Gulf of Mexico at Ft. Pickens

Osprey on nest

Osprey on nest

This place is indescribably beautiful.  I took 229 photos today and will do my best to share only the ones I think you would most enjoy.

Turquoise water, white waves, white sand

Turquoise water, white waves, white sand

I grew up on the Atlantic coast and am used to beige sand and murky greenish ocean water.  I am always enthralled by the difference on the Gulf side of Florida.  The sand is pure white, and the water a beautiful, clear turquoise.

It’s been hot, but with the constant ocean breezes, it is chilly in the shade.  We’ve worn windbreakers with our shorts several times today.  We haven’t run the air conditioner at all.  We just open all the windows and bask in perfect temperatures.  It gets chilly at night, so we do close them at night.  Except mine stays cracked open.  I like to sleep cooler than Ron.  🙂

More of that incredibly turquoise water

More of that incredibly turquoise water

The beach goes on forever.

The beach goes on forever.

In addition to the glorious beach, I’ve found beautiful flowers blooming here in the most inhospitable places.  I’ve also found lots of wild edible plants, but since they are everywhere, I’ll skip them today.

We did have a scare this morning.  Sunny woke up sick, in pain and lethargtic.  So we spent the morning at the Gulf Island Animal Hospital.  They aren’t sure what’s wrong with him, but gave him a shot for pain and inflammation, more meds to help settle his stomach and relax him, and special food to eat for a week.  He is doing a lot better this afternoon, so I think he will be okay until we can get to our vet at home.

Wild lantana at our campground

Wild lantana at our campground

Spiderwort flowers on the edge of the woods in our loop

Spiderwort flowers on the edge of the woods in our loop.

More beautiful wildflowers

More beautiful wildflowers

These exquisite beauties were growing in the dunes.

These exquisite beauties were growing in the dunes.

Rugged dune life

Rugged dune life

This tree on the dunes looks like it barely survived the last hurricane.

This tree on the dunes looks like it barely survived the last hurricane.

There are many birds here.  Sitting outside listening to them is a pleasure.  This photo shows two of them in one tree.

There are many birds here. Sitting outside listening to them is a pleasure. This photo shows two of them in one tree.

We got such a kick out of watching the birds trying to get Sheba's food.  Every time they would get brave enough to try, Sheba would move and they would take off.  I don't know if they ever succeeded in snitching a bite!

We got such a kick out of watching the birds trying to get Sheba’s food. Every time they would get brave enough to try, Sheba would move and they would take off. I don’t know if they ever succeeded in snitching a bite!

Since Sunny wasn't feeling well, we left him in the trailer when we took our walk.  Here he is welcoming us back home.

Since Sunny wasn’t feeling well, we left him in the trailer when we took our walk. Here he is welcoming us back home.

Galveston

An oil well in Dayton, Texas

Although it was overcast yesterday, it was warm and balmy.  Driving to Galveston, we passed a bank thermometer that read 74 degrees.

Since I had never seen an oil well, Mike drove us by one in their town so I could take a photo.   And on the 90 minute drive to Galveston, we passed several huge refineries–to me, an unsettling reminder of the Gulf oil disaster, but also a reminder of how grateful I

Gail

am for the gasoline that fueled our truck on our trip.

I love beach towns. My elementary school years were spent on a beach in Florida.  So I feel a profound sense of belonging when I am around salt water.

I was surprised at the dark colored sand and muddy looking water.  But even though it lacked white sugar sand beaches, Galveston held all the familiar magic of

Mike, Gail and Ron

a beach town to me.  We sat on the seawall and soaked in the sights and sounds of the ocean,  walked along the seawall, and enjoyed browsing for wonderfully tacky beach souvenirs.

We ended the tour with dinner at the oceanside Salt Grass Restaurant where Mike and Gail treated us to a scrumptious dinner.  There is nothing so special to me as eating seafood in a restaurant by the ocean.

Gail and Mike at Murdochs

Ron and I

Ron on the porch at Murdoch's

People enjoying the beach

Views from car

There were pelicans perched on the posts in the water, but the camera didn't capture them.

Gorgeous architecture. Someday we may return to tour the botanical gardens.

And we also all realized just how old we are all getting.   Growing up on the beach, we felt so wild and free, with dreams and endless horizons stretching ahead of us forever.  But seeing clothes in the shops like those we felt so beautiful wearing decades ago — that would look cartoonish on us now — reminded us how irretrievably gone those days are.   Needing help getting up from where we were perched on the seawall was another reminder.

Nevertheless it was a day for making beautiful memories together.

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