Martin County – South Hutchinson Island
Jensen Beach and Bathtub Reef Beach
The south end of Hutchinson Island is in Martin County. Heading to the southern tip I cover two beautiful beaches – one very popular and one out of the way but no less beautiful.
It’s January so sea turtles are not due to arrive for over a month. On this sunny day the parking lot is filled with cars, and beachgoers and fishermen are covering Jensen Beach. You can buy lunch and breakfast there, and sit on a lovely boardwalk area with covered picnic tables. With changing stations and rest rooms nearby you can easily spend the day.
There is more trash to gather at this beach – straws, bottle caps, cigarette butts – and it feels a little more neglected than the other beaches I’ve visited here. I head south, and after a short walk I arrive at Bathtub Reef Beach. While the parking lot is blocked, the beach is accessible from the shore – no barriers. A low reef hems in an oval area, creating a small basin – hence the name ‘Bathtub Reef’. A father and two children are snorkeling. Mangrove stumps are just offshore, and this beach looks slightly abandoned but not neglected. Despite the closing people are walking along the shore, collecting shells. However, birds are in control at Bathtub Reef Beach – a seagull parades along the front of the beach and a few sandpipers dart in an out around him. The seagull stands his ground as I walk along the shore, his head cocked to view me, so I give him respect and walk out of the way. As usual, I pick up trash thinking ‘this is for you’.