Oct 14, 2019

Happy Columbus Day

Florida of course was already found
Proof of that is not a fountain

but the Calusa mounds

Oct 13, 2019

United States of "Florida?"

Did Columbus (c. 1451 – 1506) discover Florida?

Undeveloped Florida shoreline as seen
through the eyes of Ponce De Leon

My understanding is that Christopher Columbus discovered a couple of the Caribbean Islands, starting with the Bahamas, and then sailed down to Cuba and Hispaniola.

Of course there were already people living on his new found lands, which he originally mistook for India, thus bequeathing the natives with a misnomer that still sticks: Indians.

But no, he never stepped foot in Florida.

More broadly:

Why isn’t the continent called “New India” instead?

Doesn't Florida look
like India on this map?

In steps Amerigo Vespucci (c. 1454 – 1512).

He took sail seven years after Columbus, was only a visitor (not a captain), and only saw the south American coast … let alone coming anywhere close to Florida,

Somehow it’s his name – not Columbus’s – that made the map, for both the north and the south “new found lands!”

The red area (and beyond)
was what Ponce De Leon had in mind
when he dubbed the land "La Floride."

Newfoundland, of course, was discovered by “Lucky Leif” Ericson (c. 970 – c. 1020.) He outflanked Columbus by 500 years with the Viking preferred arctic trade routes where he set up a camp in Vinland to grow grapes.

(Had only he landed in Florida he could have grown oranges instead!)

Florida was conspicuously devoid of oranges when Juan Ponce De Leon (c. 1474 – 1521) first set eyes on it in 1512. His interests lay not in citrus, but water – the “Fountain of Youth” to be exact.

He never found it, but he did name the great peninsula on which we stand, united, as Floridians.

Reenactment of landing at beach

The under-reported truth is that Ponce De Leon had a bit of Vespucci in him:

Yes, he only saw a thin sliver of the Florida coast – east and southwest – but it wasn’t the coast or even the peninsula he had in mind when he decreed – “I dub thee Florida” … or however it was in Spanish he said it;

He meant the entire land mass, as far as it stretches:

Or in other words, all of North America.

Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park
St Augustine, Florida

It has a nice ring to it, and had a cartographer so long ago only penned the map differently, it may very well have been …

The United States of Florida!

Oct 11, 2019

Most dangerous swamp

Of the many things people fear

In the swamp ...

Is there any more peaceful
a spot than a visitor center
of a national swamp?
And we can run down the list:

Alligators, pythons, panthers, dehydration, getting stranded, mosquitoes, hurricanes and extreme heat (and I could keep going).

Just be careful (and slow down)
when turning in!
Driving (fast) is the most treacherous by far.

Just ask any number of gators or wading birds who have been struck

Or this guard rail (above) if it could talk.

Moral of the story: Please slow down!

September loses "wet season" status!

Despite the recent rain,

The October rain bucket isn't even half full.

September behaved more like
a dry season month than the wet season
work horse it's supposed to be.

But the bigger problem is September.

Usually a reliable wet season month of 8-10 inches of rain,

This September recorded under 3 inches of rain.

Oct 10, 2019

Paradox (in the center) of the swamp

At first glance,

Cypress domes may look like a monoculture of sorts.

Can you spot the "hole"
at the apex of the cypress
dome in the foreground?

Until you get on the ground,

Get your feet wet and walk to the center spot.

Here's a ground view
of that exact spot!

That's where you'll find a treasure trove ...

Of air plants hanging from Lilliputian trees.

And where cypress trees are weirdly the exception, not the norm.

October rain

We needed every drop,
and then some!

Oct 8, 2019

How to: "Pause" the water cycle

The water cycle stops for no one ...

Not even a hydrologist.

Fact: Nobody can stop
the water cycle!

Trust me, I tried to press "pause!"

Aug 26, 2019

Pond apple on road



Levee loophole

It doesn't take much to block sheet flow in swamp.

Just a 2-foot high road will stop it in its tracks.

Past it's hay day:
Not culvert lasts forever

Unless there's some culverts ...

And then it gets across fine.