Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wenches RULE!

This is WAY too much fun! Beware ya laddies and lassies, when the moon is high the pirates take sail!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike clears the beach. Gulf Shores, Alabama

Here we have a 40 second video of waves generated by Hurricane Ike which is currently 358 miles due south. This video was taken from Sea Stars Cottage upper deck, between squalls. I estimate winds here to be between 30 and 55 mph. The winds are battering at times. Ike is a loose cannon.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The "scout" is out!

The "scout" emerged at 6 p.m. Around 7 p.m., 3 more hatchlings emerged and sat atop the nest for about an hour. Just after dark there was a small "boil" and 58 vigorous hatchlings trucked on down the trench to sea. Because the moon was bright and the Gulf clear, we could see the babies get the hang of swimming and take off like shooting stars, an *awesome* sight in the true sense of the word. Sometime after 9 p.m., 76 hatchlings made the trek to sea with only 1 slowpoke, which Priscilla coddled all the way along the long crawl. Once making water this last baby also swam off powerfully.
We welcome WBB homeowners Michael and Julie Reilly to our Turtle Family.

Between Storms, a day off for the deserving-

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Laguna Key "Share the Beach" Team Loggerhead Nest Update

Nest B-1 total 114 eggs, survival rate 90.35%
103 to sea
10 infertile
1 dead embryo

Nest B-2 total 129 eggs, survival rate 98.4%
103 to sea
24 alive in nest and released
1 dead pipped egg
1 depredated

Nest B-3 total 106 eggs, survival rate 96.2%
102 escaped to sea
4 infertile

Nest B-4 total 113 eggs. survival rate 98.23%
109 escaped to sea
2 alive in nest and released
2 infertile

Nest B-5 total 89 eggs, survival rate 92.1%
82 to sea
7 infertile

Nest B-6 total 101 eggs, survial rate 51.5%
52 to sea
49 infertile

Nest B-7 total 73 eggs
70 to sea
2 drowned in shell
1 infertile

Nest B-8 total eggs 141
136 to sea
1 dead embryo
4 infertile

B-9 due
117 to sea

B-10 due (55 days)9/17

B-11 Inundated by Hurricane Gustav waters survival rate 0%
B-12 Inundated by high waters caused by Hurricane Gustav, 0% survival rate

We have now seen 900 hatchlings to sea. We are shooting for 1,000. With 1 nest remaining, with 120+ eggs, our goal is possible if we manage +90% survival.

Sea Stars Cottage Beach After Gustav

Our *front yard* following Gustav held very well. Kudos to Capn Howell and Pompano Jerry for initiating the fence and fertilizing program.
There was a loggerhead sea turtle nest positioned just to the left of the path. High waves breached our berm just after midnight (9/1/08 a.m.). Capn Howell had been checking every little while all evening. He had pounded a board "breaker" into the sand in front of the nest and piled sandbags around it but there is no holding back water powered by a hurricane.
As the nest caved in, (keep in mind we were in the dark, the rain and the waves roiling up carried all sorts of large and dangerous debris)and as the eggs were drenched in sea water, the eggs began to burst and hatchings boiled half hatched in a desperate attempt to survive. We had no time to get permissions to save them, we just did. More on that later.

Gulf Shores Beach following Hurricane Gustav

Pictured above is a place down the road where, unfortunately, one of our sea turtle nests was inundated with water and destroyed. The salt water also "burns" the seaoats as you can tell by the yellow color. Here we noticed some green at the base of some plants so they will survive.

Our front yard prior to winds and high waters of Hurricane Gustav

The berm you see pictured here seperates our front yard from the lower level beach. This berm was part of the rehabilitation of our beach that was wiped out with the devasting Hurricane Ivan, not to mention a few storms that followed, like Katrina. The seaoats here were planted just last year, except for a few native plants that we were able to save from construction sites. Seaoats have a fantastic net-like root system that binds and holds the sand. For this reason, "picking" seaoats is a fineable offense.
Our dune has had more sand build up for a couple of reasons. 1. Note Capn Howell's cross hatched placement of the sand/snow fence. This has definately been a successful experiment in the attempt to catch a little more of that blowing sand. 2. Our thick and dark green plants have been fertilized in an interesting way that harkens back to our Original People's days. Pompano Jerry has *planted* the inedible remains of fish. "Pompano Jerry's Surf Fishing Classes" have not only provided some good eatin', but have yielded some terrific natural fertilizer.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Gustav Approaches the Gulf Coast

Jack Jack takes a last run in the building waves before taking shelter from the storm. We continue to anxiously watch the radar during the tropical storm season!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Joory" Party Held at Sea Stars Cottage

Britney's Premier jewelry party went over without a hitch! Over a dozen ladies gathered at the beach side retreat to sample homemade appetizers, laugh and chat, and play dress up. The menu included stuffed jalapeƱos, ham and turkey "pinwheels," spinach dip, and baked fruit kabobs. There were games, giveaways, and, of course, SPARKLIES!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Loggerhead Nest B-2 Conclusion

Our data from B-2 is as follows;
103 escaped from nest
24 found alive in nest and released
1 dead pipped egg
1 depredated (infertile) egg
98.4 survival percentage

But wait! Our work was not finished until the trench and nest area was filled in and all traces of our temporary *camp* removed.

Loggerhead Hatchlings

This picture is of summer visitors (from Rockwall Texas) watching the hatchlings' progress down the trench which was dug for a guiding purpose.
In a perfect world the hatchlings would emerge from the nest and fan out over untouched banks towards the sea. Because of the development, lights and other distractions that may draw the turtles inland, we use a trench as a sort of conduit to the sea.

B-2 Excavation Continues

More hatchlings emerge at their own speed. We always begin our excavation with no less than 1/2 hour until darkness. This allows the hatchlings to reach water as nature intended, under darkfall. Loggerheads nearly always hatch at night.

Loggerhead Nest B-2 Excavation

Our Laguna Key Team takes tremendous care to do no harm while excavating our loggerhead nests.
The nests are originally dug with a flipper, therefore width and depth is relative to the size of that particular nesting sea turtle. The hole is dug then, perhaps 12 to 16 inches deep. Mother turtle then positions her back side over the hole and drops her eggs. We call this a "clutch" of eggs and it looks somewhat like an upside down bunch of grapes, only, the eggs are ping pong ball sized plus or minus. Mother turtle covers her eggs with perhaps 8 to 12 inches of sand. She flattens the whole area and then sprays sand about covering a larger area, apx. 6 square feet or even larger. The previous chapter shows how we protected this nest.
We saw 101 hatchlings "boil" out of this nest 8/15 between 8:22 and 8:45. Sounds from the nest continued and team members stayed through the night with no further action.
8/16 at 10:55, 1 hatchling named "Bubba" guided by Rick and Jerry, found his way down the trench to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
8/17 at 12:30 "Bucky" also reached the Gulf, well guarded, and swam away.

From the photo above you may note that rather than digging down directly above the remaining eggs or hatchlings, our team clears the sand from around the nest. This is a terrific way to excavate. Our method takes a lot more time but it allows the surviving hatchlings to adjust, gain strength and it affords watchers a wonderful view. We can actually see the baby turtles who were trapped, gasp the fresh air and kick off their shells. We stop whenever a hatchling head or flipper appears and wait and watch, as you see in the above photo.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Nest

Pictured here, is a Loggerhead (caretta caretta) Sea Turtle nest that our Alabama "Share the Beach" team has discovered.
By placing a metal grate over the nest we hope to keep large predators from digging up the eggs. In this area of the Gulf Coast, land bound predators include the coyote, the fox, the dog and people. Apparently, the four footed creatures cannot read the "DO NOT DISTURB U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973" sign which threatens a penalty of up to $100,000 and 1 year of imprisonment.
Once we stake and tape off our nest area we have nothing to do but watch and wait for 55 to 65 days. The mother Sea Turtle literally drops her eggs in a hole she has dug with a flipper, camoflauges the nest by flipping sand every which way and returns to the sea with nary a second glance. This leaves *us* to watch and protect. Had we not developed this beach with homes, condos and all sorts of bright lights to lure the hatchlings away from the sea, there would be no need for *us*.
The sink hole that you see in the photo above tells us that a hatching is "imminent"! Take the word "imminent" as meaning minutes, hours or days. As the sea turtle hatchlings make their way out of their shells and move around a foot or more beneathe the sand, a depression forms. Tonight, perhaps under the bright moon, we may see these particular hatchlings safely to the sea.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Hatchling

Results from our first nest (B-1) to hatch this season are; 103 loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings made the trek to the warm Gulf waters, 10 infertile eggs were found during excavation as well as 1 dead embryo, total of 114 eggs laid. Our nest hatched on a darkly clouded night and cameras or bright lights are not allowed.

The photo above was taken during an excavation of a nest at Fort Morgan, where remaining babies in the nest were released at dusk.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Pompano Jerry strikes again!

Pompano Jerry, can we have your favorite recipe please?

Sure, here you go! P.J.
Take fresh Caught Pompano...Filet down each side following the bone..then take the two halves and cut them down the middle following the blood line. Now lay the filets skin down and take a sharp filet knife and slowly slide back and forth between the skin and meat.You should have 4 filets now. Put all 4 pieces in a bowl of ice and water for @ 5 mins. This will remove any blood. Pat dry with paper towel. Dip in melted butter and lay flat on a fish grilling non-stick pan. Coat all sides with your favorite blacking season. Then sprinkle your favorite Greek seasoning on all sides. Grill should already be preheated to @ 375-400. Cut a lemon up into 1/4 and squeeze two wedges on the filets. Place on grill for @ 3-4 mins and flip. Squeeze the other 2 lemon wedges on the filets. Keep on grill untill the outside edges start to turn a light brown. Pull off grill and tell everyone else that you brunt them and inhale them all yourself!!!! BEST FISH YOU HAVE EVER PUT IN YOUR MOUTH!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Beach Weddings

This is a photo of a set-up for a beach wedding. Simple, beautiful! Our local Judge of Probate, the Honorable Adrian T. Johns is available to officiate at weddings on our beach.

Baked Speckled Trout Recipe

Also called Speck, Speckled Trout, Trout and Spotted Seatrout.
Food Value is GOOD!

The average seatrout caught here at Sea Stars Cottage is 1 to 3 lbs.

For this recipe the trout should be cleaned out but the head and skin may be left on.
You'll need a 1 lb. (give or take) trout per person
For each trout you'll need
2 slices of bacon +
1 tsp each fresh rosemary and thyme, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped +
1 oz softened butter.
Beat together the butter and herbs and spread inside the fish.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Close the fish and wrap with the bacon slices, securing with skewers or toothpicks if necessary.
Place the bacon wrapped fish side by side in a greased pan.
Cover with foil and bake at 350' for 20 minutes. Remove foil cover for the remaining 5 to 10 minutes to crisp up the bacon.
Place each trout on a platter for 1, remove skewers and enjoy with a nice salad and some chunky bread.

West Indies Crab Salad Sea Stars Style

1 pound lump crabmeat
1 cup chopped vidalia onion
1/2 cup white vinigar
1/3 cup virgin olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp lea & perrins
3 shakes tabasco sauce

First, check your crab & pick out any bits of shell that may have been missed.
Place crab in a glass loaf pan or other shallow dish.
Mix all other ingredients together to make a dressing.
Pour the dressing over the crab.
Cover then refridgerate & marinate for 1 to 4 hours.

This is a great little base salad by itself. You can also serve it on lettuce, on crackers, in hollowed out tomatoes, on avacado halves or asparagus.
You could also add celery, green pepper, scallions or fresh basil or even pimiento for color. You are limited only by your imagination.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sea Stars Cottage

This is it, here she is, Sea Stars Cottage, our Last Resort.

Laguna Key Team moves Nest B-10 to (relative) Safety

Here the Loggerhead eggs have been relocated further back from the wrack line into a nest that closely resembles the original.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Catch of the Day

Pompano Jerry is currently holding his "Surf Fishing Clinic" on Sea Stars Beach. Equipment is provided. Individuals and groups welcomed! Please send inquiries to

Pompano, also called: Florida Pompano, Carolina Pompano, Common Pompano, Papino

Food Value: EXCELLENT!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Georgia Peach Slept HERE

This Honeymoon suite is available right now for the special rate of $200 per night. This includes a private 10 X 30 foot covered deck with that gorgeous Gulf view AND a private spa bathroom.
Questions? E-mail me @

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Tracks

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Tracks. Nest B-6

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Kewpie Dolls have nothing on HER!

This KEWT girl is my GRANDNIECE, Jordan Grace. She is a mermaid at HEART.

Beach Weddings

Gulf Shores, Alabama Beaches are perfect for weddings. I took this photo of a wedding from the lower deck at Sea Stars Cottage. We had a ringside seat. Following the 9 a.m. wedding these folks went off to brunch returning later for a long day of PLAY.

"Mumu Mamas" My mini watercolor paintings

My Mumu Mama series began one day when I stepped on the scale and thought to self, " are going to be wearing mumus by summer!" Which isn't a bad thing. I thought about that a lot that day and that night I began painting. Mumu Mamas have JOY in their hearts.

Sea Turtle Eggs

In 2007, Tropical Storm Dean inundated this Loggerhead Sea Turtle nest. The nest was underwater for days. 5 eggs were infertile. 120 once viable hatchlings drowned in their own shells.

Friends of the Sea Turtles

Friends of the Sea Turtles wear green shirts. The backs of their shirts read, "Share the Beach" Sea Turtle Volunteer Patrol. Friends patrol the beach every morning searching for the tracks of the Sea Turtle.
Once a nest is found, it is marked and protected for 55 days, or thereabouts.

Watercolor Painting of Sea Stars Cottage

Watercolor by Marion O'Shaughnessy, an ARTIST and a FRIEND.

Sea Stars Cottage rests on the edge of the great Gulf of Mexico.

Catch of the Day!

3 Redfish and 1 is for ME!
1 Flounder from under the sea
2 Pompano for the Jerry!