We left the kids Monday morning and drove down to St Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach, Fl. This is a relatively big campground with 172 sites spread along the bay side of a mile long narrow peninsula that separates St Andrews Bay from the Gulf of Mexico. The ocean side is typical for this part of Florida, snow white sand and very clear water. The park also has two fishing piers and a nice boat launch ramp on the bay side.
Sue wanted to write for awhile after we set up camp so I took off on my bike to explore. I always like to check out the boat ramp and this one had a fish cleaning station with a couple of guys cleaning a lot of smallish fish. A huge scrum of pelicans fought over the scraps.
Often two or three birds would each get a good grip on a larger scrap and tug and flap for some time before one would win. The seagulls had a good strategy too. They swooped through the area grabbing smaller bits in mid-air, before they hit the water where the pelicans waited.
Next stop was the beach, about a quarter mile directly across the peninsula from the boat ramp. A beach walk beckoned so I rode back to our campsite, got Sue and we had a nice walk from the end of the park to where the high-rise condos started.
Looking west toward civilization:
Tuesday morning we went for another beach walk in the morning then went to the Zen Garden Market and Lotus Cafe for lunch. Lots of interesting veg food with tables around a beautifully landscaped pond.
Wednesday morning we rode around the park and hiked a short nature trail on the shore of a small fresh water lake named Gator Lake. We didn’t see any alligators though. We did come upon a coupe of tourists staring nervously at a partially sunken log right next to shore though 🙂
After lunch we went back to the beach and found it continued around the inlet to St Andrews Bay and made a large pool sheltered from the waves by the rock jetty. It was warm and the water was clear and warm(ish) so we went for a swim. There were schools of small fish, maybe the size of your hand, jumping out of the water near the rocks. They paid no attention to the people in the water. I heard some kids yell that the fish hit them, they came close enough to splash us but no direct hits. I wish I could have gotten a picture as they were a pretty green and silver color and there would be dozens of them in the air at the same time.
I went for another bike ride before dinner and came across a group of very tame deer just hanging out on the sie of the road.
Thursday we went out for breakfast at Another Broken Egg Cafe and then went grocery shopping as Todd, Amanda and the kids were coming for lunch. They arrived about 11:30, Luke immediately got busy picking the wild flowers around the campsite, we had lunch and then spent the afternoon at the beach. They ended up staying for an early dinner too. Great way to spend the day.
Thunderstorms were forecast for Friday morning and we had to vacate the site by 1:00 PM so we packed the screen room, chairs and awning after the dinner dishes were done, then went for a walk. The park land includes a large swamp with a boardwalk extending out to a viewing platform maybe a hundred feet ‘offshore’. The viewing platform was an excellent listening platform as well. We must have sat for half an hour enjoying all the frog, insect and bird sounds. Sue remarked it was like listening to a symphony with some of the instruments playing on the right, some center and others on the left.
The Friday morning sun lured us to the beach for another walk but turned rainy before we got back. It rained for awhile but stopped in time for us to finish packing and exit the park around noon. We had a nice lunch at the Hognose Snapper restaurant a few miles along the way back to Enterprise to spend the weekend with the kids.
The Enterprise Airport hosted an air show Saturday which was pretty small but we all went anyway and had a good time.
We are going back to St Andrews tomorrow for another week and will come back to Enterprise next Friday.