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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)

On a non-Island note, a friend sent this link.  Just Nature being 'natural; Creatures from other continents are fascinating too.  This is a great link if you like to see just how a giraffe mom with those lonnnnggg legs had a baby with very lonnngggg legs also.

I will be taking orders for T-Shirts, the Save the Turtles T's.  $18 for ladies, V-Necks and Tanks and $16 for regular ladies crew neck and mens sizes.  xx large sizes for men and women will also be $18.  I will be posting a photo as soon as the design gets worked out but will be similar to last years version.

Friday a week ago I stood on the edge of the dock watching the sun roll away behind some high flying clouds sending out its rays like big arms wrapping us all in its magic.  Friend Adrian said, "we're so lucky to live here".
The waterfront is a source of constant city planning, making plans and trying to decide what to do with it, everyone with their own ideas on the what, the when, and the how always getting tossed into the fray.  What happens is that it stays very much the same without much of anything happening as is the way with politics.
But the river runs on, the suns sets each day giving us a different show each time, the birds still fly overhead, changes do occur but we don't always see or realize it is happening.  Old timers have told me about the day when they sat on this dock and watched turtle heads pop up all over this water's surface on any given night.  That water has flowed on to become a part of the vast ocean and many of the turtles and manatees have lost their battle with the waterfront and its citizens who like to race up and down its shores in their fast boats.
The docks give way to time as private owners don't invest the money in them to maintain them and the shrimping industry which once made it profitable to do so has diminished just like the turtles and the manatees.  But to an artist the dilapidated docks give us a treasure trove of art material to do countless paintings and photos from.  We are inspired by its character and the stories left inside these old boards if they could only talk.
While we were soaking up the river breeze the town folks were enjoying another First Friday Sounds on Centre, listening to the music, chatting with friends, on a warm summer night in Fernandina Beach.  A Touch of Gray was the band and they played a selection that most of us with a touch of gray in our hair could mouth the words to as they played.
Older...sters  as well as
youngsters...danced to the rhythm of the band's music.  Fun to see that it was the boys tonight strutting their stuff and not too shy to show off their moves.  The one in the blue shirt is the son of friends of mine, James and Penka Klauder.  This is young James.  His dad asked him if he wasn't embarrassed to get up in front of a crowd and he said, "Dad, I don't even see them, I'm just dancin."
Young James was very nice to take the time in his busy evening of dancing to listen intently to whatever the younger admirer had to say.  It was obviously a very serious conversation.
Then it was back to the beat...
Another youngster can heard crying and pleading, almost certainly  with Alpha and Little Girl for just one more meal in the nest.  I am not sure her cries were heeded this time because I have not seen her in the nest any more.  I think she has finally gotten the message that she has to hunt for herself.
A potential mother in waiting, as Patricia waits to see if she has any hatchlings left in "her" first nest to find as a first year Sea Turtle Volunteer.  Last year she attended all the excavations and got so hooked on the turtles that this year she became a Sea Turtle Volunteer also.
All four of her little ones decided they might escape this newest prison if they all stood on tiptoe...
While this excitement is happening, horseback riders pass behind us.
Oops!!!  Standing on tiptoe has its drawbacks when the bucket becomes mobile.
Mary Duffy, the head of the island's Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch, carefully carries the hatchlings around so all can see and get their photos of these little ones before they are launched.  NO FLASHES, PLEASE!!!
Proud momma poses with her surrogate family
Camera's click from all directions as these little fellows head out to their "home" and are unceremoniously dumped out on the sand at the water's edge.
Off to the races...the race of life that is.
Now this is something I hate to see left on the beach in the morning when I arrive for turtle patrol.  Very dangerous for these pits to be left open on the beach.  Walking on the beach at night without light, the proper way to walk on the beach in the summer at least, could cause a serious accident with this kind of "animal trap".  It can be lethal for hatchlings which fall in and cannot possibly get out.  It can also be serious if a nesting sea turtle crawls into these pits.  It will possibly cause her to not nest and drop her eggs in the water instead.  So I yell from my pit digging soap box, that these people are thoughtless and irresponsible to dig these pits above the high tide line and leave them.  Below it, at least the next tide would fill it in but not so on this one.
While we are preparing to excavate nest #11, its siblings have hatched just beside it.  #11 was underneath the pier and did not get the direct sun on the sand all day causing it to hatch a bit slower; the same momma's nest laid a couple of week later hatched off earlier.  This one was filled with ants the next day along with a crab.  But you can see by the tracks that many made it out to the water.  We had put a black plastic light barrier behind to prevent them from seeing the lights at the paper mill and it worked.  They all headed in the right direction.
Care to try to count them?  We know that over a hundred of them got out.
Nest 15 had also hatched as well as the one that was too far outside the "Indexing" area to count.  Three in one night what an evening.  Sunday morning will be a busy one with 3 nests to dig up.  This is a perfect nest hatching.  No light disorientation and that perfect cone shape to the tracks as they spread out from the nest and disperse into the water.
Our Ameri Corp worker Alicia actually was the one down on her knees and got to feel these three little wiggly fellows as one by one she discovered them in the nest.  Another happy surrogate turtle mom.  I hope Alicia will become the next real ranger hired because she certainly has the interest and knowledge of wildlife to be a good one.
These three were raring to go.  Not even a piece of wrack slowed their progress as they were over it in seconds just like hurtle racers.
Neck 'n neck they approached the finish line.
The whitish color of their backs quickly gets it color back as the water begins to wash over them.  I can imagine that first wash of water must feel so good as the sand is washed away and they can drink for the first time.  They are equipped to be able to drink the salt water.
A new nest on Friday, just outside the park, so there still is hope we could get another one.
Sunday morning is not my day for Turtle Patrol, but I always show up for our excavations.  The ranger on duty was a new one and had been brought on staff after turtle training, and since he had transferred in from another state park we all assumed he knew the ropes.  However he met me at the beach as planned but he walked in from the parking lot--no buggy, no report book, no supplies.  We managed by finding a scrap of paper to write the stats on, however my biggest concern was for the nest filled with ants, and I would have no gloves to wear.  This cute little girl from another country, I'm not sure which, as I could not quite put my finger on the accent, was very interested and excited to get to escort this one to the water.  She was later in the restaurant behind the gallery when I finally got away from the beach where my helping sister and I had a nice brunch.  Digging 3 nests and then doing Turtle Patrol made for a long Sunday day off.
I gave the young lady a photo of a very similar Sea Turtle which was waving goodbye.  This was a very energetic fellow from the first of the three we excavated, nest #15.  It was a good nest with no dead ones and 133 had all gotten out 3 days prior and were probably already hanging out in the Sargassum Sea, eating Seahorses and tiny Crabs with a seaweed side salad by now.
I held up a fire ant bitten hand to show off this little ones eagerness to swim.  Without the gloves I will soon have numerous blistery bites on my wrists and arms, especially my right one.  The ants and crabs had killed 17 in this nest but miraculously there were two which were very, very ready to rock and roll.  A big thank you to my sister and friend Susie for helping with the counting and recording of my data with the three nests.  The last nest also had two babies in it but although we turned them loose they were "not the sharpest knives in the drawer" so to speak.  They were very sluggish and unenthused about swimming although they finally did swim away they will probably be one of the larger group in stats recorded when we say 1 in a 1000 will make it.
Monday morning the moon was very beautiful and the air had a slight coolness in it that reminded me that the end of summer will not be that far away.  I kept looking at it and thinking, wow, that sure is pretty this morning.  Then it hit me that it has probably been that nice many mornings prior but this time I am looking at it with my new glasses and seeing it without a blurred shadow image for the first time in about 3 years.  Even my last glasses did not give me a really clear edge on the moon.
I had the beach almost to myself except for a few familiar faces, 'strangers' I encounter who stop to chat a second asking about the turtles and other beach things as they walk the shoreline.  The rain from the night before had left the beach smoothed out from the weekend's high traffic foot prints giving me a smooth surface to check for Turtle Tracks.  I rode low at the edge of the last high tide not wanting to mess it all up and also to protect the little beach bugs and other small critters who live there.  I stopped on the river looking across at Cumberland and at the Osprey in his usual fishing spot this time of the morning and then....
..I looked to the left to the dune side of the beach and saw the beauty of the dunes, the Oak Maritime forest and the full heads of the ripe Sea Oats and said, Wow, I really am lucky to get to live here and enjoy this all the time.
I finished the Western end of the ride just checking the beach.  Without a turtle nest on this end any more to watch, it becomes just a routine to ride this part.  As the numbers dwindle now and hope for more nests diminishes the rides will become that way more and more until I will welcome the patrol's end and look forward to mornings where I can enjoy the morning news propped up in bed with double pillows, my coffee, with my hubby, starting the day slowly, and not in the rushed, get out the door pace of Turtle Season.  For now I envy these fellows; Ken who is out there on the rocks almost every day fishing, and the fellows with boats who have easier access to be best fishing spots.  Ken says even when he is not catching anything that it is better then being at home where he would be expected to mow the lawn or some other chore.  
Bonnie and Clyde sit patiently behind Kenneth waiting for a handout and today a Laughing Gull waits with them.  They have the right gull attitude.  They're all on island time.
The fellows in the boat have found what looks to them to be a good spot and where I was told by one lady who also fishes almost daily from nearby says it is her favorite spot and she calls it her "Honey Hole".  I think when it cools a bit, I may fish the "Honey Hole" myself. 
Livin' on Island Time is more then just learning to relax and take it easy, we all know I work my buns off, but it means being more spontaneous and taking advantage of the moment when and idea or opportunity arise and not put things off.  Maybe that's just getting older or maybe it is living on a small island where life is always changing and can be tenuous. 
(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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