Sunday, October 03, 2010

Item From the Past: Beaches of the Florida Panhandle

I didn't spend much time on the beach in Florida in early October 2007, when I visited WaterColor and Seaside. (See Seaside, Florida, Part 1; Goin' to the Chapel; and Last Photo Series.) Maybe part of the reason was an unwelcoming attitude on the part of municipal officials.

I found a public access path not too far away and accessed the astonishingly white beaches of northwest Florida for a few minutes, without encountering Security Enforcement. This summer, I wondered about these beaches, and how many tar balls might have found their way onto the vividly white sands in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon's noxious gift to the Gulf of Mexico.

It's hard to know exactly what has happened on exactly that small bit of the Florida coast, short of visiting in person at the right time. Check the Seaside web site and there doesn't seem to be a peep about oil, which is no surprise, since the site has a chamber of commerce vibe to it, even if no actual chamber is involved. The site's motto: More than a way of life, a way of living! Huh?

This interactive map suggests that some oil visited the 30A corridor, Florida 30A being the road that runs next to the coast in this area. It was published by ESRI to show off its GIS software. This Facebook page, The Oil Spill and South Walton/Scenic Hwy 30A, also offers some clues.

In any case, I visited the beach along Seaside three years ago.

The place certainly had its charms.

But even if I'd had a trip scheduled for this year, I would have gone. To see tar balls for myself, if there were any to be seen.

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