A year or so ago, Mr. B. and I went looking for Crescent Beach and looked right past it. We ended up at Fort Matanzas, wondering where we had missed the marker for the beach known as the closest to Gainesville and thus the UF party beach. I maintained that if it were that poorly marked, there wasn’t much worth seeing, while Mr. B. said there must be something to see since people visited and there spent entire days happily disporting themselves.
I almost drove right by/through it again. There is a city marker on the right hand side of the road and that was all I saw; there is no giant water tower done up like a beach ball (Pensacola), no surf shops (Daytona) and no visible beach (Destin). What I saw was a line of houses running north-south (or south-north) on the A1A and absolutely nothing that made me want to pull over.
Often Mr. B. and I are at odds about whether to pull over. If the pulling over involves a store of any kind, this might be viewed with suspicion by Mr. B. (“What is the real reason she’s stopping at this gas station…Aha! I KNEW IT! A Stuckey’s pecan roll!”). I often have had my fill of painted scenery and happy-people-togetheritis and just want to go home. The A1A was so fertile with great places to stop, though, that Mr. B. and I were in immediate accord about all of it.
Agreeing to stop yielded an unexpected and very rich reward for Mr. B. After we had kicked around a boardwalk trail at Fort Matanzas and had taken an amble around Washington Oaks Gardens, we headed back to the beach for some sunset pictures. At this point we were both a bit tired. The tide was coming up and the waves had good action around coquina rock. We were somewhere between the fort and the gardens and I saw what looked like an ideal place to stop.
We climbed up a boardwalk and started taking pictures of the incoming tide. A woman came by with two dogs and then headed south on the beach. I swiveled my camera north and saw two other people off in the near distance; the man appeared to have a mega-telephoto lens and the woman some kind of mermaid-y outfit. I figured this to be a guy who was trying to impress a chick with his giant telescoping lens and a girl who was trying to impress a guy with some giant cosmetic handiwork. Even at our distance, it was possible to make out her ballooning shape. I zoomed in with my camera and then started marching up the beach towards them, intent on getting some photos of the coquina rock.
Mr. B. followed behind me, shooting the same stuff. As we got closer to the couple, the girl waved at Mr. B. and then lay in the sand while the guy with the big lens cranked it up and took his pictures. I took a couple of pics. When Mr. B. took a picture, the girl got up in a huff and walked away. You see? I said to Mr. B. It is not okay for you to take pictures. It was okay when I was, because I’m a chick, but you just looked like a voyeur.
Mr. B. pointed out that the posing had been done very much in public, and that in fact the “model” had waved to acknowledge us before lying in the sand, so it was a bit disingenuous to suddenly make as if we were hiding around the corner, spying with a pair of cheap binoculars and wearing a saggy old raincoat. Nevertheless, it was an awkward moment and we turned and walked back down the beach to watch the sunset in a less provocative place.
You have to take a ferry to get to Fort Matanzas. We missed the boat. We plan to return, at which point I will write a proper blog post about it. Right now, you just need to know that Matanzas is surprisingly tiny.
On a nature walk at Fort Matanzas, two plaques commemorate the murder of nearly 250 French Huguenots by the Spanish.
Taken from the seawall of the Matanzas River at Washington Oaks Gardens.
Fins in the water….and my zoom is once again too short.
After Washington Oaks, we went looking for some high-ish surf and the golden glow of a sunset.
Sorry to make you wait until the penultimate picture for this, and I’m not even sure it is worth the build-up. Up to you!