Spelunking the Shoreline

It’s been a hot minute since my last post, and the hiatus was largely due to a new chapter in my career which requires a lot of effort, enthusiasm, and studying. As the dust is settling around my new position, I decided I need to dust off my little blog and get her going again.

With the stress of starting a new job, I found myself making more time to be outside to help me wind down from the day. I have a short list of “secret spots” where I like to cool down from the work week. In this post I’ll share the location of my ultimate secret spot that fuels my love for rocks.

Yes, rocks. I love them. I am no stranger to scrolling #geologyrocks on Instagram and often ogle pictures of rock formations around the world that I want to visit in Utah, UP of Michigan, Greece, etc… I took an entire college course on limestone. Yep, that’s right, 3 state college credits on just one type of rock.

Blowing Rocks Preserve is composed of Anastasia Limestone and is located on the northern tip of Jupiter Island. When waves meet the jagged coast of this hidden beach the rocks turn into blowholes, shooting sea spray 20-50 feet in the air.

The foundation of Florida is a jigsaw map of different types of limestone categorized by composition, porosity, geologic dating. The Anastasia Formation starts in Jacksonville and descends down to Boca Raton, making Blowing Rocks the largest exposed formation of Anastasia. Anastasia Limestone is also known as coquina, which helped construct the walls of the fort that protected St. Augustine, El Castillo de San Marcos.

My first visit to Blowing Rocks was during low tide. I was astonished that a place this majestic could be so under celebrated. Blowing Rocks was the biggest secret in Palm Beach County. There was only a handful of sun worshippers, a couple of photographers, and a few fellow explorers. I was able to walk in the caverns, see the scallops carved into the stone from the waves, and layers of colors in the sediment formed over time. During low tide, however, Blowing Rocks Preserve isn’t exactly, well….blowing. It is still an amazing experience spelunking along the shoreline.

My next venture out to the rocks was a few weeks later during high tide. It was a moon tide, causing a very high water line and high winds brought the wave caps to spray over the rocks. I adored my secret spot, listening to the rhythm of the ocean, snapping pics on my iPhone while dodging sea foam to my dome.

The rocks are not only beautiful on land, but extend out into the ocean for an entire mile, making it a premier offshore snorkeling destination. The limestone creates wonderful crevices for sea critters and fish. The usual suspects occupy the area: parrotfish, sergeant majors, and French angelfish being the most prominent characters. Much of the area is covered by red algae, giving some variation in warm hues along the seafloor.

The Nature Conservancy maintains the property, with an entry fee of $2 on the honor system. If you get blown away by the sea spray, you can enjoy strolling along the lagoon walk, butterfly garden, and mangrove trail alongside the beach.

For my true Geology nerds, enjoy further reading of this USGS Field Trip Report from 1998.


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