Kim has not yet returned to West Virginia. Christene arrived from Tampa for the weekend. Anne and Al arrived earlier in the week from frozen New Hampshire. It’s time for a meeting at the Hut! I’ve been invited by Gary and Tootie to spend the night at the Hut, as have Kim and Chris. Anne and Al are ensconced at their resort. We’ll all be going out to dinner and to make some mischief this evening, and staying over will save me having to make the perilous crossing late at night, hauling butt back to the mainland. To the left, we see the Lighthouse under overcast skies.
Above, the king’s crowns have emerged from their bleach bath and a good scrubbing with an old toothbrush. They were FILTHY, inside and out, but most of them cleaned up really nicely!
Other shells, still soaking in the dishpan. You can see above that I picked up a couple of decent sized whelks in good shape, among other things. You may be wondering why there’s one lonely king’s crown in there, separated from his brethren. Well, he had lots of greenish mossy stuff on the inside, so he needed a little more time in the bleach bath. Below is the other end of the dishpan.
It occurred to me while I was rinsing and rinsing and rinsing the mud from the king’s crowns that the last time I had a king’s crown from the mud flats, some little winged creatures hatched out of it after about two weeks and started dive bombing me all over my house. I could not figure out where they were coming from until one night I happened to turn the king’s crown over, and it was CRAWLING with these bugs! Well, I raced to put it outside, and forgot that the house alarm was set. I set off the alarm when I opened the door to the lanai! It was an “I Love Lucy” type of comedy at my house that night. So anyway, I got to thinking that despite my best efforts to get all the mud (and therefore, any pre-hatchling type things) out of them, I’d best bundle them into the freezer for a couple of weeks, just to be safe. So I’ve put them in a Ziploc and they are now chillin’ out.
OK, that’s the true end of the adventure. Man, I’m TIRED! I think I’ll hit the hay soon. Thanks for reading!
Above, the Lighthouse is all done up for the holidays, with bows and everything. Below, Kim finds a beautiful live whelk. Back in he went.
By this time, it was about 2:00 PM. We’d been tramping the beaches all day, since 7:00 AM. We were DONE! Kim drove me back to where I’d ditched my car, and there was a the inevitable transfer of gear and clothing. It had been spitting on us on and off since we left Jerry’s. It was now drizzling in earnest. We said our goodbyes for now. She will still be on the island next week when Anne, Al, Chris and Jon arrive for festivities and fun. Can’t wait!
Here we are at the pier. We found some small, satisfying stuff here at the Lighthouse Beach. Also more dead fishies
I don’t know why Kim changed clothes. She only got wet again. By this time, I was in sneakers and socks, and playing chicken with the waves, trying to scoop stuff with my net-on-a-stick. Kim was in flip flops, and despite rolling up the jeans, the waves nailed her a few times.
After Dixie Beach, we lit out for the little beach down at the end of Bailey. Here’s one of the many starfish Kim found. Some were rejects because they were sort a chewed up, or else looked like they had freezer burn.
Was surprised to see construction at the Causeway on a Saturday. This machine was picking up a large cylindrical object that appeared to be made of metal, and dropping it repeatedly upon some huge chunks of concrete. Where there were enough smaller pieces, the backhoe picked ’em up. You could feel the thudding under your feet.
At Jerry’s, Kim had the blackened salmon sandwich, and I had my “usual” – the “Sanibel Boat”. It’s half a pineapple that’s been hollowed out (they give you the chunks they removed) and filled in with FRESH seafood salad. You get other fruits on the plate, and cottage cheese too (which I never eat). Also a little loaf of wheat-ish looking bread. We both slugged down mass quantities of iced tea as well.
After Jerry’s, we decided to hit the bay side of the island a bit, so we lit out for Dixie Beach.
There wasn’t a whole lot going on at Dixie beach. The tide was very high, so there was really no beach to walk on. We made several forays down to the water via the rocks, but there wasn’t really anything to see except for these lovely mangrove roots, above. The sky was starting to look a bit threatening, too.
Kim blindfolded me again and led me out of the sooper sekrit undisclosed location, once again making me promise not to tell. Soon, we were back in the car and heading back to the home of her hosts, where we deposited Noelle for some much-needed rest. Then we went to Bonnie’s to get cleaned up and change our clothes. At some point, Kim called Gary and Tootie to let them know we were headed to Jerry’s for lunch, but got the answering machine. Soon we were off, and I busied myself capturing the holiday ambiance at Jerry’s for blogging posterity.
See that vast expanse of wasteland? No, it’s not the surface of Mars. It’s a mud flat, and yonder’s where we found an amazing amount of king’s crowns in really pristine, if muddy, condition. Below, we find an egret, a couple of little blue herons, and three birds that had beaks like the ibis, but their feathers were not all white. Perhaps they were juveniles? Anyhow, we spent a good hour or more here, and found lots of treasure!
Imgaine my surprise when Kim pulled out a pocket knife and proceeded to prick both our fingers so I could swear a blood oath not to tell the location of our next stop. Then she made me pinky swear, too! Finally, she blindfolded me and got us to our destination. It was hard to keep up with her, seeing as how I couldn’t see. Seemed like she led us through sticker bushes and quicksand, which threatened to remove the dive boots from our very feet! Finally, she removed my blindfold, and I saw that we’d been following the tracks of a racoon, above. A little bit away, there was some shallow water, and I got a glimps of our quarry – king’s crowns! This one is alive; we’d be looking for dead, empty ones.
Here we are at Blind Pass, aka Turner Beach. Noelle was feeling frisky, so she decided to prance on the beach under her own steam instead of riding in the sling snuggled up to Kim. There wasn’t whole lot here to speak of, despite what you see in that “pile”. It was all clams and a bunch of broken up stuff mixed in. At this beach, you really have to be there as they are rolling in, otherwise they just dash themselves against the rocks and self-destruct. Below, the other side of the rock jetty. I did find two turbans on this side, one of them flaming orange! After only about 10 minutes, we were ready to move on to the next location.
Top right, inside the grocery bag, you can glimpse some of the sea urchins I picked up. Below that, sitting on top of the mesh collection bag, are a few mac-n-cheese. Since any day you find mac-n-cheese is a good shelling day (for I have decreed it thus), this was a good shelling day! On the left, assorted treasures.
Below, Kim heads down the path toward the beach at Gulf Pines. We didn’t find anything there; we came, we saw that there was nothing, we moved on to our next destination.
Bonnie found a GINORMOUS shrimp! He got swept in on a wave, but was still quite alive. I think maybe he was 6-8 inches long; Bonnie will correct me if I am wrong. After marveling at him for a bit, we put him back in the water, whereupon he was promptly swept onto the shore again, this time on his back. Had to throw him out FAR to get him to stay there; hope he made it!
Kim found a seahorse! He was dead, poor thing. I think the recent cold front was really a shock to some of these animals. I wouldn’t really know what to do with a dead seahorse. I’ll have to google about it and see what’s what.
Our final critter is Noelle, Kim’s little doggie. She’s just as cute as can be. After prowling Access 7 for a while, Bonnie needed to go take care of some work, so we all left. Bonnie dropped us where Kim’s car was parked. Here, Noelle is just chillin’ on my lap in the car as we motor toward our next destination.
It was sea urchin hell out there today. Everywhere you looked, sea urchins, sea urchins, and more sea urchins! This is the reason Mister Moose got the boot from the bucket. I’ve never successfully transported a sea urchin all the way home in just a net or a bag. They always break into a million bits. So I figured they would have a better chance in something hard-sided, like a bucket. Kim gave me a plastic grocery bag, to keep them segregated from everything else, so I wouldn’t toss heavy things on them. The strategy proved successful; I now have all twenty of the sea urchins I picked up, laid out on the table on the lanai to dry out. Now, getting them cleaned without breaking them will be another matter entirely; stay tuned!
It was pretty cold at first; I was wearing a long sleeved thermal shirt, a sweatshirt, and my red Mickey Mouse jacket, which is lined with sweatshirt material. I was also wearing my new dive boots that I’d bought on the cruise ship; this would be their virgin shelling expedition. I knew the water was cold, and was hoping that they would help to keep my feet a little warmer than Teva sandals would!
This is why you can’t go barefoot on Sanibel beaches. SHELLS! We love them, but they about kill our feet.
Above and below, here’s what had collected at the high tide line. This might look impressive to the uninitiated. However, earlier in the week when the cold front was really coming through, there were six foot seas at the shore, and Kim experienced a major roll-in. I, alas, had to work that day!
I woke up early, and briefly considered going back to sleep, but ended up making coffee and settling in with the laptop to cruise some message boards. I saw a message from my friend Kim, indicating that she and Bonnie were shooting to head out shelling around 6:00 AM, and that I should call them! Well, I went into crazy evacuation mode, getting dressed, gathering up warm clothing and my shelling gear, and heading out the door with a travel mug of coffee. I called Kim’s cell phone at 6:15 AM, and they hadn’t left yet. They waited for me! I got to the rendezvous around 6:45 AM. Above, I’m crossing the causeway to the island; below, we see the baby fingernail moon in the very early dawn.
No, not really. This was the safety drill. Unfortunately, our meeting place was on the side of the ship with the broiling hot setting sun. It seemed like we were trapped there in our sticky life jackets for freakin’ EVAH! I like how you can see my arm reflected in the sunglasses (I took this pic myself).
ABOVE: Wendy (aka, The Wendyrazzi), Mary, Lesia, and Cindy with her daughter.
BELOW: Cathy, Susan, and Sharon standing, with Linda sitting (Deb’s aunt).
Behind the main pool area is the Solarium, which has a couple of hot tubs, a bar, and a “quiet pool”. This area is pretty much adults only, and the deck chairs are cloth-covered in this section. Loved the statue; will find pics from the other camera and post them, too.
Horrible internet access on the ship. Each page would take several minutes to load. Other multiple problems + the cost of paying by the minute for slow load was the reason that this blog didn’t get done at all, never mind in real time, during the cruise.
We all had the best time!
Here’s my game plan. I will first go through and comment on the pics that already got loaded (it worked until about 1PM on set sail day, Dec 3rd). Then, I will start captioning the rest of the photos I took, and I’ll start sending them to the blog from Picasa. Be patient, I have 5 days worth of photos to get through.
Started getting error messages while taking pics of the ship. Something about exceeding the number of posts without doing a captcha. A WHAT? Called Bro. No. 2 and gave him my credentials to log in and poke around. He found some discussion on a newsgroup indicating that there was a problem with picture posts today. Anyhow, the WI-FI on the ship is slow and expensive, so I’m going to have to develop a strategy for doing most of the work offline – maybe put them into Picasa on my laptop, with captions, and then hitting the blog button? I dunno. Just wanted to let y’all know I’m not slacking!
The waiter was asking us trivia questions about Forrest Gump. The last question he asked was “Mama always said you can tell a lot about a person by ….”. I thought it might be shoes, but I wasn’t sure. Racking our brains, I finally said to Mary, “you know what, call VB, he probably knows”. So here’s me while Mary is on the phone with VB.
PS – I was right, the answer was “by their shoes”.