The Blue Angels Are Coming Home

Our favorite High Fliers are heading home this week!  The Homecoming Air Show is held at Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida, on Friday and Saturday, November 2 and 3, 2012. Gate admission is free. Gates open at 8 am each day.The show begins at 9 am, with the Blue Angel Flight Demonstration Team scheduled to fly around 2 pm. The Blue Angel pilots do sign autographs after the show. Over 100,000 people are expected to view the show daily. Visitors are directed to the air field parking from both gates, but are encouraged to use the shuttle parking lot to avoid very long walks. Buses will make the rounds, taking patrons to and from the air show site. The show includes static displays of aircraft of all types, food, beverage and vendor booths, virtual reality experiences and other attractions that make this show a favorite excursion for folks from all over the country. There will be a Kids’ Zone, virtual games and bungee jump to entertain children of all ages. For those who have never attended an air show, be advised the aircraft can be VERY noisy and young children need protection for their ears. It can also be windy on the tarmac and layers of clothes are recommended. Patrons may bring blankets and chairs, however, no coolers, backpacks, food, drinks or pets are allowed. (Baby and infant needs are allowed – but no glass bottles) Small camera and diaper bags are allowed but subject to search. A handicap area is set aside for wheelchairs and an accompaniest only.
Admission: Gate admission is free. Bleacher seating is available for pricing and to buy tickets visit Blue Angels Website .  https://www.naspairshow.com/

Fort Morgan Ship Wreck

A must see while you are here was recently unearthed during Hurricane Isaac.  Hal Scheurich recently wrote the article below for Fox10tv.com.  Be sure to visit the ship while you are here.  It will be covered up again soon! 

GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) – Only a shell of what she once was, the 150 foot sailing vessel thought to be the Rachael, is attracting attention again on Fort Morgan.  Word had spread that the storm surge from Hurricane Isaac had uncovered her once again and plenty of folks came with their cameras.

The Rachael was an early 20 th century schooner that ran aground.  Buried for decades, hurricanes expose what’s left of the vessel every few years.

“It’s just something that you really have to go see,” said Adriana Mutan as she walked around the burnt wreckage taking pictures.  “I mean, I’ve seen so many pictures…heard so many stories and now I’ve seen it.”

According to the Alabama Historical Commission, the three mast schooner met her fate in 1930 while carrying a load of timber.  Commission archeologists Amanda Hill said the belief is the vessel ran into a storm and had too few crew aboard to maintain control.  According to interviews with witnesses that were alive at the time of the wreck, the ship was looted of its cargo and set on fire.

The ship has been exposed several times over the decades from beach erosion during hurricanes.  The last time was during hurricane Ike several years ago.  There was always speculation as to its origin.  Many even thought it may have been a blockade runner during the Civil War.  Assistant Professor, Greg Cook of the University of West Florida helped put those rumors to bed after doing a study of the vessel in 2008.

He noted that many of the riggings were post Civil War and dated to the early 20 th century.  After some more digging, it’s believed that the Rachael was designed and built in Moss Point, MS in 1919.

Billy Berrey grew up in Gulf Shores and remembers seeing the ship as a child.  It’s now closer in than ever and he’s worried about the amount of attention it gets.

“I’ve always thought it would be kind of cool for them to excavate this thing and move it…preserve what they can and take it to the museum,” said Berrey.  “The last time it was uncovered, people were pulling things off of it.”

There is a problem.  The ship now rests on private property and the folks that own the homes are concerned about liability in the event someone gets hurt by the wreckage.  They would like to see, at very least, the ship covered up.

The Alabama Historical Commission looked into that after hurricane Ike but found that it would cost too much to do anything with it and since it’s on private property, the owners would have to foot the bill.  They did say they would assist if someone else funded the effort. 

For now, the ship will sit until Mother Nature decides to cover her back up once again.  Owners just ask that sightseers like Dusty Bones and his family respect their property while they visit.

“We really like history.  We like going to see things like the Battleship and stuff like that, so to see a piece of this is really interesting.”

Although much is now known about the ship than just a few years ago, there is still much mystery and intrigue.  Who was on board and where were they going?  Was it a hurricane or just a bad storm that caused her to run aground?  They’re all questions that keep visitors coming to the little stretch of beach with they’re cameras ready to capture a little piece of

Hurricane Isaac Aug. 29 10 am

We had a few updates from the beach.  All properties seem to fine a t first glance.  Our maintenance guys were able to get through the high water to take a look at things.  The power is back on for now at the end of the island and Becky will be in touch with you if you are coming in today.  Isaac has stalled a bit so we still have highwater on the road for a little longer.  Be sure to check out our Facebook fan page for current updates at  https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Sunset-Properties/5872428286

Thanks to Becky, Jim, Mark & Kathy for all of your above and beyond work during the storm!

Hurricane Isaac Aug. 28, 4 PM

Hi Everyone,

This is your update for Tuesday Afternoon.  At this time all of our staff are in their personal homes or with family.  We are seeing bands of heavy rain and wind come by every 3 to 4 hours north of the beach.  Below is a message from the beach!

Isaac is still predicted to hit near New Orleans as a Catagory 1 after 8 PM this evening. Be sure to visit Face book for Videos and updates!  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sunset-Properties/5872428286

We still plan to be back in full swing in the office by Thursday morning!  See ya soon guys!

Hurricane Isaac update Aug.27 1P.M.

Hi everyone!  This is the first of our updates for Hurricane Issac.  For those of you who are owners.  We have picked up, locked up and boarded up as needed.  We will be finishing these processes and sending our staff home to take care of their personal property tomorrow.  Below is the most current update from the city.  There are a few road closures pending at this time.

Gulf Shores, Ala – August 27, 2012 – City of Gulf Shores officials have announced no anticipated road closures or access restrictions to the island throughout the day today. 
Beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 27 the City anticipates closures at Highway 59 and Zoo Road and Highway 135 and Highway 182 at Beach Boulevard. Residents and others with proper credentials will still be given access to these areas until further notice. 
City officials do not anticipate any interruption in utilities; however, the potential still remains for disruption as conditions can deteriorate rapidly.

    Sunset Properties Beach Update Aug. 27

Best Beaches In The U.S.A.

Recently an owner sent an email to us with a report on the cleanest beaches in the United States.  We are so thankful that Gulf Shores is considered one of the cleanest places to visit!  Take a look below!

Editor’s note: On the list of 5-star beaches, Maryland’s beach was originally incorrectly listed here. It is Ocean City.

Bacterial contamination from stormwater runoff and sewage helped make 2011 one of the worst years in more than two decades for health-related closings and warnings at U.S. beaches, a major environmental group says.

The Natural Resources Defense Council’s annual assessment, released Wednesday, analyzes government data from more than 3,000 testing locations nationwide. It found that water quality at America’s beaches remained largely stable last year, with 8 % of water samples violating public health standards, the same as the previous year.

 But there were 23,481 closing and advisory days in 2011, the third-highest level since NRDC began compiling their reports in 1990. That represented a 3% drop from 2010, which marked the second-highest number of closings and advisories since the group started its surveys. (The worst year, according to the NRDC, was 2006 with 25,643 closing or warning days.)

The Great Lakes region had the highest violation rate of beachwater standards – 11% of samples in 2011 – while the Mid-Atlantic’s Delmarva region had the lowest, with 4%. Individual states with the highest violation rates of reported samples were Louisiana (29%), Ohio (22%), and Illinois (12 %). States with the lowest rates of contamination last year – just 1% – were Delaware and New Hampshire.

For the first time this year, the NRDC has mapped more than 6,000 beaches nationwide, providing monitoring, closing and advisory information for more than half of them.

The searchable map includes a dozen beaches that earned the group’s five-star rating for violating health standards less than 5% of the time and for following such best practices as testing more than once a week and posting advisories online as well as at the beach. They include:

  • California’s Newport, Huntington State and Bolsa Chica
  • Alabama’s Gulf Shores Public Beach and Gulf State Park Pavilion
  • Delaware’s Dewey Beach
  • Maryland’s Ocean City Beach
  • Minnesota’s Park Point Franklin Park and Lafayette Community Club Beach>
  • New Hampshire’s Hampton Beach State Park and Wallis Sands
  • Texas’ South Padre Island

On the flip side, 15 “repeat offenders” stood out for persistent contamination problems over the past five years. They include portions of:

  • California’s Avalon and Doheny State Beach
  • Illinois’ Winnetka Elder Park Beach, North Point Marina and North Beach
  • Louisiana’s Constance, Gulf Breeze, Little Florida, Long and Rutherford
  • New Jersey’s Beachwood Beach West
  • New York’s Woodlawn and Ontario
  • Ohio’s Euclid State Park and Villa Angela State Park
  • Wisconsin’s South Shore Beach

Beachwater pollution nationwide causes a range of waterborne illnesses in swimmers including stomach flu, skin rashes, pinkeye, ear, nose and throat problems, dysentery, hepatitis, respiratory ailments, neurological disorders and other health problems. For senior citizens, small children and people with weak immune systems, the results can be fatal.

According to the NRDC, the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed updates to federal water quality standards – due to be finalized this fall – “miss a critical opportunity to better protect beachgoers from the dangers of swimming in polluted waters,” and would put 1 in 28 swimmers at risk of getting a gastrointestinal illness.

Lightening Glass! Not what you expect!

We’ve all seen the movie set in this area where the main characters fall in love when struck by lightening as children.  The movie shows this beautiful swirling glass sculpture created by the mixture of lightening and sand.  In the real world these little lightening creations are called fulgurites. Fulgurites (from the Latin fulgur meaning thunderbolt) are natural hollow glass tubes formed in quartzose sand, silica, or soil by lightningstrikes.  We were actually brought a few of these interesting pieces of glass by a friend of the company and they are not what I expected.   They are formed when lightning with a temperature of at least 1,800 °C (3,270 °F) instantaneously melts silica on a conductive surface and fuses grains together; the fulgurite tube is the cooled product. This process occurs over a period of around one second, and leaves evidence of the lightning path and its dispersion over the surface.  Fulgurites can also be produced when a high voltage electrical distribution network breaks and the lines fall onto a conductive surface with sand beneath. They are sometimes referred to as petrified lightning. The glass formed is called lechatelierite which may also be formed by meteorite impact and volcanic explosions. Fulgurites can have deep penetrations, sometimes occurring as far as 15 metres (49 ft) below the surface that was struck.  

Bellingrath Gardens a must see when you visit the Beach

We’ve talked about this several times in the past, but we wanted to call attention to one of the most beautiful sites to see in the area. We visited their website and found this useful information. This is a definite “must see” for anybody with a green thumb!
Bellingrath Gardens

If you decide to venture over to Dauphin Island via the Mobile Bay Ferry, be sure to head on over to Mobile to smell the flowers at Bellingrath Gardens and Home. The garden features 65 acres of fragrant flowers that bloom year-round.
Belingrath Rose
Bellingrath Gardens and Home was the creation of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Bellingrath. The Gardens were first opened to the public in 1932 while a national garden club meeting was taking place in Mobile, Alabama. Mr. Bellingrath placed an ad in the Mobile newspaper announcing that anyone who would like to see the spring garden could do so free of charge. After an overwhelming response, the couple decided to keep the gardens open year-round beginning in 1934. Throughout the year, this 65-acre garden estate is in full bloom with camellias in the winter, azaleas in the spring, roses in the summer, chrysanthemums in autumn and Magic Christmas in Lights during the holiday season.
Bellingrath Christmas
In addition to the self-guided walking tour through the gardens, you can also enjoy a 45-minute cruise aboard the Southern Belle, and a tour of the 10,500 square foot home with its original furnishings. You can experience the Bayou Boardwalk, Mirror Lake, the Great Lawn, the Asian-American Gardens. Don’t forget to stroll through the Butterfly Garden and view the formal garden terraces. For more information, visit https://www.bellingrath.org/home/ for events, admission rates and hours of operation.

2011 Sunset Properties Photo Contest Winners

We wanted to say a special Congratulations to our Winners and Honorable Mentions for our 2011 Photo Contest. We appriciate your time an efforts in entering this contest and sharing your beautiful memories and great talent! Enjoy these great photos below.

1st Place: Jessica Mooney ” Baby Jake”

Jessica Mooney - Baby Jake

2nd Place: Jennifer Hill – ” Crab Hunting”

Jennifer Hill - Crab Hunting

3rd Place: Angela Allred – “Fishing Lesson”

Angela Allred " Fishing Lesson"

Honorable Mentions in no particular order

Amanda Snipes Family Beach Photo
Amanda Snipes- “Family Beach Photo”

Christie Arthur - Mr. GQ
Christie Arthur – “Mr. GQ”

Kevin Ware Sunset From Pier
Kevin Ware – ” Sunset from Pier”

Toni Fahler - Lucy buried in the sand
Toni Fahler – ” Lucy buried in the sand”