Saturday, July 31, 2010

Its A Beach Thang......

It sure is. BBQ at the beach?  You got it.

You go to the beach and the first thing you think is SEAFOOD. Understandably so. But when you're visiting the beach, you normally get into a pattern. We've made The Rib Shak part of that regimen.

Not only our family, but our entire crew, which is vast mix of people who regularly visit the Perdido Key, Orange Beach, Gulf Shores areas.

Spending money in this economy to take the family on a little getaway is sometimes hard to come by and the last thing you want to worry about is dining out and spending a bunch of money to get a so-so meal.

Here's what we enjoy about The Rib Shak.......

1) Even though the lunch crowds generally pack the dining room, the wait is short and service is excellent,

2) We can call ahead when on the boat for take-out. Nothing better then chewing on a rib while cruising up and down Old River,

3) If we've got a large crowd or family coming to the beach, they can accommodate your to-go or arrange a private sitting in the dining room or outside,

4) You don't get the normal BBQ fare. Their menu is carefully planned and prepared by the owners,

5) Their meats are started early on the outside grill so by the time you arrive, the ribs are falling off the bone,

6) Delicious BBQ sauce made fresh daily (and we generally take a quart home),

7) Special dress is not required, we're at the beach. A t-shirt, pair of shorts and flip-flops is the best way to eat BBQ at the beach,

8) Afternoons at The Rib Shak are the best! Nothing like sitting outside on the front or side deck, our favorite time. Great service, great food, the sound of the ocean, salt in the air and BBQ sauce dripping down our chins,

9) Ribs were perfected for years before this roadhouse cafe was ever opened. Speaking to the owners, you'll learn more about their story, why they chose to offer BBQ and the kind of time they dedicate to making you feel welcome,

10) For the best racks on the beach, we've met people who drive in Destin, Florida and Foley, Alabama to get a good dose of BBQ.

On our last visit, we st around the dining room watching the end of the race on one of the wide screens. Nobody rushing us out, just hanging out with the staff. It was the perfect end to a perfect day as we left with a to-go order of their famous BBQ Eggrolls for breakfast.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

In wake of oil spill, many charter captains seek counseling

Published: Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 5:00 AM Updated: Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 6:23 AM
Renee Busby, Press-Register

View full size(Press-Register/Mike Kittrell)Randy Boggs, owner of Reel Surprise Charters and San Roc Cay Marina dockmaster, is pictured on one of his five charter boats Monday, July 19, 2010, in Orange Beach, Ala. Boggs is one of many charter boat captains who have sought counseling in the wake of the oil spill.

Share ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -- Early on a recent morning, charter boat captain Randy Boggs looked out the window of his office at San Roc Cay in Orange Beach to see an empty dock.

"Normally, by now fish would be showing up on the table from the first 4-hour fishing trip," said Boggs, his voice hoarse from laryngitis.

On a typical July day, Boggs said, about 220 customers would have come through his business, Reel Surprise Charters, headed out into the Gulf of Mexico to fish.

But on this overcast day, Boggs and two employees were the only people at the marina. His fleet was gone, working instead for BP to fight the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

"It was a job none of us wanted," said Boggs, who is among charter captains now attending weekly counseling sessions offered on-site by the Baldwin County Mental Health Center.

The oil spill and subsequent suicide of a fellow charter captain has stressed all fishermen and their families, he said. It's caused some married couples to separate.

Still, he said that he was "amazed" at how many of his fellow captains and fishermen came forward for counseling when the sessions began.

Boggs said that captains, a "fiercely independent" breed, find themselves in a position where they have to work for others and rely on someone else to help pay the bills.

"They've been in a situation where they made a name for themselves. They called the shots, and that's not happening," said Robin Riggins, the health center's executive director. "A lot of them are grieving the loss of their business and they are trying to process that."

"Their whole life has changed."

Boggs said that most boat captains and fishermen have known no other way of life. They don't have degrees or computer skills or training for a different trade.

Even those who do -- Boggs himself came to the industry after working as a registered nurse -- would rather remain in the charter boat industry.

"Our own social network has collapsed on us," said Boggs. "I go from being very aggravated to being sad."

He confessed to missing the crowds on the docks and the busy tourist season.

Wiping tears away, he again looked at the dock outside his office.

"I'm scared every day."


Oil spill creating mental health issues, but funding comes slowly

Related topics: Deepwater Horizon, Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Gulf of Mexico oil spill 2010, oil spill

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Philippe Cousteau leads Gulf Shores citizen journalism course.....

Published: Tuesday, July 20, 2010, 8:00 AM
Casandra Andrews, Press-Register Casandra Andrews, Press-Register

For the best bbq and ribs on the gulf coast.

Kaitlin Alexander, 17, got a crash course in citizen journalism Monday from the grandson of famous ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau.

A rising senior at Gulf Shores High School, Alexander was one of 20 students who took part in a new initiative to empower youth by Philippe Cousteau's EarthEcho International and Mobile Baykeeper.

"We are launching a national program to help young people understand the power they have to tell a story and change the world," said Cousteau, who was in Gulf Shores for the event.

The day started at 8 a.m. with a workshop introducing students to journalism concepts. Then the teens had lunch before heading to the beach.

"We were taught interview skills," Alexander said. "They taught us how to speak to people. They gave us information on how to have clean energy. At this age, there's not a lot we can do to help out."

Armed with handheld video recorders, students tromped through the sand at Gulf Shores' public beach to conduct interviews.

"We asked about opinions about offshore drilling," Alexander said. "We talked to some locals and some visitors and people who were contracted under BP."

Other participants interviewed shop owners, law enforcement officials and volunteers monitoring turtle nests, Cousteau said.

Students are expected to take part in producing articles for online publication, Cousteau said, including on EarthEcho International's website.

Casi Callaway, executive director of environmental group Mobile Baykeeper, said one goal for the day was to help students find a way to help in the aftermath of the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

"We wanted to give them a place to channel their enthusiasm and need to work on the oil disaster," Callaway said.

Cousteau, whose nonprofit agency is based in Washington, D.C., has traveled to the Gulf Coast several times since the April 20 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion that claimed 11 lives.

In June, Cousteau was one of several featured speakers at a $500 a plate dinner in Mobile that helped raise about $50,000 for Mobile Baykeeper.

"Coming down here to Gulf Shores," Cousteau said, "there's a lot of frustration and anger over this oil spill."

By the end of the day, Cousteau said, he heard students say they wanted to become journalists. "They are so interested, so enthusiastic. It was amazing empowering people to be part of the solution."

Related topics: Deepwater Horizon, Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Gulf of Mexico oil spill 2010, oil spill

Don't forget to visit The Rib Shak.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Boom or bust? Floating protective barrier often can't contain oil, analysis shows

Published: Sunday, July 18, 2010, 8:57 AM Updated: Sunday, July 18, 2010, 1:23 PM

Mobile Bay boom.JPGA natural gas rig is visible in the distance as boom is deployed in the mouth of Mobile Bay Wednesday, May 12, 2010, between Dauphin Island and Fort Morgan, Ala.

MOBILE, Ala. -- Often during June, containment boom in and around Mobile Bay stood little chance of stopping oil because water currents were too strong, a Press-Register analysis shows.

The bright orange and yellow boom -- used throughout the coast to corral oil following BP PLC's massive spill -- begins to lose effectiveness in waters moving 0.75 knots or faster, BP spokesman Ray Melick said.

Alabama currents frequently run close to or faster than that speed, which is less than 1 mph.

Last month, about 23 percent of recorded currents exceeded 0.75 knots, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The average recorded speed was about 0.52 knots.

When winds, wave heights and other circumstances are taken into account, the picture becomes even more dire, according to Raymond Butler, a special projects manager for the spill response command.

"Boom is effective about 50 percent of the time, under the best of conditions," Butler said.

Butler added that spill response teams try to make the most of the floating barrier -- angling it to run alongside currents, rather than at 90-degree angles, for example.

But "boom is not a silver bullet in any protective strategy, and should not be regarded as such," said Butler, who added that oil-skimming boats are much more effective.

Gov. Bob Riley has put major emphasis on acquiring boom for Alabama. A Riley spokesman said that officials realize boom's limitations and try to work around them, sometimes by creating multiple layers of protection.

"It's not useless," said Todd Stacy, Riley's press secretary. "With the limited resources that exist in the world, obviously, in some cases it's all we have."

An estimated 92 million to 182 million gallons of oil have gushed into the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.

Cleanup workers have deployed some 615,700 feet of boom, as of the middle of last week, to shield Alabama shores and marshes, according to Melick.

The Press-Register analyzed more than 19,500 current-speed measurements, taken during the month of June at three NOAA observation stations in Alabama.

  • At the Mobile Bay Buoy station, located several miles south of Dauphin Island's eastern end, 21.8 percent of currents were faster than 0.75 knots, with an average speed of 0.54 knots.
  • At the Mobile Container Terminal station, located near the mouth of the Mobile River in Mobile Bay, 15.6 percent of currents were faster than 0.75 knots, with an average speed of 0.42 knots.
  • At the Mobile State Dock Pier E station, located in the Mobile River a few miles north of the Container Terminal station, 31.6 percent of currents were faster than 0.75 knots, with an average speed of 0.60 knots.
"It's still better to have something rather than nothing, because you know it will catch some minimal amounts," Butler said.

Stacy echoed that view, adding that the governor's office has long been concerned about the barrier's effectiveness.

"From meetings early on, efforts have been made to get more boom and better boom," he said. "When you have double and triple redundancy, it helps."

Oil-skimming boats are a much less common sight than boom in Alabama waters. That is in part because skimmers are often on the move to chase oil, and in part because there aren't enough of them, Butler said.

As of the middle of last week, 133 skimming vessels were deployed in state waters, according to Melick.

"As far as recovering oil and adding value to the response, the skimmer is much more valuable than boom," Butler said. "We probably have more boom and less of the skimmers than we really need, and we're continually trying to grow the skimming force."
Related topics: Deepwater Horizon, Gulf of Mexico oil spill 2010, Mobile Bay, oil spill

Come join us at the Rib Shak on Perdido Key, Florida for the best "Racks on the Beach".