Growing up on the Gulf Coast in Venice, Florida, I have a love for the Gulf of Mexico, and I also respect the dangers involved in choosing to live next to it, or any large body of water. As a kid, Venice was only threatened once during my years there....that being 1960 when Hurricane "Donna" made the west coast of Florida it's target. Back then there were only 4 million residents(today 20 million and growing by the minute), and no interstate system....Dad packed up the family and we joined our cousins, the Polings, in heading north. Eventually we joined other evacuees at a 4-H Camp outside Valdosta, Georgia, and stayed there for the duration....Donna hit Venice, knocked over some trees, did some damage at the airport, but all-in-all, I remember no damage, except a door blew open causing some water to stand in our laundry room, at our place.....we survived fine and dandy.
photos-Top, a couple of Fisherman in Old Venice, Florida back in 1928....showing off the "Devil Ray" they had boated....I remember seeing one this size or larger swimming between the North and South Jetties in Venice around 1960-you won't see any like this today, fishing pressure has moved the big ones out to sea, or killed them off.