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.
It rained in the morning, so I decided to take the boys out to the beach after it cleared. It was a beautiful 75 degrees for a short time on it’s way to scorching 90 degrees. We haven’t been to Honeymoon that much lately, because of the humidity and, of course, the situation with the sand fleas. Beach wary. But it was breezy and sunny, record scratch, under construction! The Southern part of the Oasis Parking Area is currently fenced off for a large beach project. The boys LOVED seeing the equipment and huge boulders being lifted around. So I did some digging online and found that they started some beach improvements, which will continue until this time next year. They are building 3 giant “T-Groins,” which is a T shaped rock wall. This will help keep the sand on the beach from washing away. They will also be filling the beach in with 149,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from Hurricane Pass. I am excited to see the changes in the beach, it always seems different every time we go!
We found a few good shells! Olives, Juvenile Fighting Conchs, Augers, Arks, Cantharus, my first Sharp Ribbed Drill and a gorgeous Paul Newman’s Sharks Eye. I was excited to find that Shark’s Eye because I just read on I Love Shelling about one Pam had found. They call them that because they have a true blue center!
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!
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.
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.
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…
There were Sea Cucumbers and Sea Urchins…
Live Juvenile Fighting Conchs and Olives trying to bury themselves. I have never seen live Olives, they were everywhere
Here is a group of Olives having a nice dinner at the Sand Bar, looks like a shrimp cocktail!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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…