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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Indian River Boating Photos From Ponce Inlet

We seldom make the trip up to Ponce Inlet in our boat but the other day (this past summer- 2019) we did. Our usual boating area is farther south around Edgewater and Oak Hill. My son dislikes the trip north as it is slow going with mostly minimum wake zones.

A Trip North on the ICW

As we ride up to Ponce Inlet (see my photos from the beach) from the Edgewater area we pass many beautiful homes and see some amazing boats and yachts. We passed a couple of huge yachts on the waterway, but I didn’t have my phone out. The speed is slow the whole way, and we saw paddle boarders as well. It’s a pretty ride with nice views of how the wealthy live.

Boating north on the Indian River ICW toward Disappearing Island and the Ponce Inlet.
Along the river heading north

At the Inlet

The ocean is behind us, just out the inlet.
Our wake as we ride around the Ponce Inlet area

Even though we don’t own an ocean-going boat, my son wanted to see how rough the inlet was. The water was too choppy so we turned around and came back in by Disappearing Island. In the shot above, the ocean is behind us.

View of Smyrna Dunes Park from our boat
South side of the Inlet, beach and condos near Smyrna Dunes Park

It seemed like the channels were all different in the area, and I know they had been dredging, but we found ourselves in a very shallow area where we had to go slow. The water moves the sand around so even unmarked areas can be shallow and especially at low tide.

Condos in the distance as we boat across a shallow area near Ponce Inlet

Photo above: Heading toward the fishing pier at Smyrna Dunes Park, with condos behind it.

coast guard station
Coast Guard Station, Ponce Inlet, Florida
A very built up area

We didn’t see any manatees, but they should be enjoying the warm water this time of year. Boats have to go slow and watch for them. For the most part the manatees stay near the shore and out of the main channel, but we wouldn’t want to hit one. When they are swimming they leave a big bubble-looking wake.

Sign along the waterway

My son will usually drop me at an island so I can explore while he trolls and fishes just offshore. That is when I take most of my photos like the one below with the Ponce Lighthouse in the distance.

Ponce lighthouse beach water
A view of the Lighthouse at Ponce Inlet

My favorite time is when the tide is low or going out. It leaves lots of sandy beaches to explore. No one was on this particular island with us. I believe this beach is part of Disappearing Island, or just south of it.

Ripples in the sand at low tide along an island near the Ponce Inlet in New Smyrna Beach
Outgoing tide leaves a wide beach

Just thought I’d share some riding photos since I usually only share photos from my beach excursions. In this northern area if the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway), just south of Ponce Inlet, the houses are very big and so are the boats / yachts in their front yard.

Nice homes and big boats along the Indian River
Must be nice!

Photos While Boating in the South

Since we mostly stay in the backwaters while we ride, our boating photos are pretty boring. It’s just mangroves and water with the occasional muddy flat. My phone is tucked away in the plastic bag because it’s not waterproof. Even when we see dolphin playing or catch a nice fish I don’t have it handy. Soon I’ll have a new phone which should make things easier.

driving the boat

I get my best photos when I get out of the boat and explore beaches and islands away from all the people.

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.

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.

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