In the Florida panhandle, there is a fairly secluded beach that not many people know about. I have lived in this area on and off for the majority of my life and I had heard of it, but never visited it. Until this summer...
Something I have noticed in our moving to different places and such is the longer we are in one place, the greater the tendency is to put off going and seeing certain sites until "later". It's not that we don't want to go, it's just that life and busyness get in the way sometimes. Then, before you know it, it's time to move on and "later" never happens. I am trying to be more intentional with my time (our time) and remember to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. I want to as completely as possible experience each place we are blessed to call home. So...along this line of thinking, it was high time we made a visit to Crooked Island.
This beach is located on the east end of Tyndall Air Force Base. There is just a small brown sign marking the dirt road that leads from the highway to the beach access point. Blink and you will surely miss it. I did the first time. We got turned around and found it on the second pass with no problems :).
The dirt road is a bit long, but the ones leading to some place good usually are...
At the end of the road, we found a parking area with an adjacent boardwalk leading to the beach. The first time we tried to go, it ended up being really stormy. We only stayed a short while before it started lightning and we had to hurry back to our car. You do not want to be the tallest thing around during a thunder (and lightning) storm!
We did get some really pretty pictures (in my opinion) that day. So I'm glad we went even though we didn't get to stay long.
A few days later we gave it another try. This time we went earlier in the morning to avoid the usual afternoon Florida thunderstorm.
Several of the kids had saved part of their allowance to buy masks and snorkels. They got to use them for the first time that day and they had a lot of fun. Well...until two men came up to us and asked us if we were aware of the swarms of stingrays all over in the water. Hundreds of them. Uh, no! Why my kids didn't notice them while they were looking under the water with their masks on is beyond me. I guess they just weren't looking for them and they do blend in with the sand really well. I hadn't noticed them either until the men pointed right at them, then I saw them ev.er.y where. EEEKKKK!!!! Out of the water kids! So thankful for the kindness of two strangers!!! The kids had been crawling through the shallow water using their hands to move around while looking under the water with their masks on. A stingray barb potentially could have hit them in any part of their bodies from the neck down...very very scary.
The men that had so kindly warned us were carrying a mesh bag full of nice big seashells. Really pretty ones. They told us that they vacation in this area specifically for the purpose of coming to Crooked Island to go shelling. Really? Hm... I looked it up online when I got home and saw that Crooked Island has been said by some to have comparable or even better shelling than Sanibel Island. That's pretty neat! Maybe we will have the opportunity to come back and try that sometime when the weather cools off a bit :).
We had a good time that day, but once again we didn't stay as long as we would have liked. With the water being off limits (I looked around and nobody was getting in the water at all...oops!) and us being there right at noon, it was just too hot to stay very long. That's ok though, at least we went. We can now say that we, too, have been to Crooked Island.
If there is something that you have been wanting to do and keep putting it off until the perfect time...why not just do it now? If it is within your abilities to do something right now, then just decide that NOW is the perfect time. Everything else will wait...I promise, your dirty laundry is not going to go anywhere without you ;)!
***We have returned to Crooked Island many times since I wrote this...you can read more here, here, here, and here :).