Monday, April 2, 2012

Dauphin Island - Alabama

When we FINALLY got out of Louisiana, we headed across Mississippi and into Alabama with our destination being Dauphin Island. 

 Dauphin Island is at the very tip of Alabama at the entrance to Mobile Bay.

This is Dauphin Island...nice white sandy beaches.

Of course, down south in Mississippi is where all the major casinos are can tell from the monster billboards along the highway.

Kim got a new camera and she was trying out the fish-eye lens on Hobbes.
Our RV park, Pelican Nest RV, was a bit more "cozy" than our last few parks.

The yellow building up front is the office and "get-together in the evening to swap fish stories" hangout. It used to be a restaurant for over 30 years until Katrina blew it away. Nice, nice people built the RV park to finance their grandchildren's college education at the University of Alabama
It was so great to be in the salt water after travelling for months inland.

Gorgeous white sandy beaches were everywhere.

This was right across from our RV park....
We counted over a dozen of these rigs out in Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Turns out they are natural gas rigs, not oil.

This one is a major hub for many of the others offshore. They are connected via pipes on the gulf floor, then this one connects to the Shell facility on land where they process the natural gas.

The island runs east to west. The east part had a major fort (Fort Gaines) which protected the bay entrance from one side and there was another fort on the other side as well. You could take a ferry ride back and forth...takes about 30 minutes each way. We went down one day to take the ferry and it was being fixed so we never got to go....rats.

Kim took some terrific photos of the pelicans. They are so ungainly looking on land but, when they are flying, they're beautiful to watch....effortless flying.

One day (we were only on the island for three days) we headed to the west side and came across all these unique, lovely homes....all built on posts above the ground. They're built this way for the strong storm/hurricane surges that come across the island. The piles have to be down as far in the ground as they come up....sometimes up to 20-feet...because there is no bedrock, only sand.

Almost all of the homes are rental/vacation only. The population of Dauphin Island is only 1,200 people but in the summer it swells to 12,000 ! All these homes get rented out.

This is what the pilings look like before the house is constructed. You have to look closely to see them through the trees in front.

One day we visited the Audubon Bird Sanctuary....oddly enough, we hardly saw any birds but we did see some other animals !

Entrance. You would never know you're near the ocean.

This trail was about a mile round trip.

We came to a large pond where we spotted these turtles. They're used to people feeding them so, as soon as we showed up, they came to the surface.

This one is a snapping turtle. His shell was about 16" long.

This gator is about 7-feet long ! We were told there was a gator so I started scanning the shore line and.....YIKES....what is that!!?? And here it was....lounging in the sun. We were about 100 feet away.

...and this was the scariest animal of all !

Okay....until the next long to all of you Blog-Fans !

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