Trip to Sanibel and Tropical Storm Fay

We took a long weekend trip south to Naples, Sanibel, Captiva and San Marcos.  Tropical Storm Fay had left its mark on the area in terms of flooded fields and parking lots but everything else looked ok to us.  We were just happy to be traveling around for a change.  Fay did try to ruin our time causing bands of rain and some thunderstorms but she didn’t win.  We had a great time!

Our first stop, after checking in at the Lemon Tree Inn near the historic downtown section of Naples, was the beach at the end of 5th Street S.  The waves were fierce, ending in a froth along the shoreline.  The wind was actually carrying some of the foam up the beach.  Some foam smashed into my younger son’s leg which totally grossed him out.  Seaweed, foam and some small shells littered the beach.  We decided after 15 minutes to explore elsewhere so we headed to San Marco.  We drove around looking at the town and decided to stop at the public beach.  We paid our $6 entry fee and it starting pouring.  There was another park we could visit on the same $6 so we drove there.  We drove through the rain to the spot with the blue sky above.  No foam, no seaweed this time…just shells.  We collected a full beach bucket before deciding to head back to the car.

Saturday we drove to Sanibel for some shelling at low tide.  Oh, I was in heaven!  This is what I remember post-hurricane beaches to look like.  I figured out that you found more if you dug a little.  There were top snails, ceriths, fighting conch and hawk-wing conch, shark eyes, tritons, nutmegs and tulip snails, spindle shells and welks, murex, lettered olives and Florida cones.  We found mossy arks and turkey wings, mussels galore. Scallops, jingle shells and really large cockle shells.  We filled the bucket several times.  And that was just Sanibel. 

We had lunch on Captiva, a quick swim and then headed back to stop at the shops.  The one shell I’ve been dying to find is the purple snail shell. I heard that is not just hard to find, but most likely to be found along the lower Florida Keys.  I don’t know when we’ll get there so when I found one in a shell shop, I bought it.  Is that cheating?  Well, if it is that’s ok…I’ve got one now.

Our last stop was the Sanibel Lighthouse.  Of course we hit the beach.  It was so full of oysters it stunk, but the wind was so strong it didn’t matter.  We collected some beautiful pen shells, and an unbroken Atlantic figsnail.

Before leaving on Sunday we made one last stop to the end of 5th Street S for a walk to the pier.  I added to my collection a handful of painted egg cockles and the flat valve of a orange round-rib scallop shell. 

Someone I met while shelling on Sanibel told me she hadn’t seen this many shells in a long time.  She lives in Naples and beachcombs often, so I rest my case about great shelling after a tropical storm or hurricane.  I am, in no way, in a hurry for another storm, but I do enjoy the abundance of shells such storms provide.  Thanks Fay.

More on Tropical Storm Fay

When the boys were little we lived in Myrtle Beach.  We evacuated several times over the years for their safety.  One time, and cannot remember the name of the storm, we stayed.  We simply boarded the windows, put everything in the garage and hung out.   We had power the whole time as it was a minimal category one storm and all of our power lines were under ground.  We spread out sleeping bags, ate pizza, watched cartoons.  We fell asleep with flashlights on.  The boys had fun.

Now they’re older, and this storm is making them nervous.  The Sarasota County schools are closed tomorrow to be used as shelters and so the neighbor kids told them they will have the day off from school.  Then they told my boys that they might have to stay in a hotel “if things get bad” because they have a bearded dragon for a pet and can’t take it to the shelter.  So now, not only are my boys bummed that they still have school tomorrow (since I homeschool them) but they’re super worried that “things will get bad”.  Its no use watching the Weather Channel talk endlessly about where Fay might make landfall.  It looks big and menacing on the radar.  They’ll just have to learn to deal with storms.  After all, we spent four years in NW Mississippi, and a half year in TX and endured countless trips to the closet as tornadoes skirted by.  We even traced the path of a tornado in our town to see what kind of damage it caused.  While it left it’s impact on my boys, watching and waiting is proving tough for them.

So what has happened so far?  We had a few minutes of rain twice since noon today.  Oh, and the sunset (what we saw from our house) was beautiful.  The whole sky was a light cobalt and pinkish-orange reflecting on the high cirrus clouds scattered about.  Directly above the sunset the cloud was pure yellow.  Too bad it didn’t translate well on film.

Everything is stored and secure and we’ll just wait until Fay passes.  I can hear my wind chimes out back so the wind has picked up.  I can’t wait to go beach combing on Wednesday.  Maybe we’ll take that day off from school…just kidding.

Tropical Storm Fay

I can’t wait until Fay has passed.  I’m going to bet the beachcombing will be unbelievable.  There are several shells I haven’t found yet, one being the purple snail, and I’m hoping they’ll be on my beach this week. 

We’ve had red flags and rip currents all week so my husband, Gary,  hasn’t been able to go to the beach.  I’d go just for a walk, but he likes his “hydro” so we’ve found other things to do.  We finally went today…green flag.  While he and boys swam, I combed the beach.  Here’s what I found: lots of beautiful, small shells, strange bones (again, which I’ll write about separately), coral pieces, fairly large pieces of drift wood, green sea glass and a penny.  I’m not able to download the pictures right now so check back later to see them.

The waves were super calm this morning.  Later, we went back.  While the tide was far out the waves were a bit choppy.  Gary took off to swim, I walked down the beach.  There is a sand bar you can walk  to just north of the public beach area.  You can also access it from the south of the public beach as it was pretty much an extension of the beach at that point.  Well, today, the sands have shifted.  I walked toward the south from beach access 5 and found myself on the sand bar.  I didn’t see anything where it usually is. 

My family and I like to go to the sandbar at low tide.  The sand dollars are plentiful there.  We must have 300-400 of them.  As I walked along today I found a few but they were live sand dollars.  I left them there.  They’re so beautiful, green, sometimes with a purple hue, and rough to the touch.