Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 44 Pascagoula to Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island was initially called Massacre Island after the Frenchman Iberville discovered human bones on the beach that a hurrricane had unearthed. It is a barrier island, part of a chain capping Mobile Bay. Barrier islands are mysterious in their genesis, but likely originated when sea levels rose from polar melting 15,000 years ago. They serve to buffer the mainland from extreme weather, and provide an important habitat for animal life. Barrier islands are fragile, delicate, and ever-changing. Hurricanes, a repeating, inevitable event in the Gulf, have been know to bisect them and even eliminate them. Never the less, these islands are places of extraordinary beauty with an allure that is narcotic. Dauphin Island has been a magnet for human occupation and development for thousands of years. Perhaps Iberville's discovery of human bones was an accurate omen for those who choose to settle here.

The storm passed leaving mild temperatures and relatively low humidity in it's wake. I left Mississippi behind and pedaled the 42 miles and a 3 mile bridge to Dauphin Island, Alabama. This afternoon I did a distracted driving interview with NPR in Gainsville, Fl. Afterwards I spent time at the beach, historical Fort Gaines, and a prehistoric shell mound. It was weird to sit on the beach and watch the sun set over land. Tomorrow on to Florida!

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