In spite of warnings of fresh water bloom and bacteria Jon and I went to the coast for a few days last month. We got there just before the ocean touching the Biloxi and Gulfport beaches were closed, so I was at least able to get my toes into salty water.

Our four day adventures into the South was mainly for rest as well as relaxation. Funny you have to go 300 miles to get some rest, but that’s exactly what we did. We stayed in Gautier at the Magnolia Inn so we could be sort of half way between the two places we really wanted to spend time.

Monday, when we arrived at the back waters at Ocean Springs, our plan was to fish and crab from under the neat wooden pavilion where we always spend the day. But alas, the bay was strangely empty when we parked at the boat launch. I noticed a new wooden walk way around the place. In a few minutes the park ranger came driving down and asked to see our fishing license.

We proffered the license and our drivers license to prove our identity and then asked him about the pavilion. We were told it washed out.

God was gracious and gave us clouds as we began our day there. Jon soon had a pound or two of live shrimp caught for us to use as bait.

Some time later, a couple of more rangers came to launch their boat. One asked if we liked the new walkway and I allowed as to how nice it was, then I inquired when the pavilion washed out.

His reply was it washed out with Hurricane Nathan [which came through in October of 2017] and they had just gotten the walkway built back three weeks prior to our coming. 

A year and a half! I thought as we chatted about the nice walk way that was no longer broken in places, but I surely did miss the covered pier. Jon caught and released a couple or three fish that Monday afternoon and we went back for more rest at the hotel.

I told him I wanted to go to Pascagoula on Tuesday, and then we could dress up and go out to eat in Ocean Springs that night since it would be our last night out. Well, fishing wasn’t all that good in Pascagoula, but I did capture a good picture of a crab under the water, so I suggested we go to the main beach in Ocean Springs.  He readily agreed and when we hit the crystal clear waters of that beach he went fishing and I set about building a sand castle. 

It was great to feel the sand between my fingers and mould it into a castle beside the gently lapping waters on the bay. What is it about spending time at the ocean that helps to drain all the stresses of the entire year away? 

For our last bit of time there Wednesday morning I told Jon I wanted to go to the first place we ever camped with Grandmama and Grandaddy and then to Shepherd State Park which is a place we camped out several times when he was a boy.

The place where we camped with our grandparents has been closed for about ten or so years, but I just wanted him to glance at it. Surprisingly, they have opened it up as a camp ground again so we drove around the old familiar road. 

“There’s where we stayed,” I pointed out to Jon. As we rounded the curve to the back waters he said, “and there’s where I played in the water.” I nodded. It was sad to see all the docks washed out though.

We went to Shepherd State Park and paid the entrance fee then drove to the boat launch. When we first started camping there the primitive camping was on that side of the park. I grinned at the memories. There is where I took that picture of Trixie [our little black and tan dog] all curled up.

After a few moments of fishing, Jon said “Wow!” 

“What is it, son?” I asked.

“I just saw a baby gar fish.”

I scurried over to see, but the little sea creature was already gone.

I took pictures of morning glories blooming and a red dragonfly.

“Do you want to go to Ocean Springs back waters one more time?” I asked.

Reels and chairs were quickly packed up and we went to our favorite back water bay.

Soon he was casting his net out for us to have a bit of bait for our short fishing excursion.

When we drove up I noticed someone parked off to the side where people don’t normally park. After they left I told Jon I was going to see what was there. Much to my surprise I found what Jon and I sometimes refer to as a “black and white kitty cat.” Means there was a skunk playing around over there. I got close enough to get several pictures of the beautiful creature, who was, thankfully, so busy eating my presence went unnoticed.

I want back and told Jon of my discovery and he allowed that I should just leave it alone. “I did,” I replied, “but I do have some pictures of it.”

About half an hour later something disturbed it causing it to perfume the air. Jon and I decided that was as good a time as any to wrap up our stay on the Gulf Coast, hoping the scent wouldn’t follow us back home.

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