Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Saturday Morning on Pass-A-Grille Beach


This morning we went out for a relaxing morning on Pass-A-Grille beach. The Gulf was very calm. The swell from hurricane Dean didn't hang around long. But apparently the swell from the very distant hurricane was enough to dislodge millions of tunicates from the sea floor and wash them up onto the beach. You can see them in the photo below. They look like shells, but they are soft-bodied tunicates, which are filter-feeders, about the consistency of dried apricots. They are encrusted with shell fragments. They are starting to stink. Photo below.



Some seaweed or algae had also washed up. Mostly "Green Fleece" (Codium spp.). It wasn't enough to interfere with enjoying the beach or to prevent me from going for a swim in the 85 degree water. The water has cooled down several degrees in the last few weeks in the St. Petersburg area. The Gulf was still nearly 90 degrees up in the panhandle last week when I was there.



The water was fairly clear and there were a lot of baitfish. The patterns in the sand and the way the light was reflecting off the water was really nice. I've always loved poking around in shallow water. A few days ago I saw some small stingrays in this area, but I didn't see any this morning.




It's always nice to find both halves of a scallop still attached. Not many shells on the beach this morning, but I was happy to find this one. I enjoyed looking at it and put it back for someone else to discover.



Pass-A-Grille is a quiet place at 9am on Saturday morning in mid-August. Another fine beach day.

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