Thursday, September 1, 2011

Mobile Blogging - Days 11 & 12 Back Home

I wonder if there is any $$$ in this storm-chasing-thing because I am getting pretty good at it....& I'm not even trying. The first stop on the Hubb's bucket tour was family in Satellite Beach, FL. Like any smart Floridian I keep an eye on any tropical depression that forms in the Caribbean but I don't really pay too much mind unless it becomes a named storm.  Even then, hurricanes are like a basketball game; it's all back & forth, back & forth until the last minute of the game.  That's why when I do watch a game (trust me, the last minute of a basketball game can last 45 minutes sometimes) I only watch the last few minutes of the final period. So when the hurricane center upgraded the tropical depression to a hurricane named Irene I was watching but I didn't pay very close attention to all the spaghetti models that the weather-people were rolling out because we were heading for Wilmington, NC and that storm was heading for the west coast of Florida - not.   

After we arrived in North Carolina I was definitely paying attention now. With friends & family scattered up & down the East Coast we were starting to get somewhat concerned. Hurricane Irene made landfall about 40 miles north of where we were staying with our Wilmington family.  We lost power for 24 hours.  Thankfully the yard clean-up was minimal. I had a good time shelling on Wrightsville Beach for the next few days. Leaving NC  & heading back to Florida took us to St Augustine Beach for a visit with another branch from the hubby's family tree. I got up this morning before dawn to have coffee with my niece before she left for work.  Sunrise on the beach was too much to resist so off I went to Anastasia State Park a few blocks from her condo. It was very overcast on the water but the sunrise still managed to glow through the storm clouds. It was an amazing start to the day highlighted by some friendly chit-chat with the park ranger that included him giving me a channeled whelk. (***Shelling tip***Always get to know your local park rangers on the beaches.  They know where all the shells are & some are in a basket on the back of the quad they are riding)

There is no more beautiful sight or sound than the beach waking up

St. Augustine Beach is about a 3 hour drive from the west coast of Florida

This surfer had the entire beach to himself

Glorious Morning

The uniform does nothing for me but a man with a shell - oh baby!

As the hubbs & I were making our way across east coast Florida to the west coast it was very overcast but I just thought it was some left-overs from Irene.  A phone call from GeeGee informed us that we were driving into a yet another storm on the west coast of Florida. She is a very reliable weather source as she has a huge crush on Jim Cantore and watches the weather channel alot. Oh goody! So as the hubbs monitored both map quest & the weather channel apps on the phone we safely made it home. After unpacking, doing some laundry, & making a pot of soup; a random thought just popped into my head - I shelled the east coast this morning...if I go out now to my beach, that means I shelled BOTH coasts of Florida in one day. I know - awesome,  right!  Ignoring the black sky I drove out to Manasota Key just to say I did it - both coasts in one day.  As I walked onto the beach under the looming storm clouds I was stunned to see the biggest shell pile ever.  It stretched up & down the beach. With one eye on the storm I started digging through the shell pile as quickly as I could then the rain started. Only 15 minutes of shelling bliss but I did it! A sunrise on the east coast & a sunset (almost) on the west coast and shelling the entire time. 
Channeled Whelk
Busycotypus canaliculatus 
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Anastasia State Park is one amazing view after the next
Shelling on the Westcoast at sunset on Manasota Key

Everyone is shelling as fast as they can to beat the storm. ( BTW - there is no such thing as fast shelling)

It's hard to look for shark's teeth with so many shells in your way

Every now and then,
when the world sits just right,
a gentle breath of heaven
fills my soul with delight...

~Hazelmarie ‘Mattie’ Elliott, A Breath of Heaven