Panama City Beach
We rented a condo on the beach here. It fronts on the gulf, and we could sit on the deck and listen to the surf – such a soothing sound. There was quite a storm the first night we were here, and we came upon several Portuguese Man of Wars that had washed up on the beach during the storm. It’s interesting to watch the gulls eat them. The gull picks one up in its beak and then washes it in any standing water it finds. Perhaps that washes away the poison? Apparently the tentacles, though dead, can still deliver a painful sting, so we made sure not to touch or step on any.
The man of war is not a jellyfish, but actually a siphonophore, a colonial organism made up of minute individual organisms called zooids, which cannot survive independently. In the water, the tentacles sting and kill adult or larval squids and fishes. These tentacles can be up to 98 feet long.
We drove to nearby St. Andrews State Park. The beaches here are gorgeous, sugar white sands, along the Gulf of Mexico. We spied a couple of jellyfish that had washed up on shore. They look like blobs on the sand, and it would be easy to miss smaller ones.
There are a couple of nature trails in the park that we checked out. Really, just another day in paradise.
On another day, we walked through Oaks by the Bay Park located in the old village of St. Andrews, part of Panama City. There is a rare four headed palm located in the park, the only one its kind known in the world. It is a Butia Capitata, or jelly palm. These trees grow very slowly, and it is unusual for one to have several arms like this one.
It’s always nice to end the day with a tropical drink at the local Margaritaville.