All posts by Dustytoes

About Dustytoes

I grew up in New England but spent most of my life living in central Florida and blog about seashells, beaches, gardening, boating, fishing, hiking, photography, PKD, and my work as a designer at Zazzle. I move around a lot and try to discover the best in all places I live. Life may be tough, but it's not boring.

damage to docks done by hurricane irma

Hurricane Damage to Docks and Waterways After Irma and Maria

Hurricane Irma came right up through Florida on September 10th, and caused me lots of stress. I don’t live on the water, but after traveling around on land and water, I have seen all the damage to those who live or work right on the water.

damage to docks done by hurricane irma
This house has a couple of docks and both are ruined from the storms.

Then Hurricane Maria devastated the islands, and namely Puerto Rico, but missed Florida – mostly.  On land we were safe, but the seashore and waterways had to deal with high waves and tides which eroded shorelines.

The damage here from Maria came as huge waves, which the surfers loved. Rip currents and high tides meant the beaches were not safe for swimming.   High tide meant no driving on the beach, as there was no beach to drive on.  All this, even with Maria being almost 500 miles offshore!

The Orlando Sentinel reported on the effects of hurricane Maria on the East coast of Florida in this article – which has video of the devastation in Puerto Rico.

Yesterday we went out fishing and saw the effects of the storms ourselves. Many docks are still unusable and some are being fixed, like the docks at JB’s Fish Camp. It’s one of my picks for eating on the water in New Smyrna Beach.

JB's dock repair
Repairing the docks at JB’s Fish Camp and Restaurant

As you can see the water level is super high – it was high tide, but going out. The workers were literally at water level while re-building the docks. We saw a few kayakers (JB’s rents kayaks) and people eating under the umbrella tables on the patio, but there is no place to dock a boat. Soon, I hope.

muddy water
Muddy and murky backwater

The water is muddy and murky with lots of leaves and Black mangrove seeds – green pods which look a little like lima beans.

I also saw the long Red mangrove seeds which float vertically in the water. I never knew what those odd looking things were. Mangroves are all over the backwater area where we fish. Mangroves, basically, are plants that can live in salt water.  The ones we see are most likely the Black mangroves, but we must have Red too, since I see the seeds.  All those green plants you see on the horizon, in my muddy water photo above, are mangroves.

mangrove seeds on shore
Mangrove seeds washed up on shore

In the photo above you can see a few long Red mangrove seeds on the beach with many green seeds.  These were floating everywhere in the water too.

Along this island it was apparent how high the water had come.   Large sections of sand were cut away and I’m guessing that some waves washed over the top of the island to the water on the other side.  This is a camping island, and I found black charcoal briquets in the water too!

eroded shoreline
Storm waves washes sections of this beach away

The tide was high when we were out fishing, which meant there were not many sandy areas or beaches to explore.  We stopped on this island (which is one of my favorite to explore) and I went in search of treasure. Mostly I found oyster shells – yuk. But among a bunch of shells which were washed way up under some mangroves I did pick up a worn knobbed whelk.

seashell washed ashore by storms
Oyster shells and a broken knobbed whelk washed way up onto the island

I collected another larger knobbed whelk which was green and broken. It will go into my garden. Photos of the rest of my finds on another post to come.

We did catch some fish – redfish, trout and snapper – but no keepers. My son was keeping an eye out for George of Reel Time as he was staying in New Smyrna Beach to film for his fishing show. We didn’t see him, but we did have to run from a quick moving rain storm late in the day!


Identifying Pieces of Seashells Found on the Beach

Often I will pick up interesting pieces of seashells while beach-combing.  I’m getting better at identifying the pieces.  The more variety of shells I collect, the easier it becomes.  If the bit of shell baffles me at the seashore, I search it out in my favorite seashell book, or look through my seashell collection.

Seashells break for many reasons and some shells are more fragile than others.  The Channeled duck clam is thin and most of them are broken on top.  (It’s the white shell in the left-hand photo below.)

Usually it’s the surf and wave action that tumbles the shell until it breaks.  Birds can be the culprits too.  Whatever the reason, it can challenge the mind to picture bits as whole shells.  Usually I am sorry I missed seeing it as a whole, beautiful specimen.

Screen Shot 2017-04-30 at 12.19.10 PM

While visiting Ponce Inlet, I brought home this large, smooth, brown bit of shell, and a smaller piece like it.  I wondered what it could have been originally. Continue reading Identifying Pieces of Seashells Found on the Beach

Hurricane Aftermath Goes On and On For Those in Their Path

After Irma, life changed greatly – for the better – when we found a generator on day 5 of 6 without electricity. I began to re-enter the normal world. We could plug in fans, charge up phones and computers.

This is not my first hurricane. I moved to Florida in 1979 but never really felt the disaster of a direct hit until 2004 when the eye of Charley crossed my path. We were without power for a week, and it was August.

One thing you will realize when you are in the destruction zone is that for you, life stops, and survival begins. The rest of the world gets bored with hurricane photos and moves on to the next big story. You continue to search high and low for ice – the one thing you can’t stock up on, and the thing that everyone needs in this climate.

Ice is Scarce After a Florida Hurricane

My Irma nightmare is over. I have air conditioning, I have a refrigerator that works, although it contains little food.  No more searching for ice, and no more digging through coolers to find something to eat and drink.  I can turn on a fan, and I sleep at night without soaking in my own sweat. My home is not damaged. I am more lucky than many.

If you have never visited Florida, you can’t fathom the tropical heat we deal with here. Continue reading Hurricane Aftermath Goes On and On For Those in Their Path

road closed at bridge by Marina

Hurricane Irma Aftermath of Hot Hot Hot

After watching the slow progression of Hurricane Irma for many, many days we sat inside a boarded up house and waited to see what would happen.  Wind happened, and I know there were tornado warnings. We felt fairly safe with the hurricane shutters up, but the wind went on and on all night and into the next day.

I can’t comment on anything that happened to the US or anywhere else after Irma slammed through because after Sunday night (Sept. 10th) at around midnight, until yesterday, Saturday, the 16th, I was cut off from the world. Continue reading Hurricane Irma Aftermath of Hot Hot Hot

swirling hurricane clouds

Another Annoying Hurricane To Deal With

hurricane Matthew aftermath
Brush piled up along Flagler Ave. after Hurricane Matthew

Last October as I was getting ready to close on my house Hurricane Matthew swept in and put a dent in my plans.  I was literally on the way to the closing when the Realtor got the word that all closings were put on hold until after the storm passed.

Now Hurricane Irma is targeting the entire state.  That is quite rare.  I think it accounts for the massive run on gas, water and generators.  Usually some of us Floridians are spared the brunt of the storm, so only a section of the state has to prepare.  The rest of us watch and see where the storm heads.

This time gas was gone at many places by Tuesday around here.  Any stations with gas had long lines.  More deliveries came, and my two sons were able to get gas after waiting in line.  I’ve waited for gas before, but it was after the hurricane had passed.  It was tough to get deliveries to the stations.  People needed gas for their generators.  At my location, we were without power for 7 days after Hurricane Charlie. Continue reading Another Annoying Hurricane To Deal With