I visited the Apollo Beach Nature Park in Apollo Beach, Florida, on the seventh of October, 2013. Between the parking lot and the ocean (Tampa Bay) is a field containing just a few picnic tables. The shore is lined with large boulders made up (as far as I can tell) entirely of shells mashed together. Inexplicably, a couple of wooden stairways lead directly into the sea. Further down the beach is a lightly wooded area with crisscrossing trails that ends where the bay wraps around in a great curve. It is in the lagoon that there is sand and it is the only part of the beach safe from razor-sharp, oyster-encrusted rocks of all sizes. The water becomes deep quickly here. Further out, where water from the sea meets water leaving the mangrove swamps and power plant, there are turbulent currents. Swimming is prohibited, but that doesn’t always stop people. Fishing is common.
It is also in this area that there are thousands of fiddler crabs. They dig holes, piling up balls of sand of different sizes. When chased, the crabs will retreat into the nearest hole they can find and crabs will readily share holes. There are also some mysterious tunnels near the surface of the sand. They are about a centimeter across – too small for moles. When my mother and I visited, it was high tide, so many of the trails were underwater and we did not go everywhere we wanted, but we did see some very tiny fish.
Further along the beach in the same direction, the shore is bordered by a wall made entirely of packed shells. It extends for quite a ways. Unlike the boulders near the staircases, this wall easily crumbles with the slightest touch. On the other side of the wall is a convoluted mangrove swamp, crisscrossed by trails. Since it was high tide, all these trails were under about eight centimeters of water. We couldn’t get close to the deeper water and there wasn’t much to see elsewhere. My mother and I decided instead to walk along the ridge where a single dry trail took us almost all the way to the end of the point. It was on this path that we encountered a quasi-tame pigeon.
At the end, we climbed down the shell wall and returned along the narrow beach. The shells in this area had suffered from borers or something, I think, creating some interesting designs. It was almost sunset when we returned and the sky had a strange band of green (I hope it shows up on your monitor).
Highlights: I saw a pigeon I forgot to photograph. I saw a bug with an orange rectangle on its back I was unable to photograph. I did find this plant with velvety seed pods,
This plant with flowers of three different colors,
And this plant with no leaves, flowers, or seeds of any kind.
Hello, my name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small. I like bacon. I like pizza. I like bacon pizza. I enjoy long walks on the beach, but prefer the mountains. I am a huge fan of Jesus. When I grow up, I want to be just like him and create my own universes.