Sunday, June 05, 2005

Ft Myers Beach, FL

Yesterday we had a day without rain. Well, actually it drizzled periodically, and black clouds threatened most of the day, but we were still able to get out of the RV and do some fun things. So we drove to Lover's Key State Park and started out with some shelling. Boca and Ft Lauderdale's beaches just don't have many seashells, so this is not something I get to do frequently - though some may disagree considering the size of my shell collection. It was high tide when we got there, but with the storms there were a lot of shells on the beach. What a variety, too. Florida fighting conchs, lightning whelks, kitten paws, cones, and many more I forget the names of. The water was warm, the sand was white, and the beach was almost empty. Perfect day to stroll the beach.

We took a break from shelling and put our kayaks in and paddled the interior waterways surrounding Black Island. We kept seeing fins in the water breaching like dolphins, but the fins weren't shaped exactly right for a dolphin. We'd see these "fins" chase after fish creating quite a disturbance, and Andy even saw one in the distance jump completely out of the water. Later we were told that they were probably large tarpon. We're used to seeing pretty little reef fish, sharks, manatees, and dolphins, but not big game fish like tarpon. I'll have to learn more about these big guys!
I got a distant picture of the "fin" during a feeding frenzy, and when I zoom in this is what we found...tarpon? or Lochness Monster?

Lunch took us into downtown Ft Myers Beach where Andy saw a New York Deli offering their "world famous Philly Cheese Steaks". When we found out they make their own bread on-site, our hopes rose even higher. Excellent cheesesteak and eggplant parmesan sandwiches. Andy always says the bread can make or break the sandwich.

We walked out to the pier to find the National Swimming Championships was being held right then and there. They had several races to choose from - a 5k, 10k, and 25k SWIMMING race. Which would you choose? We watched the end of the 5k. The 1st & 2nd place finishers came in side-by-side for a photo-finish in 55 minutes. Unbelievable. I figure that at my 40-minute/mile pace x 3.2 miles + extra minutes for slowing due to the distance + extra minutes for sore shoulders + extra minutes for drowning in the pea-soup green surf = never finishing. Can't even imagine a 25k.

We went back to Lover's Key at low-tide for more shelling. We walked north to the end of the island. Outside of those threatening black clouds, it was still nice. This time, though, instead of just finding the shells we found live critters. Many Florida Fighting Conchs were fighting their way back into the gulf. Got some great close-ups. Freaked one little guy out so he went scampering back into the hole he just dug himself out of. Oops! It's a slow process for a guy with one foot and two eyes dangling out of his shell.

We also found a live Lightning Whelk that Andy pulled out of the sand.

And the area is proving to be a great birding area. With Ospreys...

And Herons...

And Roseate Spoonbills...

Just to mention a few.

Good thing we got out yesterday, because it's been raining since lunchtime today. We attempted a run this morning in the teeming humidity...went two miles up and over the big bridge and down the beach before we called it quits and walked two miles home. "Better than nothing" I like to say! Our fault for having a lazy morning.

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