Tuesday, February 26, 2013

“If we don’t manage this resource, we will be left with a diet of jellyfish and plankton stew.” Daniel Pauly

(Photo Credit:  Michael Sullivan)  
 Be careful out there.  No day at the beach is worth trading your health for.

(Photo Credit:  Stephen Hayford GNS)

Can you believe Red Tide is still with us on the shores of SWFL?  Yuck!! The algae bloom has been meandering  up and down the coastline from as far north as Clearwater Beach to as far south as the Keys.  The highest concentrations have been on Venice Beach, Manasota Key, and Pine Island Sound (the backside of Sanibel/Captiva).  Before you head to the beach on SWFL check The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission site for an update on your local beach.

Here's a throwback from happier shelling times from a year ago I'm re-posting my adventure to become a Guinness World Record holder in my favorite sport - the Sanibel Stoop.
(Originally posted on February 19, 2012)

On Friday February 17, 2012 - 700 Sanibel Stoopers set a Guinness World Record on Bowman's Beach - Sanibel Island, Florida.

 Whether it's education, athletics, business, or hobbies; everything we pursue in life has it's pinnacle of success.  Runners have the Boston Marathon, world leaders have the Nobel Prize, B-level celebrities have Dancing with the Stars. I'm not a very competitive person. The only award I ever won as a kid was 2nd place in a 50 yard dash when I was 10. In high school I kept a pretty low profile.  As an adult I have been pretty satisfied to keep my hobbies & interests on a casual level except for beach combing.

Shells are my passion.  Finding them, learning about them, making things with them, & collecting more of them has been a pursuit of mine for many years. There are awards in shelling - that's what shell shows are for.  Unfortunately, my mermaid mosiac was 5 inches too wide to enter into the Sanibel Shell Show.  My dream of winning a Sanibel Shell Show award ribbon was dashed. There are other shows but my heart was set on the creme de la creme. What I lack in competative spirit I make up for in flexibility & resilience.  The opportunity to be a Guinness World Record holder called & I answered "Heck Yeah!".  I was to join 700 other passionate shell lovers doing our official stance known as the Sanibel Stoop. But why wait for 10am Friday morning when there is a minus .07 low tide at 3am?  

Enter my partner-in-shelling crime Shellbelle.  You would've thought we were a couple of 12 year old kids who couldn't sleep the night before a Disney World trip. Why wait? We left Englewood at 10pm Thursday night & pulled into Blind Pass on Sanibel Island at midnight.  After spending an hour or so on the sand bar & shell pile we headed over to Bowman's Beach hoping there wasn't a locked gate closing off the parking area. There wasn't and we took the first parking spot right up front.  We wheeled our beach carts the 1,000 yards out to the pitch dark beach crossing 2 small foot bridges & a long sandy path.  Setting up our little (not a camp site because that is highly illegal) area with our chairs, lantern, & tarp on the ground we proceeded to drink hot coffee from one of the 3 thermoses we brought and deciding which way to go on the beach- right or left. We wiled away the wee hours of the pre-dawn morning shelling both directions, listening to the birds, watching the moon, stars, & finally the sun rise.  

As the morning progressed a  steady stream of Sanibel Stoopers started filing on to the beach.  Shellbelle & I had not pre-registered so we made our way up the beach to stand in a humungous line to register & get our names officially in the record books.  It all got a little too hot, claustrophobic,  & chaotic in the staging area for our sleep deprived sensibilities.  The organizers were trying their best to instruct the Stoopers & keep confusion to a minimum but it was tantamount to herding cats.  Shellbelle & I left the line & walked back to our little not-a-campsite. Who needed their name in the Guinnuss World Book of Records anyhow?  Well, I do! That's who. I came to play!  Leaving Shellbelle to enjoy the beach I scrambled back to get in line.  After getting my name offically on the Guinness list I stood in another line with all the other 700 Stoopers because Guinness rules dictated that all participants had to enter the record setting area at one time. It was all over in 30 minutes.  We stood up straight from our "hiney's hovering" position to wave wildly to the helicopter taking our picures over head. So this is what it feels like to be a World Record Holder.... sweet.  I promised Shellbelle my new title wouldn't change things between us. I'd stay the same simple humble beach comber that she had always known & loved.

Champions are willing to pay the price to be at the top of their chosen endeavor.  In our case it was dark, dewy, & cold but we enjoyed a wonderful low tide on Bowman's Beach.

The Wonder Wheeler beach cart makes not camping on the beach so easy.

As the sky lightens up the early bird  beach combers start to arrive.

Bowman's Beach at sunrise. Our Sanibel Stoop trip was blessed with nice weather & no rain.

The lines were long but needed.  When setting a Guinness Record there are lots of rules that have to be followed .  All participants had to sign in & sign out after the event for their presence to count.

Every record setting event needs an official t-shirt.

Shell sistah Pam from iLove Shelling.com patiently waiting in line.

Heading to the record setting spot

Bloggers are always taking pictures.  That's the back of Capt. Brian Holaway's head & Pam.

Getting ready to assume the position.

We get last minute instructions & are told the helicopter is on it's way.

One, two, three, STOOP!

And hold that Stoop for 30 seconds to insure we don't get disqualified for any non-stoopers (also know as Stoopid)

Blogger Capt. Brian of CB's Observation's on the Water snapping some fotos from down under.

Looks like a massage table or an on-site Chiropractor would have been a good idea.

Are we done?

The helicopter takes a victory lap around the jubliant  World Record holding Sanibel Stoopers.

A good blogger has an eye for the photo op & this stooper in a caution vest was irresistible.

Pam is great at chatting it up & getting all the details.

What a fun day & great blogger friends to share it with. (L-R) Me, Capt. Brian, & Shellbelle

A Guinness World Record & a big honkin junonia... my work is done here.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Let your love be like the misty rains, coming softly, but flooding the river. ~Malagasy Proverb

Misty Morning

Dewy Dayspring

Soupy Seashore

Bleary Boulders

Petrified Patterns

Pea-soupy Shells

Treasure Trove Trio

Shrouded Serenity

(Thank the Lord for http://thesaurus.com/)

Monday, February 11, 2013

"The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls." John Muir

Even the shy guys come out of their shell to watch the sunrise.

Sunrise at 7am - Low tide at 7:30.  My favorite spot to converge with nature is Boca Grande.

A 20 minute drive puts me on the beach right as the sky is waking up.

My camera batteries went dead so all my pictures were taken on my iPhone.  I caught a huge parade of pelicans crossing the pass heading south to Cayo Costa Island on the other side.

Someone must have missed the pre-flight meeting.

A little Egret sashays by.  He was making sure I didn't have a bait bucket with some freebies for him.

My heart leapt in my chest when I spotted this beauty in the shallows.

The hermit crab chose a lovely Horse Conch for a home.  Sadly, this one went back in the water.

Huge Lightning Whelks were everywhere in the shallows of the low tide.  It was fun just to have a closer look and then place them back where they were found.

This Orange-ridged Sea Star is common to find in the tidal pools around rocks and mangrove roots.

Another shell tree in full bloom.  There is just something about a barren tree on the beach that begs for a shell to be hung on it's empty branches.

The last vestiges of the old Port Boca Grande used by the phosphate industry back in the early 1900's.  The birds are making good use of it now.

On August 13, 2004 Hurricane Charley took out the pier on the west side of the island. Tip - Park at the public lot on the south side of the South Beach Restaurant > walk to the beach & head south to the pier. The shelling is usually very good in that area especially after a storm.

Beach sunflowers - Here's another post I did on Boca Grande.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Buffet the Manatee Goes 6 for 6!

With the Baltimore Ravens beating the San Fransico 49er's 34 to 31 in Super Bowl XLVII, Buffet the Manatee's winning streak remains intact although he did not predict the power outage.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Super Bowl of Sanibel Shelling

              (Credit:  www.cfnews13.com)                                                                     The resident manatees at Mote Marine in Sarasota have made their Super Bowl predictions again this year.  Buffet the manatee has a 5 year winning streak going. 

 I am re-posting (again) my Super Bowl post from Febuary 6, 2011.  It's still my favorite shelling day of all time.)

Usually Superbowl is a big deal around our house. The Hubbs is a real football fanatic but mainly for his college team - the Florida Gators. Our first real date was  31 years ago on Superbowl Sunday.  My dad was a football coach so I know my way around the football field. My date was impressed or probably relieved that he could watch a football game with a female and not have to explain everything that was going on. The rest is history.

I can't really get too excited abut the Superbowl this year. I have no vested interest in either team. At least that was my excuse for ditching the pre-game festivities and heading to Sanibel early this morning. Actually football and shelling have some similarities.
The horse conch I found was as big as a football
Standing on the sandbar at Blind Pass with the tide rushing in; I just happened to look down and saw this football-sized horse conch and nobody was home. The dance I did on the sandbar definitely looked as good as any touchdown dance I've ever seen. So in the words of any good coach "when the going gets tough, the tough go shelling".
The sand bar is about the size of a football field.  There are plenty of shells for everyone
Shelling can be a team sport with matching jerseys. (Team i Love Shelling)
Shellers suit up for the game with our own particular brands of equipment.  Judy is an industrial engineer. She pitched me an idea she has for  aqua shoes that are ankle high so the shells don't get stuck inside the shoes.

My goal line. Facing the Blind Pass Jetty
Facing the Sanibel side
That's the home team in the end zone.
Oh Come On! Laying on a board is not a sport. Shelling is a total spirit-mind-body work out.
To the victor go the spoils
Arcinella cornuta
Conrad, 1866
Florida spiny jewelbox
(left to right) alphabet cone, true tulip, banded tulip, nutmeg
Cancellaria reticulata
(Linnaeus, 1767)
Eurytellina lineata
(Turton, 1819)
Rose petal tellin 
You win some - you lose some but any piece of junonia is a winner.