Archive for manatee

Apr
18

A Moment With Manatees

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manatee nose

Happiness continued… We were surrounded by MANATEES!

manatee near sup board

We took our kayak and SUP board (stand up paddle board) out in the roosevelt channel on Captiva Island for an awesome water adventure and boy did we find one.

hayley lori on sup board

As we paddled around the channel, several MANATEES came over to check us out. They were just a curious about us and we were of them! Wanna see? Hop on board with us and enjoy the view without getting wet by clicking on the video… YouTube Preview Image

PS- There are plenty of places to rent SUP boards and kayaks on Captiva. For info at South Seas Island Resort CLICK HERE

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Aug
14

Manatees Wash Up On The Beach… For Fun!

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mating manatees

It was exciting yet alarming to see so many MANATEES washing up at the shoreline last night! There were more than 7 of these SEA COWS rolling around in the breaking waves …. only a few feet from my toes.  My first instinct was… “Omigosh! They are hurt!”. Then…. ummmm… maybe not. Was is still mating season? I couldn’t remember! I immediately called our local US Fish and Wildlife office (I have it on speed dial!) to make sure this was not an emergency.

manatees sanibel mating

We saw MANATEES mating last year at the Lighthouse Beach and  the year before at Blind Pass… but this looked different. So when I called USF&W and told them there were MANATEES t the shoreline, he kept telling me not to touch them or get close to them. I wanted to say “Of course! They are wild animals and I dont want to disturb them …but I want to know if they need help!”. I starting filming just about the minute I got there so I caught my whole conversation with the fella at USF&W. So it’s funny just to hear my side of the conversation.

So, instead of telling you what happened, you can watch and listen to it on video. This was so cool to see this close encounter! The video is a little long but trust me, I cut it a way shorter than I taped them. I could have stood there for hours- It was so amazing! YouTube Preview Image

So here’s the UPDATE: 8-15-13…. These MANATEES were mating! They weren’t in any danger being so close to the shore the fella from Fish And Wildlife reassured me. I talked to Beth from Blue Dolphin Cottages on West Gulf Drive near this sighting. She said they swam in around 11 am  just north of their property and slowly floated along the shoreline until I saw them at 8 pm. The USF&W guy said it would not be unusual if they stayed there all night as well! But Beth told me they were gone by the morning…. but had funny story for me! Since those MANATEES were on their beach the entire day… they left a few stinky gifts on the beach! Bahahhaha. She posted this photo on their Facebook page and said…

“Wonderful guests volunteered for manatee poop removal!”

remove manatee poop

 

Categories : manatee, Manatee Video
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fragile seashells

How many times have you found a perfect SAND DOLLAR, a cute little crab shell or a SUNRAY VENUS  still with both side attached… only to find them broken to pieces by the time you get home to show off your gems? Geez, I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the times I’ve done it. Fortunatley, in the last few years I miraculously grew more brain cells (thank goodness) so now I throw tubs and tubes in my tote to protect those fragile shells.

fragile seashell container

You remember all of the SAND DOLLARS I found snorkeling over the weekend? As soon as I got back to our boat, I put them in plastic tubs I’ve saved (the packaging for our butter, cottage cheese and lunch meat) to keep them from getting crushed in my bag. Recycling at its best! My favorite container is the tube from the Crystal Light packaging. I save this one for long fragile shells… like WORMIES but unfortunately I didn’t find any WORM SHELLS on our boat trip this time so I used this container  keep my biggest ANGEL WING safe and sound…

angel wing container

Okay, so I have to show you my newest shell bag that is helping me keep my fragile shells safe until I can even get the to my containers for travel. This called a “shower tote” I found at Bed Bath and Beyond that is a rubberized mesh with tons of outside pockets. I’m loving this thing! All the non-fragiles go in the center like a regular shell bucket or bag then the fragiles get stashed in the outside pockets. The SAND DOLLARS are a perfect fit for the wider pockets and the other pockets keep small or thin shells from getting broken by the OLIVE and WHELKS being thrown on top of them. Watch out MacGyver!

shell bag pockets

In one of the smaller pockets, I threw a couple of bivalves that I found on Cayo Costa that I don’t often find on Sanibel…

sand dollars semeles

This PURPLISH SEMELE is not a rare shell, but this one seemed particularly deep purple on the interior. Okay, I should have put some mineral oil on it to keep the color bright… but I didn’t. ;( I hope you can still see the deep color!

purplish semele interior

Here’s the exterior…

Purplish  Semele

I also found her sister shell… the WHITE ATLANTIC SEMELE…

white atlantic semele

I’m sure both of these would be great craft shells…

white atlanic semele interior

I also found several CHALKY BUTTERCUP LUCINES on Cayo Costa. I never find these on Sanibel! These are the big sisters of the BUTTERCUP LUCINES (on top row of the next photo) which we do find on Sanibel frequently … and one of Clark’s faves.

chalky buttercup lucine

After shelling all day, we stored all of our treasures safely in our containers then Captain Clark got behind the wheel as I was going to pull up the anchor… and looky who was giving us a great send off! A MANATEE!

manatee at boat

 Darn! I wished I still had my snorkel gear on with my camera to film this underwater but any way we get to see them is a really treat.

manatee by boat

 We always get excited when we see a MANATEE so not only did we see this one, we saw a whole group of them on the way home. It was thrilling! This time I got a very shaky video. Yes, shaky because I was so excited and because I had to react really quickly when I saw them surface. Clark always does a great job of watching out for them and idling the engine when they get close but we’ve never had them follow the boat like this before. It was crazy! And I cant help but squeal or ohhh and ahhh when they surface so … I’m apologizing now. I had to edit some of it out because my voice gets so weird and high and sqeaky… it’s embarrassing. LOL  Enjoy! YouTube Preview Image

PS- If you’d like to take a boat ride out to Cayo Costa for some shelling and sight seeing..  CLICK HERE

Jul
02

Calm After The Tropical Storm On Sanibel

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conchs whelks sanibel

 After Tropical Storm Debby blew through Southwest Florida last week, things are now calm, the parking lots are cleaned up and I met lots of happy shellers enjoying the sunshine all weekend. I saw MANATEES that were even out socializing…

shellers manatee

 Remember Barbara from West Virginia who found the JUNONIA on my last post? She was back shelling near the jetty rocks at Blind Pass Captiva when two MANATEES swam right by her. Lucky Lady!

barbara manatee captiva

 The big pile of shells near the jetty was completely gone but there were still a few keepers rolling in the surf.  Candy from Cape Coral found a sweet little SHARK’S EYE…

Candy sharks eye captiva

 On the Sanibel side of Blind Pass, there were lots of shellers finding FIGHTING CONCHS and WHELKS…

sanibel seashells handful

My dear friend Mary B (she is moving away soon so I’ll miss you Mary!) found a perfect tiny FLAT SCALLOP.

mary b flat shell

 I loved talking to this next family from Ringwood New Jersey! Kevin, Alyssa, Kelly and Bailey have been coming to Sanibel for years and they Love Shelling! They just arrived when I was leaving so I hope they found some goodies.

family sanibel shelling

 My fave find of the weekend was this BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN BEAK BONE Super Sheller Clark picked up on the beach.

dolphin jaw bone

 These are the holes where the teeth were on this side of its jaw bone!

bottlenose dolphin bone

 Apparently, this is just one side of the mandible so this bottom right side was broken off the left side of its jaw.

dolphin beak bone mandible

In my research, I couldn’t find out what these holes are for in the next photo. They are definitely not from wear or from another animal so if I were to speculate, I’d say they were for sensory (?)…. but I wouldn’t bet on it. Do you know?

holes in dolphin beak

 UPDATE : Thank you Karen S and Jeff B for letting us know that the holes in this DOLPHIN BEAK BONE are called “Mental Foramen”. They are the openings for the nerves and blood vessels to pass through….and we (humans) have them too. Again, THANK YOU KS and JB for your comments so we can all learn together!!

 

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May
23

There’s No Place Like Home On Sanibel

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low tide sanibel lighthouse

 I love to travel… but more than anything, I love to come home to my beautiful island of Sanibel. Sanibel is like getting to finally sleeping in your own bed or taking your first good breathe of fresh air.

alphabet cone lighthouse clark

Yep. Super Sheller Clark found this beautiful ALPHABET CONE last night at the Lighthouse beach. We just couldn’t wait any longer to see our own contented beach. Clark was looking at this CONE like it was a long lost friend.

live kings crown

 I was enjoying all the signs of a beautiful life on our islands. I picked up this gorgeous KINGS CROWN (above) then realized it was full of life and health so I was happy I scooped up so much sand with “him”. He went right on his merry way when I put him gently back where I found him. The Gulf of Mexico was so full of life! I found a live SHARK’S EYE too…

live shark's eye

 There were lots of live PEAR WHELKS too…

live pear whelk

 And live KEY HOLE SAND DOLLARS. Did you notice I put the whole common name of this SAND DOLLAR? Sine we found those cutie tiny SAND DOLLARS in Thailand, I’ve been trying to figure out what type they are… when I realized that I’ve never said which ones ours are that we find here in SouthWest Florida. KEY HOLE SAND DOLLARS!

live Sanibel sand dollar

 And live LIGHTNING WHELKS

live lightning whelk

In the next photo of this same LIGHTNING WHELK, I wanted  show you how much lighter the other side was but do you see that little string on my left hand ? While on our trip to Thailand, we were blessed by a Monk who wrapped this string with a knot around our wrists. I was told it was called a “spiritual line” and we are to wear it until it falls off and not to cut it off. It is for good luck, good health and to remind us every day that today is special so live it that way. I immediately thought of those strings I used to tie around my finger to remind me to do something. So every day now when I look at this string on my wrist I am reminded that today is a gift.

live lightning whelk lighthouse

 We even saw MANATEES wallowing in the shallow water just a few feet from us. Talk about a welcome home! Oh I love this place. Check out the video…YouTube Preview Image

I hope the spiritual line this Buddhist Monk blessed us with rubbed a lot of luck onto these full of life MOLLUSKS and SEA LIFE to live an even longer healthier breeding life.

blessed monk

PS- I’ll show lots of more photos of Thailand soon!

Honeymoon Island bench

In my first 2 posts about our weekend trip to Honeymoon Island State Park, I showed you some cool treasures we found like TURBANS, MERMAID MONEY, AGATIZED CORAL GEODES, rock art and a variety of shells… but wait! I still have a few more things I want to show you. Like the biggest KING’S CROWN we’ve ever seen! Clark found this live mollusk on the bay side of the northern tip of the island.

Live kings crown shell honeymoon island

Of course we put him back where Clark found him after peaking at this awesome creature…

live kings crown aperture

We saw a MANATEE! It’s always a bonus to see them so close to the shore and this guy wasn’t shy at all so came up to say “hi”…

manatee honeymoon island florida

On our walk back we found 2 SAND DOLLARS along with some of the other shells…and remember, it’s a 5 mile round trip- whew! I even wish we had taken more than the 100 fluid oz. we packed for the “hike”.

Sand dollars honeymoon Island Florida

On Sunday, we decided to take the scenic drive back through Clearwater Beach down to Pass-A-Grille since we heard the shelling was good against the jetty rocks. Nuttin, Honey. All I found was my butt busting on a rock after I slipped on an unsteady chunk of the jetty. Ouch!

Pass-A-Grille jetty rocks

Pass-A-Grille jetty rocks

I met a nice couple a few years ago in my shop Kirby Rambo Collections (Clark sold it for me in 2004… 4 weeks before Hurricane Charley. Talk about timing!) who showed me a bag of WORM SHELLS they collected on Fort De Soto beach. I’ve been wanting to check it out ever since so we stopped there too while passing through St Pete.  We didn’t find much there either but that’s okay. It was fun to just walk the beach and see the lay of the land. Just like I tell people that visit our beaches….. the shelling changes every day on each beach. There could have been hundreds of WORM SHELLS there the day after or before we walked it. It’s the hunt that makes it fun!

Fort De Soto beach

Fort De Soto beach

When I was sorting through our shells when we got home, I found a few bivalves that we had collected on Honeymoon Island that were a little unusual. It might not be so pretty but this ATLANTIC FAT TELLIN which should be called the bent tellin because it has an obvious bend in the middle of it.

Atlantic fat tellin

I think you can see the bend a little better at this angle…

Atlantic fat tellin Leporimetis intastriata

Shelling Sistah Moira showed me a facebook photo last week of this same LUCINE shell in the next photo. The closest thing I found at Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum is the THICK LUCINE….. but it looks more like a worn PENNSYLVANIA LUCINE to me. I found the same shell on Honeymoon too….

Pennsylvania Lucine Thick

Here’s the inside… some people wouldn’t think this is too pretty but for identification purposes, I have found that the interior of the shell is just as important to identify it correctly as the exterior.

Pennsylvania Lucine inside

I also found a very worn WHITE CRESTED TELLIN.  It’s the first one I’ve ever found.

White crested tellin worn

So now that I’ve shown you all of our treasures from our weekend getaway, I thought I’d throw in a few places we enjoyed other than the beaches. Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures but we both loved the little town of Dunedin (pronounced  dun-E-din). It’s one of those quant little village-y areas with funky art studios, sweet gift shops and really good restaurants and bars- most with live entertainment so you can just wander around before and after dinner to enjoy the town. Our fave restaurant was a place called Kelly’s Chicaboom- awesome! We also loved this tiny restaurant/fish market called Olde Bay Cafe at the marina.

Old Bay Cafe Dunedin Florida

We had a wonderful time exploring another gulf coast town of Florida that offers some beautiful and different gifts of the sea but it was time to head back over the Sunshine Skyway…

sunshine skyway

…to get home to our little island paradise of Sanibel. Home Sweet Home!

rainbow palm tree