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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)

NOTE;  Billie McRay has decided to let us have a limited supply of her "Church-Lady Bird" unique fabric creations through Mothers Day, and at special pricing. They were very well received over the Shrimp festival, check them out!

The week leading up to Shrimp Festival is always a zoo, with parades, fireworks, long days and nights.  This one had a few calm breaks when I had a chance to play tour guide, one of my favorite activities, with one of my old college friends and her husband who were visiting the island for their second time.  They had already seen a lot of our special places so I tried taking them a bit further afield for some new experiences.
The view from the south end of Little Talbot Island is one of my favorites in the whole area.  Looking out to the southeast one can see the white breakers for a long way, crossing the inlet as the river greets the open ocean, and on around the area just across the inlet where there is a very beautiful expanse of beach called Huguenot Park.  There you will find a very wide, shallow sand, flat beach which is a very popular spot for windsurfing and a large gull and tern nesting area.  Often the two butt heads together as too many people on the weekends can result in the demise of many young Laughing Gulls and Royal Terns which must cross this wide expanse of sand to get to the water where the human beach goers use to park there many, many cars.
Next we went to Fort George Island and The Kingsley Plantation where Bill found he surely had some relatives, kin to the owner of Kingsley.  We were in search of some Painted Buntings which are the most beautiful of all our small birds and look as if they were painted by a clown.  Although we did not find them we did find many Butterflies buzzing the hedges which were in full aromatic bloom.
As we explored the circle of road which goes around Fort George Island we found a Peacock and this equally beautiful church as Sally checks out to find out if this really is wood siding.
Back at home my first two caterpillars were getting ready to shed their striped pajamas.  The first stage is the sticking themselves to a support by the rear end and dropping down into a "J" position.
Number 2 had decided that the plant itself was a OK spot.  They sit in this position for about a day and a half.
Back in the dining room the little ones were busy eating and ****ing and eating and...well you get the idea.  What seemed like just a few little caterpillars quickly expanded into a giant bunch of eating machines which could denude a large butterfly plant in a day.
Our plant hanging cat had already formed the early Chrysalis by morning.
But finally we were able to see the process as our top hanging one began the shedding of his yellow and black striped pajamas.  The back side splits open with the green Chrysalis expanding though the opening.
All the while the Chrysalis form is squirming and shaking as it works it way out of the outer skin.
More and more of the skin crinkles up and exposes larger expanses of the plump green and slightly yellow striped form.  The wings of the butterfly are visible in their infant form on the bottom.
As it twists and moves it finally works its way out.
Now the shaking and quivering really begins in earnest as it needs to loose this skin totally.
Success.  Hanging quietly the still worm-like shape begins to shrink and harden into... shape of the Chrysalis.  Bruce's photo benefitted from time spent in setting up the photo with tripod and care, unlike my hurried, "shooting from the hip", techniques.  In this photo you can see the beautiful string of iridescent dots that line the top edge and appear in an identical pattern on all of them, on the lower part.  Now the waiting game begins for the final act.
With all these activities I still was able to finish one small painting 5 x 7 size and am continuing to work on the large piece.  The mathematical perfection of the Nautilus Shell is captured in hues of blue and yellow.
My Jacksonville sister has taken the gauntlet of challenge I issued to her to learn more about nature with me.  She has been spending more time up here on the island and this night we took the Amelia River Cruise.  As we waited to leave the dock I began to explore with fascination the reflections in front of the boat in the water which I always love.
The reflections of the pilings of the docks were moving in the calm waters with such graceful wonderful colors I had taken dozens of photographs of them before we even left port.
It was difficult to decide which was the most interesting to show.  I told Kevin that I thought I would have a photography show of just photographs I have taken from his boat.  I still think that is a good idea.
In the reflections as we start to cruise further up the Marina area was a familiar sight to the boat crew.  They introduced us to "Spot" the Bottle Nosed Dolphin.  Spot so named because of the round white dot on his dorsal fin.  He seemed quite content to entertain us but we needed to get to Cumberland and the horses before they left the beach.
But more beautiful reflections awaited in the colors of a large ship that was unloading at the Port.  The colors of the ship blend into the contrasting painting of greens and reds with some whites and blues thrown in for good measure.
For some reason this just seemed like an inadequate boat to be holding two people in waters which had to get some wake even from slow moving boats.  I guess they have more sure-footed sea legs than I would have. 
The number of shrimp boats seems to dwindle each time I take the cruise.  One had obviously lost the battle for good, and where there are usually two or three there were none.  I did see two out in the river.  The larger boat is being equipped for some kind of marine studies so that is good.
This shrimper was a much smaller version and probably is a more streamlined adaptation to the changing times with gas prices and operating expenses, it could be managed by a smaller crew.
The old Pogy Plant buildings are so interesting to see in their dilapidated state; they are still working buildings as I often see some of the nets which are currently produced hanging inside, nets which instead of catching shrimp might instead be used as a net to be raised to catch the football behind goal posts.
Not sure what the shrimpers over in the Georgia waters are doing.  I thought it was illegal to shrimp in the river--maybe only in Florida.  Maybe a social gathering or maybe one is aiding the other with some kind of mechanical problem as they seemed to be attached.
As usual the sunset from the boat is a winner.  A calm before the storm of festivities headed our way in the next few days.  Also with anticipation of the storm of activity as 8 more little caterpillars grow up into the bobbing weaving stage as they all turn almost together into their pre-butterfly stage of the Chrysalis.  So stay tuned as the stories will continue.  The first day of Turtle Patrol starts on Sunday of Shrimp Festival although I won't start until Monday.  A full plate is in store for each of the next exhausting days.

(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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