Monday, October 11, 2010

Would you smell this for me?

This was the -.01 low tide on Englewood Beach today about 10am
EEWWWW! What. Is. That. Smell? That is the most common reaction to low tide.  Your average beach-goer probably could care less if the tide is in or out when they head to the beach.  Most folks just want to know is it going to rain? (Hello - It's Florida.  It probably will)

 I have always loved low tide. I even love the smell. (Just so we are on the same page - I am talking about low tide not red tide.)  To me that first whiff of salty, muddy, sea-weedy air brings back memories of going cast-netting with my Dad & brothers on Dunedin Causeway. Low tide smells like my PawPaw who was a bridge tender on Clearwater Pass in the 60's & 70's.
 Whenever I would return home from a road trip, I knew I was getting close as that salty smell blew through the car as I would cross over Tampa bay on the causeway. 
My Grandpa was the bridge tender on the  old Sand Key Bridge on Clearwater Beach.  

Some women read gardening  or fashion magazines - I read tide charts.  It's the first thing I look at when I read the paper.  I even have a tide chart app on my iPod.  Couple that low tide with a full or new moon and BAM! Emeril! - we just took it up a notch. 

What a sheller lives for are those -minus tides. Today was a -.01 which is good but I hit a -.05 back in August that was a shelling bonanza.  It was a new moon also and an entire little cove was uncovered for my nieces and I to pick through.
Tide so low Casey could walk across the inlet but watch out for Rays.  She stepped on 2 that day but thankfully no stings.

This is a -.05 low tide with a new moon - only about 12 lows a year like this.
Everyone has their shelling strategies.  For me, I like an early morning low tide. I like to get out there early before the crowds show up. In a couple of weeks I'm heading to Sanibel for a night shelling trip.  There are a few really low tides at 4am & 5am. You are probably thinking "That's crazy talk, it's going to be dark".  I know! that's why I have a head lamp, LED Q-Beam, & a tri-pod LED flashlight. (I hope you are smiling) Hey, some people base jump, other people drive fast cars - My bff Shellbelle & I go extreme shelling. So, the next time you get a whiff of low tide let it lead you to some awesome beach combing.

                                                          JAR UPDATE
My jar is almost 1/2 full
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