Mardi Gras on the Beach in Pensacola

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It’s Mardi Gras and while New Orleans may get the glory, Pensacola, Florida knows how to party. Even the rain didn’t slow the parade in the town of Pensacola when we visited, and when the sun came out on parade day in Pensacola Beach, the party just got better. Continue reading

Unique Florida – Koreshan Unity State Park

Victorian bridge 2sThe peaceful landscape of Koreshan Unity State Park in Florida leaves me with a sense of loss. This must once have been a pastoral paradise, yet its founder and history have been largely forgotten.

The story starts in the century which began with the explorations of Lewis and Clark and saw momentous events in America, including the War of 1812, the Civil War and the end of slavery. In 1811, devastating earthquakes (one of which changed the course of the mighty Mississippi River) could be felt across much of the country and the Great Comet shone bright in the skies.

In 1833, a Leonid meteor shower convinced many that the stars were actually falling. And a little over a decade later, the Great Comet re-appeared as a double comet in the sky while Mars reached its closest point to the earth, appearing as a bright red orb. Small wonder then that the 19th century saw an emergence of spiritual zeal as many prepared for the end of days. Continue reading

Hunting Alligators in the Dark

Paddling into dusksThe sun slowly sinks below the tall trees and gnarled mangroves. Birds are returning to their nests for the night; a graceful egret flaps past, way up high, and a hawk effortlessly lands on a nearby stump. The lazy anhingas which sat a little while ago with wings spread to catch the sun, have disappeared from sight. Is it because their black feathers make excellent camouflage or have they too, gone home elsewhere?

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What have definitely gone home are the airboats which roar around the channels, taking visitors to see alligators. Blessed peace – punctuated by the sounds of water and nocturnal animals – descends upon the Everglades. Continue reading