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2012 Has been an awesome beach combing year. To follow my shelling jaunts click on any map marker > then click on marker description to see my trip to that location. I hope you find yourself at one of these spectacular beaches yourself one day soon.
|(Credit: Pandadumpster @ Flickr)|
This picture looks exactly like the sky we were viewing.
It's the most wonderful time of the year - for viewing the Geminid meteor showers. In years past the showers have coincided with a bright full moon. This December the annual event peaks on the new moon insuring a dark background of a sky for optimum observing with the naked eye. After a few shout-outs on social media I had myself a little Geminid party heading for the beach - the darkest place in our area to observe the cosmic fireworks show.
I suggested any stargazers bundle up because our Florida temperature had taken a serious dip in the mercury. Shortly after sundown we arrived on the beach armed with blankets, pillows, & thermoses of hot chocolate. We settled in on the cold damp sand with our eyes scoping out the darkening horizon for meteors. With the help of our smart phones and various sky watching apps, we were able to watch Orion rise above the horizon first. Our eyes were trained on the sky to the east where the constellation Gemini was to the left of Orion. The meteors were supposed to originate from that vicinity.
The inky night sky echoed with our shrieks of oh's and ahh's as a first meteor blasted over head leaving a blazing trail behind it. We were all meteorite-newbies so it was like seeing a first dolphin in the wild or a first double-rainbow. The excitement-and-wonder-meter was on overload. We stopped counting after 80 or so meteors. Meteors shot across the sky about every 5 minutes or so. The awe of seeing each one never dimmed. The last one was just as amazing as the first one. The sea fog rolled in like a misty curtain signaling the end to the show around 11 pm. The flashes from our camera phones and loud laughter had drawn the attention of law enforcement who walked out to our little star-gazing camp on the beach to see what all the fuss was about. As they shined their flashlights on us they seemed amused to find only a group of friends drinking hot chocolate and watching the meteor shower.
The Geminid meteor shower is an annual event - look for it next December. Here's some good tips for watching.
|(Credit: Reonides @ Flickr)|
It takes skill and expensive camera equipment to catch a shot like this - both of which I am deficient in. The sky we were laying under looked just like this.
|Laying on your back is the best position for viewing.|
|(L to R) Wade-ster, Gee-man, & Momma Gee are always ready for some outdoor fun.|
|Oh the weather outside is frightful - but the sky is so delightful!|
|Terri & Dana enjoying the show.|
|Balancing precariously on the back chairs legs|
enabled me to view the sky without having to crane my neck.
|I was so happy to see at Hobby Lobby that the need for animal print Christmas items had been filled.|
Keeping with my previous post on a low-stress Christmas - I am not freaking out over my technical challenges at home. My Internet & land line have decided to be uncooperative. My techno-geek hubby has done his best but now the big guns are coming out.
Hope everyone is enjoying the process of the holidays - shopping, watching Elf & A Christmas Story repeatedly, & totally ignoring the looming end to the Mayan calendar & the fiscal cliff. Like Buddy the Elf says "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing loud for all to hear!" or my version "I'm too blessed to be stressed!".
Sent from my iPhone.
|No Black Friday shopping for me today. I opted for a walk on the beach instead of the mall.|
I saw these black skimmers swirling in the sky off Boca Grande today.
(probably to stay warm - it was chilly for Florida).
I picked up a rainbow of calico scallops.
Check out more of my beachy fotos on Instagram.
|This Beach Belle|
|and these shells|
have in common?
|GeeGee took a globe she bought at a garage sale for $1 and made this |
|The cute miniature bait house was in her junk box. She added the little seagull on top.|
|Here's a closer look. GeeGee has worked her shell magic before.|
|It was a good day on Honeymoon Island. Shell Kell (Pookie's mom) found a nice horse conch . The family motto - Take a kid shelling cos some day they will take you!|
|Our hearts are with you. |
Take a moment to pray for peace, comfort,
healing & restoration for the 46 families that
lost loved ones & the millions affected
by Hurricane Sandy.
|Early morning full moon over Blind Pass on 10.29.12|
|Looking east across Blind Pass to the sun rising over Sanibel|
|The recently dredged pass would usually have a wide path of beach exposed at low tide but the storm surge foiled our shelling plans today.|
|I got a text tip from a Shell Sistah that Gulfside City Park had some live action. The beach was lined with pen shells from the stormy surf but if you looked close enough there was a treasure here and there.|
|We ran into a Shell Brotha on Blind Pass who took us to the very north end of Captiva. We walked down a dirt road to a secret shelling location but alas the flats were under water from the storm surge but I did see a white pelican. We then made it to the private beach at the very northern tip of Captiva Island. No seashells but Pookie found this old 45 caliber ammo shell in the sand. Good times I say!|
|The water by the Sanibel Lighthouse fishing pier was a grungy brown. This photo has not been tweaked. That is the color of the usually aqua blue water. Lake Okeechobee in the middle of the state of Florida dumped it's overflow into the Caloosahatchee River which flows into Pine Island Sound.|
|We started before sunrise and made our way from the most northern tip of Captiva to the most southern end of Sanibel. Pookie enjoying a walk on Lighthouse Beach before we head home.|
|Warm Mineral Springs in North Port, Florida|
|The spring is 1.4 acres of flowing spring water - 9 million gallons a day.|
|Better Homes & Gardens Magazine (2009) says; "The perfect swimming, wading, and soaking temperature." All the time...today, yesterday, tomorrow, always 87 degrees.|
|The spring offers free water exercise classes 3 times a day with a paid admission.|
|All that power noodling can wear one out.|
|A sun hat is a must have.|
|No one really swims, they just float. Just go with the flow.|
Check out Warm Mineral Springs on Trip Advisor for more info.
|The shell trees are doing just fine on Stump Pass.|
On Friday afternoon I walked the mile out to the end of Stump Pass to see about the red tide. It was a beautiful beach day but looks can be deceiving. I was coughing the red tide hacking cough that tickles the back of your throat. Although there were no new fish washed up on the shore, the wrack line is filled with sun-dried fish of all sorts and sizes. I also saw a few dead seagulls on the sand. The highest onshore concentrations of the red tide are at Blind Pass Beach (not Sanibel) on Manasota Key. That's about 3 miles north up the coast from Stump Pass. The clean-up looks good but it ain't over yet.
For the most current info go to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission website.
|Manasota Key is at the southern most boundry of Sarasota County.|
|In between coughing, I did manage to pick up a few goodies. Lots of sharks teeth out there.|
|Oh how I love surprises!! A new friend of mine read the post on Dr. Gary Greenberg & his amazing photography of magnified beach sand. She found a copy online for me. Shell Sistahs are the best friends evah! Thank you Jenny!|