This year we decided to once again go to Destin FL for our summer vacation. Last year we visited the emerald coast for the first time & absolutely new we would be back. The recent tragedy of the oil spill had us very concerned about visiting the area for fear of the water being unfit to swim in. Since we had already paid our deposit the real estate agency said they wouldn't be able to give us our deposit back unless they actually closed the beaches. So a couple of weeks ago we loaded up the car & started our 14 hour drive to The Sunshine State. On this trip I didn't do much playing with my camera. No out of this world photos, just regular shots of us on the beach & relaxing. I did take a good camera, but most of these were just taken with a simple point-and-shoot.
My wife Cari & I on the first day we arrived. The weather forecast called for 30 to 60% chance of scattered rain showers throughout the entire week. Oh well, at least we were not at home & could relax in our condo if it did rain.
The first thing we noticed on our way down to the beach was this tar cleaning station. Was this going to be a bad sign? We made our way down & didn't notice any oil on the beaches or water anywhere. We were very relieved but still knew that this area was really hurting this year from the absence of many tourist since the spill.
Everyday on the beach we would see this group of "Environmental Labor Solutions" workers with their rubber boots, gloves & nets attempting to catch any tar balls that would float onto the beach. We only saw 2 quarter sized tar balls the entire time.
A bit concerning as to why it was ok for us to swim in the water but they would wear taped up rubber boots & gloves to protect them....
My wife Cari celebrated her 34th birthday while on our vacation. Our friends, who we shared the condo with surprised her with a cake. Happy Birthday Cari!
I went walking down the shoreline & noticed the beach goers looking out into the water & pointing. We could just see a large gray mass slowly floating about 75 yards out. It definitely wasn't wood or trash, but some kind of fish we thought. The object slowly made its way down to our camp. That day I luckily brought my good camera w/ my 300mm lens down with us. I was able to get a good look & saw it was a HUGE sea turtle.
As it got even closer we could all see it wasn't just 1 but 2 (mating) turtles. Cari is pictured explaining this to others.
Cari & Misty (friend) & many others thought it would be a good idea to swim out to get a closer look at this rare occurrence.
the below image is a fake doctored image where I combined two different photos. One of just the girls & the other of just the turtles. Although the swimmers didn't actually get this close, this does show you just how big the turtles really were.
I thought it would be neat to take the kids to Bass Pro Shop. Not only do they have outdoor supplies, but it's almost like a museum itself. Outside they had a replica of a huge shark that made for good photos. Our friends the Barringtons' got one too.
Even though there was not any oil washed up on the beach, we still didn't care too much for swimming this year. One thing we loved about Destin last year was the crystal clear water. We were used to our Texas Gulf coast where you'll find brown water & smelly seaweed covered beaches. This year we were very disappointed to see the water had slimy moss floating in it. A huge contrast from last year. Someone told us that usually this will come in June but is gone by July. The water got progressively worse everyday & by the last 2 days seaweed floated in & covered the shoreline. We definitely didn't swim as much as we would have liked, but this didn't keep us from enjoying our stay in Destin.
Notice how different the water looked.