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.
The Red Tide seems to be gone for now, no dead fish on the Beach. The Supermoon looks lovely in the morning. Construction of the Sea Wall is progressing, there is now a barge off of the Oasis parking lot.
And the Seagulls are chilling, like usual.
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.
I found a few good shells and took a ton of “beachy” pictures…
amongst the dead creatures.
When it gets too hot out shelling, the boys and I like to head to the Honeymoon Island Nature Center. It’s a great place to cool off, learn about the island and it’s animals and even do some major bird watching. It also has nice bathrooms, which is a plus! Kids can do a scavenger hunt to win shells, there are crafts, videos to watch, gifts to buy and a really friendly staff. They have a HUGE shell collection, I mean these shells are huge. Of course I always forget to take a picture, I’ll remember next time. On the third Saturday of the month from 1:00-4:30 pm they have a shell show! What a great addition to any already amazing 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!
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.
(My poor salt covered couch, looking like a powdered sugar brownie.)
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.
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!