Thursday, December 15, 2016

Spring Break 2008 in Florida

Joe and Ned at St Augustine

This year on the way south for our yearly visit to Mary's mother we stopped at St. Augustine, Florida to see the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. Construction of the Castillo was begun in 1672 to protect Spain's holdings in the New World and was an active fort until 1942. The fort is a prime example of the "bastion system" of fortification. Another unique feature is the semi-rare form of limestone called coquina that was used in it construction. Coquina contains millions of microscopic air pockets making it compressible so when a cannon ball hit the walls of the Castillo it burrowed its way into the rock and stuck there. So the thick coquina walls absorbed or deflected projectiles rather than yielding to them, providing a surprisingly long-lived fortress.

The Castillio de San Marcos

The Central Parade Ground

We joined a tour of the fort and then watched a reenactment of the garrison firing one of the cannons. The boys worked on their Junior Ranger badges and were awarded them. Afterward we took a quick tour of St. Augustine including the González-Alvarez House the oldest surviving Spanish Colonial dwelling in Florida. We made it to West Palm Beach in time for dinner.

Getting Ready to Fire

Priming the Cannon

Marching to Quarters

Cannon Boys

Sunday we went to visit one of favorite places in Florida, the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach. They take in sea turtles from around Florida and rehabilitate them so they can be released back into the wild. There is usually 5 or 6 turtles of various sizes and sometimes there is pool of hatchlings. One of the turtles, Jonah, has been there for three years. He was found after a fisherman caught a fish that had swallowed him.

The center is also in a park with a great beach so after watching turtles we parked ourselves on the sand and spent the rest of the afternoon playing in the waves.

The Loggerhead Marinelife Center

Sea Turtle

Ned and Grandma Ponder the Sea Turtles

Jonah the Sea Turtle

Floating is the Life

Very Loud Parrots at Butterfly World

Giant Hummingbird

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