Thursday, October 18, 2012

October 18, 2012 - Jacksonville, Talbot Island

The places:

Castillo de San Marcos
Fort Matanzas
Big Talbot Island
Little Talbot Island

Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort still standing in the United States and was built around 1672. It is an enormous construct of pure history. 

The powder room; reportedly haunted

Cannon detail
The fort is made of sedimentary stone called coquina (Spanish for "small shells") that is comprised of the shells of various marine invertebrates that are fused together.

From there we visited another old Spanish fortification, Matanzas. Accessible by the park service ferry, Matanzas is fort on a much smaller scale but nonetheless an interesting location to see and explore close-up. 

I asked our guide about the saints that I saw in both the officer and enlisted men's quarters inside the fort. He said that was Santa Barbara, who is the patron saint of many folk who work with fire and explosives, including the soldiers that manned the cannon at the fort.

After touring the fort we walked the boardwalk path at the fort's visitor center.

It was on this trail that we got our best view dolphins for the whole trip. A pod of at leas five dolphins swam and jumped in the waters of the Matanzas River while we watched.

One of those times that I wished I had a bigger camera

After the forts we went to another boneyard beach, this time on Big Talbot Island.

Jake and his "sea carrot", or so he claims
Two osprey flew overhead along the beach and would occasionally dive into the water for fish. This was super cool as it's the first time I've seen these birds in the wild. Very impressive.


Squarebacked crab

Underlying clay layers of the beach exposed at low tide

After Big Talbot we moved over to Little Talbot for some more familiar-looking beach and played in the water until sunset.

...and this is how we said goodbye to the beach.

Gallery of more pictures.

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