Weather Heating, Shelling Cooling…

As the weather heats up in Florida, 88 degrees today.  The shelling seems to be cooling.  The water is calm and clear and the HUGE shell piles from Winter and Spring have disappeared.  Casual, not Crazy shelling is going on.  I found a few gems this morning, but my gaze often left the wrack line and landed in the turquoise waters.

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Do you have any Low Tide?

  On Saturday we drove out to Honeymoon Island to catch the sunset.  As we drove out along the causeway we could tell that it was a very low tide, when we got to the beach we were amazed at how low it really was.  We parked at the North end of the Main Beach, which we knew had a sand bar.  Everyone I talked to on the beach said it was the lowest they had ever seen.  It turned out to be a Negative Low Tide and it  uncovered lots of creatures, most of which I had never seen live before.  Usually the whole area pictured it covered in water…

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 There were Sea Cucumbers and Sea Urchins…

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Live Juvenile Fighting Conchs and Olives trying to bury themselves.  I have never seen live Olives, they were everywhere

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 Here is a group of Olives having a nice dinner at the Sand Bar, looks like a shrimp cocktail!

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Monday, Monday

I can’t complain because I was headed to the beach on a Monday morning.  The beach parking lot is starting to be busier on weekday mornings.  The water was aquamarine and we saw a pod of dolphins off shore.  It was a beautiful sight!

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 Here are the shells after I cleaned them. Scallops in beautiful colors, Juvenile Fighting Conch, Auger, Olive, Shark’s Eye, Apple Murex and Smack in the middle, a new shell, a Ladder Horn Shell.

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Two Beaches, One Day

This post is a little late, after my Birthday and Mother’s Day this past week, the time got away from me.  So weekend before last we visited 2 beaches in 1 day.  We started out the morning at our regular beach on Honeymoon Island.  It was low tide and the waves were pretty calm.  We headed to the Oasis beach, which had a few sheller’s on it before us.

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My son was shelling along side of me and filled up his net with all kinds of shells, broken included.  Here are the ones I found, all cleaned up. Scallops, Olives, Sunray Venus (still intact), Turbans, Shark’s Eyes, Auger, Jingle, tons of Juvenile Fighting Conchs and check out the middle!

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 A Tiny topsail Shell and 2 Banded Tulips!  One has some damage from being liquefied by a sponge at some point but the other is amazing!

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My husband found the multi-colored shell on the right, which i think is a Tinted Cantharus.  It almost has a blue tint to it.
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After Honeymoon Island we got lunch and headed out to Long Boat Key to Coquina Beach.  It’s about an hour drive from Honeymoon Island, but well worth it.  Right off the bat I found a bleached out Juvenile Horse Conch in the parking lot, it had rained a lot the days before and must have uncovered it.  We hardly recognized the place where we usually go because they had rehabbed/widened the beach.  The walk was much farther and the shells less plentiful.  At least that is what I thought until my son started digging down under that new sand, shells started pouring out!  I found Augers, Scallops and Jingles!  A huge Olive rolled up to my foot in the surf.
And I found a new shell, a little Calico Clam.  It was a good day!

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Sheller’s Gold

I struck GOLD, I tell Ya.  Wednesday morning I parked at the North Beach at Honeymoon Island, ready to shell!  The waves were kicking up some treasures!  There were piles of beach debris, which contain great little pockets of shells.

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But today I didn’t even need to search that hard because shells were rolling in all around.  Things got especially good when I parked at the Oasis and began to search the rocky shoreline.  A near perfect Alaphabet Cone laying, waiting to be discovered, this part of the beach must not have been shelled yet!!  I went on to find a bleached almost whole Tulip, Apple Murex’s, Lightning Whelk, Shark’s Eye, a whole Cyclinella clam, Fighting Conch everywhere, Juvenile Fighting Conchs, Augers and Turbans galore.

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But then I stopped…All morning I had been seeing parts of Tulips everywhere, broken, but beautiful.  Was this a sign to keep searching?  Woo-hoo!  There she was laying in a pile of minis (and a partial fish head), my perfect True Tulip!  She is very small and delicate but the most gorgeous shade or coral!  Today I struck gold my friends…

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Stink, Stank, Stunk…

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So last post I was very excited about the shells I scored at Honeymoon Island, “Hey look at me, I am a good sheller!” That quickly turned into “Holy Crap what is that horrid stench?!” and “Ewww…what came out of that Shell?”  followed by fleeing the bathroom in HORROR.

As I posted before, see Horse Conch disgust, I am not that great with slimy animals.  I see a Fighting Conch in his little shell drying in the sun, I place him back in the water no problem.  But when chunks of recently deceased Fighting Conchs are coming out of a shell in my bathroom sink it freaks me out.  This is my first experience with shells that were not completely cleaned out by nature before I skipped along and placed them in my bag.

My procedure for cleaning shells is usually rinse out the sand, soak in 50/50 Bleach water solution, scrub with a little dish soap, rinse, dry and apply mineral oil.  These bad boys are still in the process, I almost brought them back to the beach but I plugged my nose put my gloves on and persisted.  After 2-3 rounds of bleaching and long hot soaks in Almond scented dish soap they have come out “smelling (kind of) like roses,”  or Almonds in my case.  The chunks of “stuff” long gone down the drain, I now will lay off the Fighting Conchs and continue the search for my perfect True Tulip or Junonia…

Still a little nervous a slimy muscle might fall out, here are the conchs in question still drying outside.  Someday they will get their shine back…IMG_5297