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SouthWest Florida Marine Aquarium Society

Beach Time

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OK, word on the local news is the Red Tide is much less than earlier this year. And the current long range weather prediction is for west to northwest winds from Sat the 27th thru Tues the 30th. They aren't very strong west winds (barely double digits) and it doesn't appear to be a cold front, but it could be the first good shelling/collecting day on Sanibel since early Spring of this year. I'll be keeping an eye on the weather and we'll see what happens. BTW, we didn't get to go to the beach after Hurricane Michael because we were on a plane to Albuquerque, NM for the Balloon Fiesta. Between Elaine and I we took over 1100 photos during the 2 to 3 hour launch of over 600 balloons among nearly 100,000 people at the site. They start with a few just before dawn and they are all airborne within 2 1/2 hours. Feel free to go to my Flickr site and see way more photos (a couple of examples are below). Here is a link directly to my album and you don't need to join or even register.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/albums/72157700795108051


And for those of you concerned about the Red Tide affect on critters you might collect off the beach, here is my first hand account. We went out one Saturday at noon when the Red Tide reports were near their worst. Algiers Beach had just 3 cars in the parking lot when we arrived. The beach had a dead fish every 10 to 20 feet on average. Some spots were absolutely littered with baby sand dollars (some still alive). I found quite a few 'sand' anemones and decided to try and rescue a couple. I put them in the peanut butter jar I was carrying. For the first 2 hours the tide was going out and we saw no dead fish in the water. But when we were back to the area where we leave the beach to go back to your car, the tide was coming back in and as I did a water change in the jar with the anemones, I counted over 35 dead fish in the water.


I was very concerned for the well being of the anemones and also didn't want them to contaminate my 50g cube. So for the next 3 weeks I kept the nems in the jar and twice a day I dumpped the water in the jar down the sink and refilled it with water from the tank. At the end of 3 weeks they seemed to be doing very well, so I put them in the tank. They both moved under the egg crate platform my live rock sits on and set themselves into the sand. They are still there and doing just fine. I also saw absolutely no ill effects on the rest of the tank. So I guess the short version of this is, I'll collect critters if I find ones I can use, but I'll quarantine them and keep a close eye on them for longer than I usually do.



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Edited by ronreefman

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Friday thru Monday the winds are still forecast to have a westerly component. I'm thinking either a Sunday or Monday morning beach walk at Algiers Beach on Sanibel. My expectations are low because the forecast winds aren't as strong as they are during most good cold fronts. But it's been so long since we've done a beach walk that Elaine and I are up for it. Anybody interested?

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The weather has changed slightly. It looks like the wind will be mostly SW to W on Fri and mostly W to NW on Sat which are good. But Sun it goes to the N and we have decided to do a Sunday morning Sanibel Algiers beachwalk. Low tide isn't really very low, but it is at 10:50am so it's not at dawn either. I expect we'll be out there by 9am at the latest. 


One caveat, the westerly winds are predicted to be all that strong, so I'm not expecting it to be that great a day for collecting. But we haven't walked the beach in so long that we are going anyway! 

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We did a Sanibel Island beach walk this morning. The Red Tide seems to be going away and yesterday we had our first small cold front passage. The cold fronts down here bring stronger westerly winds and we never get westerly winds other than cold fronts and hurricanes! The west wind creates bigger waves that washes shells and other stuff up on the beaches. There were only 6 cars in the parking lot when we arrived. But then the Red Tide issue is only just cleared up and it isn't 'season' yet, i.e. very few snowbirds are here from up north yet. Because the winds weren't really strong there weren't a lot of good things washed up today, but it was way better than last August when we did a walk during the Red Tide!

This is the beach, and I don't mind that there are the normal hundreds of people everywhere!

We did find one live shrimp washed up, and it's the first time we've ever seen a big shrimp, dead or alive on the beach.

There were hundreds of baby sand dollars and 99% of them were still alive and trying to snuggle down into the wet sand.

Elaine, my wife, found what was by far the best shell of the day, a big Lightning Whelk.

So my collections included this anemone that I only know as a 'sand anemone'. I have 2 in my tank now and they bury themselves in the sand with just the tentacles exposed. They are not photosynthetic, but the do filter feed quite well and I've had them for many months now. They are about the thickness of a ballpoint pen and about 3" long. But like most anemones they can shrink and expand a lot!

I have no idea what kind of anemone this guy is. I've never collected one like it before. So it will be the subject of some serious study and research on Monday.

I found one nice clump of green macro algae and I thought there were a few things living in it so I collected it. The first critter to come out of it was this guy. I'm 95% sure it's a small sea hare.

The last thing I found in the algae, besides half a dozen tiny baby mollusks (you can see a couple near the sea hare above), was this guy. It looks like a worm and it's about 3" long and only about as thick as a fat pencil lead. But the end has some crazy looking... 'tentacles'. My Research Administrator (my retired reference librarian wife) found this name: Synaptula Hydriformis which is in the Apodida order and the Synaptdae family. Once I read what she had found, I agree and it turns out to be a specialize type of sea cucumber. It eats algae and detritus... how cool is that! I have a short video I'll try to load up later.

You can tell how small it is by comparing it to the hole in the sand dollar underneath it. And that sand dollar, collected in the algae clump by mistake, is only about an inch in diameter! You can see the sand dollar better in the shot of the unknown anemone.

I love that we get to just go out and walk the beach and find cool and unusual critters to bring home! I hope you enjoyed the photos and stories.

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Sorry the photos didn't transfer, here they are in the order they belong in the post!


45569149452_79c0a03350_c.jpgPA280020 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


44706213985_9b51ec30b6_c.jpgPA280043 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


44706216615_dba959364e_c.jpgPA280014 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


44706215715_d72d095e86_c.jpgPA280021 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


44706273555_6159d14bab_c.jpgPA280003 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


45569147272_4c2ac5b41b_c.jpg20181028_184746_resized by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


44706214615_0d0d6917c1_c.jpg20181028_184558_resized by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


45619711441_f1488199d0_c.jpg20181028_184451_resized by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


43802033960_036f2a77db_c.jpg20181028_184327 by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr


45569148462_28ae4f3872_c.jpg20181028_184159_resized by Ron Lindensmith, on Flickr




Edited by ronreefman

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I went as well.  No shrimp.  Only a few sponges.  Nothing in them.  Found one partial gorgonian and thousands of sand dollars.  Found a few of the sand anemones.  Kept one.  Actually found four or five clumps of the caulerpa.  Kept one clump.  Found two pieces of manatee grass.  As for shells, found a handful of smaller keepers and one really nice shark eye.

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Cindy and I were out at dawn Sunday, walking the beach also. Just pulled these out from being cleaned.

There were sea hares and sand anemones in the tide pools and quite a bit of algae in the tide.IMG_20181031_110726166.jpegIMG_20181031_110737255.jpegIMG_20181031_110746468.jpegIMG_20181031_110752878.jpeg

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk

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