Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sebastian Inlet State Park

The South Beach at Sebastian Inlet State Park
Last weekend, we had our first camping trip since being back in a house. We chose Sebastian Inlet State Park for the beach and fishing opportunities and it was the only state park with beach access with Friday AND Saturday night availability. Since it was the last spot available (#17) for the weekend, it was probably a less desirable one due to being crunched between two other sites without much privacy. The proximity to the inlet was superb however. Once the kids were asleep, we were able to use our phones like baby monitors and go do a little night fishing.
Site #17 at Sebastian Inlet State Park
One thing I didn't really remember about this area is how close the reefs are to the shore. It didn't take long for me to rediscover this however, and I got my dive mask on for exploring. The timing of the tides was perfect. We got out on the beach in the morning on Saturday and Sunday right at low tide when the water was the calmest and clearest. The first day I found some tackle on the bottom and a bottle of nail polish. I know it sounds silly, but I was delighted with even these small treasures. And, given that I lost a big fishing weight in the inlet the last time we visited, I felt quite compensated.

Large Lightning Whelk shell
Sunday, we broke camp early so we could just enjoy our day at the beach without concern for the 1 o'clock check out time. We were set on doing more snorkeling having gotten better masks the day before. On Saturday, I spotted some smaller bait fish and sheepshead, but Sunday we saw those plus a number of snook and a school of lookdowns. My treasure find on Sunday was a huge whelk shell tucked in between two rocky outcroppings. The kids keep calling it a conch shell, but I'm pretty sure it's from a big Lightning Whelk. And Kelly found a big, shiny, shark hook that he is hankering to use.

I was delighted to see many different animals over the weekend and not just fish. We weren't the only mammals enjoying a day at the beach; both days we saw manatee and dolphin. I remembered from my college days as a member of the UCF Marine Turtle Research Group that juvenile sea turtles use this area as feeding grounds. We saw a turtle head pop up here and there on Saturday, but Sunday they seemed to be everywhere - little green turtles bobbing to the surface for air sometimes waving their little flippers - so cute!

Both kids got a taste of snorkeling, without the snorkel. They both swam with us in deeper water as we perused the reef areas. They enjoyed the ocean like never before. Even at high tide the waves kept to a gentle roll. They hardly got out of the water at all on Sunday.

Needless to say, we all had a great time. At the moment, this is my favorite weekend spot in Florida and less than 2 hours away from home. I look forward to a return trip.

No comments: