Hurricane Irma aftermath at Dania Beach and Mizell Johnson (John U Lloyd) State Park

South Florida experienced the wrath of hurricane Irma on September 9 to 11, 2017. The huge storm made a last minute shift to the west which meant that the east coast was spared it’s full fury.

It was a very, very close call!

The Lower Keys and west coast of South Florida however we not so lucky and lives were lost amid the scenes of destruction and flooding!

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Chip in my windshield with weathered tape and a sky that’s just got done crying!

.

A terrible catastrophe!!

We’ve all seen the images on TV and media by now, but what is often left out of these reports is the incredible damage these kinds of storms can also do to reefs, shorelines and wild areas like Florida Bay and Everglades National Park.

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Boat half sunk at dock by hurricane Irma in Dania Beach.

.

Close to home, I went paddling on September 13, 2017 to see the impact of hurricane Irma on Dania Beach, Whiskey Creek and Mizell-Johnson (John U Lloyd) State Park!

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Currents can run strong in the intracoastal waterway near the Dania Beach Blvd bridge!

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Downed Cocoanut Palm tree frames the NSU Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center in the background at Port Everglades.

.

Access roads to the Park and beaches were closed, and the water quality both in the intracoastal waterway and ocean was murky, smelly with lots of suspended particulate matter.

Certainly not the time for swimming!

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Hurricane Irma storm surge piled seagrasses high up over the fishing jetty on the south side of Port Everglades inlet in Ft Lauderdale.

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Decaying organic matter piled up on the beach at Mizell Johnson (John U Lloyd) State Park.

.

Not surprisingly, there weren’t many boaters out, just mostly tugs and freighters doing their jobs.

I was the only paddler out!

Even though the Park itself was closed, I felt it reasonable to make a beach landing in the intertidal zone, technically just outside the Park boundary. I’m no lawyer, but I believe this applies to any navigable beach or shoreline in Florida. Generally anything submerged under the mean high tide line is considered sovereign public land and is usually referred to as “Riparian Rights” or as the “Public Trust Doctrine“.

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Looking due south near high tide at what little is left of the beach!

Above:

post Irma 2017 beach

-vs-

Below:

same beach circa 2007 – both at high tide.

Whiskey Creek John U Lloyd kayakfari flex maslan florida kayak beach ft lauderdale

Same scene as above about ten years ago when there was a lot more beach!
Paddling on Whiskey Creek at Mizell-Johnson (John U Lloyd) State Park in Dania Beach.

.

The beach at Mizell Johnson (John U Lloyd) State Park has been suffering from rapid beach erosion for many years, so all the blame can’t be put on Irma alone.

However it is clear that this powerful hurricane has certainly finished it off!

.

Flex Maslan kayakfari port everglades kayak inlet oasis cruise ship danger rip current paddle ft lauderdale ocean

MS Oasis of the Seas – sister ship to the Allure of the Seas heading out on a different day creating a hazard to paddlers.
Rip current hydraulic – a cruise ship so big that it actually drains the water out of Port Everglades inlet!

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

The Grey Ghost at Mizell Johnson (John U Lloyd) State Park beach looking due north at the MS Allure of the Seas cruise ship heading out the port.
She is one of three of the biggest cruise ships in the world!
The Grey Ghost is a Stellar SES and among the fastest surfski’s in the world!

Above:

post Irma 2017 beach at high tide

-vs-

Below:

same beach circa 2008 !

Whiskey Creek John U Lloyd kayakfari flex maslan florida kayak beach ft lauderdale

Similar view as above circa 2008 – looking at a lot more beach!
ONE WAY is an older Findeisen Shearwater surfski.
Paddling on Whiskey Creek at Mizell-Johnson (John U Lloyd) State Park in Dania Beach.

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Hurricane Irma pretty much finished off the beach at Mizell Johnson (John U Lloyd) State Park! 😦

.

I arrived at the beach near high tide, but the storm surge had washed away all the beach right up to the vegetation line. In the interior on Whiskey Creek itself, there was minimal impact since it is bounded only by mangroves and sea grapes.

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Severe “cliffing” of the sand dunes illustrate the importance of shoreline vegetation in controlling beach erosion!

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

The sea oats are the only thing holding the beach that is now left at Mizell Johnson (John U Lloyd) State Park.

.

Paddling on Whiskey Creek at Mizell-Johnson (John U Lloyd) State Park in Dania Beach

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

The completely eroded post Irma shoreline at Mizell Johnson (John U Lloyd) State Park!

.

Whiskey Creek John U Lloyd kayakfari flex maslan florida kayak beach ft lauderdale

Mizell-Johnson (John U Lloyd) beach aerial view afternoon panorama circa 2012!
CLICK for a 360 degree VR panorama!

.

Compare the aerial panorama above which shows (an already eroding) vegetation line from 2012 with the completely depleted post Irma 2017 beach!!

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Sea sponges washed up on the beach after hurricane Irma.

.

The storm surge from hurricane Irma also deposited a lot of sea life and marine trash debris onto the depleted shoreline.

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Plastic toy/ocean debris amongst the reef remains deposited by hurricane Irma on the beach.

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Remains of the shallow reefs offshore deposited by the strong storm surge.

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

My found souvenir of hurricane Irma from Mizell Johnson (John U Lloyd) State Park.

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Up until only a few days ago, these were parts of reefs!

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Young Conch among the beach debris.

.

As it were in this one particular stretch of shoreline, I began to come across many Queen Conchs – a protected species in Florida since 1985.

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Some Conchs were easy to find sticking up from the sand, but they were all left “high and dry” above the high tide line!

.

As I surveyed the beach, I found dozens of Conchs of all sizes. They were literally “washed up” with the surge and sitting just above the high tide line. Since the Park was closed, no one would be coming and no tide would reach to save them.

Realizing that they were all doomed without my help, I took liberty and began to repatriate them back into the ocean.

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Some Conchs were almost completely buried or entombed is wet sand.

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Pulling these out revealed that many were still alive but left helplessly out of the water!

.

It was hard to know which were still alive, but the ones in the best shape were entombed in the still wet sand. I spent the next 20 minutes or so pulling all I could find and putting them back in the water.

I estimate “saving” about 50 conchs and do hope some percentage of those actually make it!!

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Cleaning the Conch of sand in the surf shows the “foot” of this living individual.

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Queen Conch about to be repatriated back into the sea! 🙂

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

“Conch Lives Matter!”

Beautiful pink hued Queen Conch frames the Grey Ghost on the beach at Mizell Johnson (John U Lloyd) State Park in Dania, Florida.

.

Among the washed up debris I also found new life looking for an opportunity to grow such as this mangrove shoot.

.

flex maslan kayakfari Whiskey Creek Dania Irma hurricane kayak beach conch damage impact erosion storm surge

Nature is always regenerating itself – even where humans try to banish it.
CLICK for South Florida’s walking coastal Mangroves!

.

Powerful storms like hurricane Irma graphically illustrate the need for protection and re-seeding of shoreline vegetation wherever possible!!

.

“Conch Lives Matter!”

.

.

Flex Maslan kayakfari.com rasta 420 happy kayakfari kayak canoe paddle photography adventure fitness awakenthegrass everglades florida

! BLESS
That’s the Way it is

.

.

.

© 2017 Flex Maslan / kayakfari.com / awakenthegrass.com . All original photographs, artworks and music in this portfolio are copyrighted and owned by the artist, Flex Maslan, unless otherwise noted. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.

All rights reserved!

DISCLAIMER:

The maps and images on this site are not intended for navigation, I am not a guide; use any and all information at your own risk! Your mileage may vary .. so use good judgement before venturing out!

I hereby disclaim any sponsorship, endorsement, nor association with any product or service described herein. The photographs, depictions, products, and ideas presented on this site are for informational purposes only. Your results may vary, and I do not imply nor guarantee the effectiveness, suitability, design or operation to adhere to any standard. I assume no legal responsibility for the implementation of anything herein presented! Use any and all information at your own risk! By using any and all information from this website, you accept the final liability for any use or possible associated misuse!

.

With that said..
Blessings friends!

🙂

Advertisements