Thursday, September 29, 2016

Singleton's in Mayport Florida - A Great Seafood Shack

If you are going to travel around in Florida, you are going to have to get your favorite Seafood Shacks lined up.  My personal favorite is Singleton's Seafood Shack in Mayport, Florida.  It's a great place to eat.  It's also a local institution.  My dad discovered Singleton's in 1964 when he was stationed at Mayport as a sailor.

Singleton's Seafood Shack in Mayport, Florida
You know that the seafood at Singleton's is fresh because the shrimp boats are literally parked right around back.  It is the anchor of the old Mayport fishing village.  There are lots of shrimp processing facilities, shrimp boats, and deep sea charter boats in and around Mayport and the industry supports a thriving community of feral cats.

Mayport is constantly threatened by the specter of big developers.  It's in a prime location at the mouth of the Saint John's River.  But, it is really a glimpse of the "true Florida" that so many people seek.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Alligator Near Tallahassee, Florida

Here is a series of shots of another alligator in St. Marks NWR near Tallahassee, Florida.  I took these pictures back in 2011 with a film camera that I was trying out at the time.   He's a good sized gator.  I just wish I would have had a little more zoom.
Alligator in St. Marks NWR

Same Gator in St. Marks NWR from a different angle

Angle 1 - Closed Crop for a crocodilian smile
Angle 2 - Close Crop for a little more scutes detail

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Alligator Safety and Precautions Against Alligator Attack

Whenever you are living near alligators, you need to make some reasonable accommodations for them.  For example, when you approach an idyllic lake and cypress tree like the one shown below in North Carolina.  You might want to watch your step and approach the banks with caution.

Here are a couple of friendly alligators that lurk near the banks.  You can't assume that they will fear and respect you.  Sometimes alligators get fed by people on a regular basis.  When that happens, they lose their fear of humans and may come to meet you.  If you are sick, old, infirm, a toddler, or walking a dog, the alligators may even come up to eat you.

When we used to visit these alligators, our rule was that the dogs would stay in the car with someone and the air conditioner running.  We always approached the bank with a maximum of alertness and a readiness to run.  Fortunately, there was also a few feet of vertical man-made retaining wall at this lake so the alligators could easily leave their habitat to join ours.  Alligators can run at up to 20 miles per hour in a short burst and they can break a leg with the slap of a tail.
Unfortunately, in this location, locals often fed the alligators and they were in the habit of looking for handouts.  More than one alligator has been removed from this location over the years.  You couldn't pay me to kayak, swim, or wade in the location.
Remember a few common sense rules about alligators -
1. Don't feed alligators.
2. Don't swim with alligators.
3. Don't assume that alligators aren't fed by people.
4. When it comes to boats and alligators, free board is your friend.
5. Don't walk dogs near ponds or lakes that may have alligators.
6. Don't dangle feet into the waters of an alligator habitat.
7. Don't sunbathe near alligator habitat--stay alert!
8. Don't let small children or elderly people walk near alligator habitat. 
9. Approach alligator habitats with caution.
10. Don't stand near a "sleeping" alligator.

Alligator at St. Marks NWR in Florida taken through telephoto lens
Many people say that you should respect the alligator.  For me, that respect starts by keeping a safe distance away from an alligator.  To me, that means 25 feet at a minimum.  If an alligator is big, I'd even recommend doubling that distance to 50 feet or more.  If an alligator swims towards you, you should stand back even further and get ready to go.  An alligator that approaches you has either been fed by people or could think that something about you or your group  might be tasty. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Alligators Near Leland, North Carolina

We were going through some old scans of film photos and came across these gators near Leland, North Carolina.  These alligators live near Orton Plantation.

Alligators near Leland, North Carolina

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Drift wood stump on the Florida Gulf Coast

This old stump is typical of the drift wood you see on the undeveloped Gulf Coast of Florida. Perhaps it washed up? Perhaps it just grew where it was enveloped by the sea.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Old Shrimp Boat in Apalachicola, Florida

This old shrimp boat is on display in Apalachicola, Florida.  It makes a very nice bit of nautical decor.  In a small town steeped in history.

Shrimp Boat on Display in Apalachicola, Florida

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Alligator of Atlanta

Somewhere out there on the Chattahoochee River, an alligator was lurking.  For a cold-blooded creature with a brain the size of a Walnut, he was been very successful in hiding from the people of Atlanta.  He only gets spotted every couple of years.
The Chattahoochee River in Sandy Springs, Georgia

Recently, he appeared on a trail near some townhomes in the area and authorities closed the trail he was on.  He wasn't causing any problems, but some locals were throwing rocks at him.  Apparently, they forget that there is one thing worse than having an alligator in the river:  having a pissed off alligator in the river.  Here is the story from Fox 5 in Atlanta:

Alligator Forces Closure of Popular Trail

If you'd like to see some great photos of the Atlanta Alligator, simply check out this story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC):

Chattahoochee River Alligator Spotted in Cobb County

The National Park Service has had signs up about the Alligator for the past few years.  They are operating under the assumption that he is a "pet" that someone released.  However, I think a pet would associate humans with food.  This alligator has generally been following his instincts to stay away from people.  I guess the park service is too polite to mention drunken rednecks.  I prefer to think that this alligator simply had an enterprising spirit and wanted to do business in Atlanta so he swam all the way up the river.

Now, there is an update to this story.  The Alligator of Atlanta was recently captured.  As is typical and trendy in the news now-a-days, the "he" actually turned out to be a "she!"  There was no way to tell since it never showed up at Target and self-identified.  You can read the story of her capture here:

'Hooch Gator is Trapped!"

Reports say that she has been released somewhere in South, Georgia.  She is probably upset that she no longer has easy access to Starbucks or a Barnes & Noble.