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

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red crab underwater

A Day on the Indian River Turns Up a New Discovery

We went out on the boat yesterday, my son and I, and ended our day at Three Sisters, which is a group of three islands in the Indian River backwaters. The tide was coming in so there was no sand showing, but it was shallow enough to walk and search for shells.  We were the only ones there until a pontoon boat with a family aboard pulled up as we were leaving.

While walking the shallows, I came across this rather large shell.  It was moving but I could see something red.  At first I thought it was something growing off the side of the shell because the hermit crabs I always see are not red.

seashell under water
Tiny bit of red on this underwater seashell – I’m curious

The shell was moving, as were all the other shells I saw, because they are always occupied by hermit crabs.

Because this one had color, I thought that the conch may still be inside – a living seashell. Some conchs can be brightly colored like the horse conch I once found.  It was difficult to see through the murky water.

red crab underwater
I needed a closer look

Even though the water was shallow it was hard to see exactly what I was looking at. The camera captures a more clear image because in reality I was dealing with moving water. So I had to pick it up and get a better look.

It is seldom ever that I find an empty shell out on the river. Something is always inside. The ends of the shell are always the safest for grabbing so the crab won’t pinch me. And it’s a good thing I was careful because look what I pulled up from the sea!

giant red hermit crab in broken shell in the wild
Giant Red Hermit Crab

I apologize for not having a better, more centered, photo, but it’s difficult to see with the sun glare when taking photos with my iPhone. I have to tip my sunglasses so I’m not looking through them just to see the screen, and even then it’s not clear.  There is no way to see if the image is blurry, so I just hope for the best.  Fortunately these pictures turned out pretty clear.

giant red crab florida
Giant Red Hermit Crab found in the Indian River

In all my time out walking the shallows of the Indian River backwater I have never seen a red hermit crab.  I took a couple of quick photos and put him down.  Usually the hermit crabs I see retreat back into the shell when picked up.  Not this guy… he was bold.  I didn’t want to bother him, so I put him and his broken shell back down. In fact, if his shell hadn’t been broken, so I could see a little bit of his color, I may have passed it by assuming it was just another typical hermit crab.

I had to look this one up when I got home and found some info at TribenWater, where the writer (who is from New Smyrna Beach) says they are native to Florida but “not often seen”.

Then I checked my Florida’s Living Beaches book and found that these crabs live on reefs and are “beached after storms”.
There are no reefs in the Indian River and this red crab must have been far from his home.  His shell looks like an old crown conch, and it was pretty broken.  I’m thinking he must be searching for a new shell to live in.

Anyway, that was my amazing find.  It was such a hot day, and the water had to be 90 degrees.  I’m looking forward to cooler weather.

Breakers restaurant on the beach

Four Places to Eat on the Water in New Smyrna Beach

yachts river view
View from the deck at Outriggers

I’ve only recently returned to Florida and have only lived in the New Smyrna Beach area since October 2016, BUT I first moved to central Florida in 1979 and spent 27 years here.  I lived inland, but visited the East coast often.

I decided to share my opinion of the four places to eat on the water here in New Smyrna Beach.  Three restaurants mentioned here are located on the Indian River, which is part of the Intracoastal Waterway, which runs right up the east coast of the US.   The Breakers Restaurant, is located on the ocean.  All have excellent water views. Continue reading Four Places to Eat on the Water in New Smyrna Beach

scallop shell coloring page

Scallop Shell Coloring Page Printable Download

For personal enjoyment, I am offering this scallop shell coloring page as a printable download.

It might be fun for teaching in a homeschool situation, or as a handout in a classroom. Do kids still color? I suppose so.

printable seashell coloring page
Black Outline Scallop Shell Coloring Page

Coloring seashell pages is a good way to introduce young children to sea life. I never became interested in seashell names, or the mollusks inside, until late in life.

Learn more about the scallop shell at my post here.

seashells

Collecting Shells in the Heat of a Florida Summer

It’s summer in Florida and not my favorite time of year. We go out on the boat about once a week, and it’s been high tide at the times we recently traveled the waterways. High tide means fewer beaches and exposed sand out in the river. The normal places to find big living conchs, like the horse conch, are under water at high tide and more difficult to see.

seashells
Tiger lucinia (or dosinia?), Spectral bittersweet clam (or venus clam?), white and black jingle shells.

The shells in my photo above confuse me. Many shells look A LOT ALIKE… So sometimes I am guessing as to the exact name.  The flat white shell with concentric rings is probably a Dosinia, but the Tiger lucinia is almost identical looking – except that my reference book says that the underside can be pink and yellow.  The shell I found is white underneath – it’s the one with the crack in the shell.

The jingle shells are pretty easy to recognize.  Their thin shells remind me of the mineral mica.

At high tide, island beaches become scarce and small, but there are still plenty of hermit crabs scurrying around in their beautiful crown shells, pear shells and shark’s eyes in the shallow water offshore.
My little video here is of a big Tulip shell inhabited by a hermit crab. I don’t know which type of tulip it is because the shell is black and covered with barnacles. This is only one of the many hermit crabs I found near the shore.

This is a screenshot of the temperature where I live at 7:14 in the evening… as you can see it FEELS LIKE 100!  So at noon, you can just imagine the oppressive heat… it’s why we don’t go out on the boat all that much these days.   The heat and humidity here in Florida is stupid.  And there is little relief when evening arrives.

florida heat index
7:14 at night and it feels like 100 degrees!

Being right on the water means a sea breeze can cool things off, and my favorite time to visit the beach is later in the day. I don’t live on the beach, but I live close enough to visit any time.
However, I do look forward to Fall, when it will be less crowded and less humid on and near the water.