I want to reassure everyone the beaches are still the beautiful white sandy beaches you have always known. Our amazing wildlife is flourishing all around and the little ones are starting to peek their heads out, everywhere we turn! It is a great time to be at the beach, small, to no crowds and perfect weather! Below are some answers to some of our most often asked questions, lately. I have also included the daily update for the Gulf Shores.com website about our local area.
Lance LeFleur, Director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management:
There is an Area Contingency Plan (ACP)(https://ocean.floridamarine.org/acp/mobacp/) created for these kinds of situations that has been vetted by all agencies involved (which is now being followed).
At the wellhead, they are injecting dispersants at depth, causing the oil slick to break up into small oil droplets that are rapidly diluted and subsequently biodegraded by micro-organisms occurring naturally in the marine environment. Exposure to air, sunlight, & wave action also degrades the oil. They are also restarting the in situ burning today.
There is a two-stage protective process planned for the shorelines – shallow water skimmers & booms to catch what they miss. The booms are being tended and repositioned as needed – the placement is determined by the ACP. The highest priority at this moment is to close off Mobile & Perdido Bay entrances. The port of Mobile will remain open, using a decontamination process for ships entering the area (there will also be a decontamination station at Weeks Bay).
Once the bays are protected, all resources will be focused on the beaches. So far, 7,000 volunteers have called the 1-866 number & BP will donate hourly wages for those volunteers to their chosen volunteer organizations.
Below is the update from the Convention and Visitor’s Breaue
- There are currently no effects of the oil spill on the beaches of Gulf Shores & Orange Beach and, according to NOAA forecasts, no shoreline impact is expected for at least 72 hours. Forecasts beyond 72 hours are not possible. At this point, the extent of any potential impact is unclear.
- Although NOAA has closed commercial and recreational fishing in a limited area between the mouth of the Mississippi River and Florida’s Pensacola Bay, there is large area of the gulf still open. Charter boats are leaving Orange Beach, Gulf Shores & Fort Morgan every day to fish areas up to 20 miles out and in our very plentiful inshore waters.
- All appropriate preventive measures, including oil-absorbing booms, are being used along Alabama’s beaches, bays, inlets and sensitive areas in an effort to prevent oil from reaching the shores. Officials are optimistic that any impact directly on the beaches can potentially be cleaned effectively and fairly quickly.
- National, state and local response teams are deployed at sites along the coast to deal with local effects.
- Official information pertinent to our local area is being posted here. This is confirmedinformation provided by the Unified Command response team (Coast Guard, Homeland Security, NOAA, Department of the Interior, BP and Transocean) and local emergency management officials. For detailed information about the entire incident visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com and response.restoration.noaa.gov.
Ok guys I know you want a break just as much as the rest of your family and maybe you would like some special things to do just for you. Have an adventure or just relax with a line in the water. I’ve got some ideas for you!!!
Beautiful beaches are not all there is to enjoy in Gulf Shores.
1. Golfing; for all of the golf enthusiasts out there! There is a golf course minutes from anywhere you stay in Gulf Shores and levels of difficulty that range from beginner to professional. Most courses are reasonably priced and offer specials that include carts if you’re not up for the walk in the humidity. Check out Gulf Shores.com for a list of local courses and specials.
2. Fishing; weather you are ready for an adventure on a boat or you like to fish off of a pier or the beach you have opportunities surrounding you. Some of my favorite memories as a little girl are fishing with my Dad so this might be something to do with the kids to make some great memories!! You can charter a boat for a day or for a shorter half day trip. If it is a longer trip they usually include food and will take you where the fish are biting and provide your license and all of the rigs and tackle you need to bring home a great catch. Some of the captains will even grill your fish for you for lunch! The prices are based on the length of time you are on the water and how far you go out. There are several great piers in the area that are fun to fish off of for a minimal fee. You do have to provide all of your gear for this type of fishing and don’t forget you fishing license. Surf fishing is always fun too, and one of the more popular ways to fish in Ft. Morgan. You just need to be careful of swimmers, and be sure to pick up a fishing license! You can purchase a fishing license over the phone or at most local bate stores.
3. Water Sports; for you guys who are looking for an adventure, you have everything from para-sailing and jet skis all the way to kayak rentals or scuba diving. All of these activities come with risks but they are all lots of fun too. You can find providers of water sport rentals or activities at Gulfshores.com. Most of these activities are offered on an hourly basis. Be sure to go with a company that has a good reputation and trained guides.
4. Nature / Wildlife activities; because of the amount of coast line and wildlife refuges located in this area you have numerous opportunities to enjoy wildlife in their native habitat. You can go on a Dolphin watching cruise or a nature hike on one of the islands many hiking trails. Depending on the time of year you can experience different types of nature that migrate through or hatch right here on our coast. You can see sea turtle hatching’s in the fall, bird banding and migrations in the Fall and Spring, even things like manta ray and different types of sea snails migrate through the area at different times of the year. All of these are amazing. Try to catch one of them while you are here.
5. History; for all of you history buffs, did you know there are two Civil war era forts in the Gulf Shores area? What about the Native American settlements??? There is a huge Naval history an AMAZING museum about 40 minutes away. This area has a long and very proud history and the list of places to see and experience is a little overwhelming. Try not to miss the candle light tour of Ft. Morgan, and the Naval Air station Museum in Pensacola. The Gulf Shores Museum has some great information about the Native population in Gulf Shores along with settlers that followed and the widely varied heritage they brought to our area.
There are many more things that can be added like massages, shopping, and amusement parks! This is just the short list guys! If you are looking for a specific activity ask at the front desk, We are happy to help!!!! Be sure to spend some time on the beautiful beaches but try to take some time and enjoy an afternoon doing something just for you.
One of the newest additions to the National Scenic Byways Program is the Alabama Coastal Connection. The Scenic Byways Program is a part of the Federal Highway Administration and the Department of Transportation. The program is an collaborative effort to preserve selected roads throughout the US. The selected roads run through protected areas or areas that are specifically American in their nature. These roads must be described by at least one of the following; archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities (www.byways.com/org).
The Alabama Coastal Connection has all of these qualities and is right in our back yard, Literally!!! This trail begins ins Bayou La Batre a beautiful historic fishing village, where you can get some of the freshest seafood in amazing local restaurants. The trail continues on to Dauphin Island where you can again get wonderful seafood and enjoy the history of Ft. Gains, here you can also walk the Audubon birding trail and take a tour through the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Estuarium. The Sea Lab is a favorite of our guests as it is a fun place to get hands on education for adults and kids alike on our local wildlife. From Dauphin Island you catch the Mobile Bay Ferry over to Ft. Morgan where you can enjoy a tour of the fort. The most popular tour is done by candle light! From here you are minutes away from Sunset Properties and the beautiful beaches of Fort Morgan. The beautiful beaches of Ft. Morgan are quiet and secluded right at the end of the island. Fort Morgan is a great place to split your trip on the Coastal Connection and rest for the night.
From the Ft. Morgan beaches the trail continues on into Gulf Shores down Hwy 59 where you pass great shopping and restaurants on through to Foley. Once in Foley you travel west on Highway 98 to Fairhope another beautiful town with shopping, outstanding dining, wildlife around every turn, and history at your fingertips.
You can travel the coastal connection in one day but we recommend and extended trip to take in all of the great food, nature, culture, and history as you travel this beautiful byway. What a great way to relax and really get to know an area. Hope to see you soon.
Thanksgiving at the beach is really a lot like any other time at the beach. You have beautiful sunny days, white sand, blue water and inspiring views. The big differences are it is much less expensive, there are fewer people, and the weather is a little cooler. You will still see families on the beach playing and exploring, and fishermen who are thrilled to show off their latest catch.
I had a chance to walk down to the water and watch some friends, the Colman’s, real in their second 38″ Red fish of the day. It was lots of fun everyone on the beach came down to cheer them on as Casey fought the fish in and his father helped him get it on the beach. It wasn’t a huge crowd but everyone was really excited. They even cheered as they released the fish to swim for another day. During the quiet Winter holidays it is easy to make new friends and everyone kind of seems like family here enjoying the quiet beauty of the beach together. It is a great time for famlies to get away.
From our family here at Sunset Properties we hope you have a wonderful holiday surrounded by the ones you are thankful for. Consider Thanksgiving at the beach sometime make some memories you will always treasure.
Ft. Morgan is a beautiful family friendly place, but for new comers they don’t always know what to do with the kids and there are some definite must sees while you are here.
Dolphin!!!! You can see them feeding morning and evening just off shore. It is against the law to touch or feed these animals but they are beautiful to watch. In the spring you will often see entire families or pods teaching babies to feed. You can follow these beautiful creatures as they jump and play right in front of you.
Ft. Morgan!!! A civil war era fort only a mile from the Dunes Community. You and your family can explore through the fort on your own during the day and they have an outstanding museum. If you go in the evening you can do a candle light tour and they shoot off the cannons and do reenactments throughout the summer. Kids love the excitement of the cannons and they get a history lesson all at the same time…
If you come in the spring or fall don’t miss bird banding about 2 minutes from the condo near Ft. Morgan. There are a group of dedicated volunteers that take important information from these beautiful animals while giving the guests an education before they let them go again. The fun part about this is the visitors get to let them go!! Your kids will get to set a bird free and if it is Spring it will very likely be a humming bird.
If you visit in the fall be sure to try and see sea turtle nest hatching. It is an amazing site to see but it requires lots of patience and some free time at night. Again dedicated volunteers spend many free hours watching these nests and making sure all is well with the baby turtles. If you can spend the time and have the patience to wait and watch for the turtles this is certainly an experience you and your family will never forget.
If you have little guys or nature lovers, take time and visit Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and Estuarium. You can view local wildlife, and they have great touch tanks and preserved animals for the kids to handle. You can watch sting ray, and all different sorts of fish, and a beautiful shell collection to compare your shells to.
These are just a few of the local thing not to miss while you visit the area. If you need a few more ideas stop by the office we always have a list of local events to attend while on vacation.