Monday, September 26, 2011

If It Was Easy, They'd Call the Whole Darn Thing A Honeymoon - title of Jenna McCarthy's new marriage book

The park is located at the extreme western end of Curlew Road in Dunedin, Florida.

It is very helpful to bring a Honeymoon old-timer like Cousin Joannie along to show you what the agatized coral looks like.

The sister from Tennessee is in town. All year long she waits out the frost, ice, & snow by vicariously beach combing, shelling, & picking-up shark's teeth on my FB page & blog (interspersed with some Farmville & Zenga Poker).  Once a year she migrates south for a few weeks via a cheap Allegiant Airline flight that goes non-stop from Knoxville to sunny Punta Gorda, Florida. She usually steps off the plane legs shaved & adorned in tropical attire ready to head for the closest beach. I can't let my little sister down.  We have been to the beach every day since she has been here (& sometimes twice a day)

 This visit we have shelled Stump Pass, Blind Pass Beach, Manasota Key, Casey Key, Caspersen Beach, Venice Beach, Nokomis Jetty & a big rock pile that wasn't even on the beach.  We have shelled in sunshine with crystal clear water, in the rain, & at night with little flashlights (sorry turtle patrol peeps).  When I asked Tennessee Sister (TS for short) where else she wanted to go it was decided we would travel up to our old stomping grounds of Honeymoon Island in Dunedin, Florida.  Like a Florida Cracker version of Tom Sawyer, we grew up swimming & shelling our childhoods away on Honeymoon Island.  It was paradise then & even today it is still a great place to go shelling.

After making the rounds around town to family & friends TS & I made our way to our beloved Honeymoon Island.  The park closes at sunset so we had about 3 1/2 hours to do some damage. We had picked up cousin Joannie to join us.  Joannie kept telling me to slow down on the causeway or the trip would be more expensive than the $8.00 to get into the state park.  I was so excited to get there I didn't realize I was speeding so I slowed down and we arrived safe, sound, & ticket-free. It had stormed all day & was low tide, unfortunately the wind had been blowing East which doesn't help the shelling at all.  It blows the shells out to sea instead of to shore.  We still managed to score lots of turbans, a huge moon snail, & a fair amount of agatized coral.

Honeymoon Island is like any marriage - you have to take the good with the bad.  The main beach just up the beach is smooth & sandy. The rocks were used back in the 1960's to help with the errosion problem.  The rocks are also where the best shells & agatized coral are found.  Bring an old pair of sneakers to protect your feet.  Clearwater Beach is looking south at the top right-hand of the picture.

The best place to park is the most northern parking lot.  Once on the beach head north towards to mangrove clumps.  You can walk the  2 miles to the pass at the end.  

Joannie is an expert at looking through the rocks.  

She found this moon snail up against a rock.  It measures about 5 inches across.

Once past the big black rocks you end up on the big white limestone rocks.

Joannie leaves no stone unturned.

TS taking a break on the swing.  It's a wonderful place to watch the sunset from.

The beach erosion is an ongoing battle.  The park is re-doing this area where the old bathrooms used to be. This is also the best place to concentrate your shelling efforts.

The parking lot has faced one storm too many.

This is a pile of potential agatized coral rocks gathered by a beach goer.  If you think carrying a shell bucket is heavy - go collect some agatized coral.  These folks will carry the rocks home where they bust them up with a mason's hammer to reveal the crystals & geodes inside.

Cousin Joannie & a sweet local lady who shells Honeymoon Island frequently.  They both found gigantic moon snails.

Later in Cousin Joannie's garage she shows us how she answer's the age old question put to every beachcomber - "What do you do with all those shells?"

Joannie calls them "Honeymoon Island Starter Kits".  She gives them away to friends & family.

Honeymoon Island can always be counted on for lots of turban shells.  Here's my treasures all cleaned up.

Nice piece of agatized coral.  It is the Florida State Rock.  It's very popular with the rock hounds.

Joannie called this piece "Unicorn Poop".

Another glamorous day on the beach digging through the rocks & walking in the rain. TS (in the middle) has a few days left to shell but how she's getting all her shells home is another story.


  1. That is the biggest sharks eye I have ever seen! Great find. Next year we will have to get your sister down here to Cayo Costa for the day. Tell Joannie I said, "Hi" and nice find.

  2. Oh this looks like so much fun!!! I love shelling and was sad to find no shells on the beaches I visited here this week. Oh well, I'm heading to Florida for sure once I get some $$ saved up.

  3. That is some treacherous terrain, but looks like it was well worth it! The best part is sharing the experience with friends! Thanks for sharing it with us, too!

  4. OMG You are right! If you go all the way to the north's no honeymoon on the way back any more. LOL Too funny, girl. But it is still worth it (that why it's called marriage I guess instead of the honeymoon) to go. Yall were smart to just scour the south end in those rocks. Those moonies are to die for!

  5. I had such a blast!! and ohh my... it was just so awsome to see my girlz! please come back soon and we can try again,in november the cones come "rollin in".

  6. OMG- that is the biggest Sharks Eye I've ever seen too. What a beauty. Looks like it was a very fun day!

  7. Gotta have your fun where you can find it! Some of that terrain looks rough...and the coral agitated into agates?

  8. We are here visiting from TN and found your gem of a blog! Thanks for the info, Honeymoon Island here we come.

  9. Oh Em Gee! I'm so glad you had a great time at HM. Dunedin is my hometown so I am very found of that beach. As you can see my blog is inactive. I am a caregiver for family so I don't have the free time I used to have. It warms my heart to know that you found me & still enjoyed the archives. Wishing you all the best in 2015. The Lord bless & keep you, Karen


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