Sunday, August 24, 2008

Walk #17

After checking the weather and seeing that a thunder storm was headed our way; we decided to get started a little early, with hope we could get through before it got here. Not being all that sure, I put an umbrella in my back pack.

Evidently the weather wasn’t keeping everyone away. A couple with several small children walked past, carrying a flashlight and heading for the beach.

Walking out the boardwalk, all I could see was huge white clouds just west of us. I’m sure there were probably more, but those were the only ones close and low enough to see. I took a picture, but it was still dark enough that you can barely see the white cloud with some palms in front of it. You may have to use your imagination a little bit.

The waves had been big yesterday, but today wasn’t as bad. It was still very windy. As I looked up and down the beach, I could see some dark things by the water. Walking on to get a closer look, we found they were crab traps. By the time we reached the light house, I had counted over one dozen of them. The rough water had brought them on shore.

There was a lot of seaweed washed up along with some pen shells, and some other ordinary shells. Most everything had barnacles all over it or was broken. (Please keep in mind; I am only referring to the shelling conditions on the section of beach where I was.)

The tide had been really high, but had started going back out. There were several people out looking for shells. I imagine they anticipated finding good shelling this morning, after the big waves yesterday. But that really wasn’t the case. All I saw was a lot of yuck and it smelled bad, not something I would want to dig through. I did spot one angel wing that was not broken, but it had lots of barnacles on it, so I threw it down again.

There was foam left on the sand, from the waves, in several places.

Someone had left two nice beach chairs out. It’s surprising that they hadn’t washed away. We carried them up to a walkway that led to some condos, thinking they probably came from there.

There was a lot of trash that had been left in a pile, but it had blown all over the place. Left over scraps of food that was covered with ants and 2 pampers neatly rolled up. UGH! Parts of that mess had blown up into the dunes. By the time we finished picking all that up, we already had a large trash bag full and had to go throw it in the dumpster at the parking area.

A little further up the beach, we found a cute sea turtle and a sea horse.

There were a lot of shore birds this morning; I guess the smell must have attracted them.

Right about here, a lady stopped me and asked if I could tell her where you go to find the good shells. I told her about the bad weather we had, the rough seas for the last couple of days, and that was the reason for all the mess on the beach. I had also read that someone said they had been finding shells in an area between middle and west gulf, so they might want to try there. But, unfortunately they had just arrived last night and didn’t know their way around because this was their first trip to Sanibel. Then I told her not to get discouraged because later today or tomorrow the shells could start rolling in, you just never know.

I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be here on vacation and not able to find good shelling. When you see advertising connected to Sanibel Island, you always see photos of shell covered beaches, not the way it looks when there are only a few or none. This island is known as the shelling capital of the world, so people come here expecting to see mounds of shells on the beach; sadly Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate.

A little close up of what Mother Nature had to offer this morning.

This appeared to be a clothes basket with a rope handle tied onto it. It had probably been used for bait; at least it smelled like it. Yuck!

It’s nice to see that people appreciate a neat, clean picnic area. With a dumpster within 20 yards, they bagged their trash and left it sitting there. Go figure....

I saw a few paper fig shells, but they all had broken places on them.

I’m not sure who this guy was, but he was out swimming. The fellow you see in the background was using a cast net and the birds were all flocking around him. He was swinging his arms at them, trying to scare them away, but they kept going right back again. I think he finally gave up, because after we had gone around the pier; he threw his net up on the boardwalk.

The sun was finally coming up! But, in the other direction there were clouds lurking and you could hear thunder.

Birds were looking around, trying to find something edible on the beach. There were a couple of dead fish mixed in there, but they didn’t seem interested in those.

Pelicans were bobbing up and down with the waves; having a relaxing Sunday morning.

The wind and waves brought some things ashore that someone might miss. Like, how will they know where the ‘swim area’ is?

The water was up higher than it had been on any of our other walks. So, we would have to watch for a place to go around soon.

As I looked at pelicans, hanging out on a pier; I noticed the water was a reddish brown color, which is usually associated with Red Tide, but I don’t think that is the reason for it here. I say that because anytime there is Red Tide anywhere near, I start coughing because it really bothers me a lot. I had no problem with that today, so I am guessing that it just has something to do with the rain and rough water we have had.

At this point we had to walk over to a different street because there wasn’t any room to walk the last bit of our zone. At the end of the street, I stopped to take a picture of a huge, agave. There are many of these on the island and some of them are even bigger. I guess after living in a colder climate all my life, I notice these more than some people would. I think they are beautiful.

We made our walk without getting rained on. Many times, it seems as though the clouds spread apart and go around the island. It is very strange.

Until next week.....

Did you know?

Hatchlings often eat sponges, jellyfishes, sargassum weed, small gastropods and crustaceans. Juveniles, sub-adults and adults feed upon conch, clams, horseshoe crab, as well as other crustaceans. They have powerful jaws that enable them to easily crush the hard shells of their prey. During migration through the open sea, loggerheads eat jellyfishes, pteropods, floating molluscs, floating egg clusters, squids and flying fishes. It commonly noses around coral reefs, rocky places and old boat wrecks for food.


ChrisC and JonJ said...

That's a lot of yard art you found.I could've done something with some of that stuff.
It's amazing what I have learned re:turtles by reading your blog.

gpc said...

I love the idea of walking the beach to clean it, just as much as I hate the carelessness that leaves all that trash. I'm so glad you're doing this, besides being good for the environment, it makes me feel a little closer to the island!

Tink *~*~* said...

I guess I got all the whole paper figs yesterday. That smell is probably all the sea squirts decaying under the sand and other debris. I had never seen so many sea squirts in one place as I did yesterday on this very beach!

Tink *~*~*

MariBy said...

You write awesome reports about your turtle walks Tootie.

Loved the first couple of pics...that made me lol. :D

Neptunesmuse said...

Hi Tootie,
Walking south of Algiers Beach going towards Sundial, there was a huge dead sea turtle - it had numbers and letters painted in red on its shell. Does SCCF and the turtle watchers mark dead turtles or could the paint have caused the turtle's death?
PS: Lots of cones,olives and paper figs today in this area.

Tootie said...

Hi Neptunesmuse,I hadn't heard about the turtle yet. I was told that numbers would be painted on a dead turtle by SCCF if it had already been reported. I believe they, then report it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They come out to look at it and may take it for a necropsy. Records are kept of all sea turtle strandings.

Thanks for dropping by. Hope you have even better luck shelling tomorrow.