Saturday, January 31, 2009

More Than A Hiccup in Paradise

Last post we talked about the sea pests, jellyfish and man-of-wars. Well would you believe now we have the shark brigade.

From Riviera Beach in Palm Beach County down to Delray Beach lifeguard stands were flying double Red Flags on the 22nd of January warning swimmers to stay out of the Atlantic Ocean while sharks do their annual feeding.

According to beach attendants, sharks were jumping completely out of the water with mouths open and eyes closed. There were hundreds of them and some were only about 10 feet from the shore. Nurse, Black Tip, Spinner, and the dangerous Bull Sharks were sighted as they chase the winter migration of small fish.

Shallow sandbars create warm water where the sharks hang out while waiting for a school of fish which attracts them toward shore or sometimes a boat comes by and scares them toward the beach. The sharks are more visable this time of year as the ocean is clear and calm.

Sharks and tourists all seem to come together here and that makes for a dangerous liaison. Visitors think if they stay in shallow water they are safe but sharks can grab you even in very shallow water. Not worth the risk.

Beach Attendants and Lifeguards are keeping the people out of the water until it is safe again. They are still setting up blue cushions on the beach lounge chairs for people to enjoy the beach, just cannot go in the water.

Here is a link to a very interesting article and video of Matt Lauer of the Today Show interviewing a couple of officials down here in South Florida about the shark situation. Be sure to launch the video. It is awsome.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Hiccup in Paradise

Last post we played show and tell with our photos and stories of great beach and scooter weather on the last day of 2008. So we thought we should let you in on one of the little drawbacks, Sea Pests.

We are right in the middle of Man-of-War and Jellyfish season and recently more than 100 swimmers became acquainted with these oceanic agents of sting and pain last weekend at beaches in our area. Nobody was seriously injured, but lifeguards were treating people with vinegar and meat tenderizer. The stings of jellyfish and bright blue man-of-wars cause itching and/or red welts.

Experts say they will come back out every time we get some east winds. As winter progresses the man-of-wars become larger, their tentacles longer and their sting more potent. Man-of-war are not jellyfish but an animal made of different organisms working together. In rare cases a man-of-war sting can be fatal.

After a flurry of sea pest activity the populations can subside with the winds but most area beaches were still flying the purple flags from the lifeguard stands warning beach goers that dangerous marine life might be lurking.

Most of us natives know what to do when stung and how to avoid the pests, but the man-of-war season coincides with tourist season and the visitors are unaware and usually are the targets.

Funny, some of the tourists don’t go in the water, but even if the things are washed up on the shore, you can get stung by touching them. And so many tourists are curious about them as they may have never seen one so they are tempted to touch it.

If you want to see the damage that one of these creatures can do, then check out this link about a guy who was just swimming along the shore in Key West when he had an encounter of the worst kind.

The Man-of-war season usually ends in March but the pesky little jellyfish stick around all year. Once we were snorkeling in September off the coast of Key West when we spotted a huge mass of jellyfish not far from us. Needless to say we got back to boat with great speed.

Nothing like a good book and a beach chair during these times. The beaches and the water are still beautiful and can be enjoyed with caution.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Last Day of 2008 in Paradise

Don’t know where the time goes. Seems to fly by when we are not looking. We thought we would share with all of you what it was like on the last day of 2008 here in South Florida. Not trying to rub it in.

It was perfect scooter weather so we took a ride down A1A. From West Palm Beach going south the ocean road is two lane and scenic. The ocean stretches for miles on our left and on the right are palatial properties overlooking the ocean. Some have the ocean for their front view and the Intracoastal for their back yard. Further along, the road curves slightly west so that some homes are right on the ocean. These properties have impressive iron gates and walls facing the road. When you can see thru the iron gates there is usually a long winding landscaped drive leading up to their homes, which are rarely viewed from the road. We remember when some of the promiscuous Kennedy clan was in the news there would be aerial shots of their Palm Beach property. That is probably the only way it could be seen. Wonder if one could now google it and get a satellite view? Not much privacy these days.

Would you believe it? Above is a shot of Don King's property that was in our local paper just this morning. Seems he has it up for sale, $27.5 million. It is on 3 acres and stretches from ocean to intracoastal, has 32,000 square feet in a main house and guest house, and not to be outdone there is a statue of liberty facing the ocean and lit at night. If you want all the juicy details, here is the link It is an interesting read.

We stopped at Lake Worth Beach and took a few shots of all the people on the beach. There is a board where they post the temperatures and ocean conditions. The air temp was 79 and the water temp was 74. For us the water is cold but for many people it is fine. We have been in Florida too long.

We continued down A1A to Delray Beach. Below is a photo of the Colony Hotel located in the middle of trendy downtown Delray Beach. It dates back to 1926 and offers the historic appeal of a romantic "Old Florida" setting and with all the modern amenities for a perfect vacation.

The hotel also offers a private beach club for it's guests called the Cabanna Club, 250' of private sandy beach with complimentary beach cabaƱas, chaises and beach umbrellas right on the beach. There is scheduled Colony van transportation between Hotel and Club, a Saltwater pool, heated by environmentally sensitive Geo-thermal, and Hammock Garden, Serenity Circles and Shuffleboard courts.

We found this Santa on a motorcycle at Conner’s Pub.

The perfect place to have a drink and bid farewell to 2008.