Friday, October 25, 2013

Unexpected shark sighting on the forgotten coast…

Mexico Beach FL 025

Mexico Beach FL 021No matter where we are we love to go on long daily hikes and whenever we are near the coast those hikes (usually 3 miles) are along the beach. While walking the beach one thing that strikes us is the vast differences between these beautiful salt water beaches and those scenic fresh water beaches we visited in the Great Lakes region.

Here near the salt water we see numerous varied sea shells, more varieties of shore birds, sea grasses and sea weed as we stroll the shoreline.  Most notable is the smell of the sea… that salty aroma given off by the effervescence of the waves… Yes, we simply love taking long walks along the beach as we never know what we will see.

Mexico Beach FL 011  Mexico Beach FL 012

The beaches here along the "forgotten coast" are unique and like no other waters found in the continental USA. The brilliant white sands are composed almost entirely of quartz crystals and we just love the squeaky sound that emanates from our feet while walking through it. The emerald green waters are perfectly clear as there are no rivers carrying murky sediments to this part of the world. These clear waters allow us to see things we might not otherwise see in more clouded waters.

Mexico Beach FL 022

As we were walking out along the Mexico Beach pier we were able to follow large pods of dolphins frolicking in the waters. This is one of few locations I have ever been where we can see dolphin completely ejecting themselves from the sea  time and time again. As they too, to anthropomorphize, seem to be having as much fun in these waters as the people are along the beachfront. I also spotted what I think is a spotted eagle ray (cell phone photo, sorry about the quality) gliding along the surface of the placid waters one day and it too leapt from sea. What an amazing sight!

Mexico Beach FL 063Yet the most unexpected sighting came on one of our walks when Sharon yelled out to me “John, isn't that a shark!”… Well my first reaction was it must be a tarpon as they are found in these shallow waters and are quite large. However, as I  looked more closely it was indeed a shark! My best guess was it was a Spinner shark but I was not certain. Anyway as we watched it became obvious it was feeding as we saw a rather bloody fish swimming very fast into the even shallower water. This shark was within 5 feet of the water’s edge at one point trying to recapture his prey. What a really cool sighting this was as it was if we were in a live National Geographic moment…

Mexico Beach FL 028Mexico Beach FL 029

Mexico Beach FL 031As we turned around to retrace our steps back to our car, we were still animatedly discussing what we had seen. As we returned to the spot where the shark was we noticed something shimmer in the water… it was half of a fish… (the poor quality photo at the right is the unfortunate fish). It was a bad day for a few fish who fell prey to this shark but another great day for us in our retired lives…


  1. My kind of day for sure. Sounds absolutely perfect and the shark, wow! Glad no one was swimming in those waters. Did I miss where you are staying now near Mexico beach?

    1. we are at a Passport America park called Rustic Pines... a bit rustic as the name implies but just fine and dandy for the two of us...

  2. WOW...what an amazing thing to see. The photos are terrific!

  3. That was an awesome sighting thanks for sharing with us. It is so nice to walk the beaches by the ocean.

  4. Wow, what excitement...not only the ray but that shark!!! Walking the beach is by far a favorite thing to do.

  5. Walking on the beach, one of our favorite things and a shark too, what a great walk.

  6. Love walking the Gulf beaches too. You really scored in the wildlife department!

    Glad to see the water green there. When we stayed there in April, the waters were brown from excessive rain. We really like the non-commercial feeling of that area though.

  7. Excellent photos. I think mexico beach is one of Florida's best.

  8. What an exciting day you had. Love all the wildlife. The last few times we were in the area the water was muddy and brown, so we haven't been back for several years. Maybe we need to re-think it.

  9. What an amazing sighting! I love the ocean but am a bit squeamish about getting in anymore because of some of these sightings. We have never heard of Mexico Beach but will be in the area this winter so may have to check it out.

  10. We followed a shark along the beach in Destin a few years ago. Time to get out of the water!