"" Writer's Wanderings

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Green Flash At Sunset

When people first hear the term "green flash" as it refers to the sunset, they tend to be disbelievers. Actually it takes a little experience to finally see the green flash because most people don't understand that the flash is not like fireworks or even a flash camera going off. It is just a small dot of green color that lasts for a second or two before the last of the sun sets into the horizon. The short time that it lasts is why it is called a flash.

Seeing the green flash, which is the refraction of light when the sun is low in the sky, is easiest if you are viewing a sunset over water and you are at sea level. When there is nothing but water on the horizon the green spot, if the conditions are right, will be very clear.

Scored another great picture the second night!
As I was researching the scientific reasons for the green flash, I found that it can also be seen at sunrise. More people are likely to watch a sunset than a sunrise though and in Florida, sunsets are a great social activity. If you've ever been to Key West and gone to Mallory Square for the sunset you will find a festival every night.

With my new camera, I was fooling around taking pictures of the sunset the other night and I actually caught the flash of green. It's a little difficult to see since it's such a small dot but it's there. Proof. Finally. There is a green flash.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

John Pennekamp State Park, Florida

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is in Key Largo at mile marker 102. If you come to the Keys, you will learn quickly that directions are always given by mile marker and bayside or oceanside. The state park is oceanside. The state park has all sorts of activities to offer on the water, or the beach or in the nature trails that are there.



Our Florida kids were visiting us for the weekend and we decided to check out the aquarium that we heard the park had. After seeing the aquarium at Marathon, it was a bit underwhelming but still interesting. We sat for a while and watched some beautiful video of the coral reef that identified and explained the nature of much of the sea life that can be found in the coral reefs of south Florida.


There is a whole list of snorkeling opportunities, diving, kayaking etc. on the website for Pennekamp and you might want to make it a stop for a day of adventure. I wouldn't suggest doing it during spring break if you don't like crowds. This was a mid spring break weekend and the beaches were crowded and the boat trips packed with people. Our son had fun pointing out all the "spring breakers". He's lived in Florida now for about 20 years and picks the spring breakers out by their pink to red skin from trying to tan in a week.

We walked one of the trails that Bob and I had explored several years ago. I'd forgotten that it ended in a fruit orchard. There were several key lime trees and a couple of mango trees that were producing fruit but not yet ready for picking.

With the temperature and humidity climbing, we decided to head back to the condo and cool off in the A/C. Our tans were a little more seasoned and didn't need any more sun.






Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Through My NEW Lens!

Getting older doesn't hurt quite so much when your husband gets you a great birthday gift and then gives it to you early. I have a new Canon PowerShot SX740 HS. It's going to take a little getting used to but so far I'm loving it! Here's a taste of my learning pics.




Close up of sunset.


Contrail in the sunset.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Growing Pineapples

Our condo building in Florida has large concrete flower boxes at each level where the elevator is. On our floor the box holds a beautiful blooming pink bougainvillea and two plants that I first thought were bromeliads. Turns out they are pineapple plants.

The one plant has a fruit on it that is about 8 high and looks like it will be ready for harvest before long. The other plant that produced a fruit last year now has a baby pineapple growing from one of the offshoots of the plant. I don't know who will harvest them as I don't know who planted them but it is fascinating to watch them grow.

I did a little research and learned that pineapple plants are supposed to be easy to grow. You buy a pineapple from the store and cut off the top about 1/2 inch or so from the base of the leaves. Now the several sites I visited for directions differed in how you should start you plant. One suggests just popping it in the ground (or pot) with the 1/2 of fruit still on it. The other site said to remove some of the fruit before rooting the plant.

There were also differences of opinion about rooting in water vs. rooting in the soil but all the sites said that the plant will grow quickly once it gets started. It will not, however, produce any fruit for 2-3 years.

Now the question is, do I start one at home and then bring it with me next year to make sure it flourishes and doesn't dry out while I'm gone or do I just treat it as a houseplant and take my chances on its survival while I'm gone? If I want to take it all the way to producing fruit, I have a 2-3 year commitment to the "baby." Hmmm. I may just stick with getting my pineapple from the grocery already grown, harvested, sliced and ready to eat.


Friday, March 08, 2019

I Be Cool!!

This was the second hottest February on record for Florida. At one point there were 37 records broken throughout southern Florida within 18 days. Lest anyone should think I'm complaining--I'm not. Well, maybe just a little but it still beats the chilly, cold temps back home. It does make it more uncomfortable for playing Pickleball through.

Some of our morning play was in temps that began in the low to mid 70s with the humidity levels at 80-90%. By the time you set up your chairs and got your gear out, you were dripping wet. And then you had to go out in the blazing sun to play. I was perishing by the end of the first game or two.

Bob noticed a lady playing with a long sleeved shirt on and we both wondered how she could with all the heat. When he questioned her, the answer was "I be cool." When she saw our puzzled looks, she explained that it was an IBKul shirt that was made of special material and had sleeves that were partly mesh to allow air flow.

Now skepticism is my middle name and when I searched the internet and found the shirts--and the price!--I was truly unsure of the whole thing. A women's clothing store is walking distance from our condo and I knew that was where our friend got her shirt. Bob encouraged me to go and check it out, buy a shirt and see if it would help keep me playing longer.

I had a 40% off coupon for the store and soon found a shirt that was short sleeved and a little less pricey than the long sleeved ones. Unfortunately when I got to the checkout, I was informed that the coupon didn't cover those shirts. Of course. What was I thinking?

I debated. Then justified the purchase by saying my birthday was coming soon, right?

The next day I put my new shirt on and wondered. Sure the material was a little lighter than my cotton Tees that I play in but was it really that special? Would it really keep me cooler? I joked to Bob on the way out that I couldn't play because I was too cold but I really didn't feel a difference until--

Out on the court I realized that I had what felt like a cool breeze blowing over my shoulders but I knew that wasn't possible in this heat. I played and I played. And I stayed much cooler! I don't think I can afford a wardrobe of these shirts but maybe just one more so I have a spare to wash between Pickleball days. The shirts also have an SPF rating of 50 as well.

I'm sure there are other products on the market like this but this one I can definitely say works. It would be great for those who truly need to stay cool on a hot beach and keep the sun from burning.

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