Stingrays Ruin The Day

We went boating the beginning of August and hadn’t been out in a white. Both my son and I had Covid and mine (being older, I’m sure) dragged on and on. The lack of energy was just awful. But… finally we just had to get out on the water.

Unfortunately the tide was high – not my favorite for beach-combing. And there were many, many stingrays! I often see them when the water is this depth, but not this many. They were everywhere!

You never know what you will find in nature, and this area is no exception. It’s part of the fun of exploring the great outdoors.

I don’t know much about stingrays and where they live, but there were some creepy looking black tunnels in the sand. Is that where they hide out? The black would be the deeper sand that was dug up. I don’t usually see these things, so I assume they were made by the stingrays.

As you may be able to tell from my photos, stingrays blend in very well with the sand. At least I could see the bottom in the shallow water, and I would follow my own footprints back to the boat thinking I wouldn’t step on a “stingray house” accidentally. It didn’t mean they wouldn’t swim by!

The Three Sisters Islands is an area we like to visit. It is especially nice at low tide when there is a little canal we follow in behind the islands. It gives us access to lots of sandy places to walk. The water never gets low enough to strand us, and it’s a good place to find unusual sea life.

high tide at 3 sisters
Facing the river

Those stingrays were too much for me though. The fact that many beach-goers had also been stung recently did not help. It was stingray season, it seems.

At low tide this area is sandy and muddy. Boats pull up from the river side and enjoy the “beach”. I did walk around a bit, and was careful to shuffle my feet and try to let any stingrays know I was there. But it was just too creepy for me. I’ve walked among stingrays before and know that sometimes they don’t easily scare off. I certainly did not want to be stung and get a barb in my foot or leg.

We took a ride to another island and took a swim. I did see stingrays here, but could keep my feet off the bottom at least! It was hot… we needed to cool off – haha… in the 90 degree water!

Hewes Redfisher island beach swimming

We went back out boating a few weeks later and I found a living sand dollar on Three Sisters! That was a great day for beach-combing. The stingrays were gone.

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Hurricane Damage to Docks and Waterways After Irma and Maria

Effects the storms have had on islands and docks along the waterway

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!

Shells I Found on New Smyrna Beach

sharks eye seashell on the beach in florida
Sharks Eye Shell with Mollusk

I took advice from the research I’ve done about shelling and pocketed some little seashells from my recent trip to New Smyrna Beach.

I found living mollusks inside their shells, like this little shark’s eye shell, which I photographed and left alone.  There were only a few shells down by the water, so I did my searching up near the dune line where high tide may have deposited some goodies.

We went onto the beach at the Flagler Ave. entrance and headed north to park the car.  I saw a few sea turtle nests roped off with yellow tape, up near the dune area where cars are not allowed.  After swimming and boogie boarding for a bit, I took a break from the water and went in search of treasures at the high tide line. Continue reading “Shells I Found on New Smyrna Beach”

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