For those that have seen the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and swam in the waters you know too well the tradegy that has befallen our environment with the oil spill. Instead of focusing on the negative this post is in honor of all the good things that can be found in the Gulf. A couple of weeks ago I spent a weekend with my mom and friend Kim near Sanibel and Naples, Florida.
We spent the majority of the time swimming, snorkeling, walking the beach, and lounging in the hot Florida sunshine. Along the way we found some beautiful seaside treasures.
The quiet waters were home to many hermit crabs and whelks. For those that don't know a hermit crab doesn't make its own shell, it must find one that a mollusk has abandoned and when it grows larger it must find a new replacement shell. Many visitors to Florida take these beautiful creatures home without even checking the shells to see if anything is alive.
We also had really good luck finding these Keyhole Urchins or commonly known as Sand Dollars. These are also a major victim of many beachgoers that take them home and kill them. Our stash was returned after a few snapshots to the sandy bottom of the Gulf.
Watching the news lately about the oil spill is depressing. I hate to think that these very creatures in my hands will one day be covered in pollution or dead. I certainly hope that the destruction doesn't spread throughout the whole Gulf Coast. Only time will tell. Until then, I celebrate my time there with my family and I hope I have the opportunity to go back to such a pristine place.