As I’m listening to the loud crashes of thunder with pounding rain and watching the bright strikes of lightning on the island today, I’m thankful I got to take a few leisurely strolls on our sun filled beach this weekend before this downpour.
The water was like glass at Gulfside City Park on Saturday and clear enough to find these treasure while walking in the water.
After finding a SUNRAY VENUS and a FIGHTING CONCH as well, I started finding “Candy!” (juvie HORSE CONCHS) in the shell lines on the beach…
Seriously, there were so many different shell and wrack lines to work, I could have stayed there all day long searching each line to see what different types of goodies were hiding in each one.
But since it was a little warm (around 92 degrees around noon), I stayed either in the water or just along the edge…. where I found oodles of beautifully colored CALICO SCALLOPS (and the candies).
Last evening Clark and I took a walk around the Lighthouse Beach to find the glassy calm water with a small shell line on the Gulf side…
We rounded the tip of the island to find choppier water with lines of SEA WEED covering the shells. It’s funny… there are some photographs that I have taken over the years that stick with me for some reason and they make me smile. So when I saw this gal sifting for minis, I recognized her right away from my post Smiles For Seashells – “I took a photo of you a few years ago and its one of my favorites!”. As soon as we started talking I remembered everything else about her too. Sweet Robin! She found a few WENTLETRAPS, BABYS EARS, and lots of other usual suspects just hanging out Sittin ‘N Siftin.
Further down the beach I found this turquoise blue green SEA HARE (SEA SLUG) that had just washed up on the beach. I think it’s a different type of RAGGED SEA HARE than the ones I’ve found before (CLICK HERE)… since I’ve never seen this color in an adult before. Cool! I put it back in the water but I’m not sure this one survived :(.
The good news is… it may have just laid this blue green spaghetti looking EGG MASS. But, don’t quote me on that… I’m only assuming this after finding an unusual blue green SEA SLUG then only a few feet away spotting an unusual blue green EGG STRING. Hmmmm… that turquoise EGG MASS from that turquoise SEA HARE? It doesn’t seem that far of a stretch, right? LOL
Anyhoo, it was a lovely weekend to explore Southwest Florida beaches to see what treasures the Gulf Of Mexico had in store for us. And… after this storm lets up (with winds out of the west), we may have an even better week to find beach treasures. Fingers crossed!
There are days in the summer when all I need is an evening walk on the beach to turn a hot, hectic day into a calm, relaxing oasis.
Especially if I have my best friend with me. Even if Clark (yes, he’s my husband too- heehee) and I walk separate ways on the beach to cover more ground, it’s always fun to see what the other one collects when we finally meet back up.
We both went for the minis at Gulfside City Park but I had to keep one large FIGHTING CONCH because of the fabulous rich color and Clark kept a “larger” one too- a GAUDY NATICA. I guess so! Is there anybody who can pass up a GAUDY NATICA if you see one? I think not.
We both found lots of sweet, itty bitty LETTERED OLIVE shells but most of the large adult LETTERED OLIVES were alive and scooting over all the other empty CLAM shells…
We both saw several large live LIGTHNING WHELKS as well. That’s what is so fascinating about shelling during low tide… you get to experience seeing beautiful living creatures in their natural habitat. I actually walked this guy into the Gulf Of Mexico just a bit just to get him covered with water again.
Clark said he was also busy saving several SEA HARES that washed up on the shore. Me too! This one looked like a gooey mess lying in some SEA WEED on the beach. I gently picked “him” up then submerged him into the calm water then let him go when he started coming to life. This is the same way Bryce and I saved a SEA HARE on the Sight Sea-R cruise last month but I didn’t get a photo, remember?
There is something mesmerizing about watching them swim.
Talk about calm, relaxing and mesmerizing…
Throughout the weekend we will have nice low tides in the evenings so if you want a retreat to the beach, I would suggest heading out to the closest SW Florida beach in the early evening (hopefully we can dodge the summer rain storms!) to talk a slow walk to experience this natural paradise at its best.
Join me on our next iLoveShelling adventure on Sight Sea-R Cruises Wednesday- July 16, 2014 to our newest shelling destination! Call 239-765-7272orCLICK HEREand tell them you want to join the iLoveShelling cruise! UPDATE: July 16th is now SOLD OUT! Wow!
PS- I tool this video of a SEA HARE about 4 years ago… seriously, I can’t believe this was FOUR years go but I figured it would be fun to show again…
During the low tide evenings this past week, we didn’t find gobs of shells on Sanibel or Captiva but we found the best empty beauties in the Blind Pass channel in between Sanibel and Captiva. With the full moon causing extreme tides, the water rushes through the pass so quickly at the lowest tide (ankle deep) I like to just wait for the shells to roll by my feet by near the jetty rocks. If you want to see a video from last year that shows how they roll by CLICK HERE
We also hit the low tide at the Lighthouse Beach…
This was my favorite night last week because I met Michayla from Pensacola with lots of beautiful shells in her shell bag…
I also met Paige and her mom Nikkie from Kentucky. It’s always so much fun to meet new friends that love shelling as much as I do!
And lookie who else was shelling at Lighthouse Beach… our good friends Susan and Lee from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They definitely love shelling as much as Clark and I do.
It’s always so much fun to see the live creatures at ow tide like FIGHTING CONCHS…
I’m not absolutely positive, but I believe that this is a SEA HARE EGG STRING. Seriously, it was this color… almost turquoise!
We are very used to seeing SEA PORK at low tide but this SEA LIVER looks a little different because it’s flatter and a little slimier. They are dark purple when still alive then turn whitish when they die so I’m assuming part of this colony on the right has already died off and the left side is still hanging on. Of course after I took this photo, I returned this colonial tunicate to the tidal pool where I found it.
So while we were shelling Lighthouse and Blind Pass… Gary, Jane, Anna, Claire and Ella from Arkansas were shelling near Tarpon Beach when they hit a VERY sweet honey hole. Gary said ” Just at the shelf line we found a PEN SHELL bed. After about 2 hours of digging we had 8 large horse conchs – our best shell hunt ever!” I’m sure this will be a day in their lives they will never ever forget. Shellzam!
I love summer evenings walking the beach when the sun doesn’t set until way after 8pm then the full moon rises to brighten the sky and pull at the sea.
Be careful of what you wish for! I’ve been secretly hoping for some “bling” for Christmas. Meaning like… shiny, pretty, glitzy wearable “bling”. But instead I got raggedy, stringy, gooey “bling”… BEACH BLING!
If you know me, you know that I get more excited about discovering something new washing in on the beach than getting any new fancy, shiny jewelry. Errrrr.. well most of the time. LOL But really, I found this dried clump of some sort of stringy mass at Lighthouse Beach today.
Cool! So I looked a little closer to inspect its identity…. and realized that it’s a FIGHTING CONCH EGG STRING!
The little eggs inside these strings will turn into this one day…
Doesn’t that just blow your mind? And remember? Back in July, I saw a live FIGHTING CONCH laying her eggs (to see the post CLICK HERE)…
Unfortunately the string I found today was too dried up for any of the eggs to make it but that’s why the females lay so many eggs. Some will make it! Any maybe that’s why at different time of the year we see thousands at time on the beach… maybe they are mating!
See? This is why I love my BEACH BLING so much! There are endless possibilities of treasures Mother Nature will give us to ponder over. Like the other Bling I found today. A RAGGED SEA HARE! Poor guy was washed up on the beach but I could see “he” was still alive and moving so I took hime to the water. I took a very quick video today but if you missed my last video on the RAGGED SEA HARE, it is waaaaayyyy better with a few added funnies CLICK HERE.
Here is today’s version of me trying to save this SEA HARE and all of his “raggedness”.
I didn’t find many keeper shells today at the Lighthouse Beach since I was too obsessed with the Bling. When I got home I still felt like I needed my shell fix so I finally rinsed (plain water, don’t use bleach!) off my COCQUINAS from earlier this week. Oh, and yes, I left in that cute little TURKEY WING too.
This looks nothing like the SEA HARESI’ve seen in the past that gracefully dance through the water flapping their wings like a beautiful bird. I know, this guy looks like Bob Slug Marley… in need of a haircut. I found this RAGGED SEA HARE at the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach yesterday morning at low tide where there were ooodles of them! I’ve never seen one of these before! We’ve had some strange winds from all directions and very choppy seas the last few days so I think they got pushed in right after they “hatched”. When they got out of the water, they retracted their horns and pigtails (haha- they are actually called papillae but let’s go with pigtails for now) and rolled up in ball. This gives new meaning to “hare ball”, right?
And yes! Another video! I loooove finding and learning about new sea life and add it to my BEACH BLING identification page!
Ummmm…. Please don’t tell anyone else that I heard what this RAGGED SEA HARE was saying… they might think I’m crazy. ;)
Oh and I had witnesses that will tell you I wasn’t crazy listening to these guys. I ran into Dan and Tina (TN) who were at the Lighthouse shelling finding all of these fantastic shells while I pointed out the RAGGED SEA HARES…
And! To top it all off, I saw Karen with her cutie aqua iLS shirt and iLS cap on! I first met Karen and Dexter (St Louis) after they found a huge MEGALADON SHARKS TOOTHat Blind Pass last year. It was so good to see yall again!
PS- If you don’t know already, there is a tropical storm in the Atlantic predicted to become Hurricane Isaac which is on a path headed towards Southwest Florida. If it stays on this path and gains strength, I’ll let you know in a quick post if we have to evacuate. Fingers crossed that we only get shells and NOT a hurricane.
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 Debbylast 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