Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Life is Just Beachy!

We just returned from our annual vacation to Gulf Shores, AL. At first I was reluctant to go because of the oil spill, but my husband convinced me we should go to support the local economy there. So we went and were not disappointed. The beaches were not closed and showed no sign of liquid oil. You could see small tar balls in the gulf water but they didn’t seem to be bothering the people who were swimming. Saw lots of pelicans (they did not appear to have oil on them) and there were lots of sting rays in the water. I assume they were coming closer in shore to avoid the oil. I don't ever remember seeing any sting rays before.

I love pelicans. No trip to the beach is complete without a pelican sighting.

The yellow flags were out so that meant you could get in the water even though they were discouraging it on the news and in the papers. Coast Guard helicopters were continually flying over the beach and there were large staging areas (big tents set up and all kinds of beach cleaning equipment.....large back hoes, etc.) all up and down the beach for the workers. I still enjoyed my early morning walks and walks at dusk on the shore line collecting shells and the time I spent just sitting on the balcony reading and drinking tea.

This is me chilling on the balcony of our condo.

On our last day there, it was a different situation. A storm during the night had blown the oil in and there was oil on the beach close to the water. There was a clean up crew out there by 7 a.m. Of course, this was all at Gulf Shores. Just down the road at Orange Beach and Perdido the condition was more serious. We rode down that way and you could see the boom out in the gulf and in the bay. The double red flags were flying which meant “do not get in the water”. It's a sad situation. There were hardly any tourists and it is usually packed this time of year.

Clean up crews working in the rain to clean the beach.

There were very few people on the beach in Gulf Shores so it was almost like having a private beach all to ourselves. One bright note though is that Jimmy Buffet and Kenny Chesney are having a free concert on the beach (tickets required though) on July 1 to promote tourism in the area. The clerk at our condo said almost all the rooms in town were already booked. Just tonight I saw on the news that Bob Riley, the governor of Alabama, is investigating how the 35,000 allotted tickets disappeared in five minutes time. There are going to be some disappointed Parrot Heads out there if they can’t get tickets.

Views from our condo showing the empty beach that is usually crowded this time of year.

We ate at Tacky Jacks in Orange Beach on Sunday night. That is where President Obama ate when he visited the area last week. We sat on the deck outside overlooking the marina and bay and listened to the live music. While eating, there was a Blue Angel fly over. Very cool.

So all things considered, we had a fun vacation. If you are considering a beach vacation this summer, please go regardless of the conditions and enjoy all the other attractions that are offered and please say a prayer for all those affected by this.

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