Yesterday I packed up my whole dorm room in Memphis after just 8 weeks of school because we are being evacuated for corona. Seeing as my parents’ and siblings’ spring break vacation plans had been cancelled as well, they decided to make the most of the evacuation and go on a trip dubbed “corona-cation” by a friend back at school (I’m not gonna take credit for a gem like that). They picked me up from Memphis, and we made the 10 hour drive to sunny Gulf Shores, Alabama in the USA.
But First, an Explanation
After reading that title, I can practically hear your thoughts through my computer screen: “What the heck WTB?! Why are you traveling during a viral pandemic?”
And you’re right!
Traveling during a time like this is not the best idea ever, but here’s my explanation: I don’t really have a choice in the matter. Since I can’t afford off-campus housing in Memphis, my parents have generously let me move back in with them, so where they go, I go, and they are taking us on a family trip to Gulf Shores.
I realize how whiny this all sounds, and I promise I’m not complaining. I know I’m very lucky. This is a strange time with strange circumstances, and I hope you all don’t think any less of me.
Now back to the Present!
Fast forward a few hours and I’m enjoying some leftover Cuban coffee on our seafront balcony at the White Caps Hotel. We have to be socially isolating ourselves here in the USA, and so a hotel room is a pretty good way to do that I think.
So far, I’m loving our hotel. It’s just 10 steps away from the beach, and the balcony is huge and full of cushy wicker furniture. It’s about 9am and the coast guards have already set out a yellow flag, meaning ocean conditions are moderate and not too dangerous. There aren’t many swimmers, and really not many people at all at the beach right now, but out on the green water, you can see a bunch of little black spots (pelicans from far away). Every once in a while, one of them will dive into the sea with a splash like a cannonball. I even saw a pod of dolphins bobbing up and down a few minutes ago as they swam west! Hopefully I’ll be able to see them more up close today.
(fast-forward to 6pm *fast-forward sound effect*)
Today was spent pretty much entirely at the beach- Perdido beach to be specific. I’d been worried that the water was going to be freezing since it’s mid-March, but thankfully it was just cool. And yes, we did see another pod of dolphins, a little closer-up this time!
After sunbathing, we went back to have lunch on the balcony, and I enjoyed reading a book about the Gulf Coast’s ecosystem. I learned that there are classifications for ocean coloring, and that the Gulf of Mexico ranges from Emerald to Mint green depending on the amount of algae particles in the water, and sometimes it can even be Tea-colored (a kind way to say muddy brown) if there’s a lot of runoff from the Mississippi River. Thankfully, the water right now is emerald green and very clear!
(I was going to put a ~gnarly~ GoPro pic of the water here but I managed to delete all the videos on my SD card 🙁 )
Because it’s so clear, I decided to head to the beach for the second time today and try my hand at snorkeling (my favorite beach activity). Although visibility was good with calm waves, I didn’t see a thing. Oh well! That just meant I could spend the rest of the afternoon floating.
(fast forward again to 10pm *fast-forward sound effect again*)
After leaving the beach and pulling ourselves together, the family left for our favorite restaurant in Gulf Shores, Alabama- Louisiana Lagniappe!
The Lagniappe is our all time favorite because of a few things: for one, there’s free hushpuppies, but also the divine, freshly-caught seafood and its location right next to a dockyard! I got some fresh Gulf-grouper with shrimp and mushroom-rice on top. It just about killed me it tasted so divine.
After leaving Lagniappe, we went back to White Caps and changed into comfy clothes to get ready for our next family tradition at Gulf Shores- crab hunting!
We don’t actually eat the crabs we catch on the beach because they’re Atlantic Ghost Crabs, which are way too small to prepare anyways. The real fun is in the chase!
Here’s how we do it:
1-2 people hold the flashlights, they should have good eyesight so they can spot the crabs!
2-3 people have nets and chase after the crabs, they should be careful so they don’t get pinched!
1 person holds the bucket with all the crabs in it, this is my role of choice JWait until a half hour after sunfall, this is when these nocturnal crabs come out!
2.Walk down the beach, right where the damp sand and dry sand meet.
3.Catch as many crabs as you can!
4.Release all of your ghost crabs when your done so another family can catch them
We had a pretty good haul tonight, we are professionals after all!
And that’s the end of my first day of corona-cation in Gulf Shores, Alabama! Tomorrow we plan on visiting the Gulf State Pier and the famous Hangout grill! Check back for that post!
Love you guys,