Quiet Day On The Boat

A hot and beautiful day on the boat took us to a remote river island, a stop in the ocean, and then to Ponce Inlet.

We chose a hot, sunny day to take a much needed boat ride. It had been a while. But, this day was very hot with a heat index over 100. The water temperature was around 87 and felt very nice, but not very refreshing.

The first stop was a little place along the Indian River. We’ve been here before. In fact it is the place I saw my first and only spider crab.

Anchored boat at shallow beach on Indian River

I did some beach exploring and took photos of what I found. See the shells, a live crown conch, and one feather, in the slideshow below. Every shell, except the crown, had a hermit crab inside.

  • shiny sharks eye seashell
  • muddy tulip shell
  • hermit crab gathering
  • faded banded whelk shell
  • shell under a bigger shell
  • beach view with shell in sand
  • faded lightning whelk on sand
  • living crown conch sea snail
  • sharks eye shell with hermit crab
  • gray mud caked whelk shell
  • muddy whelks
  • hermit crab walking
  • feather on beach

Took a trip to Ponce Inlet

We don’t often boat up to Ponce Inlet, but my son likes to take our 18 foot flats boat out into the ocean! It is not an ocean-going vessel and is made for shallow backwaters, so I’m never happy about this. We only go just off the end of the inlet and only when it is calm.

The ocean water is a pretty deep blue, and we just sat and enjoyed floating. The photos make it look very calm, and it was, but there were swells. It was hot, as I have mentioned, but swimming in the ocean from the boat, is out of the question. There is no way to get back onboard.

boat in the ocean
In the ocean

After our quick ocean trip, we went back inshore and followed the channel around by the lighthouse and ended up at a sandbar.

Ponce Inlet Florida lighthouse from water

Anchored at a Sandbar by Ponce Inlet

These sandbars by the inlet are party places and fill up on the weekends. A deeper channel runs along behind the shallow area and it’s how we get to the island. The sandbar has some calm, clear, pools (and I took a dip) but the water behind the boat is running with the tide. A swim in the channel is nice too because it’s deep and at certain times, the water here can be very beautiful. This is a great place to take the kids, and everyone brings their dogs! We met up with some friends here a while ago.

  • Hewes boat anchored in shallow water
  • sandbar shallow water anchored
  • boat anchored near Ponce Inlet
  • people and boats on sandbar
  • view across the shallows

We had a nice day and managed to keep cool between dips in the water and the wind from traveling. Luckily we get to go boating during the week so there are no crowds.

me sitting at inlet beach

More stories from the blog…

A Beach All Our Own

Took a boat trip to the lagoon and explored one of the Spoil Islands.

A boating trip south to the lagoon brought us to an island we had all to ourselves. My daughter came for a visit in November and we took a boat ride, with my son, to explore the islands.

If you Google Florida’s spoil islands, the links that come up have mostly to do with the islands made further south. Those islands have camping and are kept up for visitor. We were in the northern tip of the lagoon. In general the “spoil” islands were mostly manmade by dredging the ICW canal so large ships could pass through. The coquina rock chunks were piled up to create islands which are now filled with palm trees and vegetation. This is my understanding.

This area is very shallow, and you can only access these islands with a boat that has a low draft. We are not used to dealing with “rocks” and had to be careful as we approached the shore. These coquina rocks are made up of shells and sediment that are all tightly compacted.

A Whelk Unearthed

On the rocky beach side of this island I came across the pointed end of this whelk sticking up out of the sand. When I pulled, the smooth, worn, knobbed whelk shell came up.

Beach Erosion, From Hurricane Ian?

Hurricane Ian passed over this area the end of September (2022) and I am guessing that the erosion seen here was due to that storm. Hurricane Nicole didn’t come until November 10th, which was only a few days after this trip. Nicole was worse for the coast, so I’m sure more of this island beach was washed away. Hope we can go back soon. The wind and waves from hurricanes can wash up – or wash away to expose – some interesting things. In Daytona Beach Shores they are excavating a shipwreck that has appeared along the beach, and is believed to be from the 1800s.

Windy days have kept us off the water – that, and the fact that it’s just a busy time of year. I took a short video for the full effect of being on this beach.

Yes, many of the shells had hermit crabs inside, but the big whelks did not.

The water was still quite warm – around 78 degrees – and my daughter took a swim and did some snorkeling. I saw stingrays hiding in that grass and it kept me on dry land!

We spent a few hours walking around the beach area, then boated to another island and headed home. hadn’t seen my daughter in nearly two years, so it was a really nice week with her. The day she arrived we (along with my son) headed to Flagler Ave. for an evening beach walk. Every day was spent on or in the water!

I’ll be writing more about the shells we found here on my next post.

More Stories From the Blog

Quiet Day On The Boat

A hot and beautiful day on the boat took us to a remote river island, a stop in the ocean, and then to Ponce Inlet.

Deserted Beaches, Where and When

Many people dream of having a beach all to themselves. Because we have a boat, we often get to be on deserted beaches. But you can…

A Muddy River Walk To Identify a Clump

Last September I had a good day out on the boat. Low tide offered some interesting sea life finds. I was so excited by getting a really good hermit crab video, that I neglected to write about another aspect of the trip. I took a long walk across the muddy flats to inspect a large object in the distance.

Our day out on the water proved to be one of discovery.

First, at the boat ramp, while my son parked the truck and trailer, I found a bubble shell. It’s the only shell of it’s kind I’ve ever seen.

We stopped at an unnamed island along the Indian River where I’d previously seen some very large Tulip shells. This is where I took the hermit crab video and began to wonder if hermit crabs could oust a mollusk from it’s shell.

Three Sisters islands

After we enjoyed that little island, we went just north a bit to Three Sisters. This is one of my favorite places to beach-comb and take photos when the tide is low. It’s also a good place to get into the water to cool off on a hot day.

Must Identify That Clump

The tide was very low and we could walk a long way. Lots of muddy ground was exposed which meant there would be lots of marine life to see.

Off in the distance, in an area where I’d never walked, there was something large sitting on the mud. Any time something stands out like that it’s worth a look. I figured it might be a big horse conch and hoped it was not a dead animal.

It turned out to be a clump of something I can’t identify. It was hard and jagged, like a piece of coral maybe. I took these photos and then walked back toward the boat.

Truthfully, the walk across the mud to identify the clump was a bit nerve-racking. The mud can be very soft. As you can see in the photo below, it’s easy to simply sink and get sucked in. It’s why I am careful about where I jump out of the boat.

Not only did I have the mud to worry about, but there were bumps just sticking out of the water. Anyone who knows what an alligator in water looks like would agree with me that these bumps look similar. Supposedly there are no gators in this area of the river, but they do live in the river just south of here near Cape Canaveral. I once discovered an alligator skull down there. I’m always on the look out, because you never know in Florida.

Seashells and Oysters

I sometimes find interesting seashells among the oyster beds but the mud is especially soft and the oysters are sharp. The hermit crabs like to carry their shells into these beds. The oysters are constantly snapping and gurgling while they feed and filter the water.

This area is loaded with oysters which mostly grown in clumps around the base of the mangroves. Oyster shells are sharp and can damage boat bottoms, not to mention feet! This is not an island paradise.

Mangrove island surrounded by oysters

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