Friday 22 July 2005



Lazy Day


There would be two low tides today - one at 6:51 AM, and again at 9:37 PM.  Maybe it was because I wasn't staying on-island, and I didn't have any within-minutes beach access.  Or maybe it was because I'd had such shelling success on the previous days.  Or, here's a concept - maybe it was because I just don't do 6:51 AM on purpose on a vacation day!  But I wasn't feeling any urgency about meeting the early low tide, so I elected to sleep in, and then indulge in another one of my favorite vacation hobbies - shopping!


I hit the outlets first, but not exhaustively so.  I just browsed Liz Claiborne for a while, and also the book store.  At Liz, I fell in love with a right smart brown wool blazer, then realized that since I was moving, I probably shouldn't do anything silly like buy any more Northeast-appropriate business clothing.  It's not like I'm going to get a terrific amount of use out of the stuff I already have, once I have relocated!  In the bookstore, I purchased a title for my mother's upcoming birthday.  I then picked up lunch at that little Italian deli/pizza parlor at the east end of the long strip of stores.  Chatted with the owner for a while, he's from Long Island!


Over on the other side of the causeway, I did the Periwinkle place circuit, and found a sale on comfy jersey shorts.  AND they have pockets!  Poked around in a lot of the shops to see if something jumped out at me as presents for my nieces, but nothing was inspiring me.  Spent a lot of time in that huge new beach gear and swim suit shop on Periwinkle, whose name escapes me a  the moment.  Hey, I'm flying solo here - I took no notes at all on Friday, and I'm having to refer to my credit card receipts and parking permits to figure out what all I did that day!  I didn't buy anything there, which is why I can't remember the name of it.


Wait a minute, I just picked it up from someone else's trip report - it's Mango Bay (thanks, Lynn!).


By about 3:00 PM, I was ready to get on the beach again.  I figured it was 8 hours since the last low tide, and 7 hours till the next one, so the tide was "on it's way out".  I also decided to go to the last remaining no-permit-required public beach that I'd never been to yet, and that was Gulfside City Park. 


My parking stub says that I got there at 3:23 PM.  One of the advantages of getting to the beach really late in the day is that a lot of people are already fried and leaving, and I was able to get a parking spot in the shade.  Having never been to this beach previously, I wasn't sure what to expect.  There's a nice little boardwalk, not one of those loooooong treks, and there you are.  It's quite beautiful, with a lovely view of Fort Myers Beach across the water.  The sky was really blue, and the water was that jewel aqua-green color that kind of hurts your heart to look at.


At the time I visited, this beach's sandy landscape was pretty flat, and although the waves were still reaching far up onto the shore in many spots, the water was so shallow as to be ridiculous.  It would just sink into the sand before the wave had a proper chance to recede.  This results in somewhat mushy walking conditions, but also results in a lot of stuff being deposited and never really washed out again.


It also results in a rather extended zigzag patrol - in some spots, the breakers were far up the beach, while in other spots, one had to walk way down to meet the water.  All in between, there was quantity, but you had to search in and among it for the quality.  Found some pretty nice fighting conchs, of all different sizes, just rolling in the surf line.  At one point, I was just standing there, with my back to the water, looking at whatever it was that I'd just picked up, when I happened to look down just in time to see my THIRD alphabet cone of this trip deposited by a wave, right between my feet.  The next wave came, and it gently bounced away, but I was quick with the net and made a successful capture.  Other special finds at Gulfside City Park on Friday included a big moon snail, and a couple of good sized turkey wings.


At about 5:00 PM or so, I was starting to get hungry.  I was glad to see that there is a foot wash at this beach, and after cleaning out the sand from myself and my shells, I headed out of there and up to Periwinkle to grab some grub.  Then, it was on to the Lighthouse Beach to see what I could see there.  Parking permit says I got there at 5:45 PM - still about 4 hours until low tide, but the tidal pools were already forming, and the live hermit crabs and fighting conchs were already coming out.  Near the fishing pier, I saw more dolphins hunting, and also saw a bitten-in-half fish wash up - at first I was a-feared that red tide had come, until I saw that it was bitten.  Whew!  Guess one of those dolphins sort of half missed that meal.


I didn't see my friends Mrs. Nice and Mrs. Nicer this evening - perhaps they'd gone home already, or else they had come by during the morning low tide (unlike some slackers who sleep in!).  The evening haul wasn't spectacular, but everything I found was almost directly in front of the Lighthouse, and I spent a bit of time just watching the crabs in the pools, and the waning sunlight sparkle on the bay.  Soon, I headed up to the restrooms to wash the shells.


As I was heading out of the parking lot, approaching Periwinkle to make the right, something passed in front of my car - about as big as a medium-sized dog, but moving more like a cat.  He had a stubby white tail.  I stopped the car well before the stop sign, and grabbed for my camera, but he slunk off into the underbrush before I could focus.


My life is complete.  I have seen a bobcat in the wild!


Here come the shells -


Friday's Shelling Haul

The top section is from Gulfside City Park

Bottom section, Lighthouse Beach

Neither beach visit was particularly close to low tide.

Another Alphabet Cone

Third alpha cone found this trip!

Moon Snail

She'll look nice all buffed down with baby oil

Pretty Colors

As cockles go, I think this one is especially pretty




Shell Catalog

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