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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Photos From a Boat Trip to Mosquito Lagoon

Photos taken while boating and beach-combing in Mosquito Lagoon on the east coast of Florida.

We seldom take our boat down to Mosquito Lagoon even though that is suppose to be the place to fish. Our boat is a flats boat which means it is meant to traverse shallow water. It handles waves okay, but not large waves or choppy water.

Mosquito Lagoon – the wide open part – is about a 20 minute trip by boat for us and if there is wind kicking up waves once we get there, it is not a comfortable ride. If we happen to hit beautiful, glassy water, we can keep going south to the cut through at Haulover Canal. That takes us through to the other side of the lagoon.

This is where we went the day I took these photos.

The Lagoon is a place for fishermen. It is not a place to go to beach-comb. There are islands along that area, heading south, which are pretty nice and can be used for camping. But, we rode way down that way once only to find that all the islands were inhabited by people.

Mosquito Lagoon is a huge area that looks more like a giant lake. I’d like to explore it more, but when we are far from home, and if the weather changes, we could get in trouble.

We’ve tried using the boat ramps on Merritt Island, but they are not the greatest. And the ramp at Haulover Canal is small and crowded.

When I am out walking a beach or shallow water area, I am mostly searching for seashells and sea life to photograph for this blog. Sometimes I end up with many more photos than I will use.

Here I am sharing some photos that may have been overlooked from the trip.

One thing about this (rather creepy) area where I walked was the fact that there were many, many dead horseshoe crabs. They were scattered over the beach sand and all throughout the water. Later I read that raccoons will eat them, although this page about horseshoe crabs does not mention raccoons as predators. It does mention alligators. This water can have gators (I found a skull), which adds to the creepiness.

Horseshoe crabs leave behind an exoskeleton when they molt. If they get turned upside down they may die. Grab them by the big part of the shell, not the tail, and turn them over. They are harmless.

I walked along this shallow water area and around the corner where the water got creepy. The brown became darker until it was nearly black. I did not venture neat that water.

I found a lot of living sea snails and no hermit crabs. My son did some fishing but caught nothing. We will make the trip back one day.

Getty Images has this pretty cool aerial video of part of Mosquito Lagoon.

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Sandhill Cranes, The Big Birds of Florida

I worry about Sandhill Cranes, as I worry about almost all of Florida’s wildlife – except maybe the gators. Alligators creep me out, and they don’t have much except for man that can kill them. And even then, special permits are needed, and the capturing is not easy, as you can imagine. But they all came first and lived in this swampy jungle which is disappearing minute by minute.

Animals that depend on land and clean water to live are quickly running out of both in the Sunshine State. In the photo below we had two lots full of trees and “wilderness” next to us when we first moved into our house – that is the greenery in the top of the photo. Now both lots have been cleared – completely, big oaks and all – to put up 2 new houses. It’s the Florida way.

Three sand hill cranes on our lawn
Adult and 2 juvenile Sandhill Cranes in my front yard

I took the short video below to capture their “talk” as they walked through my neighbor’s yard.

Sandhill cranes in my Florida yard
Nosey Sandhill Cranes, walking past

Often you can hear the cranes coming because they are loud. Sometimes they silently stroll through the yard. We had dragged the kayaks out for a cleaning and I think the cranes were curious as to what we were up to. The three of them walked right up near the house even though we were outside! My son took some video.

One day Floridians will no longer get to see these beauties. I like to imagine what Florida was like before people came here. It was a wild swampland full of strange, beautiful and deadly creatures. People are “taming” it into something unnatural, which it was never meant to be.

See a Sandhill Crane Nest and Babies (One Hatching)

The photographer and blogger at Cat and Turtle wrote and photographed Sandhill Cranes on their nest with a baby and one hatching.

Please go here to read the entire article and see the adorable baby Sandhill Crane.