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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)
Announcement:  T-Shirts have finally been ordered.  I had so many people who kept adding to the order little by little that I began to think I would never see the end of it.  I will notify you when they come in so that those of you who are picking them up can do so. 

A rare thing for me to be on the river and not just beside it twice in two weeks.  But this time as I cruised up the island, my thoughts turned to the lives, both human and animal, that are touched by this body of water. 
I had never noticed this building before.  I think my view had been blocked by a boat which was docked in front of it.  I thought, "What a cute place to live", with a few minor, -well OK, -major touchups, or, "What a great painting studio it could be".  It appears to have a new roof so maybe someone is working on that idea.
These shrimpers are getting ready to enjoy a delicious looking barbecue on board.  These fellows live a very hard life and cooking on board is part of the life, with some even staying on their boats full time.  You will recognize the shrimpers sometimes when you see them walking around wearing their distinctive white rubber boots.
The ships, crewed with men from far away, are seldom here long enough to be off the boat.  Only once have I run into one of them near the back gate entrance to Fort Clinch.  I don't remember where he told me he was from.  Then there are the many trucks which often, to the aggravation of the area town residents, line the streets waiting to unload their wares bound for Bermuda and other ports to supply the needs of the people there.
Us fisher-folks look for any good spot and try to protect ourselves from the elements as best we can.  I forgot my sunscreen the other day and fished all day with a long sleeved shirt buttoned up to keep from burning.  My legs usually stay in the water so much it is not a problem there.  I personally would not want to fish in this area where boats discharge who knows what into the water.
Some more fishing folks are these Brown Pelicans who have staked out the pilings to spend the evening.  The little gull has grabbed an appropriately sized perch for himself.  It'll keep him from accidentally getting stepped on by these big guys.
While we enjoy the leisure time of a nice boat ride the people of the Smurfit Stone plant are working running giant equipment to grind up the wood brought in from tree farms by many many truckers who drive the logging trucks and to make the products used by us all.
I may have answered my question of "where do the beach birds go at night when they are not on the beach?"  These are mostly the Royal Terns which are the most common ones for me to see on the point near the pier in the mornings but they all disappear near sunset.
Atop the rigging of one of the shrimpboats as we pass Egan's Creek is what we believe to be "Little Girl" the osprey, which nests at the back gate of the park with her mate "Alpha".  That is a fish tail sticking out over the top of that flat base she is standing on top of.  Its dinner time for Little Girl.
More people gather for fishing on fishing piers at the boat ramp on the north of the island and bordering the back of Fort Clinch State Park.  Nothing better than fresh fish.  I will let you in on a little secret.  Don't throw those Ocean Catfish back anymore.  We caught a bucket full of big ones a couple of Sunday's ago and decided to keep them.  They were as good as any fish could be.  I have a secret which allows me to clean and skin them in a matter of a few minutes.  Interested just give me a call and I will share my technique. 
The tides were running very high and these Oyster Catchers were taking advantage of the tallest of the rocks on one of the jetty areas which protect the shoreline around the fort to take a break from hunting shell fish.  It looks like they are walking on water.
I yearn once again to be able to have time to tromp all over beautiful Cumberland Island as I did for so many years.  The horses make my eyes a bit green with envy as I see them leisurely roaming freely all over this beautiful part of the island as the end of summer-start of Fall colors start to make subtle changes in the landscape.  These are the colors I want to paint rather then the solid green of summer.
This couple groom and nuzzle each other in the areas where it would be hard to reach if you were a horse.  And believe you me there can be lots to make you itch on this island if the wind is right.  I was there only once when the wind blew from the West and it brought every mosquito in South Georgia onto the island.  It was miserable.
We move across the River on the West side of Cumberland once again leaving the North end of Amelia Island in our wake.
Rushing across the river to the small islands of Big Tiger and Tiger Islands for a good spot to watch the sun dip below the horizon.  As Kevin said, it's what we paid the big bucks for.
Opposite the sunset on the back side of Tiger as we sat in what is called Tiger Basin we start seeing other birds finding their spot for the night.  One of my favorites, the Roseate Spoonbills usually fill this tree by dark.
The grey of the Spanish Moss which seems to thrive in the Live Oak Tree makes the Spoonbill more showy.
Across the Basin the sun starts it last dip.
Overhead more birds hurry to find their night roosting spots.
A tiny "Islandlette" called a Hammock as all these smaller islands are called.  This is a baby one just getting started in the rich marsh soil planted by seeds from bird droppings or washed into the marsh grasses from a nearby or faraway tree.  It finds enough ground to root and grow and once it starts growing it collects more and more debris which then decays creating more and more soil in which it can expand and drop more seeds and the life cycle continues and a new island is born.
With the sun gone we are on our way back to the port of Fernandina.
Off to the side, moored in one of the tidal creek areas is a boat I have been missing.  This is The Voyager which I used to photograph so much as I was either on Kevin's River Cruise, on the river beach watching for Turtle hatchings, or on the dock photographing the sunset through its rigging at sunset.  It used to carry tourists out each night.  I asked why it wasn't in operation anymore.  Kevin says that every so often a boat has to pass an inspection that it is sea worthy.  This one had lost its permit to operate.  The good news is that It has been sold and hopefully this old and historic boat will once again have new life breathed back into it and I will be able once again to see its sails all up and full of wind.  It will indeed be a sight for sore eyes when that happens.
And so we see life in all forms, relaxing, working, living, playing, eating, being born, being reborn and maybe even dying as the life blood of this river flows through us all.

(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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