August in Florida means hot and humid, with afternoon thunderstorms, and perhaps a tropical storm or so.

Since I am a year-round Florida resident, my escape from the heat is a nice long walk on the beach, feet in surf, camera in hand.

Normally, I photograph nature but thought it might be fun to look at human activity and signs on my walks and share these photos with you.

My local New Smyrna Beach seems a bit more crowded lately. My guess is that many are not travelling far this year and are visiting the coast as part of their summer “staycation.”

Folks are enjoying the beach in all the normal ways, swimming, fishing, biking, strolling, and baking themselves in the sun. One local wit renamed my town, New Sun-burna Beach, in honor of all the pale white tourists that turn bright red in the sun like a pot of cooked lobsters.

Those that have been here for many years reminisce fondly of days when our beach was less developed. With crowds comes crowd control and regulations. In the past, beach driving was not regulated, and people could drive for miles on the beach, stopping as they liked for picnics and camping or other “beachy” acitivities.

Now, we have no-drive zones, marked traffic lanes, and areas beyond which parking is not allowed to protect both dunes and sea turtle nesting habitats.

I understand and appreciate the reasons for these regulations but also wish I could have experienced the freedom of years past.

Surfing near the Ponce Inlet jetty is also a favorite sport for many with interesting consequences. Yes, we do have sharks in our surf.

Sometimes, (ok often), sharks will take a little nibble out of surfers or swimmers usually near the jetty where they are hunting for bait fish. In fact, New Smyrna Beach has been called “the shark bite capital of the world.” No fatalities have occurred, just a variety of bites, some requiring stitches.

As a local, and a walker, not a swimmer or surfer, I am not alarmed. I respect the fact that sharks are in their element whereas I am just a two-legged interloper.

The beach is mine, but I do keep a wary eye out for what might lurk not very far from the shoreline!


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