardwalk South

If you don’t want to walk you can pull up a seat on a surrey.

It might seem odd to find a library on the beach, but I think it’s a great idea. I’ve seen these small book exchange boxes in local towns, but this is the first beach library I’ve seen.

We stopped at the neighboring town of Strathmere on the way home. Walking the beach we took notice of an area on the edge of the dunes. Cordoned off with wire, signs warned against entering the area due to endangered birds nesting in the area. I love shore birds and was glad to see their nesting area was protected. I hope they will nest and rear their young before even more Shoobies arrive in the summer.

This post is part of Jo’s Monday Walk.

Place – Walking the Flip Side

I have to laugh at the sign stating “Lifeguard Not On Duty.” I feel sympathy enough for lifeguards sitting in their stands in the blazing sun of summer. Could you imagine an eight-hour shift on this Cape May Beach in the winter? Brrrrrr. No problem, I will find a way to walk on the beach and search for treasure even when the sand is covered with snow. My heart is anchored for life to the seashore towns and the ocean waves, and I can’t imagine living in a land-locked area.

February is living up to its reputation of being unpredictable. It was fun to walk the beach for a few minutes, but soon the cold wind penetrated our tightly-buttoned outerwear and we skedaddled back to the shelter of our car.

Places & Pheathers – Town, Country & The Pied Pipers of Raptor

Small Business Saturday has arrived, and we supported the cause by window-shopping in one of the small towns near us, Pitman, New Jersey. I like the reflection of the Broadway Theater in the door.

It’s fun to check out how the small businesses decorate their windows to draw shoppers inside.

We went from town to a small woods and field behind our home. As we walked, a large bird swooped in front of us, almost as if it was showing off a bit, and flew to a tree on the edge of the field. What excitement filled us to see not just one very large hawk, but two. I zoomed in with my camera and after downloading was able to make out their markings. I believe they are a pair of red-tailed hawks, although one appears to be much older than the other. Not only did we see them, they were very aware of us and split up, one flying into the horizon beyond the woods and one towards the homes nearby.

I followed the hawk that flew to the trees near our neighborhood as if it was the Pied Piper of Hamelin, or as my imagination deemed it while I played catch up with it on foot: The Pied Piper of Raptor. I never did get close enough to get a photograph without using the zoom on my lens. Smart birds! What a perfect Saturday we’ve had, a little bit of town, a little bit of country.

This post is part of Skywatch.

Place – Which Way to Tall Pines?

We always assumed it was called Tall Pines because of the tall pines surrounding it. Once a golf course and restaurant, it is now a 110 acre state preserve. In some areas you can still see where the sand pits were located. The trail in the photo is part of this week’s Which Way Photo Challenge.

We saw the silhouette of a large bird in the distance and thought perhaps it was a young eagle, but on closer inspection saw it was only a big buzzard. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are eagles and hawks nesting in this area in the Springtime.

The preserve was dedicated in June of 2016. It has taken us two years to visit and ride our bikes on the trails. I’m sure it will be a favorite excursion in the future. When we crossed the creek there were so many criss-crossing trails and choices we were lost for about twenty minutes, but soon found our way back.

This aeriel view courtesy of Google Maps gives you a sense of the immense size of the preserve.

Autumn is an especially good time to visit. We enjoyed the view of this small footbridge at the edge of the pond. These photographs were taken near noon today. The only problem we encountered were the beggar ticks, a burr type of seed, that hitchhiked home on our clothing.

If you like to hike and live in, or are visiting, Southern New Jersey, take advantage of this beautiful park

Place – The Blue Castle & Castles in the Air

“Experience the thrill of living in a Castle built 50ft. above an old pirates cave, overlooking the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.” ~ Blue Cave Castle


The Blue Cave Castle photographed from the Samara Resort in Negril Jamaica. This modern-day castle is my entry in City Sonnet’s Photo a Day Challenge for October 30th/Castle.

For some reason the challenge and my resultant photo made me think of the phrase: “Building Castles in the Air.”

“Building Castles in the Air”—Extravagant hopes and plans that will never be carried out. ~ Dictionary.Com

I must admit I have built plenty of ‘castles in the air’ in my lifetime. Instead of chiding myself over too many dreams, when I have a good idea that has potential to bear fruit I’m going to follow the advice of Henry David Thoreau

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ~ Thoreau

I also very much like these wise words from Richard Whately

“To know your ruling passion, examine your castles in the air.” ~ Whately

What castles are you building in your daydreams? Perhaps our castles in the air might lead to some spectacular new adventures. I’m ready to build some foundations under my dreams and see what comes. Onward!

Place & Perspective – Negril Lighthouse/Rick’s Cafe/Carpe Diem

The Negril Lighthouse was built in 1894. You will find a perfect view of this landmark in Jamaica from another landmark, Rick’s Cafe.

We arrived at Rick’s Cafe in minutes from the Samsara, a great hotel in between Rick’s Cafe and Seven Mile Beach, just in time to see a diver prepare to jump from the cliffs.

Ten second video of the jump.

My husband has jumped off the moderate sized cliffs the Samsara is built upon numerous times; I have not. I decided this was my year to jump. I contemplated the sea below, the height, and decided to seize the day and finally jump off the cliffs.

There I go, my hair makes me laugh, it looks as if it wants to stay behind and is yelling, “NO!”

My husband jumped with the underwater camera this year. Here’s a quick glimpse of what you see and hear when you jump in from the cliffs.

I’m glad I did seize the day, the next morning the sea was rough, churned up by Hurricane Michael’s path to the left of Jamaica. If I had waited I would have missed my chance.

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

This post is part of Skywatch Friday

Place – Ten-Photo-Daytrip/Wheaton Arts

A daytrip to Wheaton Arts is a must if you are in the Philadelphia area and love blown glass and glass artworks.

Walk through the museum first. You will find a wide array of glass vessels, history and even a few items called whimseys. Whimseys were what the glassblowers worked on for themselves during their lunch hour.

In modern times glassblowers create many unique items, such as this marionette.

Even nails were decorated with blown glass.

We were pleased to see paperweights created by renowned glass artist Paul Stankard.

Here’s a close-up look at a bit of the art contained in the paperweights courtesy of a large poster.

Our next stop was the glassblowing studio. You can feel the heat in the building. The glow of the furnaces as sand is turned to liquid is so bright and hot it is impossible to gaze at it for any length of time. You can see the heat and glow reflected on the back of one of the glassblower’s shirts.

To say it’s fascinating to observe these craftsmen/women as they work is a definite understatement. I could have watched them all day. Another bonus is the gentleman who narrates and explains what they are doing.

If you are able you can schedule a lesson in advance and make your own paperweight. Even the most awkward crafter will create a beautiful paperweight under the tutelage of the glassblowers.

This is a worthwhile way to spend a few hours. Wheaton Arts is open April through December/Tuesday through Sundays, 10am – 5pm. Wheaton Arts is closed on most holidays.

Here’s something good to tell you, Wheaton Arts also sells the wares of the glassblowers and has a General Store filled with old-fashioned toys and candy. There is also a nature walk circling the property.

Place – Fortescue/Free and Easy

Free and Easy, to me, means fishing. It was finally warm enough in our area to fish on the Delaware Bay in Fortescue. We were welcomed by a committee of one as we crossed the salt marshes, an osprey on the town sign.

In all directions, the sky was a glorious blue.

The jetty, popular with fisherman, was never so exposed. The tide was at its lowest when we arrived. Only one fisherman pulled in any fish, and they were too small to keep.

The low tide exposed hundreds of my favorite treasures: sea glass, oyster shells, and driftwood. We had a lovely day. We love to observe the change of seasons along the Delaware Bay.

Place – Philadelphia in the Fog

The fog surrounding Philadelphia transforms the city and surroundings with a metallic silver hue. These sights were photographed from the opposite side of the Delaware river on the shores of National Park, New Jersey.

National Park is a great place to watch planes arriving and departing from Philadelphia International Airport.

Cee’s Foto Challenge this week is Metal. Think how many metal water towers we pass each day, never notice, but depend upon for their durability.

Peculiarities & Place – The Atlantus and Cape May Diamonds

img_5006-2

Sunset Beach in Cape May, New Jersey, has two unique draws: The Atlantus and Cape May Diamonds. The Atlantus is a concrete ship sunk here in June of 1926. Slowly, the ship is being claimed by the sea.

img_5009-4

Cape May Diamonds are quartz pebbles polished to a diamond-like clarity by their passage down the Delaware River. The man in the photograph must be a serious beachcomber; he brought along a small rake to search for Cape May Diamonds.

img_5011-2

I enjoy sorting through all the beautiful pebbles. Most are polished to a lovely smoothness.

img_5140-2

I didn’t come home empty-handed. Here are a few of the ‘diamonds’ I found on a piece of moonshell. For us, a visit to Cape May always includes a quick stop-over at Sunset Beach.

Place & Quote – Cape May, New Jersey/Solitude

img_4996-3

“And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” ~ Mark 6:31

One of the best aspects of towns along the seashore in the off season is the ease of finding solitude. For those of you who see shapes and faces in objects, do you see the shape of bird wings on either side of the sun? I do.

img_5022-2

The shoreline of the Cape May Point State Park is a perfect place to walk, do a little bird-watching, or admire the Cape May Lighthouse.

img_5019-2

Cape May, New Jersey is a lovely place to spend a week or a few days for a seashore getaway. More to come on this southernmost tip of New Jersey to follow this week.