Tell me a story: October 2019: Fort Clinch

For the longest time I have wanted to visit Fort Clinch and see what the State Park was like.  For most of our trips we have gone as far as St Augustine, and not gone any further.  Recently we did a trip to Cumberland Island and we took a detour along the coast and at my request we stopped at Fort Clinch.

Imagine a a flat image of a house (pentagon) with it’s roof pointing towards the ocean.  That is the aerial view of Fort Clinch.  The fort has double layers of outer walls, with a sunken interior courtyards, and 2-story buildings used as bunkhouses.

Walking up to the Fort you do not get the full impression of it size of it’s shape.

Fort Clinch:  October 11, 2019: 1992

You enter over a drawbridge and through a long tunnel.  Side doors flank the tunnel giving access to the space between the double wall where soldiers would position themselves to fire at the enemy.

Fort Clinch:  October 11, 2019: 2001

Today Fort Clinch is part of the Florida State Parks and is an attraction that many visit.  But like all forts it has it’s history

Fort Clinch:  October 11, 2019: 2004

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Fort Clinch:  October 11, 2019: 2010

Back in the 1700’s the area was occupied by the Spanish, who then held the colonies.  Situated at the entrance of the St Mary’s River and Cumberland Island, many nations occupied and fortified the area.

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Around the end of the Seminole Wars, the United States began to build a fort, and in 1847 it was named Fort Clinch. The fort construction used approximately 5 million bricks to complete it.

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In 1861 Confederate soldiers took command of the fort and during the Civil War proceeded to use it as a safe haven for blockade runners.

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In March of 1862, the fort was abandoned and was later occupied by Federal troops in order to take control of the Georgia Florida waterways.  Throughout the Civil War Fort Clinch was used as a Union base.

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In 1898 the fort was abandoned and left to deteriorate.  In the 1930’s during the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps began the restoration of the fort. In 1935 the fort and land around it was purchased by the State of Florida to become what is now Fort Clinch State Park

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During WW2, the fort was used as a communications and security post, and post war was opened back up to public viewing.

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As you can see I was fascinated by the contrasting lights of the windows, rooms and passageways.

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I was glad that we took the time to stop by and view this fort.  I would certainly encourage you to stop by.   The fort is interesting and there are lots of like tunnels and walkways to venture through.  The courtyard is big and if you are there on the weekend you may catch a Civil War re-enactment.

This is a circle blog so click here to see what ___________ has for you this month has for you this month.

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30 Minutes in the Life: October 2019

I will confess that this is going more than 30 minutes but I wanted to share the day at the island in one blog.  For a while now I have wanted to take a trip to Cumberland Island.  Where is it you may ask.  Cumberland Island is situated on the very tip of Georgia and is is just across the river mouth from Fernandina Beach in Florida.  Of course, we are at practically at the opposite tip of Florida, so it is a good 5 hour trip just to get out of Florida.  We were heading to St Mary’s in Georgia.  We arrived late afternoon after spending some time exploring Fort Clinch in Fernandina Beach. More about that later this week.  St Mary’s has a ferry that travels from the town directly to Cumberland Island.

St Mary's Georgia:  October 11, 2019: 2112

Why Cumberland Island?  For the longest time I have heard and read about wild horses on the island.  A bit of research also told me that there were also some ruins to visit.  Those two items were my goal.  We arrived at St Mary’s with enough time to check into our B&B called the Goodbread House.  This was a quaint multi-roomed house that had different themed rooms and a lot of knicks and knacks.  Our hosts were very friendly and got us settled into the Gable and Lombard room very efficiently.  I will add that the bathroom was dedicated to Marilyn Munro and Elvis Presley.  Such fun.

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We had to go out for dinner and so we started to walk down the main street looking for different options and finally found ourselves at a place called 401.  Out in the gardens they had live music while we waited for a table to come free.  The music was awesome and they had a great selection of songs.  Dinner was the best, and added to that, I was able to photograph this beautiful sunset.

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8am and we are packed up and ready to head out to the island.  We had to go and get our tickets at a local office and pay the fee to go on the island and then it was a 5 minute walk to the ferry where everyone was waiting.  I was thinking way to many people but I am happy to say that the island was so big that we really did not encounter that many people.

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My goal of course was to find the horses and see the ruins, and so we began our walk down the road towards the ruins. One thing I love about Northern Florida and Georgia is the Spanish Moss that covers the trees.  It kind of gives that eerie kind of feeling.  We had tried to plan out how much time it would take us to get around the course we had planned.  3-4 hours which would give us enough time to make it back to the 2:45 ferry.

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The island is made up of various sectors of nature, the wooded area, the marshy area, the rolling dunes and the wide open beaches.  We started off by walking through the wooded area, along a long road towards the ruins.  While there was not a lot of color, every so often I would spot a flower or some autumn looking leaves.

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We spotted our first horses as we walked towards the ruins.  I was so excited.  My horses were the tame kind of wild horses.  Actually we were warned that if we had apples, not to show them to the horses. They were kind of pushy in their endeavor to get to your apples.  These two did not do much more than eat grass and walk away from us.  But still I was pretty stoked.

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There were two horses at the entrance, one was slightly bigger than the other.

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Our first view of Dungeness Ruins was as we passed the horses.   History has it that this was the winter home of Thomas Carnegie.  He lived there with his wife and 9 children. Soon after the home was constructed Thomas died.  His wife Lucy and the family continue to live there. She made alterations to the house to make it bigger.  In 1916 Lucy Carnegie passed away.  In 1959 the house caught on fire and today only the ruins remain.  We were able to walk around the house but could not go into the ruins.  Based on the ruins, the house must have been spectacular in it’s day.

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In front of the ruins is where I saw my third horse, once again eating grass.  This horse did show a little more interest in us.  I actually loved seeing the horse against the backdrop of these incredible ruins.

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We walked beyond the ruins heading towards the marshy area.  On our way we saw this pack of 3 horses, and just beyond that another 3 were working there way towards this group.

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We continued down a pathway, through a walkway, down a slight incline, and there we were, walking along a boardwalk towards the marshland.  It was so flat and had weaving waterways.  It was great to see an Osprey overhead doing some fishing, and a Great Blue Heron hanging out in the water.  Richard also got to see a Spoonbill wading through the water sifting through the sand to find some treats.  We did not stay to long in this area before pushing on to the sand dunes.

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It would be remiss to have an island habitat, without the carrion hunters and we came across 6 Black Vultures as we walked across the sand dunes.  I love the Black Vultures.  The are so elegant when compared to the Turkey Vulture, who in my opinion, is really quite ugly.

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The soft sand gave way to the waters edge.  We were asked to cross the dunes at designated points so as not to do damage to the beautiful dunes.

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In front of us, was a view of the island beach, stretching beyond where I imagined we would need to go, until Richard said we were walking to where all the people were and that looked a long long way away.

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The first casualty of the ocean that we came across was a Horseshoe Crab.  Apparently they are not actually a true crab.  Interestingly they apparently move to shallow waters during breeding season.  The female can lay up to 120 000 eggs and then the male will come along and fertilize them.  Sadly most of them do not make it as the shore birds eagerly snatch up the eggs.

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The second interesting item found on the beach was what appeared to be a buoy.  Clearly it had been around a while and was totally rusted in places.

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The second casualty that I found was this perfectly formed crab body.  Look at those pincers.  I happened to spend some time before the boat left watching a couple of crabs fighting with each other.  Those pincers are serious weapons.

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As we move down the beach we noticed a huge flock of terns hanging out at the edge of the water.  As Richard walked along I was hoping that the birds would take off.  They kept just moving to the end of the group.  No major take off.

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Just beyond the sand dunes and the sea grasses we found a fallen log.  It was there that we ate our picnic lunch that the B&B has secured for us – cold meat stuffed inside pita bread, a packet of chips and some peanut butter crackers and some ice cold water.  It was so peaceful and I was grateful to stop for a short while.

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Heading across the boardwalk the stretched along the dunes I spotted a bit of color.

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A close up on the sea grass normally known Sea Oats.  The Sea Oats is a subtropical coastal grass typically found on sand dunes and beach areas.

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And just like that we were heading back into the shaded wooded pathways that lead back to the campsites and the ferries.  Oh yes you can camp on the island, but be warned, it is rustic camping.  There is no electricity and showers are heated with a solar bag system.  From what I have heard, when the sun goes down the mosquito’s and no see ems come out to play.  Thankfully we were not camping, because they do love me.

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One of the highlights of the trip heading back to the mainland was Richard spotting a dolphin.  The pictures are not perfect, but it was an amazing moment.  The dolphin was swimming just ahead of the boat and kept popping up out of the water.  It traveled with us for quite a way before it dived deep.  Trying to time when the dolphin would appear was hard, but it was worth hanging over the edge of the boat to see this beautiful mammal.

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45 minutes later we are back at St Mary’s and ready to disembark, drop off the cooler bag, and head out.  Next stop was Vilano Beach in St Augustine.  However, look out for our visit to Fort Clinch later this week. We had stopped at the fort on the way up to St Mary’s.

Thank you for joining us for another month of 30 Minutes. Just a reminder that this is a circle blog.  I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Jess from Crystal of Crystal Bella Photography and see what she has for you this month.  I am pretty  excited to learn more about these wonderful ladies from all over the world.  I would certainly encourage you to visit their pages


Share Six: October 2019: Pink

For Share Six this month we will be doing our final Disease awareness highlight for 2019.

For all of you ladies, and men, out there, this month is Breast Awareness Month and pink is our color.  I have a cousin who was diagnosed and fought to win against breast cancer.  Two years ago, a fellow photographer was diagnosed with breast cancer and I followed her journey, prayed for her recovery, and have witnessed an extraordinarily strong woman have to deal with a painful part of her life. Our own Janet Douglas is a breast cancer survivor as well.

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Now I will confess to being a bit of an ostrich.  If I stick my head in the sand it will go away.  Honestly, the less I know the better I feel.  That way I do not have to worry about anything.  But I know that is not the best way to look at life.

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However, if I am worried about it I will definitely do something.  I had never had a mammogram.  I had heard that they hurt like hell.  I was staying away from that lady and the jaws of death…  And then I had a pain in an area that I should not have had pain in and so I pulled up the big girl panties and headed off to the gynecologist who automatically sent me off for a mammogram.  I sucked it up, only to find that I either had an exceptional radiographer or it was not as bad as I had been led to believe.   Turned out I had muscle pain.  That was good news but I will be honest and confess that I was a little nervous.  I know that I will need to go for another one in the near future.  I won’t put it off for too long this time.

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Ladies check your breasts regularly.  If you are bathing or showering take time to feel for changes in the normal structure of your breasts.  Look for a change in the size and shape of your breast.  If you have pain in your breast, don’t let it go, get it checked out.  If you are not breastfeeding and have nipple discharge, get it checked out.  If you find a lump in your breast or under your arm, get it checked out.  Be proactive, rather than reactive. The consequences of pushing it aside could be a long and heartbreaking journey, which you may survive or you may not.  Don’t let it go.  Take a look at the CDC site for more information on breast cancer


While it may be uncommon, Men, you don’t get off Scot free.  Like woman, if diagnosed early enough you have a good chance for cure.  Watch out for thickening of the breast tissue, or a random lump that is not painful.  If you have changes to the skin area of the breast. If it is red, dimpled, puckering or scaling, get it checked out.  Discharge or changes to the nipple area, get it checked out.  For more information on cancer in men, take a look at this site at the Mayo Clinic

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Remember be proactive, rather than reactive.  While we have not had breast cancer in our family, my husband has had a melanoma, that spread to the glands under his arms.  I knew the fear of being newly married with a husband who now had one of the deadliest cancers I knew of.  He survived but it could have gone the other way.  My dad was not so lucky.  He had pancreas cancer. His time was very short once diagnosed.  Don’t leave it.  When it is too late, it is definitely too late.

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What are some of the risk factors for breast cancer:

  • Getting older
  • Genetic Mutations
  • Reproductive history
  • Having dense breasts
  • Personal history of breast cancer or some non cancerous breast diseases
  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Previous treatment using radiation therapy


Bokeh:  November 14, 2017: 6756

Some of the ways that breast cancer is treated:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Biological therapy
  • Radiation therapy

Some of the side effects of treatment:

  • Hair Loss
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Skin Changes

Most of my information has been researched on the CDC site

If you are dealing with breast cancer, you have my heart.  The journey I followed with my photographer friend, has been up and down, good days and bad days, laughter and tears, sometimes more tears than laughter.  She has been strong.  She was fighting for her life, for the opportunity to have more years with her husband and her young children.  It has not been easy for her, but she has stayed strong, and even on the hard days she has been as positive as she can be.

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This month the theme color is pink.  I have to confess pink is not my favorite color.  Added to that work has been crazy and I did not have time to go out searching for pink.  So today I am sharing some of my favorite pink images I have in my files.

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This last image speaks to me.  While in New York in July ’19, I saw a lady selling photographs which I really loved.  However, we were just starting out on our day’s activities and I could not see how I could carry it around, take photographs and not damage the image.  Walking along the highline, I happened to look down at the Chelsea Market and spotted this image on the side wall of the Chelsea Market and I fell in love.  The artist Kobra did an amazing piece of work not only on the Chelsea Market wall but further along as well. I will confess that there was a street light in the middle of my image which I painstakingly took 5 hours to remove to get the end result of this image.

Mother Theresa, born Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu, in Skopje Macedonia, is one of the women that I admire.  Simple, humble and caring, she tried to emulate unconditional love all her life to the women of India.  In 1948 Mother Theresa began her missionary work to the poor.  She labored in the slums of Calcutta. To be willing to give your all, humbles me.  She humbles me. 

On a side note, I hope to go to Macedonia next year, to celebrate the marriage (18 months later) of my daughter to her husband Daniel with his family.   

Mahatma Ghandi, was born in Gujarat, Western India.  He trained to be a lawyer, but when that was not working out so well, he traveled to South Africa to assist an Indian merchant in a law suit.  Ghandi stayed in South Africa over 21 years, actually living in a area not far from where I grew up, years before I was born.  The house had been memorialized over the years.  He was a civil right activist in South Africa.  In 1915 he returned to India.  In 1948 Ghandi was assassinated on his way to a prayer meeting. If you have not ever watched the movie, check out Ben Kingsley in his role as Ghandi. It was excellent.

In the words of Mother Theresa “Peace begins with a smile“, and that is what I see in both faces in this image.  Let us try to spread love with a smile, with all those we come in contact with.  Remember to be proactive rather than reactive.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Share Six blog post.  This is a circle blog.  From the sneak peak images I have seen, you are going to want to follow the circle.  Please take time to visit my friend and very talented artist  Janet Douglas and see what she has for you this month. Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month.  Don’t forget to leave a little love on their page as well.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_pink