Category Archives: Seashells

All about seashells.

jellyfish on beach

New Smyrna Beach Jellyfish, Seaweed, and a Bumpy Beach Drive

We are still waiting for the boat we ordered to come in and I’m dying to get out on the water.  For now I must be content with visiting the beach and river.

This morning I headed over to Flagler Ave. to see how the ocean looked.  There have been beach advisories lately because of the high winds, which cause high tides and rip currents. And sure enough, the waves were crashing and the beach was a mess.

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Messy Beach and Rough Surf

The tide was going out, so I decided to drive down Penninsula Ave. and get onto the beach from one of those drive-on spots.  The one I chose had a big puddle of sea water at the bottom of the ramp.  The toll-collector and I watched the car ahead of me navigate it along the edge, and he made it.  I have a 4-wheel drive Subaru, which always handled very well in the snow, so I was not afraid of a sea puddle (it was a BIG puddle).  I slid around a bit but made it out to the beach traffic lanes fine.  But the driving was very bumpy because of all the ruts in the sand.  For that reason I didn’t go very far before parking.

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Portuguese man-o-war 

The first thing I noticed, besides all the seaweed, was the blue jellyfish.  Yes, man-of-war jellyfish were scattered along the beach.  I got a couple of pictures and didn’t know what type they were until I got home and showed the picture to my son.  He knew right away it was a man-of-war.  Believe it or not, people (tourists?) were still going in the water!

I walked the high tide line of sand hoping to find some cool shells, but all I found was the regular variety.  My goal was to get close to the jetty and boardwalk of the Smyrna Dunes Park down by Ponce Inlet, but it was too far to drive on that bumpy sand.  I may end up getting a pass so I can drive to the park and walk along the boardwalks.

sea bird on beach
Sea Bird in the Sand

I did see something odd though.  A sea bird was plopped down in the sand.  At first I thought it was dead, but it wasn’t.  I’ve never been to the beach when a bird was nestled in the dune area.  I snapped a photo without getting too close.

beach shells

The shells I found were the regular arks.  I was hoping to find some unusual seashells because of the high tide and rough surf.  I didn’t find any super unique shells, but I did collect a little slipper shell, a black rock, and a Sea Purse Bean (photo below).

There are a lot of sea beans mentioned in my “Florida’s Living Beaches” book.  Some have a much thicker ring, but they are all hard and roundish in shape.  This is the first time I have collected a sea bean.

sea bean

 

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crown conch seashell

Shell Inside a Shell, Could it Be a Baby Horse?

crown conch seashell
Tiny Shell Inside Crown Conch

Recently I decided to clean up my seashells.  Honestly, I’ve never made a big production out of cleaning my seashells – just rinsed them well in fresh water and let them dry.  I have collected a few good ones while out on the Gheenoe and the few times I’ve been over to the beach.

Finally I got my Florida driver’s license… which was a bigger ordeal than it needed to be, but it means I can buy a beach pass and get a fishing license. Hallelujah! It’s a little thing, but it means I can go to the beach whenever I want as a resident and pay one low fee for the rest of the year.

Okay, back to the shells. After soaking my seashells in a bleach and water solution – I didn’t measure it, but just added a little bleach to a pail full of water – over night, they are looking clean. They also look a bit duller. The next time I get to Lowe’s I will get some mineral oil which is supposed to make them brighter again.

tiny seashell
Identifying the Little Shell

I have two pretty crown conchs, which are hard to find without a hermit crab living inside, and one had a tiny shell wedged in the opening. I was trying to figure out what type of shell the tiny one was, when I decided to take it out for a better look.

tiny broken horse conch seashell
Baby horse conch ?

My best guess is that it’s a broken horse conch. The Florida horse conch has a long spire like this little guy, but the tiny shell is missing the bottom half. In fact I have a large horse conch shell which I found out on the Indian River which I am in the process of cleaning. I don’t know if I will ever get all the black stuff off it, but I’m trying.

Early Morning Visit to Beachside

This morning I had the urge to drive over to the beach. I live close enough now that I can do it, so I should! But the weather was cool and cloudy so I didn’t go for a walk, just got a few photos on my phone.

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Heading over the causeway to beachside
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27th Ave. parking lot

The parking lots, like this one, now charge people to park there! But, as a resident of Volusia County I can get a Free pass, which I plan to do soon. If the tide is high, I would prefer to park in a lot and not on the beach when I go for my morning walk.

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Sunrise over the Atlantic

Common Limpet

Found this great nature photography blog by Pete Hillman and he kindly gave me permission to re-blog this post about the limpet. Enjoy, and be sure to visit his site to enjoy his amazing photography. He likes to photograph seashells too!

Pete Hillman's Nature Photography

Patella vulgata

Common Limpet (Patella vulgata)

Have you ever wondered what the underside of a limpet looked like? Note the large muscular foot, the relatively small mouth above, and the tentacles either side.

The Common Limpet has an ashen-grey or greenish-blue shell, sometimes with a yellow tint, and with radiating ridges. It is conical with an almost central apex. The shell is often covered in barnacles. The sole of the foot is yellowish or orange-brownish with a green tinge. Shell length 6cm. They are fairly long-lived, up to 15 years.

Common Limpet (Patella vulgata)

It inhabits the intertidal zone, clinging tightly to rocks along the shore or in rock pools, and with its thick shell it is able to withstand the pounding ocean waves, exposure to drying out, and attacks from birds or fish. It grazes on algae growing on the rocks beneath the water. It is not ‘stuck’ in one position as it may always appear to…

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What Has the Hurricane Done to Our Beaches?

As I sit here, 20 miles inland from the east coast Florida beaches, I wonder what kind of devastation is taking place over there as Hurricane Matthew passes by.

Here, the wind was howling with gusts of 50-70mph, but we got off easier than originally thought.  My rental house did not blow away as I had feared.  We have minor damage in the yard with limbs broken and the fence leaning.  Now the storm is moving on to the north, and all this wind and rain will eventually die down.

After the three hurricanes in 2004 – Charlie, Frances and Jeanne – I had visited the seashore in New Smyrna Beach to see the damage.  My husband (at the time) and I ate at Breakers on Flagler Ave. and we could see that the sand was all washed away down along the shore.  The ocean was coming up around the place, and the beach ramp was under water.

A few days after our visit, the restaurant was condemned for safety issues.  I remember how the sight of the ocean having taken over the beach was so sad.  So I am thinking that this time I will find a similar situation.  The beaches will have to be re-built.  And what about the sea creatures? How have they fared?

The beaches eventually recovered from the 2004 storms, and they will this time too.  Once the news crews can get beachside, we’ll be able to see the devastation.

Click here to see photos from Flagler Ave in New Smyrna a few days after Hurricane Matthew.