This morning on Sanibel, I took a walk by Gulfside Park and there were fighting conchs everywhere. A little before 7am, I had the beach to myself so I picked up a few that were empty. I have to tell you, I could have picked up buckets of them. I just don’t need buckets of empty fighting conchs!
I kept several shells this morning for my sister. She’s a teacher and uses seashells as a reward for her students. They love them! She says the kids will actually listen and pay attention when they know a seashell is coming their way for good behavior. I love that.
Well, I got up early before the sun to do a little shelling, but when I got to the beach, this is what I saw – lightning in the sky. Eeek! I sat and watched for a few minutes before I determined it was not safe to continue. The sky lit up like crazy, over and over again. I’ve always heard, if you can hear thunder, you are in striking distance of lightning. So, I went back home (to the resort)! I’ll be back later.
If you’re looking for an OK beach in the Florida Keys, Anne’s Beach in Islamorada (or Lower Matecumbe) might be what you’re looking for. It’s at mile marker 73 on the oceanside, and there is a little parking at either entrance. If you pass the first entrance as you’re heading south, there is another entrance 1/4 mile on the same side.
I have found a few tulips here and some augers and turbins. Nothing spectacular but it’s pretty and it’s fun. There is a boardwalk that will take you from one parking lot to the other through the mangroves. There are picnic tables and facilities. The water is shallow and goes out a good ways before it will get deep. Many shells have crabs in them here. They hang out by the mangroves.
I live very close to Key Largo so we head that way quite frequently. My favorite place to stop and visit is the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center in Tavernier.
While I wade in the shallow waters at the Bird Center looking for shells, my eldest is usually fishing or spearfishing further south in Islamorada. It’s a good trade off, I get to hunt for shells and he usually brings home dinner. Good boy!
Finally made it back to the east coast and the boys went fishing off Islamorada. That’s a dolphin fish (also known as a MAHI MAHI). Locals have pretty much stopped calling it ‘dolphin fish’ since everyone thinks you’re talking about the dolphin mammal when you say the word! It can get annoying.
Mahi makes for a great dinner, it’s light-colored flesh cooks up so flaky and tasty. All you need to do is marinate in a little Italian dressing and throw it on the grill. If you don’t want to cook it yourself, or you can’t go fishing, our favorite place to get a great mahi dinner is in Key Largo at a dive place called SHIPWRECKS Bar and Grill. It’s located in north Key Largo at 45 Garden Cove Dr, Key Largo, FL 33037. They don’t have a website so I can’t link you there! Friday nights is their All-You-Can-Eat Fish Fry (or grilled or blackened) for only $12.
There was a lot of foam on the beach this morning, but it didn’t seem to slow anyone down. The fighting conchs were out in full force, and there were lots of empties, in all colors. I’m still on the hunt for an albino fighting conch – all white. Ever found one?
I found this fat tulip today while shelling on West Gulf Drive. I also found these two colorful lightning whelks. I am so attracted to their dark color – and yes, they were both empty! These were both in the water, found them about 20 minutes apart while walking.
By the way, today’s sunrise was one of those I’ll remember forever. Take a look at those cotton candy clouds.