Sunday, August 06, 2006

Seeking Scallops Sans Success ... Sorta'



hot
where
you
are?









We usually seek scallops a little north of home base off the coast of Steinahatchee, but this year we went south to the Crystal River area. The short story version of this trip is, we didn't find many. I have already mentioned that briefly in an earlier post, but I have some pics now, so let's go snorkeling.

We'll cruise south after exiting the mouth of the Crystal River. Lucky us, we're poor and can't afford a big, deep draft boat. While everyone else heads out the deeper channel, we can shortcut across the shallows and head directly to the grassy flats and clear water.

Once we get into shallow, clear water... say 4-6 feet deep, it's just a matter of hopping over the side and looking for the scallopy rascals. I'll carry the cheapo underwater camera so we have something to remember this by. Slip on your fins, spit in your mask, toss out the dive flag and let's go!



bodacious
i
v
a
l
v
e







Above, what's that? Way to go! You've found one already! The seafloor here is covered with seagrasses in a vast carpet that extends up and around the Big Bend. The scallop you found is sitting atop the grass blades busily filtering plankton from the clear warm water. He can sense you with his many eyes and will jet propel himself deeper into the grass if you dilly dally so... GRAB HIM WILL YA!

OUCH!
Oh yeah, watch the edges of the scallop shell. When they clamp down, sometimes they pinch. (...meant to tell you that ahead of time...)



hard
bottom








Oh, hey good find! You found a patch of exposed hard bottom. We won't find any scallops here, but these are great for snorkel sightseeing. There's a flat sheet of limerock that underlies this submerged edge of Florida. That's what we're snorkeling over right now. It's under the grassy areas too, but here there's not enough sandy covering for the grasses to grow. See that crack in the limerock? If we could see in there, we'd see delicious stone crabs waiting for the safety of night to come out and prowl. That little mangrove snapper is hovering over it in case he needs to duck and cover.

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sponge
worthy








Good eye! That's a heck of a sponge. We're not too far north of Tarpon Springs, which once was the center for the Florida sponge industry. These hardbottom areas actually support small round corals, but they never develop into Florida Keys style reefs here in the shallows due to cold winter temps.

I know you don't want to quit, but there's a big thunderhead building back in the direction we have to go to get back to port. Plus, the kids got into the ice chest and ate all the Church's fried chicken.

We've only grabbed a handful of scallops, not enough to make a meal, so let's tuck them down in the grass where maybe they'll get to spawn. There's always next year.

Race ya' back to the boat!

...Is that a bull shark behind you?

15 comments:

Hurricane Teen said...

you and your alliteration

swamp4me said...

Yikes! There you go again...something about all that water tends to terrify me. It's fascinating, but I just don't know if I could jump in and not freak out. I'll stick to my venomous snakes and hungry bears :)

threecollie said...

Thank you for a lovely voyage. Snorkeling clear, cold Adirondack lakes is one thing, but down there, what can I say but WOW! Do you eat the scallops you find and if so may I ask how you prepare them? We have to get them at the grocery store, but I just love them.

Floridacracker said...

Hurricane Teen,
Love 'litteration lots.

Swampy,
"Wikipedia" says NC has the highest poisonous snake bite rate in the US. Only 4 people worldwide died from sharks in 2005,one of those was in the US. Snakes in the US alone killed about twice that. I haven't even got to the bears yet...
Come on in, the water's fine. :)

Threecollie,
We eat them when we are more successful...these are small bay scallops and it takes a bunch for a meal. They are pretty tastey.

Deb said...

Thanks for sharing another pure Florida adventure! That water looks so clear and inviting.

Floridacracker said...

Deb,
About 85 degrees too!

Debbie said...

When we go scalloping we take gardening gloves with us. The gloves help when the scallops try to bite your fingers and also when getting a firm grip to clean them. It works great.

Floridacracker said...

Debbie,
Good idea. I never think to bring them until I'm on the water.

Laura said...

I've never gone scalloping before and I've always wanted to try it. Next year, for sure! Thanks for the tour, looked like a great day to me!

Floridacracker said...

Laura,
Hopefully next year there will be more of them. Slim pickings this year both in Crystal River and Steinhatchee.

Thunder Dave said...

Excellent photos and narration, I felt like I was almost there!

roger said...

i want to do that. i love the water. we saw, and felt with our feet, giant scallops in a small bay on the gulf side of baja california. nice narrative.

Floridacracker said...

ThunderD,
You almost were...buy that land yet?

roger,
you would be in bivalve heaven on a good year. seems to run in cycles.
have you ever read Steinbeck's "Log From The Sea Of Cortez" ?

Mrs. S said...

That last comment of yours is exactly why I don't swim in the ocean!!!

Actually... let's be honest: I'd swim in the ocean if I lived where YOU live, but up here the Pacific Ocean is DARN COLD all year 'round!

benning said...

Neat! I'm just a few miles south of Tarpon Springs, so I've been to the Sponge Docks, and seen the mass of sponges they have there. I've never seen the scallops, aside from on a plate!

Are the ones you found considered Bay Scallops or Sea Scallops? What the heck's the difference anyway?

mrs s: Remember - Bull Sharks have been known to swim far up rivers. Mean fishies, those Bull Sharks!