Florida Images of 2006 May 26-29
St Joseph Peninsula and Mexico Beach

         St. Joseph Peninsula is the narrow spit of land extending like an arm, elbow bent, into the Gulf of Mexico. The inner side of the Peninsula is St Joseph Bay while the outer side faces open Mexican Gulf.
         Native Americans were the first to enjoy the beauty and bounty of St.Joseph Bay. The Peninsula was settled by hunters-gatherers of the Weeden Island and Mississippian, Fort Walton Cultures. Remains of shell tools and pottery of these cultures have been found in the park.
         Spanish explorers named St.Joseph Bay in the early 1500s, but didn't settle here until 1701 when they built a fort, Presidio San Jose, and the mission at the tip of the peninsula. After a few years the settlers abandoned the fort and returned to Pensacola. Nothing remains of the settlement today.
         As the Florida Panhandle became an important part of shipping routes in the 1800s, settlers from Apalachicola moved here hoping to establish a competing port. St.Joseph Point Lighthouse was built on the peninsula in 1839 to serve the shortlived town of St.Joseph across the bay. After the town's population was decimated by yellow fever in 1841, the lighthouse was dismantled.
         In 1868, the Stone family purchased much of the land surrounding the bay, including the peninsula. They sold it to the U.S. government in 1940 to use for military training. St.Joseph Peninsula State Park opened in 1967. It was dedicated to the former owner, T.H.Stone, a respected community leader in Gulf County.
         St.Joseph Peninsula State Park encompasses 2.516 acres -- with recreational facilities in its two southern coastal miles -- its remaining 7.5 miles of peninsula are virtually undisturbed and designated a Wilderness Preserve. Park habitats were created by thousands of years of dynamic interaction between wind, waves and lightning-set fires. These forces are still at work.
         The most striking feature of the park is the beach dune community, including some of the tallest and most beautiful dunes in the country. Continually changing, the peninsula was formed over thousands of years of sand accumulation and erosion.
          St.Joseph Peninsula was voted America's Best Beach in 2002.

          More my Florida links are here :
Florida Wildlife; Mexico City; 2005 May
"Forgotten Coast" : Florida Panhandle; 2005 November

          Fish Ball
          Hiking along the outer side of St.Joseph Peninsula I came across a curious formation that looked from the distance as a tire ( about 1m in the diameter ) floating in the surf, but turned out to be a swarm of tiny ( about 5cm length ) fishes forming a dense ball moving as a solid body. Each fish in the ball was individually making a chaotic moves while the entire ball was moving there and here changing speed and direction as a solid entity. At that time some strange splashes were seen in the water next to the ball. It was very curious to me : I have never seen such thing before.

          The images of sunset at Mexico Beach.

          The tip of the Peninsula
          The images of the tip of St.Joseph Peninsula taken from the same position : the left image is taken on 11/27/05 while the right image is taken on 05/29/06.
          Feel the difference ! 

          The Dune Community

          Historical Apalachicola

          The World War II torpedo donated by U.S. military to the U.S. Department of Industry ( Georgia Welcome Center at I-95 North ).