Although I hesitate to call it a stopover because that hardly conveys what our experience was like there.
What a gorgeous place!
We knew nothing about it; just that it was as far West in Florida as we could get in one day of driving from Flagler Beach. It was just a stop on the way to New Orleans. I chose a campground ahead of time that sounded nice and naturey. They had warnings that the road to it could be closed due to floodings but I figured we’d take our chances that it’d be open and I had a plan B if it didn’t work out. We got to Pensacola and the GPS started taking us out onto this island with Pensacola Bay on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other. It started out looking built up and touristy but then we entered this narrow strip of land with water on either sides and the speed limit dropped.
Signs started appearing on the sides of the road saying KEEP OUT. When we were able to take a closer look, it read that sea birds were nesting and that’s why you couldn’t go off the road and why the speed limit was a mere 20 mph.
We could hear the little birds squawking away and flying about. The landscape was like being on another planet – all sand and rock with little tufts of vegetation here and there.
We thought we were lost but when we pulled up to the park entrance, the nice lady there assured us that the campground was just down the round and then she told us she loved Amelia – we liked her.
This was such a cool place to camp. We had a marsh with wildlife right in front of us and we were a two minute walk away from the ocean. We fell asleep to the sound of frogs chirping all around us.
So I’m sure you’re wondering about the Gulf and the oil spill. Where we were there was no sign of oil yet. We did see buoys marking where they’d installed an oil barrier and when we were at the beach a Fox News crew was there filming a spot about the spill – Steve overheard them say something to the effect of “there is no sign yet of the oil in these emerald waters.” We could have very well been on the news! They were filming people hanging out by the beach.
The waters were so clear that when the fishermen beside us caught a stingray, we actually saw it coming up towards the shore as he was reeling it in!
I was horrified when the buddy of the lucky fisherman to snag something on his line pulled out a big knife. I thought I was going to witness marine mutilation (I know I know…it’s all fair game for a fisherman, but I don’t want to see it!). But since it was a stingray, his buddy was just getting a knife in order to cut the line. This I found out because Steve told me – I had turned away and plugged my ears by then.
We treated ourselves to daiquiris and lunch by the beach before heading out to New Orleans. Which in retrospect, we probably could have done without – the daiquiris that is. I think I got heat stroke that day. But at the time they were delicious and cooled us right off!
I can tell you now for sure – Amelia does not have working A/C and while we dislike A/C most of the time, we’ve sure been missing it since Pensacola Bay!