Hello, Sweet Pea!

The Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center welcomed a new turtle to the family this week and the little girl is feisty.

Sweet Pea is a juvenile green sea turtle weighing in at just 17 pounds. She small, but she is mighty.

And visitors checking her out might do a double take because this young turtle has overcome some big trauma.

Sweet Pea was rescued Aug. 26, 2016, in Alabama and brought to the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. team. She was found wrapped in fishing gear both inside and out.

“She was a hot mess when we got her,” said Meredith Horn, director of marketing and communications for Gulfarium. “We coined her our ‘miracle survivor.’”

This miracle survivor had suffered severe trauma to her left side. Her front left flipper was badly damaged and had to be amputated.

One of her back flippers also had some paralysis due to the trauma.

Because of the extent of her injuries, Sweet Pea was deemed non-releasable by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which made her a good fit for the NBSTCC.

And since then her injuries have not slowed her down. Already her care takers say she is zooming around her pool like it’s nothing. Like any other kid, she loves to play with her food, toying with her PVC lettuce holder before chomping down.

More than just finding a forever home, Little Sweet Pea, has a mission to save other sea turtles from human impact. The result of her trauma can be readily seen and is a message in itself.

With the help of her caregivers Sweet Pea tells visitors how they can help protect not only sea turtles but other marine species for years to come.

Sweet Pea is ready to say hello to you and your family. Plan your vacation today.

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Moon pies by the thousand

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Or, for those who don’t speak Cajun French, let the good times roll!

It is Mardi Gras season and the revelry is already under way here in sunny Navarre Beach.

So grab a slice of king cake and prepare for Fat Tuesday on Feb. 13, because the upcoming fun will be nothing you want to miss.

For Navarre, the culmination of the celebration will come Feb. 3 during the annual parade.

The best part is while some places (which will remain unnamed) get a little crazy, Navarre Beach’s parade always keeps the little ones in mind with a family friendly atmosphere.

The Navarre Krewe of Jesters take care to make it a memorable experience every year.

Nearly 18,000 strings of beads, thousands of moon pies and other fun throws will be raining down from dozens of delightfully decorated floats as the parade winds its way along Gulf Boulevard.

For first time parade goers, here is a little advice. First arrive early so you can get a primo seat for the parade. Second be careful of the edge of the road. Though it will be closed to traffic, safety should always be kept in mind.

Third and most important have fun. Relax, sing, dance and catch some beads.

Some local fun to check out on your vacation

Krewe of Jesters Mardi Gras Ball

Jan. 27 at 6 p.m.

Navarre Conference Center

Cordova Mall Ball

Jan. 27 at 8 p.m.

Cordova Mall in Pensacola

Navarre Beach Mardi Gras Parade

Feb. 3 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Along Gulf Boulevard on Navarre Beach

Krewe of Lafitte Illuminated Parade

Feb. 9 from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Palafox and Government Streets in downtown Pensacola

Pensacola Grand Mardi Gras Parade

Feb. 10 from 2 to 6 p.m.

Downtown Pensacola

Pensacola Beach Mardi Gras Parade

Feb. 11 at 2 p.m.

Via de Luna and Avenida 10 on Pensacola Beach

Snowbirds get some extra fun

This time of year, a lot of the tourists have disappeared off Navarre Beach.

Schools back in session. Budgets are tight post holidays, and the temperature has tipped a little low.

But this is the season of the snowbird, and frankly I love it.

For those of you who do not know, snowbird is the affectionate term for seniors that travel to beaches along the Gulf Coast during the winter months.

Right around this time of year we start to see visitors with a few more years of experience, and there is no shortage of fun for our silver fun seekers.

For one thing the Navarre Beach Marine Science Station has stepped up its game this year by offering an all new Snowbirds by the Sea series. Ranging in topics from crafting to beach combing to fighting invasive lionfish these events are filling up fast. Schedules and registration are available at https://www.navarresciencestation.org/snowbirds.

Looking to the mainland, the Navarre Beach Snowbirds Club will also be hosting several events throughout the season.

The Snowbirds Expo is always a big hit with freebies and samples from all the restaurants and businesses that Navarre has to offer.

There will also be socials, other fun activities and even a sweethearts Valentine’s Day dance throughout the coming months. Check it out at http://navarrebeachsnowbirdsclub.com/.

So to our silver vacationers, I say welcome to our little corner of paradise here on Navarre Beach.

Gulf Islands National Seashore named Best Florida Attraction

USA Today has named Gulf Island National Seashore the 10Best Readers’ Choice 2018 Best Florida Attraction.

And it is no surprise. Located just to the west of Navarre Beach’s shores is one of the best preserved national parks in country. Sweeping sugar white sand dunes support unique plants and wildlife including beach mice, sea oats and shorebird species.

Uncrowded and unhurried, Gulf Islands is a gem to have as a neighbor.

Gulf Islands topped the list beating our over packed theme parks such as Disney World and even other national parks like the Dry Tortugas.

A panel of expert travelers selected a list of 20 Florida destinations for consideration. Then the list was opened up for public voting. Those that call Florida home and those that visit on vacation all weighed in to create the list.

National Park Service Superintendent Dan Brown was happy to hear the news.

“Being voted #1 Best Florida Attraction confirms what most of us already know – that the Gulf Islands National Seashore is a phenomenal place, with its incredibly beautiful beaches and fascinating forts. The best part is that it belongs to all of us to experience and enjoy,” Brown said.

Featuring some of the largest sand dunes still in existence along the Gulf coast and miles of protected shoreline, Gulf Islands also contains historical Fort Pickens. I have done the fort tour several times in my life starting from when I was very young. It’s a blast for the history buff or novice, and the photos you get in the fort and along the shore line of Gulf Islands are second to none.

If you want to experience Florida beaches in their purest form, I highly recommend stopping by Gulf Islands. It’s just a quick drive down Gulf Boulevard from one of our beautiful beach front condos.