Octopus on Siesta Key beach

Last time I wrote I told of my experience with the 2″ octopus.  It’s still doing fine in its dead state in a jar in my refrigerator.  My son wants to use it as a prop for an expository speech he has to make in his speech class.  I guess it’ll be another day or two before we dissect it.

The day after I found our little dead friend, my husband was floating along the shore, around access 4 to the beach.  He felt his foot hit something along the bottom and reached down to scoop it up.  It was a large pen shell shut tightly.  The pen shell was just short of a foot long.  He decided to check out the critter inside and when he opened it, there he found a 4″-5″ octopus.  My husband said on the one hand it was really cool to see but on the other it creeped him. 

Our earth is covered in water and filled with all kinds of God’s creatures, which is really exciting.  There’s so much to explore, discover and learn.  But how often does it really cross our minds, when we are having fun at the beach, that these creatures are out there with us; that we’re swimming with them, in their pool?  We have rays, sharks, fish of all kinds, manatees, whales, plankton, all types of gastropods and bivalves swimming and floating around us when we’re jumping waves, or just floating.  Outside the occasional shark bite you may read about from somewhere in this great world, its amazing that we (humans and water creatures) can get along.

I am so glad we have been given this opportunity to see nature that most people just read about.

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Gustav changed our beach

If heavy waves crash on your shore it’s bound to change the appearance.  Such is with Gustav and Siesta Key.  No, it’s not dramatic but you could sure tell something came through.  First, what was once called Sunset Beach and then Dog Beach and now something else had some more of the road washed away.  I recently heard that the Gulf side of the street that is now beach used to be a neighborhood but was wiped out in a storm.  The person relaying the story couldn’t remember which one.  Apparently the “lots” are still owned and the owners are just waiting for something to happen.  Don’t know what but that’s the short version of the story. 

Ok, going down the beach, the surf had come over the first set of dunes.  Then down by access #5 we now have a shallow lagoon where the surf got stuck.  Hopefully it’ll dry up in a few days but the beach is flat as can be out to shore now.  Farther down you can see where the surf came up fairly high along the vegetation.  This is where the snowy plover nests had been roped off earlier this summer.  Then, there’s no longer a ridge from the surf to the lagoon.  It’s flat and the lagoon now has a drain to the Gulf.  And so on down the beach.  I stopped at access 10 and returned north. 

So, what did I find beach combing?  A couple pieces of broken glass, lots of broken sand dollars, some bottle caps, lots of jelly fish, welk operculums, a sea urchin and a baby octopus (dead).  That was the coolest of the finds.  I determined it was dead because it was found quite a distance from the surf line, it was covered in sand and not moving even when placed in water.   I thought it would be an awesome treat to bring home, show the boys, observe it under the microscope and then dissect it.  They were amazed.  It’s soaking in water until we get our science kit out.

As of this writing the levees in NOLA have held.  I’m so thankful.  Hurricanes can be scarey, cause unbelievable stress when your hometown is in the way and make for hardships for the people evacuating.  I remember we had spent a lot of unbudgeted money one year having evacuated Myrtle Beach…gas, hotel, meals out and necessary items you forget to pack.  During Hurricane Floyd we couldn’t get back for almost a week because of flooding from the Waccamaw River.  We were lucky to be able to spend time with friends in Asheville NC (thanks Suz and Jerry) which helped ease the strain but not many people have that kind of luxury.  If there’s no room at the shelters, you’re shelling out cash for hotels.  And sometimes you can’t get a hotel nearby so you have to keep driving. 

I pray for all the people who had to leave their homes and wish them a safe return. 

Meanwhile, our beach will always be changing as long as waves are crashing.