Live beach cam: http://amipost.com/surf-cam-holmes-beach/
On August 18th, a weather disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean formed into an area of tropical interest and labelled “Invest 99L” by meteorologists. For ten days it crept across the ocean and meandered in the eastern Caribbean. By Monday August 29th, Tropical Depression 9 hatched, and unconstrained by prior nearby steering winds headed into the Gulf of Mexico to become Tropical Storm Hermine on Wednesday.
West Florida went on high alert. Storms this close sometimes run up the coast like Tropical Storm Debby (2012), sometimes change direction suddenly or quickly intensify like Hurricane Charley (2004). In any case Hermine looked like it would be a rain-maker like Tropical Storm Colin earlier this year.
Anna Maria Island residents experience nature’s best and worst conditions. Summer storms can be brief and invigorating or inconvenient and terrifying. Hermine kept offshore but the effects stayed around for 3 days, tossing 9″ of rain, 45mph wind bursts, frequent lightning and massive thunder booms from waves of storm-bred feeder bands.
Combined with 2½ feet of surge on top of 2½ foot high tides, torrential and long-lasting rainfall overwhelmed the newly installed “percolation” pit drainage, causing what many people described as the worst flooding they have ever seen on the island. Schools closed Thursday, roads became impassable, and sewers backed up. Power stayed on apart from a short outage when a falling tree brought down some lines.
Rules and regulations for the beaches of Anna Maria Island are governed by Florida State Law, the code of ordinances of Manatee County plus the additions and modifications within the 3 cities of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton Beach, that comprise the municipalities of the island.
The beach is considered a ‘park’ for the purposes of applicable codes and enforcement of rules. Alleys and paths to the beach are included as ‘entryways’. Some special rules apply at the county public beach parks Anna Maria Bayfront Park, Coquina Bayside Park, Coquina Gulfside Park, and Manatee Beach Park where there are facilities and areas zoned for specific uses, and lifeguards.
The main regulations include:
- No consumption or possession of alcohol
- No assembly without permit
- No pets except service animals
- No vehicles or bicycles except wheelchairs
- No disturbing or feeding wildlife
- No removal of natural resources
- No littering
- No fires
- No fireworks
- No launching watercraft except surfboards, sailboats, catamarans, kayaks
- No throwing games or propelled objects
- No lights, unattended chairs and cabanas, screens, umbrellas, between sunset and sunrise during turtle nesting season May 1 to October 31.
Every evening we walk several blocks across Anna Maria Island to the Gulf Beach, where we walk along the water’s edge as the sun approaches the horizon. It’s always interesting to notice what kinds of shells are on the beach at certain times. There are some “regulars,” which are almost always there. And there are some very unusual ones that show up only every once in awhile. But even the unusual ones tend to come in groups. In other words, if there is one, there are many. This happened one evening several years ago when there were beautiful shark’s eyes suddenly on the beach in large numbers.
The shells that usually wash ashore on the beaches of Anna Maria Island include spiny jewelboxes, which are white with spikes protruding. They look like bivalves, but are, in fact gastropods. Another fairly common gastropod shell is the lettered olive, which usually measures almost 2 inches long. We also come across Florida augers quite often, which are small cone-shaped shells.
A wide variety of bivalve shells is also seen at all times. One of the most interesting and charming is the little coquina, which comes in a wide range of pastels and earth tones. There is nothing more enchanting than seeing the live creatures in tidal pools, where they move with the inflow and outflow of the water. Little cat’s paws or kitten’s paws, range in color from white to black to orange. Jingles are translucent shells that come in these same three colors. About the size of a quarter, these round shells look like they’re made of mica.
There are several bivalves with remarkable patterns on them. Although it’s not unusual to see these shells, it is unusual to find one that is not worn. The sunray Venus may be the most beautiful of these shells, with a pattern that really does give the impression of sunrays. Both calico clams and calico scallops are quite common, too. The buttercup has an appealing smooth round shape, and is the color of butter. Less beautiful but more remarkable is the turkey wing, with one very straight edge and an otherwise roughly shaped surface, striped with brown.
It has been a difficult few years for anyone wanting to sell a home on Anna Maria Island. Having been part of Florida’s spectacular growth, prices on island homes had risen tremendously since the 1990’s, and therefore were subject to the same kind of fall that all popular markets experienced starting a little over three years ago. But at least there always is something about a beautiful island that sets its properties apart from the larger inventories on the mainland. There is only a finite number of island homes, and people will always want to live on an island. So there is reason to believe properties on Anna Maria will be in demand again sooner than the general market.
The question is whether the nation is beginning to see a general upturn in housing sales and prices yet. There have been articles in highly regarded publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, indicating this may be the case. In a recent article in the Anna Maria Island Sun, Louise Bolger points out that Maureen Maitland, vice president for index services at Standard & Poor’s, has speculated that we may look back on April, 2009, as the trough in home prices.
Speaking of speculation, that would mean this could be a very good time to buy an investment home in Anna Maria Island … if you can afford the high property taxes. At least there is the possibility of covering some of those taxes and carrying costs through rental. And rumor has it that if the house has a swimming pool, it is much easier to rent. Of course this all is speculation, and speculation is largely responsible for the bubble and its bursting that put the market where it is today.