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 jalape├▒os, 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.