Weekend Shelling

The Queen and I sure do value our weekends. After a long work week, there’s nothing better than relaxing on a beach, cold soda in hand, smelling the ocean and hearing the waves crash. It runs in the family.

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Speaking of family, the other side of the Royal family arrived in Fort Myers earlier this week – the King’s side, including Mom, Grandmom and Auntmom. They’re seasoned vets to the area after visiting each year in late June. We’re still working on helping them become shelling professionals but they’re well on their way.

We were unable to have our traditional Thursday Thunder due to the rainy season rearing its head, so instead we turned Friday Date Night into Friday Thunder. Perhaps we should just start calling it “Thunder”.

Friday took us to Blind Pass, hoping with the low tide we’ d be able to reel in some nice keepers. The water was relatively clear and a very nice 88 degrees. Unfortunately there weren’t any larger shells…

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….but it did turn into a mini hunt as mini shells were in abundance. So we laid out the shell carpet with our scoops and let the buffet commence.

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Lots of teeny-tinies to be had, like Horse Conchs, Fighting Conchs, Drills, Cantharuses, Olives, Nutmegs and Murexes – all in Juvie form. While digging through a pile, the Queen found a nice Marginella.

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We ended the night with a late dinner at one of our frequent Thunder establishments, Cheeburger Cheeburger.

Saturday morning took us to Lover’s Key State Park, our April stop on the Florida Beaches Royalty Tour.

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Only this time, we went inside the park itself and took the free tram to the South beach (where the red dot is). The tram is a godsend, as the sun was beating at 10am and quickly approaching 90 degrees outside.

Our April stop was where the causeway crosses onto Black Island, and there is quite a difference between the two spots. There’s a grill set up there to cook your lunch, a gazebo that is out of the beating sun and a place to sit and eat, public restrooms with a water fountain and a nice concession stand there. A perfect place to spend the day with amenities at your fingertips. Eight bucks a car to park all day.

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We hadn’t been to that section of Lover’s Key in a long time. Or I should say The Queen hadn’t. I’d never set foot there before. We both wondered aloud why we hadn’t visited here more frequently. Well, we’ve only been doing the blog now for about nine months and there are tons of beaches we haven’t seen. Now we have an even bigger list of places to visit!

But what an amazing view.The water was semi-clear and warm.

We set up shop and noticed several shell piles stretching along the entire length of the beach. The ladies grabbed the scoops and I grabbed the snorkel.

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Lots of broken shells coming along the shore due to dredging, where a dredge boat sat a few hundred yards off shore. But, you know what that means. Unearthed keepers soon.

We were pulling in quite a few Olives, both alive and empty along with Fighting Conchs, Nutmegs and plenty of minis.

I had a slight (yeah, right) scare while snorkeling.

As I was skimming along the bottom, I noticed a Fighting Conch resting in the sand. As I got nearer and reached with my hand, I saw two eyes peeking up from the sand. I quickly realized it was an Atlantic Stingray, like this guy:

Atlantic Stingray

Only he wasn’t that small. His eyes were about 8 inches from each other. So he was easily a couple of feet across. I ain’t gonna lie….scared the bejezus outta me. I told my Aunt about it and she came by to collect the Fighting Conch and see if she could catch a glimpse. About that time, he decided to move from his spot and slid right across my feet. If there was any bejezus left, it came out again right then.

🙂

That’s why we do the “Stingray Shuffle” here. Don’t worry if you see one. They’re not aggressive. Just be aware.

Which reminded me that I didn’t include this little story in our last blog:

We were out at Blind Pass on the Captiva side last week and I was snorkeling about 20-25 feet out. While I was out there dodging, dipping, diving, ducking, and dodging, I didn’t notice anything around me. I came up for air, only to see Queenie waving her arms from the shore. I came out of the water and went to find out what the commotion was.

She told me that she saw a large, dark figure near me in the water. At first, she thought it was a shark. But it was a dolphin, who had swam towards me very quickly, got about a foot from me, made a circle and swam a foot from me again…like he was just swimming in a circle around me. I thought it was pretty cool. I remarked that if a shark wanted me, he would have had me as I didn’t feel any water ripples or sense the dolphin. I didn’t even know he was there.

I relayed this story to some fisherman buddies of mine and they told me about dolphins protecting humans from sharks…and that it was a common occurrence. I got goosebumps. One buddy told me that it had to have been a pretty large shark to get a dolphin to come to my rescue and get that close to me.

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  Spooky!

So, again – be on your guard….and I say that to myself as well.

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 Some shells from Blind Pass and Lover’s Key this past weekend.

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I’m sorry for the slight blur in some of these. I didn’t have our good camera handy, so I had to use the iPhone.

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LOOK at the color pattern on that Chestnut Turban. Wow!

We also have a Super Moon tonight, so keep your eyes peeled towards the sky. Some larger than normal tides comin’ our way!

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8 thoughts on “Weekend Shelling

  1. I love that super shiny lettered olive, the nutmegs are gorgeous, as is that smoky black tulip, and that turban is spectacular. Very nice haul.

    As for the stingray, with you snorkeling above him, had you startled him, you know what could have happened—shot to the heart. You are lucky. Cute as they are, they can kill. But you already knew that.

    And, when you mentioned how the dolphin was acting, I immediately thought he was protecting you from a shark. Bull sharks love hanging out where inlets meet the deeper water, waiting for their lunch. And those bull shark down there are HUGE, and yet they can creep around in knee deep water. Check out this short video of a bull shark that is nearly ON the beach. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOg1ubQVBk8

    So glad all is well with the King and his royal court. Have a wonderful day, and thanks again for sharing your stories and pictures with us, who only get down there once every 1 to 10 years. 🙂

    • Glad you enjoy our blog! It is always neat to see the wildlife, but unexpected encounters are a bit scary! Hope all is well with you this fine weekend!

  2. Love your blog…so happy that Diane Guthrie Davis posted it on Facebook. We love to shell hunt too…so many amazing treasures mother ocean tosses up on shore. I do believe that the bejezus would have been completely scared out of me the first time around..hehe. We do the stingray shuffle here too and the crab jump…^_^

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