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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
http://www.sandrabaker-hinton.com
http://www.ameliasanjongallery.com
Amelia Island Artists Workshop (for workshop schedules)

I want to once again thank all of you, many whom I have never met, who have donated to this Crazy Beach Woman's relief fund.  It makes me very humble to think that so many of you felt that what I am doing is important enough that you wanted to help with the overhead and assure its continuation.  I really can't express how touched I am at your amazing generosity.
-Sandra

This link provides some beautiful photos and story of the life cycle of the Leatherback Sea Turtle and will explain our excitement at having our own Leatherback this year.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthpicturegalleries/7956486/Marine-photographer-
captures-the-life-cycle-of-the-giant-leatherback-turtle-from-a-beach-in-Trinidad.html
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This link will connect you to the High Tide Women's Weekend,  www.ameliaislandcoastalconnections.com , with one of my favorite authors, Mary Alice Monroe, coming to speak, sign her books, and even do Turtle Patrol with me.  I am re-reading her book The Beach House.  I had read it once before when I was a beginner in the turtle work and now after having 8 turtle seasons under my belt and having almost reached the age of the main character with children the age of hers I am reading it with a different perspective.  And anyway, as I am finding at this age we can hide our own Easter eggs, wrap our own Christmas presents, meet new people every day, and also re-read books and re-watch movies as if it were the first time.
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This link will connect you to our workshop website with September and October registration deadlines approaching.  www.ameliaislandartistsworkshop.com
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The Good Mixed with the Bad (Its called life)
 
It has been afternoon thunder storms for more than a  week as is typical of Florida weather and after several weeks of complaining about the rain being unable to make it across the river the lawns, flowers and all the growing stuff has been most appreciative. 
Trying to read what is happening with hatching turtle nests and getting evening excavations done has been a problem.  Thunder and lightening have made it much too dangerous to be on the beach with evening turtle nest excavations (I'm thankful for our morning schedule) and the tracks of emerging turtles have been hard to see.  This is nest #10 which had been washed over many times by the extra high tides of new and full moon.  The most recent and most severe a week or so before it emerged.  Almost a foot of hard packed sand had accumulated on top of the nest site.  For once a crab into the nest seemed to have saved some of them which might have perished otherwise.  The crab in its search for turtle sandwiches opened up an air passage and a way out.  The initial emergence was small.  The next night there were 4 more tracks visible having left the nest, the next night I could tell that 3 more had gotten out.  No more had been able to get out on Saturday morning as we gathered to  excavate it. 
 
However, In the midst of a good many sad dead and unhatched eggs with dead embryos inside, we found 3 lively happy to be out of the sand energetic Loggerhead babies.  Brandon our newest ranger, getting some experience doing the excavating, was the one to experience the good, the bad, and the smelly parts of the nest.  It is nice to have youthful enthusiasm.  He was very excited as was I with each one he rescued.  We don't know what the difference was in why they would have survived and the others not.
 
Out onto the rain splattered sand our little charges were released.  We informally divided the three up so that some of us watched each to be sure they safely made it into the water.
 
This was my little guy.  Happily he plowed through the wet sand as he got closer & closer to the waves.  They had worked so hard trying to get out that they had worn off their little egg tooth noses giving them a little pig face look.
 
uuummmmmmmmm...now to get my bearings...which way should I go???
 
Whooooooaaaa!! That was unexpected...a wave picked him up but dropped him back down rushing out leaving him once again on the sand.
 
This smells like it is getting close...
 
that light is sure bright and I seem to just be drawn to it...the light at the end of a long dark night...
 
Oh yes, I'm almost home free.
 
My new friend Betsi gets her first up close and personal Sea Turtle experience as she bends down to give him encouragement.  We were all like cheerleaders rooting them on, and awwwhhhing when they got washed back on shore.
 
After about three of these false starts I finally air lifted our little guy out to deeper water and he was gone. 
 
 I had left my camera home Sunday because of too many near misses with the tide catching it and because I have to much to lug to the beach with my fishing gear.  Betsi, Fran and I went fishing early in the morning and by the time I actually started catching some good fish I was too tired to stay much longer but we did have fish for dinner.  What my camera missed though was what we think must have been a whale chasing fish which were leaping out of the water not too far away from us.  The whale (too big to be a dolphin) was chasing them hard and people were stopping to see what the commotion was all about as the swirl in the water was very churned up and large.  A large black fin breached the water and kept chasing the fish for a long way down the shoreline.  So you see...don't ever go off without your camera.  This morning another friend, Robyn, and I found a turtle of a different sort on the beach for a morning stroll. 
 
There was also the remnant of a very nicely build sand castle.
 
The tide was almost high and still coming in but since it was my day off we were not in any hurry to rush back and took some time to explore the neat things to see on the beach.
 
I showed her the Railroad Vine which was blooming so brightly that early in the morning and Mr. Bee all covered in pollen was paying a long deep visit to each one while we stood over them and watched.
 
Evidently after I left the beach Sunday it had gotten windy.  The wind had along with the resistance of the Railroad Vine left these beautifully sculpted shapes in the sand. 
 
The wind had swept all traces of human tracks away and left only the patterns of beach birds and other critters who live on and underneath the sand.  This very simple painting left by a bird and some other tiny little sand dweller was a very nice composition indeed.
 
Another mysterious motif was left from old tire tracks from the beach buggy mixed with a wash of water and wind to leave this interesting combination of dark organic sand deposits highlighting the patterns of the tracks in a most interesting way.
 
Morning is also bath time for this Royal Tern who was having a fine time splashing in the gentle incoming tide in the shallow sand flat next to the pier.
 
I have missed this year the funny antics of the Royal Tern juveniles who think it is quite alright to nag, beg, and cajole poor old mom for just one more handout for breakfast.  This ritual goes on year after year with each set of youngsters.  But the parents just say, no, sorry, its for your own good.  It's time for you to catch your own fish.  Tough love in action.
 
A really special treat this morning was an Osprey who was sitting on the rock jetty near the old Fort.  She was so beautiful as she posed for us for a long time as we inched closer and closer.  The speckled necklace on her chest tells us it is Mrs. Osprey.
 
Then suddenly she spread her strong wings and sailed away.  Her long sharp curved talons attest to the reason she is so talented when it comes to fishing.  Perhaps she would like to us to go fishing and hang out on the beach on my next day off.

(Please take a moment to consider:
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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