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Passport Gal

Danette Benton

Social Distancing

I guess I have always been a bit of a social distance person. I like time outdoors. I like to hike, bike, paddle board, and just be out in nature. I can be very social but really like my time alone. It wasn't until recently, I learned there is a word for my personality. An ambivert. When I read the article about ambiverts, I thought, "Well that is a category I finally fit into." Some people also describe this personality as extroverted introvert or an introverted extrovert. Who knew? So, enough psychology!

My son, Chase, called yesterday and wanted to know if I wanted to paddle early this morning with him and his beautiful fiancé, Brenda. At 62, I am not afraid of the water or the Gulf. But, at my age, I've become a little more cautious about going out in the Gulf by myself. In case I suddenly got dementia and couldn't remember where I was or how to swim, or fell off and hit my head on the board, you know, normal thoughts like that....I just feel a little more comfortable knowing there is somebody else out there with me and they are watching out for me. Plus, my son is always so gracious to carry my board from my Jeep down to the water for me. Love that guy!!!!

Photo courtesy-our sweet, beautiful Brenda Burks.

 

He calls around 7:30 this morning and tells me, "Get up. We are heading to Ed Walline Public Beach access." This is a beach access that is really close to the house. Located in Gulfplace. It's one of my favorite spots. Gulfplace has beautiful homes and is a really nice area. It is not Seaside or Alys Beach, where the pricier homes are located, even though a house around Gulfplace will still start out in the $600,000 range and there are some studio condos that are around $300,000. I'm telling the prices here, because Gulplace is affectionately called, "the slums of 30a." If you look at my photo with the houses on the Gulf, it is hardly a slum. The locals love the name and claim it as a badge of honor.

Ed Walline Beach Access has one of the prettiest sunset spots along 30a. It has a point on the beach that juts out slightly and the westward sky on the beach there is amazing. We have a "sunset" crew that comes down most evenings. Carl plays the flute or ukulele on the steps to the walk down. Some are walking, some are sitting in a lawn chair with a bottle of wine, some are taking pictures. Picture this...flute in the background, people sitting in lawn chairs, sipping on some wine, a bonfire going, people walking down the beach, and a glorious sunset all happening at "the slums of 30a."

The bonfire photo courtesy of my good friend, phenomenal photographer, travel buddy, and pie baker extraordinaire, Julie Robinson.

 

Back to today...I get moving and get down to the beach around 8:45. My son unloads my board and carries it to the beach for me, even though I tell him I need the arm workout and it is good for me. What a guy!

 

Photo courtesy-our sweet, beautiful Brenda Burks.

The earlier the better for a paddle on the Gulf. The surf is usually at it's lowest in the morning and increases as the day goes on. The other reason to get out there early is to get ahead of the tourists. Most of them are not early risers. You get a good parking spot, and when you leave a couple of hours later, they are always grateful to get your spot on the beach and in the parking lot. It's a win, win!

The Gulf did not disappoint this morning. Very low surf. It was like a big turquoise lake. Chase, B, and I paddled out a good ways, then turned parallel to the beach and paddled across and back. After a bit, we just sat down on our boards and visited in a huddle floating out in the big blue. We saw schools of bait fish and a Remora fish. They are sucker fish and usually attach to sharks or other fish. He kept swimming under our boards. I guess he thought we might be a host fish.

I love to paddle. Something about getting out on the water, getting away from everything and everybody, really centers me. It is a great way to decompress!

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