Due to the large number of shells found and photos taken, I’m going to break this blog update into two posts.
Hope you all are fine with that. ;)
Tropical Storm Andrea stopped by to say hi during the middle of this week and she brought some rough surf along with her. With the rough surf comes sea shells. Lots of them.
The Queen and I thought we’d be rushing it a little bit so soon after Andrea left. We honestly didn’t expect to see shells just rolling in, but our fingers were crossed.
The Shells were there for sure, but you had to work for them. They were very hard to see in the murky water. So here’s what I do in that situation:
I have polarized sunglasses to help me see through the water. Even though it was overcast, it still helped me a great deal. So I look first, then move to where I see a large group of shells. Then I feel with my feet until I feel the bigger, more pointy ones and I scoop. Then I sift out the sand by shaking the scoop in the water, I bring the haul up the sand a bit where the Queen awaits and I dump them…just like this:
Queenie searches through the debris for keepers and puts em in the bucket.
After an hour or so of scooping and dumping, we made our way to the Sanibel side of the jetty rocks, where there was just a small patch of sand. On the rocks we saw False Limpets enjoying a dinner of algae at low tide.
Along with a really nice Purplish Semele, we picked up this nice sized Whelk. He was empty, but the mollusks on the shell were alive and well. So back into the water he went.
Walking alongside the jetty rocks led us to just near the bridge, where we ironically found this HUGE Hermit Crab without a shell.
Queenie saw him lying on his back. At first, we thought he was dead. Apparently he got caught up in high tide and got stuck between the rocks under the bridge. I poked him with the edge of my scoop to check and sure enough, claws were a -clawin’. We turned him over and brought him in the scoop to the water’s edge where not two feet away we saw ANOTHER Hermit Crab – except this guy had a shell.
I didn’t know this about Hermit Crabs, so I’ll take this right from Wikipedia’s page:
As the hermit crab grows in size, it has to find a larger shell and abandon the previous one. This habit of living in a second hand shell gives rise to the popular name “hermit crab”, by analogy to a hermit who lives alone. Several hermit crab species, both terrestrial and marine, use “vacancy chains” to find new shells: when a new, bigger shell becomes available, hermit crabs gather around it and form a kind of queue from largest to smallest. When the largest crab moves into the new shell, the second biggest crab moves into the newly vacated shell, thereby making its previous shell available to the third crab, and so on.
Take a closer look at him – he looks like a Lobster….only, his tail isn’t hard like a lobster’s. Looks more like curly, red PlayDoh.
So homeboy hit the water in a hurry and scurried away, no doubt in search of a new, larger shell.
I think I was more amazed by the Hermit Crab than the shells there. Always cool to see marine life up close.
We made our way over to the other side of the bridge….
and that’s where I’ll leave off for now and begin Part 2.