The Florida Beaches Royalty Tour – February 2013

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Shell Queen here, eager to tell you about our visit to the lovely Anna Maria Island. Saturday was really a perfect beach day and a nice morning for a road trip for the King and I. We loaded up the car with our beach gear and headed about 100 miles North to Bradenton. It was a bit foggy as we were crossing the bridge to the island in the morning, but by noon the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

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Unlike some of the island beaches in Southwest Florida, there was no toll to cross over into the island, and parking was free. Both nice surprises! The beach was really beautiful. Sugar white sand. A nice public area with a restaurant, gift shop and restrooms, chair and umbrella rentals and plenty of volleyball courts that filled up quickly. Very family friendly!

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After we were settled in, the King made a beeline for the shore, rake in hand. The waves were rolling in, and the water was pretty chilly, but he was eager to find some keepers today. We found a few nice augers and minis, but mostly we found rocks and Venus Clams. Perhaps not the best shells on the beach today, but any day shelling is a good day.

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If you are looking for a family friendly and relaxing beach, we recommend giving Anna Maria Island a visit.  We are both happy we did! A day of relaxation and sun is just what this royal couple needed.

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Fun-sized Mini Shelling

ThThunder

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Gulfside City Park was our destination last night, as rumors circulating around here stated that there was an influx of minis to be had. The rumors proved true. Who knew TMZ had a Shelling Division?

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Although Mote Marine showed no red tide, as soon as we arrived we could smell it in the air. We didn’t see any dead fish, but the fishy smell was abundant.

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But, the weather was nice (84 degrees) and the water was calm – and those are two things that make a beach visit worthwhile. There were a number of wild-dead (as opposed to wildlife) remnants on the shore. Like these whelk egg cases:

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The rake proved its worth, as we began reeling in a bunch of keeper minis, like this teeny tiny sand dollar that had the Queen whooping with joy:

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The Drills and Murexes were rolling in, along with tiny Horse Conchs, Bubbles, Dusky Cones and my favorites – Olives:

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Drills and Murexes:

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Dusky Cones:

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The Olives – take a look at the gray one on the left:

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I’m hoping as both the weather and water warm up that the treasures continue to roll in. Another successful Thursday Thunder!

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And now that the weather is back to warm, this weekend we will be going to Anna Maria Island for the February stop on the Florida Beaches Royalty Tour. Our plan was last weekend, but 59 degrees? Nah.

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