Tag Archives: Ponce Inlet

east coast florida beach shells

Take A Closer Look When Seashell Collecting

If you are not a regular beach-walker and seashell collector, it may seem that the good seashells (usually we think they will be big too) will be easy to find.  If only you find them first.   But heading to the right beach, at the right time, is not all it takes to find unique and wonderful shells.  Often a closer look at the sand beneath your feet will give up surprises.

In my photo below, it seems as if there are few shells here to find.  But that is not true.  All the seashells in my photo (next one down) were collected in one day here.  But I had to look closely, and I picked up a lot of stuff I didn’t want, in order to find them.  I also walked back and forth along the breakers more than once.

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The water was gorgeous, but it was very windy with rough seas

As I walked the beach at Ponce Inlet yesterday afternoon, I didn’t see many people looking down at the sand. Most people were hanging out in chairs, or walking and talking, or in the water fishing. It occured to me that searching for unique shells takes some intense looking. I had to closely scan the sand around me in order to collect some unique, smaller keepers.  It made me wonder if anyone ever looks closely at the shells beneath their feet.  I know they would scramble to pick up a whole starfish or sand dollar, but I doubt many people give much thought to other inconspicuous shells, or the creatures who made them.

 

The beach was full of shells, with more being exposed as the tide went out quickly. Most were the commonly found arks and cockle shells. They are thick bivalves, which make them easy to find in one piece. Don’t get me wrong, they are nice looking, but can be found all over this area. I was looking for something that would be relatively rare to add to my collection.

My sons and I spent nearly three hours on the beach, fishing and beachcombing (they fished), and today my back aches from the constant bending and standing. Who knew that shell collecting could be a workout?

I found many beautiful shells, and a few I have not collected before. Unfortunately the surf is rough and finding whole shells is difficult. So I collected some shells that were nearly whole, knowing that I may never find a perfect specimen.

east coast florida beach shells
The collection, pre-washing

A few of the shells I found were easy to see, just beneath the waves, or stuck in the soft sand. The big, white Angelwings immediately attracted my attention, and although pieces were missing along the tops, I took them home.

I also brought home three Channeled Duckclams, which I see a lot, but are always broken. Usually I only find bits and pieces not worth collecting. Yesterday I did take the big broken ones. Their shells are thin, like the Angelwings, so finding a perfect shell is tough.

Other shells that were fairly easy to find were the black ones. Black stands out against the beach sand, and against the others. Happily, most of the black shells I went for ended up being Jingle Shells! One black shell was a piece of what looks like a whelk of some kind, but I loved finding all those jingle shells.

But some of the most awesome shells I came across were very small and could only be found by looking closely at the sand. They blended in with all those arks, but every now and then something different would catch my eye. It helps to know a little about seashells. They are not all the same, although at first glance they may seem to be.

I was able to add two Dosinia shells to my bag. I love the feel of their smooth flat surface. And I rarely see them. A little gray sharks eye was sitting on the sand, and although it was broken, I collected it. I’ve found big beautiful sharks eye shells while out boating but they are always inhabited by hermit crabs.

Other unique (to me) shells were the Stout tagelus, slipper shells, cross-barred venus, a black scallop, and two lettered olives (one alive).  And I found some things that have baffled me.  I’m still researching photos in my seashell book, Florida’s Living Beaches, to discover what they are.

As I write about each of the shells I found, I will link back to this page so you can click to see the photos of the shells.

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Pictures of Ponce Inlet For National Lighthouse Day

As I was finishing up this post, I discovered that today, August 6th, is National Lighthouse Day. And I just happen to have lighthouse photography to share from our recent trip to the beach.

Ponce Inlet lighthouse jetty
Lighthouse at Ponce Inlet

Ponce Inlet is a place that is well known to Florida residents who head over to the Atlantic beaches. The name is short for Ponce De Leon, and the lighthouse is an attraction.  These photos were taken from the south side of the inlet at New Smyrna beach.  To get to the lighthouse you must travel up to Port Orange and come in from the other side.

The lighthouse is one of the tallest in the U.S. and is the tallest in Florida.  Pay the price and you can climb to the top, which I have never done. It’s on my to-do list / bucket list.

Jetty at Ponce Inlet
Jetty at Ponce Inlet

The day I took these pictures we were spending time at New Smyrna Beach and decided to drive up to see the jetty area.   The long rocky trail juts out into the ocean and is a popular place to fish.  Often surfers like to catch waves near the jetty, and it’s known as a shark infested area.  On our visit a complete stranger began telling us that because of the full moon, the tide was extra high and was washing out the area. You can see that in my photo below.

beach erosion florida
Beach Erosion at Ponce Inlet near the Jetty

This area is at the tip of Smyrna Dunes Park, which contains a long boardwalk that goes out to the beach area and jetty. The day we visited the stairway to the boardwalk was taped off because the sand had been washed away from the pilings.

Inlet from Atlantic ocean to ICW
This photo was taken on the inlet side of the jetty, looking out toward the ocean.

View the official page of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

The Jetty at Ponce Inlet

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The jetty at New Smryna Beach / Ponce Inlet, on the east coast of Florida, is one of the few places in the state where you’ll see big rocks. It’s popular for surfers and fishermen and it’s the most likely place to hear that a surfer has been being bitten by a shark – at least in that area of the state. A number of years ago, a friend of mine’s son had to go to the hospital with a shark bite when he was boogie-boarding near the jetty.    Continue reading The Jetty at Ponce Inlet