I took advantage of clear skies returning to my stretch of the Gulf to head out to the beach again. I wanted to get out on the pier on Okaloosa Island near Fort Walton Beach. I was surprised to see, that even in the Gulf, water levels were obviously higher. Tides were higher, waves were higher, even watermarks on the pier pilings were higher.
It’s easy to tell when lakes or rivers reach flood levels, but it’s mind-boggling to see it in such a huge body of water.
As I walked the length of the pier, I would occasionally look over the railings. The anglers were out in large numbers and I hoped to see someone reel in their catch. One fisherman pulled in a manta It was so brutal, I simply refused to capture that image. I stepped away from the spectacle, but did see the fisherman throw the dismembered tail over the railing.
I was almost back to the head of the pier when something else caught my attention. I had noticed the absence of large shore birds in the pier. Where every lamp post usually had a heron guardian, they were nowhere to be seen. When I noticed a splash off the port side of the pier, I thought is may have been a pelican or heron diving for lunch.
But there were no birds over the water either. Still, I could see huge ripples in the surf.
Changing lenses, so I could zoom in on what was out there, I was startled to see fins breaking the surface of the waves. While I believed them to be dolphins, seeing a dorsal fin that close to shore was a little unnerving. I was glad to be so far way, and so far out of the water.