Archive for Florida Keys Trip
My Top 10 Most Fave Posts Of 2011!
Happy New Year’s Eve! It’s been an amazing year on the beach so I thought I’d look back on all of my favorite posts of 2011. I realized not all of my favorite days were completely about seashells. Some of my favorite days of 2011 have been about the wildlife I’ve experienced because of my
obsession (ha!) passion for shelling. So I’m starting with #10 then counting down to my number ONE favorite post. I bet you guess what that will be- heehee. Click on each title or photo to read each post…
#1 Favorite !!!!! (Of Course, right?!!!)
These were my favorites, what was your fave iLoveShelling post of 2011?
A CLUB SPINED SEA URCHIN is an ECHINODERM….and so is the GREEN SEA URCHIN (or also called the VARIEGATED SEA URCHIN)…
This post is a continuation of our snorkeling Road Trip To Seashells In The Florida Keys because I had to do a little more research on these SEA URCHINS I saw this past weekend. We have all kinds of ECHINODERMS (pronounced ek-EYE- no-derms) on Sanibel which include SEA STARS, SAND DOLLARS, SEA CUCUMBERS and SEA URCHINS but these are slightly different AND I wanted to share this word with you…. I love to say it ….”Echinoderm”. Ha!
It was fun to see this “hairy” BRITTLE STAR (also an Echinoderm) while so many beautiful tropical fish casually swam by painting the sea with bright blues with stripes of yellows and greens.
So come on in the water with me and enjoy snorkeling the underwater world in only 5 to 12 feet of water around the Florida Keys.The water’s fine!
The Florida Keys aren’t known for beachcombing since seashells just don’t roll up on their beaches like they do here in Sanibel, Florida but they DO have shells……you just have to know where to dive or snorkel for them. This was our first time shell collecting in the Keys so we were very fortunate to have wonderful shell-crazy friends MurexKen and MurexAlice (who have been shelling the middle Keys for over 20 years) take us out in their boat to show us there are shells to be found in those vast aqua waters.
Within an hour or so arriving in the Keys, we strapped on our fins, mask, snorkel and grabbed our shell bags then splashed into the water to seek and explore throughout the weekend. MurexKen found a beautiful live QUEEN CONCH to point out the amazing colors and to show us how many there were living in the grasses. Since it was alive, he put it back and told us there is a big fat fine for keeping a live one. Good!
We found lots of AMERICAN STAR-SHELLS……
We found a few LONG-SPINED STAR SHELLS…
…and some WEST INDIAN TOP SHELLS or also called MAGPIE SHELLS…
Clark found some absolutely perfect MILK CONCHS (MK cleaned these up for us- they look so amazing!)….
We snorkeled around the grasses…..( I think I might have to rename MurexKen as MermanKen- he’s a fish!)
We snorkeled around bridges….
…where MurexAlice found a nice SEA URCHIN…
We snorkeled around CORAL REEFS alongside QUEEN ANGELFISH ….
We snorkeled around sandy sea bottoms to see this SHORTNOSE BATFISH……weird!……
I spotted a potential keeper shell… is it empty? Please be empty!
Oh YaYah- Nobody’s home! He’s a little beat up but I can try to clean it up…..
I was so happy to find an empty QUEEN but mine couldn’t compare to MerMan MurexKen’s Queen Conch with no mollusk inside! Since the lip was broken off they were going to toss it back…..then offered it to us. Of course we’ll take it!
I cleaned up most of the shells with 1/4 bleach and water solution except another shell MurexKen gave us…… This outstanding HORSE CONCH with the brown “skin” or PERIOSTRACUM still on it- I love that! I just let that soak in a bucket of water with just a tad of bleach so it wouldn’t take the brown off. After I took this photo, I put it back in the bucket to soak some more to get the white “freckles” to soften up even more so I can try to rub them all off. Hey, and take a look at that little conch I found that was so beat up….. I think it’s coming along!
We normally have shells roll up to our feet in Sanibel so this was a fun trip for us to work a little harder (snorkeling’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it! 😉 ) at seeing different shells in a different environment. The drive from Sanibel to Big Pine Key was 5 1/2 hours and worth every minute of it to spend time with MurexKen and MurexAlice. It was a trip to remember for sure- Thank you both!
I have to show you one more fascinating shell….. MurexKen found this QUEEN HELMET a few days before we got there. To read more about his finds, he posted a trip report on Trip Advisor CLICK HERE. I don’t think it gets any prettier than this…..
I took some of the photos with a new Fuji underwater camera with a movie feature that was pretty good until it opened up underwater and flooded the camera. Needless to say, I took it back. The good news is…. before it flooded, I got a nice video- Click HERE to see it! Also, click HERE to see the DEER COWRIES Clark found.