Percy’s frist trip to the beach

Once upon a time on a Sunday afternoon (which also happened to be my sweet husband’s birthday) we took a little Golden Retriever to the beach.
Ana Riley
Although it was warm in the suburbs, the beach was windy
Ana Riley
and overcast
Ana Riley
and the water was reeeeallly cold!
To top it off, there was something itchy in the water and everybody needed an emergency rinse.
Ana Riley
Clearly, Percy is saying: Mom, what are you doing to me? And what is this wretched place? 

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Quiz: Name that Sea Creature

{Photos: Cumberland Island National Seashore, November 2012}

Ana Riley, Conch, Conch shell, Cumberland Island

Ana Riley,Star fish, Cumberland Island

Ana Riley,Stingray egg case, Cumberland Island

Today’s post is in honor of my super awesome niece who just turned 18 over Thanksgiving weekend while she was here visiting us. She is a marine biology extraordinaire, works at the Georgia Aquarium, and has plans to start FSU in the fall in their study abroad program–as a marine biology major, of course. She is just so amazing and I am super proud of her!
An added benefit of having her with us while at any beach is that she can pull sea creatures out of the ocean and not only tell you exactly what they are, but she can handle them in a way so that you can hold them, touch them, smell them, (sometimes taste them! Yes, I’m telling on you that you licked that cannonball jellyfish!), and get a good close up look at them without getting stung or bitten or poisoned. 
She’s handy that one!
So today we are going to have a quiz. It’s called: Guess That Sea Creature. 
Ready? Okay, here we go!
Photo 1: Is it a…
a. bird skull with a giant eyeball still in tact
b. an alien vagina giving birth to something alien
c. a live conch my niece pulled out of the ocean and handed to my son for me to photograph
Photo 2: Is it a…
a. gold star for effort, much deserved after hiking all day and then having to frolic in the Atlantic
b. a starfish that was still moving and very much alive, and promptly returned to its home unharmed.
c. Peach
Photo 3: Is it a…
b. egg case
c. a biological remnant that once held stingray eggs
 If you answered C, B, and ALL 3, you would be Correct!
Here ends your marine biology lesson for today and a special thank you to my awesome niece for providing the material for today’s post! 
Love you, L!

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Alligator Point, Florida

Labor Day Weekend, September 2012:

My Gypsy Soul, Alligator Point Beach House

We drove over to the beach house on Friday night and got there just as the sun was going down. I love the lingering twilight in the above photo and the silhouettes of the sea oats.

My Gypsy Soul, Alligator Point Beach House

I still haven’t mastered taking photos of the moon. The moon was so full and bright and beautiful that night; and I later learned that it was actually a blue moon and there wouldn’t be another until 2015. So it was a special moon too.

My Gypsy Soul, Alligator Point Beach House

Gorgeous sunset shots on the way back from Posey’s.

My Gypsy Soul, Alligator Point Beach House

My Gypsy Soul, Alligator Point Beach House

A shot of the boardwalk behind the house leading down to the beach on the morning we left.

My Gypsy Soul, Alligator Point Beach House

And this poor dead crab who became our mascot. It started on Saturday morning when the kiddo found him, newly dead, on the beach. He brought him in the house and put him in bed with his sleeping teenaged girl cousin. Words cannot describe the shriek that came from her room when she woke up and found him there.
Afterwards, I’m not sure who propped his sad dead body on the deck railing, but that is where he stayed all weekend long. Unfortunately, that is where he remained even after I snapped this last minute photo as we were leaving.
I think we should have named him Carlos, with his hollow eyes and vacant stare. 
Hasta la vista, Carlos.