Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park - Miami

This weekend, myself and a few friends visited Bill Baggs State Park for the first time. In the 30+ years I've lived in South Florida, not only have I passed up this amazing beach, I've never even heard of it before. I need to get out more I guess. Oh, right - That's why I write this blog.

First impressions - this beach has everything but crowds. I started my visit early, as I always do, but this time left very late. Even with 3 coats of SPF 50, I know I enjoyed this visit a little too long. The plan was to hit the beach first. I didn't think to bring my bike and that was a mistake. Not a problem if you forget yours. They have 2 wheeled and 4 wheeled varieties to rent. Also kayaks if you are interested. I hate to rent things I own and a return trip will be soon. The bike trails tend to be off road, crushed coral so a mountain bike or combo would be advised.

As with any beach in Miami, don't expect English to be the dominant language. On my visit, there was not only Spanish, but plenty of French, German, and others mixed in. I don't know how I missed this beach as the entire world and a woman from Iowa found their way to it. (I like to ask people where they are from).

It was nearly impossible to believe hurricane Irene had just passed by and was terrorizing our neighbors to the North. The ocean was flat as glass. I tried to catch one wave from a passing boat to add interest to my beach shots, but missed it. There were a large amount of jelly fish who managed to make it to shore but they were not the kind to leave huge welts with their stings. I left the beach after a good long while just as it was starting to get busy. Just a few steps away were a couple of dozen picnic tables, a few pavilions, and plenty of shade. Just the place to enjoy the lunch I brought.

Next stop was to tackle the lighthouse. Not very intimidating. I was surprised to see how many people I passed on the way up either out of breath or paralyzed by fear. When I got to the walkway at the top, it was another story. There was not more than two feet from the wall to the rail. If you are not a fan of heights, you may want to consider passing this one by. Great view though. Here is a shot of the beach about noon. The blue umbrellas are rentals and not many were rented.

To round off the day, I cast a line at the fishing pier. It was not my line. I was just helping out. Right at the moment a cloudburst approached us, we caught a fish. Nothing like fishing in a thunderstorm in Florida.

A check of the time and it was mid afternoon. Way more than I expected out of the day. Nothing can ruin a perfect day at the beach like Miami traffic but even that turned out to be not so bad. Bill Baggs State Park is definitely on my do again list for the near future.

Monday, August 22, 2011


I'm sure that is what my sister said when she hauled in this Wahoo off the coast of Stuart, FL. She started off her 15 minutes of fame with this note in the TCPalm Fishing Report

Jennifer Schmidt of Stuart wowed the crowd at Jupiter Point Marina Sunday when she hauled in a wahoo longer than she was tall and estimated to weigh between 70 and 80 pounds. She caught it live baiting a sardine with husband Ron Schmidt in about 80 feet of water north of Jupiter Inlet. The battle lasted 45 minutes on a spinning rod. Just before the wahoo catch, Schmidt was reeling in a small 10-pound kingfish when a blue marlin chased it down and ate it.
She was also featured in the Fishing Blogger, The Stuart Newswire, The top 211 fish of 2011 gallery, Local news and the Fishing Channel. And now she can be found right here on the South Florida Guy. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wildlife of Davie

A lot of my fellow bloggers post amazing wildlife photos from their part of the world. I brought my camera along on my weekend bike ride and took a few shots. Here are a some of the creatures I found along the way. This collection is so common, I can barely leave the house without seeing them. Very common for South Florida but I remember how amazed I was when I first moved to here to see a water bird who only poked it's long neck and head out of the water or a spider the size of my hand. Ibis usually travel in flocks of 10 to 20 and invade freshly cut lawns looking for easy meals and let's not forget the ugly duckling that grows up to be an even more ugly duck. 

American Anhinga (Snake Bird)

Bananna Spider


Muscovy Duck

100 views on Flickr

My first Flickr Photo to receive 100 views! I know - big deal right. This was shot on Hollywood Beach New Years morning using a 300 mm lens with a 2X doubler. The shot was then edited to make it look more like a painting. There are more photos on my Flickr page if you are interested.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hollywood Food Truck Invasion

The Miami Food Trucks are all the rage these days. My friends and I have been planning a visit to the Hard Rock Casino to catch them on Thursdays but maybe a little later when the buzz dies down. When I heard about the Food Truck Invasion at the Arts Park in Hollywood, I decided to check out opening night. A Monday night with no casino and no event at the park seemed like the best way to beat the crowds. A little rain didn't hurt either. 

I arrived right at the 5:30 opening and noticed a couple of things. One, the Sugar-Yummy-Mama cupcake truck, and two, people were not only bringing fold up chairs but fold up tables as well. I guess gourmet food deserves more than a blanket in the park. A quick glance around and I saw the few trucks I had expected. After taking a second look and a count, there were 15 food trucks lined up halfway around the park. Wow - Bigger than I thought.

It was tough passing trucks like the Red Koi Lounge but I wanted to see them all and check out the menu's before committing. Just before I made it to the last truck I saw a sign I could not resist.

Oh yeah - That's the one!!

With only 4 people ahead of me at The Rolling Stove, the wait was short and the food was unbelievable. There were so many flavors, I could not catch them all but they blended so well together, it was like an orchestra in my mouth (and my shirt, my pants, and my shoe). Next time I'm bringing my own fold out table. 

Ok - I don't know about you but I have never had a $3.00 cupcake before. I just had to see what all the fuss was. I went simple and chocolate and since I was stuffed, I got it to go. It went as far as the car before I gave it a taste.

I guarantee I have never put anything sweeter in my mouth. Before I even got to the actual cupcake there was layer after layer of flavors and textures. Needless to say, it didn't make it home. 

One of my questions about this event was why the City would bring food trucks downtown when all downtown is really is restaurants. I thought about that as I put another two bucks in the meter and headed over to Whiskey Tango. On the way I noticed a new restaurant opening soon. Made a mental note to check it out. Hey wait a minute... I think I understand. Great Job and see you Friday night. 

If you missed it, the trucks will be there Monday nights. There are a couple more I want to check out so maybe I'll see you there soon. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bon Festival at the Morikami

It's been a few years since I've attended the Bon Festival at the Morikami in Delray Beach. The last time I visited, rain dampened the event and the turnout was not very impressive. This year, even with threatening weather yesterday, the turnout was enormous. One of my goals was to see the Taiko Drum performance by Fushu Daiko. I have seen them at various venues such as the South Florida Renaissance Festival and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and always managed to get front row seats. For the Bon Festival, they were playing under a huge tent and I was lucky to be standing 5 rows back on the outside. They performed like rock stars to an adoring crowd. Funny how much difference the venue makes.

The highlight of the evening is always the Toro Nagashi (lantern floating) and fireworks display. Show time was approaching but a severe storm was approaching even faster. With lighting flashing and rain beginning to fall,  I decided to head to the car. The sounds of an early fireworks display trailed behind me. Ah well. I still had a great time, great food, terrible pictures, and will know to bring an umbrella and grounding strap next year.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Not Always Clear Blue Skies in South Florida

Ouch - Lightning strike 20 feet from where I was standing
Most of the time you just can't beat the weather in South Florida. When it's hot in the summer, it's not as hot as the rest of the country and in the winter it never snows.

Most of the time, the sun shines brightly and if it does rain, it does not last long. Ok, we get those hurricanes from time to time that tend to mess the place up for a while but all in all the weather is the best thing about South Florida.

Knowing this, my friends and I decided not to call off our regular Tuesday/Thursday workout yesterday. Sure the sky was ominous (as in pitch black) and maybe there was a bolt of lightning here and there but that's no reason to hide indoors right? We typically meet at TY Park right after work. Partly for a strenuous workout but mostly to relieve stress from our busy lives. If you've lived here for any length of time, you know you are going to get wet in the summer and that lightning kills a lot of people every year. You do your best to avoid both situations and since they go hand in hand, it's not really that hard to do.

Our two mile walk started off with a patch of blue sky but in a few minutes, the lights went out and the sprinkles started. Being savvy  South Floridians, we knew seeking shelter was of the utmost importance. Sprinkles turn into gully washers in seconds and black clouds toss lighting bolts from their leading edge.

Souvenir lighting blasted wood chip

We sought shelter under one of the many pavilions so conveniently strewn about the place and started our push ups to the pitter patter of a hard driving rain on the metal roof. Just as we began our jumping jacks, a bolt of lighting blasted the crap out of two Oak trees about 20 feet away showering us with bark and the smell of burning wood. We finished our workout with a bit more vigor and 30 minutes later, I was driving home wearing my sunglasses to ward off the setting sun. The funny part of the story, this makes my third close encounter with lighting and not the closest by about 15 feet.

If you want to see for yourself, check the cool map link below. The trees in question are on the SW corner right next to the last pavilion. There is plenty of souvenir bark all over the place if you want your very own.