One of the many animals to come across in Fort Pierce Inlet includes a peculiar jellyfish named after a Greek Goddess of the Sea. Its bell shaped, suction cup-like underbelly sticks to the algae covered, shallow bottom and upward facing tentacles absorb sunlight for photosynthesis. Coined the Cassiopeia Jellyfish, its upside-down tentacles inspire its mythological name. Queen Cassiopeia, of Aethiopia was the wife of King Cephus and mother of Andromeda. Cassiopeia was beautiful but very vain and claimed that she and her daughter were the most beautiful nymphs of the sea. Poseidon became infuriated with the Queen’s conceited behavior and sent a monster to the coasts of Aethiopia. Cephus and Cassiopeia decided that the only way to save their lands would be to sacrifice their only daughter, Andromeda. She was chained to a rock by the sea to be drowned with the tide, but was saved by Perseus and they married. Poseidon was not appeased with her rescue and took Cassiopeia into the heavens. She was tied to a torture chair to be turned upside down for the rest of eternity so that no one could ever see her beauty again. In turn, this odd looking upside-down cephalopod would be known as the Cassiopeia Jellyfish.
My tour with Pastor Eddie began at Fort Pierce Outdoor Center’s convenient launch site directly facing the famous Tucker Cove. Tucker Cove is a very popular attraction for locals and visitors and is one of the main reasons that our location is so amazing. It is easily accessible by boat, kayak, or paddle board and is the perfect place to take a break after a long day on the water. Tucker Cove or “The Cove”, has been a prime relaxation spot for decades in the Indian River Lagoon. Locals have grown up here and brought their children and grandchildren here, to experience the beauty and serenity of this famous hangout. On my tour with FPOC, we stopped at the cove to cool down and learn more about the plants and animals that live there. On the way, our group crossed paths with a beautiful Manatee and a Spotted Eagle Ray as well as cool fish like Snook and Sheepshead. Other animals that can be found near and around Tucker Cove are Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Anhingas, and Roseate spoonbills. While we were there, Pastor Eddie taught us all about the White Mangrove and its amazing ability to maintain its environment. The White Mangrove is generally found in salty environments and has leather-like leaves are light green in color with a silvery yellow cast on the back. Living in such an environment has made them able to excrete extra salt through special pores on their leaves. This ability results in a layer of crystallized sea salt on the backs of the leaves. We were tasting them and they were surprisingly very salty!
Another stop on my tour of the inlet park was Dynamite Point where we learned some history about how it got its name. Dynamite Point was once a training site for the early WWII Navy Frogmen (SEALS), where its main purpose was to practice underwater demolition. This generally involved the use of dynamite which is why the point would receive its name. Many of the 140,000 Navy personnel stationed there practiced for the D-Day invasion of the European Coast. Based on local testimony, some even remember war submarines being parked there! After the war, many people still had not settled in Florida so land was abundant. Many of the former enlisted men and others began moving here to buy up property and start new lives where it was warm!