Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Beaches of Vicksburg

When you think about beaches in Mississippi, the first place that probably comes to mind is, obviously, the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

While it's true that we have some lovely white sand beaches on the Coast, it just so happens that we also have some beautiful beaches right here in Vicksburg — at least for now.

After reaching an historic high last year of 57.1 feet on May 19, 2011, the "Mighty Mississippi" River at Vicksburg has been extremely low this summer, uncovering unusually large sandbars.

The sandbars, which resemble pristine white beaches, have been a popular weekend destination for boaters and sunbathers during the past few weeks.

Unfortunately, according to an article in The Vicksburg Post, County and Coast Guard officials say they’re dangerous. “The bank can look and feel solid one minute and be dropping under your feet the next. They’re very unpredictable and unstable," said Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace, who cautioned people to be extremely cautious and be aware of the strength of the river at all times.

A Coast Guard spokesman added that "the true bank is constantly moving ... [and] there’s always the possibility of collapse out there."

Well, I'm one person they won't have to worry about being swept off a sandbar and carried downriver. I'm not a sun and sand or beach person, but I do enjoy capturing pictures of beaches from "afar." A couple of days ago, I drove over to the river and enjoyed seeing the sandbars from a different perspective than I normally do while driving across the bridge.

I began my photo shoot from the parking lot of one of the casinos in Vicksburg, which has almost an eye-level view of the river. I was pleased to see this impressive tugboat which was waiting to begin its journey downriver ...

I couldn't help but wonder how it got the name, Lydia Marie. You'd think a tugboat would have a more masculine-sounding name, like Mack, or Sam ... or Bubba.

It was a perfect morning to capture the river. The sun was shining and the sky was brilliant blue, with puffy white clouds scattered about. This is the view of the twin bridges, as seen from river level, shooting upriver ...

In this next picture, you can see some of those "shifting sands" the officials were warning against.

I like this shot of the bridge with the water tower silhouetted in the background ...

My next stop was the lookout next to the Welcome Center. The Crape Myrtles were in full bloom and were a perfect frame for my shots of the sandbar beaches.

After enjoying the view from the lookout, I headed for the parking garage of Ameristar Casino. I arrived just in time to capture another tug headed downriver, but this one was moving swiftly.

This was another "lady tugboat" named the Joyce Hale. Perhaps the captains or owners of the tugs name them after their sweethearts or mamas?

Whatever their names, the tugs are a familiar and picturesque sight as they chug their way up and down the river ...

And speaking of "chugging" ... while not as large or as elegant (if a tugboat can be called elegant?) as the Lydia Marie and Joyce Hale, the next tug that came along was the kind of little tugboats you see in children's books. Small, chunky, but oh, so tough ...

And there's no way it could have a girl's name. Although its name was Maritime, it was definitely a "Bubba" at heart.

I couldn't help but smile when I saw this picture of it passing under the bridges. It looked like a little toy tugboat bobbling along ...

I hope you enjoyed my morning at the "beach" as much as I did — and we didn't even have to get sand between our toes!


C. M. Designs said...

Thank you, again, Janie for a wonderful time.. Those tug boats are amazing..
Paula Deen's husband is a tug boat captain.. I wonder what the name of his tug boat is.. He really looks like one too.
Your pictures are beautiful. What wonderful opportunities you have for sharing gorgeous scenery..
Have a wonderful day and weekend.

Carolyn said...

The Visitor Center is one of our favorite places to take a break when traveling to Columbus. We so enjoy watching the boats on the might Mississippi. Great shots of the sandbars. We rarely see those.

Dorothy said...

Great pictures of the beaches, bridges and river! Looks like lots of good places to have a picnic and fun in the water!