Tag Archives: Florida

It’s a Keeper! Found a Big Horse Conch

horse conch big seashell
Horse Conch
Yesterday, while walking the low tide sands around Three Sisters Islands, I came across a big seashell that was empty! I saw a lot of nice crown conchs, small pear whelks, and a nice big sharks eye shell, but all were occupied by hermit crabs. Until I saw the horse conch, all I had collected were bivalves, which were filled with sand, and not living creatures. I found a ‘giant Atlantic cockle’ which is joined, so I have two perfect, connected halves, and a pretty ‘dosinia’ which is a flat, whitish shell.

We piled into the Gheenoe – three of us – which was a tight fit, and headed out in the heat to do some fishing and island hopping. Being the middle of the week, we had the river pretty much to ourselves. Since the tide was just beginning to come in, there was plenty of exposed sand to explore.

The only types of shells that are abundant are the clumps of oysters which are the bane of boaters. So finding some collectable shells means searching. It was a 95 degree day (actually cooler than what we’ve been having), and even the water was hot – yes, like a hot tub – but I shuffled around the edges of the island in search of something good that was close enough to see and reach. Continue reading It’s a Keeper! Found a Big Horse Conch

Florida and New Hampshire, in Comparison

beach chairs
Florida vs. New Hampshire

Florida and New Hampshire don’t have much in common.  I have lived for extended periods of time in both locations.  But each place has a beauty which is uniquely their own.

Both states have beaches, although they are distinctly opposite.  Warm water vs. icy cold; long stretches of smooth sand vs. one small area packed with so many people you can barely see the sand.  Actually, I haven’t been to Hampton Beach, NH since I was a kid. But the ocean water in the north stays extremely cold even in mid-summer.  I see no reason to venture near it!  I’ve been spoiled by the tropical, sandy beaches.

Let’s talk home improvements.  In Florida I had no time limits as to making home improvements.  In NH we scramble to replace the roof and landscape the yard before it freezes and snows.  Except for the afternoon thunderstorms in Florida, and the occasional threat of a hurricane, the weather was not much of a concern.

But in Florida I never felt safe, like I do living in my area of New Hampshire.   Continue reading Florida and New Hampshire, in Comparison

Guessing This is a Rock Snail Shell

seashell orange inside
Florida Rock Snail

I am only guessing, but I think that this little shell is a Florida Rock Snail (Stramonita haemastoma). Because it has a pretty orange color inside and horizontal stripes, I think my guess is correct. It measures 1 1/8 inches in length.  I picked it up on Sanibel Island many years ago.

I’ve always thought that some of the prettiest seashells are the smaller ones.  Everyone seems to be looking to collect big, fancy shells, but look closer – tiny is sometimes just as fun to find.

I miss the beaches of Florida, but I may be living back down that way soon.  With walks along the beach in mind, I plan to keep my eyes open for some fun treasures to collect.

I won’t be living on expensive, high class Sanibel Island, so I won’t have piles of shells to dig through.  On the east coast shells are not nearly as abundant.  And that is why finding them is so darn fun.

Not many people can afford to live on the beach, but living close enough to make a short drive there is good enough.  And living in the state of Florida means there will be a good variety of beaches to visit, and waterways to travel.  I see a nice boat in my future!

If you know what this shell is called, and it’s not a rock snail, please leave your comment below.  Thanks for reading!

A day on the Intra Coastal

My son was out doing some Florida fishing, looking for snook, but caught this Jack Crevalle and a bunch of mullet. He smoked the mullet and said they were pretty tasty, but that Jack was not good eating.



I went out on the intra coastal and caught some fish. It ended up being a beautiful day. A little hot (87°) but beautiful.

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A Starfish / Sea Star Collection

starfish on glass tableWhen I traveled to Florida this past summer to visit my son, we visited with some of his friends and enjoyed a swim in their backyard, saltwater pool. Off to the side was a glass table with a bunch of dried starfish, or sea stars, so I took a photo. The home owners were not home, so I didn’t have a chance to ask them where the starfish came from. I know they have a nice boat and suspect they may have collected them from a trip to a Florida beach, or offshore island.

In Florida there are five armed sea stars, like the ones in the photo, and some with 9 legs / arms. Some have so many legs, like the feather star, that you wouldn’t think of them as starfish.  I’ve never personally seen many starfish on Florida beaches. Occasionally there would be a piece on the sand, or more often I’d find living sea stars. Even those I didn’t come across too often. But I didn’t live on the beach and only took occasional day trips with the kids to spend a few hours.

I’d love to have access to the beach in the early morning before the crowds arrive. Being able to walk along the shore at odd hours of the day, or right after a storm, would be wonderful. I’m envious of people who live near that expanse of nature that changes so rapidly and offers up such treasures.

You can see native Lined Sea Stars in action at this post on the i Love Shelling blog. She also has an image of the 9-armed variety.

Shelling at Three Sisters Island Florida

horse conch seashell
Encrusted Horse Conch

My recent trip to Florida gave me opportunity to do some shelling, or seashell hunting. The Three Sisters Islands are in the backwater area of the intracoastal near Edgewater and that is where we dropped anchor one day. It was hot and we needed to take a dip in the very warm water (80’s at least) to try to cool off. The area around one of the islands was very shallow so I took a walk looking for shells.
The east coast of Florida is not exactly the best place to find shells, and most of the shells I saw were inhabited by hermit crabs. Those things are everywhere! But suddenly I spotted something large in the murky brown water and when I got up close I saw it was a big shell. When I lifted it out, this is what I saw. The horse conch is the official Florida shell, and I’m pretty sure this is one. I wanted to keep it, and it had no living thing inside, but something attached to it was alive.
Those bumps you can see on the left side in my photo, were squishy and obviously living. I don’t know what they are – maybe some sort of coral? – but I decided to put the shell back. So I took my own advice and took some photos and left nature alone.
The only shells I brought back home were collected along New Smyrna Beach, and they are not super impressive. But this horse conch was definitely my favorite find.

The Fisherman’s Cottage Rental, A Review Part 2

Florida scenic view of waterway from deck
Pretty View From the Deck

This posts continues my review of a horrible rental property I had a luck to choose when I visited Florida this summer. It wasn’t all bad. After all I woke up to this view from the deck outside my 2nd floor bedroom each morning, and we had really great weather all week. Hot and sunny – just what you’d expect on a Florida vacation in June.

Sleeping at the Fisherman’s cottage was comfortable even though the air conditioning didn’t seem to get to the upstairs part of the house very well. Downstairs in the front room, and the connected bedroom, it was nice and cool. The beds were comfortable and the views were lovely. That is where my compliments of this place end. Continue reading The Fisherman’s Cottage Rental, A Review Part 2