There are three ways to get to the beach at Ponce Inlet. Drive on the sand to the end of the beach at the jetty, park and walk to the inlet, or if you live close, simply walk there. Pay to park at Smyrna Dunes Park and walk the boardwalk (it’s not finished yet) and sandy paths that lead to the beach. Pull up to the shore in a boat. This area of beach is one of my favorites to visit.
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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.
Our trip to New Smyrna Beach today told me that summer is here. Kids are out of school, and trips to the beach pick up. Tourists are free to bring the family and they certainly do. All those white bodies, with red sunburned shoulders, are a sure sign that tourism is booming here in Florida. This is Friday morning for Pete’s sake.
We wanted to go out on the boat, but the ramp we usually use was full. No place to park the boat trailer. We checked out a couple more, but they were very busy too. Friday is the new weekend it seems. With many companies going to a 4-day work week, it might be best to avoid going out on Fridays as well as weekend days. Since we were dressed for outdoors, sunscreen and all, we decided to go to the beach. We took the boat home and headed over the causeway.
We drove on at Flagler Ave. right behind a lifeguard / beach patrol truck. And it was crowded. We drove way down toward the jetty, and found a more sparsely populated spot to park.
The tide was way out and going out further, so we had a lot of beach. Right away we saw Ghost crabs scurrying around. At least I think they are called Ghost crabs. One, in particular was near us, and I got some photos and video of him.
Then we went in the water. As I was coming back in from cooling off, I saw my son pulling a fishing line up out of the sand. Many people fish along the shore, and this was a piece that had been left / lost by a fisherman.
But at the end, buried beneath the sand, was this huge hook!
Hey… this is why I wear beach shoes when I go in the water! Look at the size of that hook. I hate fishing on the beach, for precisely this reason. My son always does it – fishes at the beach – but I am opposed. There are many other places to fish. Leave the beaches to the swimmers. Imagine that thing stuck in the bottom of your foot… I feel woozy just thinking about it.
Unrelated in every way, but just in case someone has to really go to the bathroom… port-a-potties are at the exit. FYI everyone.
Our beaches on the East coast of Florida are not as well known for shell collecting as they are over on the Gulf Coast. Visit Sanibel Island and you are likely to go home with a fabulous assortment of beautiful seashells.
We have to work harder to find shells on the East coast beaches, and then, many shells are the same. Arks, clams and coquina shells can usually be collected in the New Smryna Beach area. But, travel off the beaten path – out to the islands and backwater – and it’s possible to find something more unique. Only boats can reach this place so it’s mostly tourist-free. It’s the best part of Florida.
We took the boat out toward Ponce Inlet and stopped at a sandy island which appears when the tide is out. The water was just beginning to come back in when we dropped anchor in the shallow water.
I love to be out here, away from people… as you can see, we had the place to ourselves. It helped that the weather forecast was cloudy with possible storms – and it was the middle of the week. Most boaters stayed home….lucky us.
Across the waterway, to the left of this photo (above), is Disappearing Island. It’s like this place, only larger, and the name says it all. At high tide these islands “disappear” beneath the ocean, with only some of the scrub trees left above the waterline – or so I think. I’ve never been here at high tide.
I waded ashore and began to scour the shoreline, searching in all that grass, hoping to find a cool shell.
I found a lot of large clams, partially buried in the sand. In fact, most of the shells were either whole, or pieces of big clams. Also the Southern quahogs were numerous, which are white with vertical lines along the shell.
But I did find a nice Dosinia shell. It’s the flat, roundish shell at the bottom of the photo below. I also happened upon that cute little shark’s eye which was partially buried. It was pure luck that I noticed it! I’ve come across much bigger ones, but they always have a hermit crab inside.
I do collect broken shells, because they are unique in their own way. In my photo below you can see a broken crown conch… if it was whole, there would be a hermit crab inside, no doubt. Crown conchs are everywhere in areas like this, but they are always inhabited. (I found a live Fighting Conch, and hermit crab inside a little shell I couldn’t identify. More to come about those, on a later post.)
The little shark’s eye shell (below) has a hole drilled into the side. That is how the mollusk inside was killed. Something came along and bored into the shell to eat what was inside. The thing is, Shark’s eyes ARE predatory, and this guy would have done the same to another shell!
As the water came up, I headed up onto the sandy dune area to search among the scrub brush. I wondered if I’d find some sort of seashell treasure up there.
And I did! This is where I found those three little white Marsh Periwinkles (photo above) – or at least I think that is what they are. They were all found close together and nothing was inside except sand, so I picked them up. I’ve never seen these before, so I had new shells for my collection. Nice…. I had to be careful not to lose them, as they are tiny!
I found some trash, of course, and what looked like an old campfire pit, and saw some mourning doves – that was a surprise! I really thought that all I would see were shore birds.
I came across the remains of a coconut. It had traveled from the mainland or beach peninsula, because there were no coconut palm trees on that island.
We left later in the day when the clouds were thickening up. The water had come in quite a bit by then. Soon the all that sand would be covered, until the tide began it’s journey back out to the sea.
I wonder what treasures it will leave behind. Can’t wait to return here.