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Monday, August 11, 2014

Travel Not a care in the world in the white sands of Cape San Blas

Standing atop the white sandy dunes of Cape San Blas you begin to understand why the cares that you have been running from are so easy to forget. With its limitless views it is easy to under estimate the beauty of the seventeen-mile long barrier peninsula, Cape San Blas curves around St. Joseph Bay and is truly the best of both worlds, offering white sandy beach & a playful surf on the gulf side, with an enjoyable hike across the sandy dunes to sparkling water & fantastic fishing on the bay side. There is so much more to do than swim in the clear blue water and gentle surf that Cape San Blas is known for. I spent most of my days relaxing on the beach but quickly realized that I was missing something the first time I rode my bike down Loggerhead Run bike trail, that runs from the beach  and ends at some friendly beach stores, that offer everything from ice cream to fresh bay shrimp. It was at the ice cream shop where I met a friendly local named John who invited us to go snorkeling for scallops in St. Joseph Bay. I had never been snorkeling or scalloping for that matter and was a little nervous about the adventure but my mind was soon at ease in the shallow waters of the bay that is perfect for learning to snorkel. Very little is needed to snorkel so we brought along a mask, & snorkel for the trip and our host John provided mesh bag & ice chest for collecting & storing the scallops. Snorkeling is easier than I thought and Scalloping is even easier. Scallops can be found resting on the grass beds or in the sand below the grass beds in two or three feet of water in St Joe Bay. The best way to spot them is to look for their glowing blue spots along the edge of their shells. It was a good thing we had an ice chest with us because it didn't take long to catch our limit of scallops and we continued to snorkel, enjoying our little adventure in the life size aquarium called St. Joseph Bay. There is so much sea life in the bay that we actually spotted a school of bottle-nosed dolphin swimming in the area. I noticed several people on the shore wading into the protected waters of St. Joe Bay to gather some scallops and later laughed with my new friend John that I could have been scalloping from the shore the whole time. We returned to land after several hours of snorkeling to clean our catch of scallops and prepare them for a much anticipated dinner on a secluded beach near John & Sarah's home. While relaxing on the beach we enjoyed the sunset with a bonfire and shrimp boil. John's wife Sarah cooked the scallops using an old family recipe and once I tasted the little morsels I knew that I would return the following day for another bucket of bay scallops. John and his wife Sarah were the picture of southern hospitality and are now friends for life. This is only part of the reason I find Florida's Forgotten Coast so unforgettable.   (St. Joseph Bay is one of the few remaining areas in Florida with a significant bay scallop population & must be in season so Please check local laws before scalloping).

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