There were tons of Seagulls out looking for food this morning. There were only medium waves out today but the flag is still red for some reason. The water is fairly clear and there were lots of small fish foraging around for whatever they eat. Sunny and hot..all in all not a bad day for lounging on the sand.
It was rainy this morning…..it’s overcast this afternoon, and there is double red flag, but I’m happy to report not the slightest trace of the BP Oil spill in beautiful west-end Panama City Beach.
Double red beach flags in Panama City Beach mean don’t go in the water….and the beach patrol will definitely ask you get out! A man drowned near our beach access a few days ago, so we don’t mess around. See what all the beach flags mean…
Yesterday we found a turtle practically knocking on Abuelo’s door. I’m trying to identify it…..no luck yet. If anyone is an expert in identifying turtles, please feel free to leave me a comment and educate me! We returned this little guy to Lake Powell, a coastal dune lake right around the corner.
Today is a beautiful day on the west end of Panama City Beach. So far, we haven’t seen the slightest trace of the god-forsaken BP oil. Although… Our neighbors who have a tshirt/gift shop near the pier said that there were flat globs of oil down that way…. but we are lucky so far they aren’t down here.
The water is clear with just the tiniest trace of Junegrass seaweed (I just learned this isn’t really seaweed, follow the link and read about what it really is). Today there were mullet swimming so close to the shore that we caught 5 or 6. And by we….I mean Abuelo.
Here is an interesting fact about mullet that I learned from this site (and Abuelo)….. they are considered a vegetarian fish, and they are the only fish that has a gizzard (much like a chicken) that is used to grind up and digest plant material….who knew!? Also, commercial harvesters use a cast, beach or haul seine net to catch mullet…..which is exactly what Abuelo did.
Another curious feature of the beach today…. There are these rando dudes walking up and down the beach… About 8 of them, all dressed in long sleeves and pants…. And they just keep going back and forth? They’ve passed at least 10 times, traveling in pairs…..Anyone?
Hey, wait…..Abuelo looks a little like the rando dudes! But they have no fishing nets….. they look like they should. Weird.
So, update on the mullet. When Abuelo cleaned them, it was obvious they had been munching on, guess what, ….that’s right, Junegrass! And, they were good fried.
So, no oil yet, but there are epic amounts of Junegrass! I’m shocked!
Ok, so this pea soup style slimy algae apparently shows up every year here on in Panama City Beach every year in June. I’ve seen it before, but never in such unbelievable amounts!
After doing a bit of reading, it seems that this green algae blooms every year sometimes as early as April, and will come and go throughout the summer. The name “June Grass” comes from the common appearance in the month of June. It’s harmless, just slimy and annoying. Like everything else in nature, it serves as purpose providing food and a place for small fish to lay eggs. It also plays an important role in ‘beach building’. I saw this first-hand over the course of a few days. The rocky looking piles of June Grass in the pictures below slowly became assimilated by the dry sand.
One of the craziest features of the June Grass piles on the beach was the creation of sort of a quicksand around the piles. I guess the algae/sand mixture holds a lot of water…..when you step on the sand around the piles, you sink in up to your knees!
For the last few days, the beach has been covered with these little shells that we learned come from a little critter called Donax variabilis (also known as bean clams!). When we find them still alive and kicking in their shells, we call them Cheepy Cheepies (I don’t really know why).
I’m interested to know why there are so many discarded shells right now…..I wonder if it has to do with the building June Grass in the gulf right now.
Anyway, it’s interesting to note that according to Wiki-pedia and some other really way too technical articles, these little guys are allegedly edible and make a good candidate for shell soup.