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Cape San Blas: A Photo Gallery of Florida's Best Kept Secret

Updated on January 13, 2018
alahiker28 profile image

Ms. Parker is a senior paralegal from Alabama. She earned her Bachelor's from Millsaps College in Mississippi. She freelances on the side.

Framing San Blas - Photography by Vicki Parker
Framing San Blas - Photography by Vicki Parker

Ten miles east of St. Port Joe, Florida, I walked along Cape San Blas and stumbled upon these fallen trees. They made a natural frame for the ocean as my fiance' played with the dolphins near the second sand bar. (You cannot see the dolphins without zooming to the dead center of the photo, but they are there. I picked them up with an 18 times zoom.)

Sunset at San Blas - Photography by Vicki Parker
Sunset at San Blas - Photography by Vicki Parker

The winds blow inland, but the trees seem to go out with the tide along this stretch of Cape San Blas. It's not uncommon to see horseback riders ambling down the shoreline or into the sunset. There is an historic lighthouse just inland from this photograph.

Fallen Angel - Photography by Vicki Parker
Fallen Angel - Photography by Vicki Parker

When I see this picture, I see more than a shore littered with sea shells. The angle makes it appear to me as though the objects that clutter this seventeen mile barrier penninusula have fallen out of the sky rather than washed up on the shore. The composition of the shell justaposed against the heavens, struck me as a fallen angel, rather than a broken shell.

Land Current - Photography by Vicki Parker
Land Current - Photography by Vicki Parker

The Sand Dunes

There are enormous sand dunes running parallel to the beaches. Some of them are twenty to thirty feet or higher with sharp drop offs cut out by the wind. Others are between five and fifteen feet high with gradual slopes.

The dunes are covered with indigenous plants and animals such as sea grass, sand pines, lizards, and birds. Signs are posted to protect nesting areas of indigenous birds and sea turtles.

Madeline (affectionately named remnant of a sand dune) - Photography by Vicki Parker
Madeline (affectionately named remnant of a sand dune) - Photography by Vicki Parker

The dunes are close enough to the ocean that high tides can do 'creative' damage to them. Yet it has not destroyed them. They have merely been displaced over time and encroach upon the sidewalks and parking lots behind them.

(Below) Trees which used to line the beach are so deeply entrenched, they now stand petrified against the test of time and elements.

Man or Monolith - Photo by Vicki Parker
Man or Monolith - Photo by Vicki Parker
Mermaid's Purse - Photo by Vicki Parker
Mermaid's Purse - Photo by Vicki Parker

A mermaid's purse is a rare find on any beach. This black sack, which is rubbery to the touch, is basically the womb of unborn sharks. Once born, the sacks shrivel up and this one had washed up on the shore along with beautiful starfish.



(Below) Playful dolphins ran up and down the beach within eyeshot while sea birds flew overhead.

Dolphin's Play - Photography by Vicki Parker
Dolphin's Play - Photography by Vicki Parker
Fallen Star - Photography by Vicki Parker
Fallen Star - Photography by Vicki Parker

The Bay Side

The eco-system on the opposite side of the cape is a striking contrast to the ocean side. The bay is replete with palm trees of various kinds and the brush is plush and dense. Large snakes of the non-poisonus and poisonus variety can be seen if you have a keen eye. Crabs are so dense that when you walk along the docks, the sound of their scurry sounds like soliders marching out of sight.

Palm Circle - Photography by Vicki Parker
Palm Circle - Photography by Vicki Parker
A Shell of a Perspective - Photography by Vicki Parker
A Shell of a Perspective - Photography by Vicki Parker

The dense eco-system of the bay gives rise to a wide variety of conchs, crabs, crayfish, and the birds which feed upon them.


(Below) This naturally dried sea grass lies along the shore of the bay for hundreds of feet. Beneath this carpet, another set of living creatures yet to be revealed.

Conch Castle - Photo by Vicki Parker
Conch Castle - Photo by Vicki Parker

Conch shells of every size, color and type love the bay environment. Be careful when you pick them up. You are also picking up the lifeforms that depend on the conchs for their survival - crabs. See below!

Escape Artist - Photography by Vicki Parker
Escape Artist - Photography by Vicki Parker
Horseshoe & Other  Crabs - Photo by Vicki Parker
Horseshoe & Other Crabs - Photo by Vicki Parker

Horseshoe crabs are as abundant as any other form of wildlife in or near the bay. Passing over coyote tracks in the early dawn, we found two horsehoe crabs mating in the shallows. Unfortunately, they were lifeless.

Abandoned - Photography by Vicki Parker
Abandoned - Photography by Vicki Parker

When the water levels have fallen, it is difficult to navigate the bay until you are hundreds of feet from the shoreline. Then, in an instant, high winds can quickly capsize or carry a small boat toward the Cape side. My partner and I headed out in this canoe and quickly learned we would have to turn back. The turn back took us in a complete circle for two hours, where once we found purchase on the floor of the shoreline, we literally had to drag our boat back to shore. There is a subtle irony in the fact that old salt mines which were destroyed in the civil war are in the same visible distance as the tumultuous current which took control of our boat.

The Wildlife Refuge

About thirty miles from San Blas is a wildlife refuge referred to as St. Vincent's. Here the beaches are extraordinarily desolate and well-protected. Following a ferry ride and then a long bike ride through the sand, we found dozens of sand dollars, angel wings, and giant cockles along the beach.

This shot looks like the dead of winter, but it is actually quite warm and in the month of April. Cape San Blas is called the "forgotten coast," but it is NOT a place that I will ever forget.

Comments

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    • the rawspirit profile image

      Robert Morgan 

      3 years ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Scottsdale AZ

      Very well written article. I love this area of Florida. Thanks, and I will vote this one up.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Great photos! I especially liked Abandoned. Voted up!

    • profile image

      ken h 

      7 years ago

      great photos!! love the comments you put with the photos

    • Nurfninja profile image

      Nurfninja 

      7 years ago from Earth

      That is so beautiful, thank you for you wonderful photos

      two thumbs up!

    • profile image

      son 

      7 years ago

      your eye is fantastic. not everyone can take God's own creativity and capture it in a photo.

      Nat says you have a great eye! She also says hi and we loves you.

      more

    • pearlmacb profile image

      Pearlmacb 

      7 years ago from Switzerland

      Yes it does make sense...I couldnt agree with you more, I believe imperfection is beauty, I created a painting with this title.

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 

      7 years ago from Mexico

      When I saw the Hub's title I thought it was about San Blas in Mexico's Pacific Ocean ha ha ha…. Nice pictures though, the beach and ocean are almost always enchanting.

    • alahiker28 profile imageAUTHOR

      Vicki Parker 

      7 years ago from the Deep South

      Thanks again for commenting, Meg. I like No. 2 as well. It's imperfections make it perfect if that makes sense.

    • pearlmacb profile image

      Pearlmacb 

      7 years ago from Switzerland

      Wonderful images, especially image two- portrays freedom & unlimitted possibilites to me personally. I love the entire layout of your hub. An interesting place, and you sure have captured it well. All the best with your photography venture! Meg:)

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 

      7 years ago

      These are beautiful. I had never even heard of Cape San Blas before. I'm happy to hear they have a wildlife refuge.

    • alahiker28 profile imageAUTHOR

      Vicki Parker 

      7 years ago from the Deep South

      Thanks. It's an Olympus. And my first camera. I'm learning a lot quickly though.

    • Lyla Day profile image

      Lyla Day 

      7 years ago

      What kind of camera do you have? These pictures are beautiful!

    • profile image

      Hazard 

      7 years ago

      Great photo's I felt like was included on the trip. I think the sunset was very engaging and the shells embedded in sand thought provoking.

      Thanks for the Tour.

    • profile image

      Charlie Carroll 

      7 years ago

      Just like it was out of National Geographic.

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