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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)

Fall means White Shrimp Season is in full swing, with the peak being from November through December, just in time for our traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas pre-dinner Shrimp dipped in our best red sauce (which can vary according to how much horseradish you like).

It was always Daddy's job to peel and de-vein the shrimp because he was the most meticulous.  He insisted on de-veining both the top and the bottom veins, although I argued with him that the bottom one was a blood vein.  He never gave in and we enjoyed them knowing his watchful eye had them totally cleaned of whatever the thought might detract from the sweet taste of fresh shrimp.

It means that we will have many visiting shrimpers coming to take advantage of the area's harvest.  I have included a photo the  same scene as it was not long after I first moved here.

The number of shrimp boats was enormously different than what it is today.  This was in 2006, 4 years after moving here.  Although the roof of the old building has been, thankfully, replaced with the new bright green one we miss having shrimp boats crowded into the harbor like this.

The evolution of the shrimper's nets revolutionized the shrimping industry.  There are are set on each side of the boat, making 4 in all, pulled at the same time, as the great wings of the shrimp boat spread out over the water like a dancer doing a ballet.  There are vital parts to these nets and I have tried to label them so you can know more about shrimping than you probably ever wanted to know.  This view of the net shows one of the turtle extruders which allows most sea turtles, except those really large ones, to escape out this trap door.   There is also a smaller fish escape door which decreases the amount of by catch.  The gulls can tell you there is still plenty of that as they flock behind the boat to take advantage when it is tossed overboard on the way in.  Next is the Tickler chain which is just that a chain, and is adjusted so that it reaches the sea floor just below the nets.  Its job is to scare the shrimp which are bottom feeders upward where they will immediately be caught by the waiting net.  The big wooden flat thing is the Trawl Door which is positioned just in front and to the side of each net pair, funneling the water pressure flow into the net to insure the shrimp are propelled into the net.  There are lots of other parts but these are the main, simple, but effective parts that insure you can have fresh shrimp on your plate.  Yum, yum.

Lovely rust and algae patterns could be turned into many paintings.  Today had been a day of promoting the Amelia River Cruise as they must have a 10 person minimum before they will take the boat out, and I had 5 people in town doing a workshop who really wanted to go.  I managed to round up about 15 people and we were on our way out.

Familiar sights as always are waiting, and in hopes of not boring all of you with my very limited world, I try to give it to you the familiar views in a different way each time.  A place of great security and mystery is our Nuclear Submarine Base located just up the river at Kings Bay and is the destination for the submarines I see on the river all the time.  There are stories of trained dolphins, even a trained seal which are top secret but sometimes make their presence known to locals.  Nothing like having a real Navy Seal pop his head up beside your kayak.  (We don't have Seals in our waters.)

I noticed that the bushes along the waterfront in front of Old Town was getting out of hand.  I could barely get a glimpse of the houses there which means their best view of the river on the island is being obstructed also.  Sounds like a job for the weed and bush patrol to tackle.  A call to the Mayor is needed.  Arlene will get it done.

Clouds always give a promise, although tentative, of a great sunset. This is such a nice view of the "Old Florida" that we don't see that much anymore with the decaying and rusty roofs and the shrimp boats gathering for the harvest.

The Bottle Nosed Dolphins were plentiful and we encountered what seemed to be several pods although it could have been the same one since they are so fast.

The water was too choppy for reflections but a nice contrast in the previously blue now weathered gray building and the very white Great White Egret.

There is quite a gathering of different sized Shrimp Boats as we pass the furtherest point before we reach State Park property and the open water of the Cumberland Sound.  Maybe more of the shrimpers are docking here instead of the main marina.

If we thought the water a bit choppy in on the Leeward side of the island we were in for an exciting ride when we crossed the main channel.  The wide part, whose center is the Florida Georgia State line can be pretty choppy because of the strong currents running through from the several rivers which empty into the Cumberland Sound and all are rushing to the ocean.  In conjunction with the rising and falling tide it can make for some treacherous waters.

Once over to Cumberland Island we were a bit too far way to get a good clear photo of the horses grazing there, so instead I brought the color up just a tad so that the fall colors in the beach grasses and trees would be enhanced, resulting in photographs which look more like impressionistic paintings.

The birds as well as the Sea Turtles love Cumberland Island.  The nesting of turtles there is 3 fold what we have on our next door island of almost the same size.  The beach is very different and one of the prettiest and widest of any of the islands in our area and all without any beach re-nourishment.  The island is left to expand as nature intended a barrier island to be, without houses to protect and property rights only belonging to nature.  The island is allow to move about as a barrier island is supposed to do.  We are lucky to be so near such a wonderfully wild place.

The ride back across, where in addition to the quite choppy waters, our trip had the added adventure of getting to ride out the wake of a large Coast Guard boat which ran right through our pathway leaving huge waves for us to navigate.  We were never in danger but it sure gave us an added adventure as we rose out the swells and crashed into the low spots like a log ride at an amusement park, with water crashing up onto our bow and onto the deck a bit.  We were scurrying to grab pocketbooks and camera bags which were on deck.

This little guy and his twin brother really enjoyed the wild ride and were rewarded with getting to pilot the boat on the way back into port, once we were in calmer waters.

The sunset never did reach its full potential, disappearing behind the low cloud bank without much of a show beyond this empty promise that it would get better.

Captain Kirk at the helm and we were safely headed back to the port with a more than our usual taste of excitement under our belts.  Capt. Kirk was none to excited about getting his photo snapped.

Twilight greets us with the brightest light coming from the shrimp boat we had passed on the other side of our voyage.

A bit of high pink was our last hint of a sunset.

The deer have been plentiful in the park this year as this braver than usual mom seems to think it is OK to hang out in the island of the fork in the road on my way to the Beach from the shop area.  She just ignored me as I passed by letting me sit and photograph her...

and her youngster.  I wonder if the large number of deer spottings this year might be a result of a reduction in our Bobcat population which is a main predator for them.  I have not seen a Bobcat in over a year.  I am concerned that something might have happened to them.  Life in the wild is a series of checks and balances.

Turtle nests continued to hatch.  This little one had been pinned in his egg unable to exit until we rescued him.  He was eager to get free of the shell once out and I barely had time to get one shot off before he was out.

Many little ones to watch swim away.

Ospreys have loved having the Mullet running in great schools up and down the sound and out in the shallows of the ocean side too.  They should be fat and sassy by winter time.

As the shadows are long and the season nears the end the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch prepares to excavate one of their last nests.

Sometimes a trip down to the Marina is a good part of the day.  It had been a while since I had taken the time, except for the River Boat ride.  This time the waters were more calm allowing the reflections of the sailboats and this small dingy to make a nice subject, if there were just an artist around to paint it.  As for me I don't like sitting outside and painting.

The marsh grasses are just starting to ripen so that their heads will soon turn the marshes their golden fall colors

My favorite place to shoot photos had grown up to the point I had to climb up on a park bench to get this shot.  Time to call Mayor Arlene who can fix everything.

This sunset was all orange as a shrimp boat comes into port with its skirt tails spread out probably still cleaning her nets.

The soft reflections on the water are not so dramatic but pretty in their own way.

In the distance the buildings of Rayonier make it look like big city light reflections, but we know that it is not. Time does not slow down except when you are playing catch up like I have been doing.  Soon we will be back into real time as I get us caught up with the Fall.  

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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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