Friday, October 28, 2011

Don't knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn't start a conversation if it didn't change once in a while. ~Kin Hubbard

Rain, rain go away. I would have gone to the beach  but alas showers today & tomorrow thanks to our final storm of the 2011 hurricane season.   I've been staring out the window most of the day at the rain drizzling down.  Well, I did move to the porch to change my view for a few hours.  I love the rain but sometimes it just makes my brain all mushy.  I just want to sit & listen to the drops pelt the roof & trees.  Even reading is hard for me.  I am fighting the urge to roll-up like a burrito in my softest blankie & veg out in front of the tv. Now I did think of some fun and somewhat productive things to do on a rainy day in SWFL.

(Credit:  Capt. Brian Hollaway)
Organize your shells

Get a spray tan

Make yummy food that looks like sea creatures

Watch old Shark Week shows from Animal Planet on demand.  Do these teeth look  odd to you too?

Work on my Halloween costume

(CREDIT: Jeff Hindman)
After the rain, I can go out & see if anything interesting has washed up on the beach.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Warning! Militant Sheller! Step away from that junonia and nobody gets hurt. - from a popular t-shirt sold on Sanibel Island

My junonia collection (none of which I have found)  They are either gifts or purchased.

No one shell symbolizes Sanibel like the junonia. You'll see images of the junonia plastered on signs, stores, t-shirts, & restaurant menus all over Sanibel Island.  The junonia is the official shell of the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Club. The Island Sun on Sanibel-Captiva will put your picture in the newspaper for finding one. If you are on the outside-looking-in to shell collecting or beach combing,  all the fuss surrounding the junonia might be somewhat baffling to you. In the SWFL shelling world finding a junonia is considered the pinnacle of your shelling quest. With so many amazing & dazzling  shells to find on the beaches of SWFL why the junonia? 

 Loved by the locals because of it's rarity & beauty this valuable & highly-prized "Family Volutidae" is not really native to the island for it is actually a mollusk that lives in depths of 200 ft.  out in the Gulf of Mexico.  In their natural habitat the junonia are not that rare.  Shrimpers whose nets skim the bottom bring them up quite regularly.  They find their way in to the shell shops where they are sold to weary shellers such as myself who are tired of looking & waiting to find one year after year after year.  Since these deep-water shells live about a mile offshore it takes a good storm to blow them to the beach where some fortunate person can find it. But good things come to those who wait.

WAY TO GO!! SHELL SISTAH!! Pam from iLove Shelling found her first junonia!! 

Pam got up before sunrise to do some post-storm shelling on Friday morning.  It pays to be first on the beach.  After many years of finding only junonia fragments & watching her hubby find one junonia after the other she has finally snagged one of her own.  And it is perfect.  No chips or breaks.  Yay Team iLove Shelling!
Pam is on a roll.  She went to the north end of Captiva on Saturday and found her first complete, intact, huge lion's paw.  Pam found her junonia on Friday, a lion's paw on Saturday, & the iLove Shelling facebook page just reached 2,000 followers.

(left) Jody from Englewood, Fl   (middle) Ranger Betty from Stump Pass State Park    and Me

Friday, October 21, 2011

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt. - Mark Twain

The Gulf of Mexico was rocking & rolling after the tropical low blew through on Tuesday morning.  Serious beachcombers know this is prime time for us to find shells & shark's teeth from deeper waters that get tossed up from the strong surf.

The waves were just pounding the beach.  The sand dunes were holding their own.  

The waves have washed most of the debris & dead fish left by the recent red tide back out to sea. 

As I walked farther north up the beach my throat started to get that hacky-red tide cough.  There were still  fish scattered about.

Time to turn around because I am coughing & my tongue is tingling from some lingering red tide in the air.

Another reason to walk a little faster - I'm glad my girl scout training prompts me to always carry a poncho in my pack.

We are all in denial.  No sun, red tide, 6-8 foot waves, & a rainstorm blowing in...... but yet we stay on the beach.

I'm just saying.......

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow. Gilbert K. Chesterton

The elements are conspiring to keep me off the beach.  I arrived home from the Poconos chomping at the bit to get some sand between my toes.  Due to an outbreak of red tide on Manasota Key it is wise to stay away from the beach.  Breathing the toxic air surrounding an algae bloom & the resulting dead fish washed up on the shoreline can result in non-stop coughing, watering eyes, & lingering effects for those who have compromised breathing issues.

 Today we have a tropical low just sitting off the SWFL coast.  We are enjoying the much needed rain.  Hopefully, It takes care of the red tide and pushes it way off shore. For those folks who make their livings on the Gulf of Mexico it means a few days of down time. TEB's favorite shell guide Capt. Brian took the rainy days to organize his back porch.  I too have been cleaning & organizing some closets. (although the shells on Capt. Brian's back porch look like way more fun than my old clothes) Once this rain & red tide are past us there are some awesome, I mean awesome negative low tides on the calender for the end of November & December.

This is what the tide charts look like from the Tide Graph V2.4 app when it is installed on your smart phone. The tides in red text are minus lows.

Give it a try.  The widget is interactive.

The Tide Graph V2.4 is a great way to track the tides any where in the continental US.  This app for your smart phone is really awesome for tracking the tides. Drag the circle over to see the tide change hourly. Click the map box to change locations. If you install the app on your smart phone you can  click on tables to see an entire month. Notice on the monthly tides the minus low tides are in red.  Isn't that better than playing Angry Birds!  The tropical lows wash in some amazing shells once the rain stops.  That first low tide after the Gulf of Mexico stops churning can be a bonanza.  Planning a shelling excursion can be all that much better by learning how to time the tides.

PS - Check out the new addition to the right sidebar that says "Mote Marine".  You can check the conditions of almost any beach on SWFL.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"One of the best temporary cures for pride and affectation is seasickness; a man who wants to vomit never puts on airs." Josh Billings, 1818 - 1885

It is a well known fact in my family that I have some motion sickness issues.  My childhood is littered with embarrassing  moments of public nausea & the ensuing loosing of my lunch in the backseats of cars, bows of boats, & rides at the county fair.  I never had to "call Shotgun" to win the front passenger seat of the family car.  It was a given that I sat up front unless you wanted to take the chance of being barfed on. My mom has tried all the usually home remedies of ginger ale & Dramamine to no avail. The problem solved itself when I got my driver's license and became the automatic driver for all errands & trips.  

From the moment I started dating the hubbs over 30 years ago I have been the driver. I thought he liked having a chauffeur.  But I found out that my hubby has been spreading some nasty rumours over the years that I actually am just faking and  just want control of the wheel.  He thinks my nausea, vertigo, & grey pallor are just a front for my lack of trust in his driving & directional abilities. Control freak is not on my list of terms of endearment.  Our recent trip to the mountains of Pennsylvania was going to be our motion sickness smack down.  I knew Dramamine was out.  That stuff makes me just as queasy as being carsick.  A friend who is a frequent cruise ship vacationer told me about these bands that accessed a pressure point in your wrists that supposedly kept the motion sickness at bay. Walgreen's carried the Sea-Bands & also a ginger gum for nausea.  I purchased both.
I like the drug-free options if at all possible.  The gum  provided instant relief.  The bands - not so much.

The wristbands are supposed to work by accupressure at the P6 pressure point.  The gum was more effective for me.

 The morning of our flight I donned my stylish blue terry-cloth wristbands and placed the ginger gum within easy reach in my carry-on luggage. As the plane lifted off & my stomach returned from the ceiling of the cabin, the first wave of cold sweat & nausea swept over me.  I pushed on the pressure points of the Sea-bands like the instructions said to do & waited.  Sitting with my eyes closed I was mentally making the choice of the airsick bag or ginger gum. I fumbled a piece of gum from the wrapper and popped it in my mouth. Immediately, seriously, immediately the nausea got better.  The gum contains 25 mgs of pure ginger oil so it is quite strong but the taste is very pleasant. "Yay! Another public cookie tossing avoided" I thought gratefully. Score one for me & this awesome gum.

The next test was a trip down the smaller winding moutain roads to go sight-seeing.  I got overly confident with my Sea-bands & gum and sat in the back seat.  After succumbing to the vertigo I finally surrendered and lay my head in the hubb's lap until we reached our desination. I slowly recovered by walking it off in the parking lot.  On the return ride home the front seat passenger offered to trade seats. I was hoping there was no toxic level on the amount of ginger oil one can consume in a day but I just kept chewing away and I was fine.  The bands might make good ponytail holders in a pinch.  But the vindication was sweet.  As I lay with my sweaty, spinning head on my hubb's lap I heard him say through my nauseated haze, "Honey, I feel so bad. You really do get sick. You were right." I perked up my ears, "What was that last thing you said?" My ears were still slightly stopped up from the plane but I think I heard him say I was right. Validation & ginger is good.
Sitting facing forwards is crucial for anyone prone to motion sickness, and the front of the car is a great deal better than the back. However, if it is necessary to sit in the back, then sit in the middle seat where you'll have a view forwards through the windshield, rather than sideways through the windows. In addition to watching the road, it can help to fix your eyes on the horizon, or a distant point & chew lots of ginger gum.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mobile Blogging PA - Day #7.  Our Poconos leg of the hubby's Bucket Tour is  coming to a close. If you haven't spent time with family lately put it on your list - it's good for what ails ya! Although I mainly focused in on the breath-taking foliage, I don't want you to think I went totally shell-less. My nephew had this pretty horse conch on a shelf in a spare bedroom. The giga clam had been in his garden & was being stored in the garage during a recent move. Yes, it's real & it's spectacular.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mobile Blogging PA - Day #6. At the suggestion of my bil I made my way down to the water to snap some pics of the trees in the earlier part of the morning while the lake was smooth as glass.  The 1st picture was taken in the afternoon with some wind blowing on the lake. Pictures #2 & 3 were snapped about 8am with no wind blowing. The reflections of the trees are just stunning.  Another perfect fall day in the Poconos. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mobile Blogging PA - day #5.  The roads in the Poconos are filling up with cars full of flatlanders driving through the mountains to gaze upon the changing of the leaves. The breakfast server at Chat N Chew is eagerly anticipating the onslaught because the recent floods have put an economic scramble (even more so) on this part of PA.  I took a row onto the little pond to keep my sea legs from atrophying. The reflections on the water were stunning today. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mobile Blogging - Day #3.  A true beachcomber can even find a beach in the Poconos.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mobile Blogging - Days 1 & 2.  We are nestled away in the Poconos Mountains enjoying the views from the our family's house that overlooks the woods & a lake. I've already seen 3 deer & have received instructions in case I have a bear encounter. I come from the "scream like a girl & run like h-e-double toothpicks" school of thought. It's a nippy 40 degrees so I won't be going to far into the woods.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. ~George Eliot

(Credit: Flickr user Nicholas T.)

The Essential Beachcomber is taking the show on the road for the last leg of Hubby's Bucket Tour.  Get ready for some mobile blogging as we head to Pennsylvania to visit family.  This Florida girl is going to get a first-hand look at the spectacular fall foliage in the Poconos, maybe pick some apples, but mostly just chill-out with  loved ones. I've packed all my cooler weather clothes that don't look too beachy. Layering will be key for me.  I have some cold weather shoes but I am taking my flip-flops - no negotiating with that one. Hey..... I wonder.....