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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
So the Whelk shell I found was a amazing, but the problem it created was a doozy. A short time after that I went back to the beach with the family to shell. Unfortunately my phone was in the car so I could not document the situation. My son and I were looking for shells (which to him means throwing rocks into the ocean) when I spotted a HUGE dark shell half buried in the sand. Could I hit the jackpot again? So I commandeered my son’s small net and proceeded to pull the shell out the sand with my new found shell digging bravery. What happened next was terrifying. It was a live horse conch, which proceeded to writhe and spit water a foot up into the air. My son started screaming, “What is THAT THING? AGGGHHH,” and go running for the dunes. I had no idea what to do, so I tried to push it out into the waves as best I could without puking. If you have not seen one, they are a huge coral colored muscle…I cannot even think about it.