Boating with Beggar

While in Sarasota, we went boating with our good friends Bob and Catherine, on the Bay.  Our destination was Midnight Pass (which is closed) to anchor, eat lunch and swim on the beach.  We also know that Megalodon teeth have been found in that area so we thought we’d try to find some.  Catherine had witnesses a young girl pull one out of her scoop of sand one day and there are countless other stories of large shark teeth found in the area.  We had no luck with the teeth but had a gorgeous, sunny day and lots of fun. 

We passed the Pass and headed further south to around south Casey Key to visit Beggar the bottlenose dolphin known to that area.  I’ve heard lots of stories about Beggar and this was our opportunity to see him first hand.  But, before he surfaced, a manatee passed us by.  How cool.  Beggar came around and visited our boat several times as well as others in the area.  

Beggar visits our boat

Beggar was so sweet but didn’t seem too happy that we didn’t have food for him.  He hung around, swam to another boat and came back for a second hello. 

Beggar

To get his attention you can bang your hand on the side of your boat then when you see him, raise your arm in the air.  He’ll poke his head out of the water to say hi and hopefully get a snack, but you’re not supposed to feed him. 

Midnight Pass

We anchored at Midnight Pass, ate lunch on the boat and got out to explore.  Gary got in the water; so did Bob and Travis.  Austin, Catherine and I hunted for sea shells. 

Casey Key

I had blogged a while ago about how I wanted to walk to Casey Key from Siesta Key.  I wanted to go over the sand at Midnight Pass and go straight south.  Several times the boys and I would start out at Turtle Beach and walk and walk.  We always got to the part of the beach where there were no buildings.  There was usually a ton of shells in heaps, so, being the shell addicts that we are (or rather that I am) we always stopped, picked through them and then walked back to the car with our loot.  As I stood on this beach looking north and south, I realized that we were south of where the shell heap was, and that I had fulfilled my goal of walking over Midnight Pass and onto Casey Key.  Only one time had I walked past the shell heap to where the first house stood.  That is Casey Key.  I just didn’t know it at the time.  There is no sign telling you where you are. 

My boys and I on Midnight Pass. Gary was swimming.

Advertisements

A Walk on the Beach

A couple times I have tried walking from Turtle Beach to Casey Key.  Each time I have good intentions of getting there and getting the exercise I need walking through that soft sand.  Each time I just can’t wait to see what it looks like along the way.  And each time I look forward to saying, “I did it!”

That was the plan today.  Siesta Key beach was flying a double red flag so we decided it wasn’t a good idea to try to swim or float.  So, we packed the four of us in the Windstar with a bag of towels and headed to Turtle Beach.  The parking lot was not even half full of cars.  We got a spot easily.  Just for the sake of it I brought along 2 buckets and, of course, my little bag I carry my keys, drivers license and phone in.  It’s big enough that I can fit a few shells in it if I need to.

We headed south.  The surf was not as angry as it had been all week but you could still tell there had been a storm.  We passed the condos and a few houses.  A shell here, a shell there…they we’re hugh, though.  Some of the largest cockles you may have ever seen, but they were also broken.  We saw a storm damaged home (the pink house, we call it).  Looks like the sea just burst through the dune separating it from the house.  I quickly spotted the mound of shells. 

A shell fanatic’s dream come true.  Mounds and mounds of shells washing up and down with the tide.  More than I had seen in Sanibel.  More than I had seen the other time I tried walking from Turtle Beach to Casey Key.  We couldn’t resist but to stop and start picking.  Good thing I brought the buckets!  Olives, welks, fighting conchs, an apple murex or two.  There were a ton of clams, scallops and of course the largest cockles you’ve ever seen, unbroken.  We filled our buckets, my little bag, pockets and then the boys tucked some in the front of their shirts to carry. 

As you figured we never made it to Casey Key.  We couldn’t go any farther south…the buckets were too heavy, so our only option was to go home.  Casey Key will have to wait for another day…again.

Turtle Beach shark teeth

I checked it out about the shark teeth.  Apparently they are found on Turtle Beach, on the south end of Siesta Key.  But not on the fine, white beaches.  I’ve been there several times and never found a tooth.  Now, across the pass and a little further down on Casey Key I’ve found tons, just by setting down in my beach chair and looking around.  I suppose that man I met today on Siesta with the shark teeth was just lucky.  But I’ll keep hunting for them.

Turtle Beach walk

 

I have to tell you about yesterday…the boys and I went to Turtle Beach, here on Siesta Key, with plans to walk south to Midnight Pass.  My neighbor told me he rides his bike to Turtle Beach, walks the bike to Midnight Pass (because the sand is too soft to ride on) and then rides along the Casey Key beach.  So we thought lets try it, sans bikes.

We never made it.  The shells along the beach were too distracting.  Thank goodness I brought a little bag for “some” shells.  We ended up filling it with mostly crown conchs, and some welks and clam shells.  It took us 1 hour to go the distance of about a 10 minute walk, so when it got hot and the shell bag got heavy we turned around and went home.

The waves were incredible.  Could they have been rough from Hurricane Dolly?

When we got home, just for fun we weighed the bag on the bathroom scale.  7 lbs!  No wonder my arms and shoulders hurt for a while.  But I’m fine now.

After lunch we went to Shell Beach.  There is a small camper we see almost every day we pass by that is just parked there.  Well it was there again and we parked next to it.  The man, a grey-bearded old guy, had a mostly red parrot sitting on his side mirror.  It was the size of my forearm.  The boys watched the bird while I hunted shells. I found nothing of note until I turned to go toward the car and my younger son, Travy, pointed out some pen shells I was about to step on.  Good thing I stopped.  I was able to scoop up 5 of them, unbroken.  They are huge.  I’m soaking them right now to clean off the barnacles and limpets.  The biggest is 8 1/2 inches x 5 inches.