Deep Dish Jelly Fish

Walked the beach first thing in the morning, the park opens at 8 am, and found some nice shells and good conversation.  I like to start my beach hellos with “Did you find anything good today?”  You can tell a sheller by the stooped walk and the immediate bag rustling after you ask that question.  Lately it has been, “Nothing very good, the shells are pretty beat up.”  I also like to ask, “Where are you from?”  This time I got Chicago, so we bonded over Pequod’s, Lou Malnati’s, hot dogs and beef sandwiches.  Then talked switched from Deep dish pizza to the HUGE washed up Jellyfish dotting the beach.  Red Tide?  We wondered if it was back, but it doesn’t seem to be.  The ladies remembered coming to the beach in years past, finding Olive shells the size of their hands.  The good old days.  There is nothing like a friendly conversation in the warm morning sun on the beach.

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All the Dead Fish Should Have Been a Warning Sign

 

I was very excited to be the first one in the North parking lot on Tuesday.  I started walking the deserted beach on a mission to take “beachy” pictures for my friend’s surf company.  “Oh there’s a dead fish,” no big deal.  “Agh, there’s another dead fish,” okay.  “THERE ARE A TON OF DEAD FISH,” I think I’ll hang out here for 2 hours.  I didn’t even think to myself, “You should leave because it’s probably the RED TIDE.”  I kept on shelling and taking pictures amongst the dead fish, the dead blowfish and even, as one beachcomber alerted me to, a “dead baby Shark.”   Red tide happens every year when a specific algae, Karenia brevis, blooms.  Lots of marine life dies and it can cause respiratory issues in humans.  It smelled like fish that morning but I had no problems breathing.  Although I probably would have walked away if there had been a sign posted about the Red Tide.
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I found a few good shells and took a ton of “beachy” pictures…

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amongst the dead creatures.

 

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Who knew I’d Find Shells at Philippe Park?

 

I have been coming to Philippe Park, in Safety Harbor, for a year now.  I usually take the kids, they have 2 unique playgrounds.  It’s a great place to pull the card in backwards, open the back, sit in the trunk, eat lunch and look at the beautiful views of the water.  The last time we went I was surprised by a huge school of Sting Rays drifting by in formation.  We took a stroll down the concrete wall that surrounds the park, low and behold, shells!  Live shells moseying about in the shade of the trees.  The water was crystal clear and I could have watched them for hours.  If it wasn’t for the heightened mom mode I was in, I don’t need a 5 year old or 2 year old falling off a 4 foot wall!

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It’s a little hard to see in the picture, but there are Fighting Conchs scurrying about.  We even saw an upside down Horseshoe Crab.

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Philippe Park is located in Safety Harbor, off of Philippe Parkway.  The land was first inhabited by the Tocobaga Indian Tribe, you can visit the Indian Mound there.  After that is was the Philippe Plantation, a few citrus trees remain.  It was acquired in 1948, making it the oldest park in Pinellas County.

Me Noseeum but me Feelum

 

 

Let me tell you about the little friends we brought home with us from that Full Moon Low Tide.  Some people call them Noseeum but their common name is Sand Flea.  I call them something I cannot say on a nice friendly blog like this.

My husband started to itch while my son and I were exploring the tide pools.  So we rinsed the shoes and left.  When I got home I non-chalantly placed the beach bag by the washing machine like always, gave the boys a bath.  Fast forward to Sunday night, I sit down and get sucked into an SVU double episode, a show I have never watched.  After 2 hours I started to itch, I ran to the bathroom and discovered two groups of 6 bites on my back.

My war with Sand Fleas began.

“Oh crap the beach bag!”, I thought. Google Google Google, I read things like “so small you cannot see them,” “don’t scratch the bites” (yeah right) and “spray your bed and couch with pesticides.”  NO WAY!  Then I found someone who said cover everything with salt for 24 hours and vacuum thoroughly.  The salt dries them out and kills them.  Oh and wash everything you can in your house.  So I covered EVERYTHING with salt (and baking soda to kill any mites while I am at it) and bunkered down with the kids in one room.  After 5 days, a new HEPA vacuum and the washing machine running constantly, I think we got ’em.  No more new bites, only old itchy ones.  The stuffed animals are still in plastic bags for a few more days, just incase.

And maybe we’ll lay off the sunsets for awhile.

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(My poor salt covered couch, looking like a powdered sugar brownie.)

Full Moon Low Tide-tastic

A full moon means one thing people, low tide.  This low tide came at the perfect time, an hour before sunset and boy was it a doozy.  We walked out on the normal low tide sand bar only to realize that this tide had reveled another further out.  It was spectacular and as a storm brushed the coast we enjoyed the views.  As the family dug in the wet sand I scoured the pools for treasure.  Look at what I found!  A beautiful Lace Murex was peaking out only 2 little spikes and I dug her out of the sand.  One of the prettiest shells I have ever seen.

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When my son and I explored the tide pools on the north side we found crabs, like this little guy hiding everywhere.  We even found an empty crab shell and a huge Olive.  A very nice couple gave the boys two Sand Dollars out of their bag which was exploding.  You can find the nicest people on the beach, I know it always makes me feel good to give a tourist a treasure to take home.  These are the first Sand Dollars we have collected!  What an amazing night!

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Picture Perfect

 

It was a picture perfect day at Honeymoon Island today.  The water is very warm and clear right now.

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 Before going swimming we stopped for a moment at the Oasis or “Rocky Beach” and found a treasure.  A dry Purple Sea Urchin!  The picture doesn’t do the coloring justice.  So beautiful!

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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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