This says it all…. 2012 is a gorgeous year on Sanibel. Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach was no exception yesterday where I met Melissa using PEN SHELLS to make this “sign of the times” (heehee). Her kids Ricki and Mack made perfect models to show off her seashell art.
The beach and parking lots have made a full recovery from Tropical Storm Debby last month. Even the STARFISH are recovering! Days after TS Debby, we saw hundreds of live STARFISH washed up on the beach with most of their arms broken off. See how resilient they are? This one had 4 out of 5 arms broken off (I’m sure from the storm) and all 4 are growing back now trying to match that original long arm on the right of my hand. Cool, huh?
I also saw a live SEA HARE (or SEA SLUG)! It’s always a treat to see these graceful creatures swimming along our shoreline.
I have video of a larger one 2 years ago which shows the purple ink shooting out (CLICK HERE), but this SEA SLUG is much smaller and has little green “horns”. Here’s another quick vid taken in knee deep water near the Sanibel pier.
PS- Oh, and don’t mind that AHH-OOO-GAA noise at the end. One of my best buddies was calling me on my cell phone… that’s her ring tone. It makes me laugh every time! LOL
The weekend started off a little slow for finding shells since the wind was coming in from the east. On Friday evening, we checked out the lighthouse beach and the first thing I saw was a SEA HARE (or also called a NUDIBRANCH) washed up on the beach caught in a line of sea grass. So I picked he/she (literally because they are hermaphrodites) up since I thought it was still alive to put it back in the water and held it for a few minutes submerged. It started to move its wings so I released and it swam away. Yippee!
I met a family on the beach…. they asked me “Where should we go to find some shells?”. They didn’t know what they were in for, did they? LOL They had no idea that Clark and I could talk for hours about shells. heehee
We had a nice time talking to Venkataratnam and Hansaveni from New Jersey along with her parents Pavani and Anupam who were visiting Sanibel for the first time …. from India! The shelling wasn’t fantastic since it was high tide and those darn east winds but we were happy to help them find a few WENTLTRAPS, a nice NUTMEG, SHARK’S EYE, 2 TURBANS, a LIMPET and a few more goodies.
I saw a bird on the beach that I normally don’t see so I sent my friend Bonnie this photo and she said, “That is a Black-crowned Night-Heron. He is a large-headed heron that rarely extends it’s neck. You usually see them at the water’s edge crouched down waiting quietly for a fish to go by. You got his picture with his neck extended so he was probably very aware of you or about to fly off.”
The winds changed a little from the west so shelling was much better at Blind Pass this weekend but I still haven’t gotten those photos into my computer so I will post again ASAP. In the mean time, the shelling should be really good on the sand bars at Blind Pass this afternoon at a negative low tide of -0.4 around 5:30 pm.
Only another day to enter into the drawing for some iLoveShelling gear! I am loooving all of your comments!
So this is a SEA HARE. I mentioned a SEA SLUG when I did a posted “I Found A Nudibranch” on April 15 and a sea hare is a sea slug too. I’m not sure the difference…..but I do know that they are very cool to watch. When a sea hare wants to scare a predator, he emits that purple ink like he did in the first picture. I got a movie of this guy right after I took the picture of him squirting the ink. If you watch right in the beginning, you’ll see the end of the ink coming out….then he feels comfy and starts swimming on his merry way. Check it out!
Adriana, Grace, Aunt Karen, Sheri, and Carmen (NY)
When you ask a 9 year old what kind of shells that they found, you expect them to say something like “Lot’s of pretty ones!” or maybe sometimes “A whelk and a conch!”. That’s not what I got when I asked Adriana and her sister Grace what they found. Adriana showed me a beautiful, perfect small shell and I said “Wow, that’s a perfect FIG” which she replied “Yes, a fig, I know!”. Grace knew the names of her shells too …”Look at this KITTEN’S PAW that’s still together”.
That’s when Adriana said “I found a NUDIBRANCH too!”. uhhhh. Huh? A what? I had no idea what a NUDIBRANCH was until she told me it was a sea slug. So I just looked it up…..here’s a picture of a NUDIBRANCH (click on the highlighted word) that I think she saw (?). Adriana and Grace’s dad, Carmen, is a biologist and was a science teacher so he and their mom Sheri have done a great job teaching their girls all about sea life. Crazy Aunt Karen ( that’s what they say they call her) said she has been coming to Sanibel for 40 years so shelling and sea life must be in the blood. Carmen or Adriana, please let me (us) know if this is the type of NUDIBRANCH you saw on the beach on the Sanibel side of Blind Pass. I’m so intrigued now.
Well, I’ve learned that I’m not smarter than a 3rd grader when it comes to sea slugs. Now I can’t wait to see a nudibranch for myself.
Still shelling at sunset
Kayaker at Sunset on Captiva