Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Rainy, Cloudy Warm, Windy–It’s the Beach

Sunday November 23st & Monday November 24nd, 2014
Fort Clinch State Park Campground
Fernandina Beach, Florida





Boy did it ever rain after we returned from our day at Historic Fernandina Beach on Saturday.  We tried out another no oil popcorn idea since my stainless steel pan didn’t work.  You can see that fiasco here.  But look at the pan after 3 days of cleaning.  You’d never know it happened and believe me, it won’t happen again. 


And look at this major popcorn with no oil success.  The secret?  A well seasoned cast iron skilled.

1/4 cup popcorn on medium high and shaking enough that the camera can’t focus on the pan.






This morning it was still raining lightly in the early morning.  There is a lake in front of our neighbor’s driveway.  He jokingly said he thought they’d have to use our kayaks to get around.





When rain stops we go out to see if the ocean is still angry and it sure is.  The sky is white with clouds.  You can’t see down the beach but we walk along toward the ocean around the bend.

This is the Cumberland Sound





Nothing deters these two.




I can barely see the fishing pier through the clouds.






The ocean is beyond the fishing pier which has one side on the sound and one on the Ocean.





Just beyond the pier the land curves around to the ocean but we’ve run out of beach.




The tide looks regular enough and the beach deep enough that I think I can make a run for it through the water.   I know that around the bend the beach is very very wide.  I consider it.




I take off my shoes and socks, roll up my pant legs, ’m ready!



Off I go.






As I leave, David’s comment is “You are really going to do that?”  So I don’t expect to see him on the other side.  But he is much more cheeky than I am, he walks through the water with his shoes on and takes a picture of what we find.  The birds are all hanging out on the beach.  Mostly gulls and terns but a lot of them.








These ocean waves are definitely even bigger than the sound.  Still pretty dark and ominous out there.






They are a bit cautious about my trying to walk on down the beach behind them.






Except for these two who don’t care at all.  I think they are Willets but Judy will let me know.  I watched them hang out together for a while.  Eventually they tired of me and flew back behind me.








David is strolling along behind me and gets this great picture of a 5” ghost crab.









I decide to walk out into the water.  Just at the edge mind you.  








The sun burns a hole through the clouds for just a minute or two.










And that’s the last picture I take before a wave bigger than any I’ve seen yet today smacks me.





Looks like it’s time to turn back for breakfast and to get some dry clothes.  .


In the afternoon we bike around the park and stop at the Visitor Center which is all about the Fort and in my opinion not all that well done.  Some of the information panels even contradict each other.  I was hoping for at least some natural history but there is none.  There is a film but it isn’t working and there is no one around to fix the problem.





The two most interesting things there I thought were the old map which shows Fort Clinch, the Amelia River, Cumberland Sound and Cumberland Island.  It also shows an Indian Mound just south of the Lighthouse on the Fort Clinch property.  I wonder where that is or if any of it remains.   The Lighthouse is still there but it’s only available for viewing by tour at 10AM on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday’s of the month which of course are the day we got here and the day we have to leave.  Next time!




Just to the right of the map is a very nice wooden replica of the fort.  Taking a close look I can see the guns pointing out to sea that I walked by on Thursday.





After leaving the Visitor Center we bike through the River campground which David has not seen.  He gets a picture of the Camp host’s decorated golf cart and a rather droopy Turkey in another campsite.









Today is our last day with Nancy and Bill.  They leave tomorrow morning after 3 weeks here.  We are so busy enjoying their company that we have very few pictures of the day. 

In the morning Nancy and I have too many laughs in her kitchen.  We’re making popcorn and potato chips in the microwave without any oil.  They both work perfectly but take forever since we are having such a good time.  It’s the demonstration kitchen we tell David as he comes over to find out why I’ve been gone so long.




After lunch we all head down to the beach where we have the entire place to ourselves.  The waves in the sound are calm and the temperatures are warm.  It hits 80, the warmest since we’ve been here.  Unfortunately the wind is from the land side and the flies are biting.  To ward them off, Nancy and I go for a walk down the beach and while we are gone, the guys give it up and go back to the rigs.





They join us for dinner at our place and we continue with the stories of kids, former homes, earlier lives and current travels.  We are really going to miss having them here.  But we’ll see them again later in the winter at Myakka River State Park where we’ll do another hike to Deep Hole site of a former expedition.  We’re already looking forward to it.


  1. Sounds like you had fun. The beach is so interesting when it's stormy. You should see it when a hurricane is approaching! One reason we left FL.

  2. I love your Florida travels. I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to visit Florida as there is not 'free camping' that I can find, so it would be cost prohibitive for me. So I shall enjoy every minute of your travels. Be sure to post any free or near free campsites that you are able to locate. While the cost of state parks in Florida does not seem as great as some states, it would be great to find some folks that have found alternatives to less pricey camping to follow their blogs as well. I love yours though and will always be a tagalong :)

  3. man? wave smacking? I am such a sissy wimp ... GORGEOUS pictures and narrative, as always, m'dear... just love going on your walks with you .... I can see and smell the scenes you shoot ~ I also find a stormy beach very pretty ~

  4. I really like that we now spend more time making memories than taking pictures so we can remember the memories. I guess we just can't have it all. So glad you have mastered the oil free popcorn and chips!!! We sure put a lot effort into that project;o)) See you at Myakka and looking forward to going Alligator hunting!!!

  5. We camped at the river campground a few years ago. At night we'd walk down to the water and listen to dolphins. It was magical! And if you look hard enough, you can find shark teeth. They come up because of dredging the Cumberland Sound.

    Are you heading this way? You know we'd love to see you. :)

  6. Since you like beaches so much, you should have a grand time this winter. I can't stand the sand between my toes. ;)

  7. I adore how your "little girl" comes out, running on the beach to avoid the waves. Then smack! :)

    I've never used my cast iron pan for popcorn but will keep that in mind. Thanks for figuring that out.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Glad the how to pop popcorn got figured out. Happy Thanksgiving.

  9. We had torrential rains here too, but without the pretty ocean front views that you had. The ocean was indeed angry, but also very beautiful. It looks like El Niño is going to bring us a very wet winter.

  10. That ghost crab is absolutely stunning! It's my favorite picture today.

    In Ireland I lived at the end of a peninsula with the sea on 3 sides of me. The gales were something to see (and hear) but I had enough of it in 3 years. I'm like Judy, I don't like walking in sand, in shoes or barefoot, whether it's the desert or the seashore.

  11. Quite a shot of the crab.... it's like an alien!

    That water was quite choppy!

  12. Great pictures!! Boy those are two distinctly different days at the beach, huh??

  13. I tried popcorn with half and half of olive and coconut oils...it was good and thought of you. I think I missed why you are going oil free. Love seeing your beach scenes compared to mine...thankful for our latest mild weather in Alabama. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving...already cut into our pumpkin pie!!!

  14. I love the mood of the stormy ocean, with the waves crashing on the beach. Being out on the ocean in a storm, not so much. ;c)

  15. wild stormy weather! Just like our Oregon coast, but warmer! and no cliffs. I miss Florida sometimes...wish I could be everywhere at once.

  16. You two are great for seeing the beauty in all weather :) Glad things are going well in "sunny" Florida :)

  17. Let us know when you are going to do the deep hole hike. We have never done that and might come down to do it with you.

  18. Stormy beach! The ocean does have so many different attitudes, doesn't she?! Great picture of the ghost crab!!! Also very nice picture of Pops with the pan :) Glad you figured out the popcorn question. Having friends like Bill and Nancy makes for such fun!!!

  19. We're headed to the beach at Cayucos on Sunday and there is a possibility of a small storm. Seeing your pictures, I'm really hoping there is! I love the power and energy of a churning ocean, although I hate to be cold and will avoid getting wet when ever possible. You look 12 in those shots :-). So disappointing that the VC was a bust :-( That broad, flat beach looks like a concrete pad, it's so smooth! Sounds like the test kitchen was not only fun but productive - always better with the laughter of friends no matter what.

  20. Sherry, your angry sea photos remind me of a photo study in black and white. You and David did a great job with capturing the feeling of the walk. Love you quick trek around the corner through water. Glad David had the camera ready:)

    Those biting flies can really wreck a nice day at the beach. Nothing but wind or walking seem to keep them away.

    We really enjoy Myakka SP. We don't stay there but go there with the bike group from Cortez when we stay in FL. I am always in search of Roseate Spoonbills and gators. Last year we saw the mother with five babies on her back in one of the side creeks.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and David:)

  21. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the beach with you. . .loved it! Beautiful pics . . .

  22. That ocean looks so wild! Great that you could get out onto the beach. We are at Bulow and we had so much rain we were thinking we would do better in an ark!

  23. Nice stormy beach pics, cool ghost crab we see ghost shrimp here. We've been enjoying the weather and great beach conditions here-sharing it with the kids who are here for the holiday.

  24. That was a great hike with a stunning end! Sorry I did not catch the actual impact as the water hit that small bank and shot up on you - camera just could not recover fast enough. I agree with those who mentioned your youthful look as you considered, then made a run around the bend. I loved it!

  25. Your photos are gorgeous! And I love homemade popcorn. :)

  26. I love how you have such a great time on the beach, no matter what the weather! Sounds like you've had a wonderful visit with Nancy and Bill -- how fun that you'll be meeting up with them again this winter in one of your favorite places.I remember that Deep Hole hike you took -- it was that place with a million gators, wasn't it??


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