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Amelia SanJon Gallery
Amelia Island Artists Workshop
Sandra Baker-Hinton
218A Ash Street., Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
904-491-8040,  904-557-1195 cell
Amelia Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)

High Tide's Weekend Women's Retreat October 2 & 3. Go to this site to see all the wonderful activities It is really looks like it is going to be a fun girls weekend.  The most exciting thing for me is that one of my most inspirational authors Mary Alice Monroe will be here and hopefully be able to do Turtle Patrol with me.  Her book The Beach House was one of the most important books I ever read as a Turtle Patrol Volunteer.  She has 2 other turtle books, one of which is a children's book. 
In case you think you know me you might like to in your spare time listen to this interview I did this week for a friend who does Blog Radio.  (Who knew there was such a thing?)  Anyway you might find out things you did not know about me, maybe not... Click here    I think this link will work.

September workshops:  To get your discount this is the week to sign up for Jane Angelhart's 5 day workshop in Watercolor Portraits from Photographs.  You will do several small portraits from your own photographs and they will look great.  Wouldn't some grandchildren portraits be a great Christmas gift for your kids.  $25 dollars off if you register by the 13th of August.  Class is Sept. 13-17 and cost is $550 without the discount.  

 If you are an Oil Painters here's a special treat. Leah Lopez prize winning New Mexico artist will be here teaching a Classical Still Life Workshop.  You will be able to carry over what you learn in this class to any kind of oil painting subject after you leave the class.  This is also one of the best bargains of all the workshops at only $295 and a $25 discount if you sign up 30 days prior to it.  This class is September 24-26 with Early Bird Discount if paid by Aug. 24. 

Keep in mind the Alyson Stanfield seminar.  This is really one of the best things you can do for yourself if you are an artist wanting to sell your work.  You can sign up then pay your class fee a month in advance to receive the discount.  That makes it only $125, the best investment you can ever make in your art career.  October 16 & 17, a weekend, for all us working people.

_____________The Story_______________
I had thought it was going to be a slow week.  Nothing was showing up on the charts as to nests being excavated.  Over the weekend I had gone to an excavation on the island.  You can always spot a nest excavation by the cluster of people gathered around for what appears to be a beachside prayer meeting.
All eyes are on the star attraction, the Sea Turtle Volunteer digging in the sand, in the center of the crowd.  Children are placed in the front row and the rest of us jockey for position to get some photos.  Lot of people I know, some who know me, and others who have heard about it as they visit the island.
Out comes the eggs shells and the bucket stands in ready position in case there are hatchlings in need of rescue.  This time Doug Stuber is elected to get down and dirty and he did a fine job of informing everyone why, what, when, and how this all came to be.  I like going to these excavations because I pick up new pieces of information that I did not know before.
One little one was found but after several tries to get in the water Doug looking like the Pied Piper takes the not so strong babe out beyond the roughest waves so he can get a head start without using any more of his reserve energy.
Monday morning was one of those almost glassy seas with calm winds as the Tug tender heads out to rendezvous with the Submarine.  I seldom see the sub come in but I'm sure when I see this happening that it is on its way in or is meeting up with these guys out there off shore to exchange personnel or supplies.
An unusual beach present this morning from either a burial or a wedding, a beautiful sweet smelling rose which I gave to one of my friends who walks on the beach in the early morning.
It is a busy, busy time at my back yard Hummingbird feeders.  The nesting for these guys is pretty much over and they are feeding and getting ready for their migration.  You will start getting a lot of migratory birds through now who are just stopping over to fill up and then they are off on their journey.  They remember the good fast food joints along the way and revisit them.
Another form of windsurfing this time.  The guy has wheels on his windsail rig. 
A wonderful event was the hatching of a Leatherback Sea Turtle nest on the island.  I announced it as an excavation but did not put that it was the Leatherback nest.  I knew it was due and it had hatched Sunday morning.  I knew every turtle person on the island would know this was "The Leatherback Nest" and I was afraid if I announced it was the Leatherback excavation that the Amelia Island Sea Turtle people would be overwhelmed.  I was thrilled that they pulled free one little baby since it was the first time to see a Leatherback hatchling up close and personal.
The eggs were much larger than our usual Loggerhead.  Instead of the ping pong ball size they were bringing out almost tennis ball size eggs.  They reburied all these unhatched eggs back in the nest and would you believe it a day later they had 4 more hatchlings emerge from the nest.  Whether they were from these eggs or were just missed during the dig who knows.
This was the little fellow all covered in sand making his way to the water.  I thought the face from a front on angle looked very much like a puppy dog face.
Once the water washed some of the sand off his back you could see the beautiful pattern of his very different back.  A Leatherback does not have a hard shell and has the long parallel ridges pattern extending lengthwise on its black back coming together into a point at the tail.  They grow typically to 900-1500 pounds, -the giants of the turtle world.  The largest recorded weighed in at 2000 pounds.
The flippers are very long and strong.
This one was also having a hard time getting out into the water and kept being washed back in but Len the excavator finally picked it up and placed it in water deep enough for swimming and off it went.  See ya, little lady, in about 17 years.
Monday morning neither of the Park's next two nests showed any signs of hatching but Tuesday morning there they were, both of them.  These photos were on Wednesday morning so the tracks were still quite visible.  I had just bragged about the cities solving our light problems but then Ranger Marie Butcher who had done the patrol on Tuesday told me that there had been problems with light.  She thought they had all gotten in the water but I decided to track and count which is part of our job the number which had been affected.
I counted approximately 52 babies had been pulled South instead of going directly into the water.  Most had made it into the water however I followed the 4 which had been pulled the most farther afield.
These four although they traveled their own long pathways and had trekked a very long way had ended up like this guy with a crab intercepting them and then you saw no more turtle tracks.
It was a very long journey, but unfortunately this one did not turn out well for the hatchlings, though I am sure some little Ghost Crab babies had a good dinner that day.  Two that had stayed nearer to the dunes had gotten stuck down in a truck tire track left by the water testing fellow who rides the beach up to the pier to get water samples.  From that vantage point they could not see the water and the lightest place was to keep heading straight down the tracks toward that beachside light.  I believe that instead of city lights, the problem was caused by someone leaving an outside light on at their house probably rental people who did not know.  Sad, but this is what is called Light Disorientation and it happens often by unthinking humans who are vacationing beachside or were careless and forgot to turn off their lights at night.
At the on Wednesday evening we had our most recent workshop artist, well known watercolorist, Soon Y. Warren, put on a painting demo for anyone who wanted to come into the gallery.  We had a pretty good turn out and even in the short time I had there I learned something I didn't know and could use in my own painting, thus time well spent. 
More tracks in the sand.  This time it was Gopher Tortoise taking an early morning stroll on the beach.  These tracks must have gone for a quarter of a mile before we saw them head back up over the dune.  It took him two tries before he found a place to make it up the steep dune.  They are vegetarians, seldom eating anything else, and get their water from what they eat so the dune area they live in is pretty desert like.  Rain is good and they can capture some of it when it runs down their burrow.
On Friday we found our first live hatchling in the bottom of nest #5,, totally tied into the bottom by a root which had crossed its back imprisoning him and trapping him in the nest.  I have found that the shells are very much like a babies skull having to traverse the birth canal.  It becomes misshapen sometimes because of the pressure of external things like the root and the shells packed around him.  I'm sure if it survives the carapace will develop naturally.  You could actually see the imprint of the root indented on the shell to the left of his neck.
Our newest ranger Brandon Volbrecht who is very enthusiastic about his job got his first experience excavating a turtle nest.  A photo to send home to momma up in Wisconsin.  He also got to mark his first nest as we had #17 show up that morning.  It was very close to the park boundary and we conferred with the town beach folks to make sure they agreed that it was in the park.  Don't want to stake a claim wrongly.
Even though he had a rough beginning he was very anxious to get into the water.  I did move him out beyond the breakers after he washed back several times because I felt he had been on the short end of the stick long enough.  We like for them to crawl to the water and try to get in on their own because somewhere it is imprinted in their brain to come back here to this beach to lay eggs later on down the road.  It would be interesting to know where those babies which they are bringing to the Atlantic from the Gulf will return 25 years from now. but we will probably never know.
Alright, now it is signed and few more slight changes have been made.  I added some of the brighter orange all the way across the horizon thinking it made a better contrast to the green of the leaves.  I added some lines and lightened the color above the water line on the top left turtle so that you could tell that he had his back and head above water and added a few more details on the lower turtle, although I like him not so detailed so he does not take away from the big guy who is the center of interest.  If you could see a close up of the colors in big guy's right flipper you would see a lot of the colors, greens, blues, and oranges that are in the rest of the painting.  That is part of what is fun to play around with and make painting become a cohesive unit.  I will frame it this week and then under glass I will no longer be able to get the urge to do something else to it.  Lisa has suggested it be called Sargassum Sunrise.  What do you think?

With such a busy week it feels good to sit down and reflect.  Of course I can never show it all, much too much.  There was the Sounds on Centre music, we even went out to our favorite pub Saturday night to see our favorites Davis and Pam Turner play some familiar tunes.  Today I am hibernating and hoping nothing else eventful happens on my days off.

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These photo-stories have always been offered completely free, to simply share the wonders of nature. Thousands of hours have been poured into them
and it has even become necessary to enlist the services of a paid email service to send out the large numbers who now receive them. So, with the current
economic situation if you are able to make a small donation to help ensure the continuation of the stories it would be greatly appreciated.)

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