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Cedar Key Shell Collecting Trip Report, Oct 28-30, 2011

Sanibel Island...
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Cedar Key Shell Collecting Trip Report, Oct 28-30, 2011

This year we came to Cedar Key a few weeks later than last year and stayed for three days. We arrived shortly before midnight Thursday evening and were able to get into our condo because the helpful folks at the Island Place, http://www.islandplace-ck.com/home/ left it unlocked, even though we did not have a confirmed reservation for that night. The next two mornings we rented a boat from Cedar Key Marina, http://www.cedarkeymarina.net/index.php and went out collecting seashells on the sand/grass flats exposed at low tide around Seahorse Key.

We found many of the seashells that we found last year. There were plenty of whelks (lightning and pear) and tulips (true and banded). We also found a large number of Lettered olives, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… , many Shark eyes, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm?id=39 , some nice White baby ears, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm?id=42 and many Eastern augers, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… . Some bivalves we found included the Florida lucine, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… , the Atlantic giant cockle, shellmuseum.org/shells//shelldetails.cfm… , the Sunray Venus clam, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… , the Bay scallop, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… and a small tellin, which I still need to ID. In one of the sheltered coves around the oysters we found some large (> four inches) Crown conchs, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm?id=83 , a good number of large Florida Rock snails, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm?id=76 and a few Tampa drills, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm?id=78 . It sure was fun to see all the sea life out on the flats.

Friday evening we had a most pleasant dinner at Tony’s Seafood Restaurant, tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g34126-d62… . I had the Low Country Boil, and my wife had Tony’s Guilt Free Seafood dinner. Both were excellent. At the end of the meal our waiter treated us to a complimentary dessert “tasting”, which consisted of three different desserts that were all very tasty. That was an excellent dinner and a special time. On Saturday we again ate good seafood at the Rusty Rim Pub. The crab cakes and steamed shrimp were excellent. Saturday evening Cedar Key celebrated Halloween. It was fun to see the young and the not-so-young dress up in costumes and trick or treat along the several blocks of restaurants, stores and accommodations.

Sunday morning was colder, and the wind was up. We spent the low tide collecting on the sand flats off of the old Beachfront Motel, which has not been operational for several years and is now owned by the bank. We saw numerous (over 100) live White baby ears. In addition to some of the shells already mentioned, we found some nice Cancellate lesser whelks, http://www.gastropods.com/8/Shell_15228.shtml , multiple Eastern oyster drills, http://www.gastropods.com/4/Shell_2994.shtml , some Mauve-mouth drills, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm?id=70 and a few Humphrey’s wentletraps, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm?id=66 .

The nice folks at the Island Place permitted us to have a late check-out (3 PM), which gave us the opportunity to collect seashells during the entire low tide and then take showers and clean-up before leaving for our long drive home. Although our condo was not as nice as the one last year, it was more than adequate for our needs and had a nice view of the water. Because of the excellent service we received, we will definitely stay at the Island Place during our next visit to Cedar Key.

Eatonton
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1. Re: Cedar Key Shell Collecting Trip Report, Oct 28-30, 2011

Thank you so much for a great report on shelling! I had no idea that we had this much variety in shells in Cedar Key! If you can do it another time, go out to Atsena Otie Key - there's lots of shells on the beach out there and it's a nice walk out to the old cemetery. Bring your repellant tho - the mosquitoes are fierce!

Cindy

cindy@visitcedarkey.com

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2. Re: Cedar Key Shell Collecting Trip Report, Oct 28-30, 2011

WOW, I love collecting shells and your post was great!! (I used to collect moonstones in Cambria, CA.) I will be heading for Crystal Springs, December 27-30 and was going to stay there (for manatee swim) but Cedar Key sounds delightful. Do you know how far it is between Cedar Key and Crystal Springs. Finally, can you recommend a place to stay? Thanks in advance. Taz

p.s. Also, are there any beaches in Florida that have the petrified sharks teeth.

Eatonton
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3. Re: Cedar Key Shell Collecting Trip Report, Oct 28-30, 2011

Hey Tiztaz!

Are you going to Crystal River or Crystal Springs? Crystal River is off US 19 and is about an hour south (~60 miles) of Cedar Key, FL. There are several swim with the manatee places in Crystal River.

Cedar Key is a great little town, very much old Florida. Do check out Black Dog Bar and Tables when you visit - it's a great little bar with the best wine and beer selection in town. As to places to stay - there's quite a few options for lodging in Cedar Key. I own rental condos, but am already booked for the holidays. You might want to check with the Chamber of Commerce (cedarkey.org) or FlipKey.com for lodging options.

If you do come to Cedar Key and are looking for a day trip - visit Manatee Springs State Park - just west of Chiefland and about 30 minutes north of Cedar Key. Manatee Springs is located along the Suwannee River and has great manatee viewing (no swimming tho). The park is a really nice change in scenery and has a boardwalk through a cypress swamp to get to the river. We especially love the birding along the boardwalk.

Best,

Cindy

cindy@visitcedarkey.com

Sanibel Island...
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4. Re: Cedar Key Shell Collecting Trip Report, Oct 28-30, 2011

Tiztaz, if you are going to Crystal River, I agree with Cindy. You will be 60-70 minutes from Cedar Key. If you want to stay on Cedar Key, there are a number of nice places, depending upon what you want and your price range. For the fossilized shark teeth, Venice Florida, http://www.venice-fla.com/capital.htm is probably your best bet. Venice is on the west coast of Florida south of Sarasota and north of Fort Myers. It is about a three hour drive from Crystal River. Hope this information is helpful. Enjoy your time.

Tampa
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5. Re: Cedar Key Shell Collecting Trip Report, Oct 28-30, 2011

Thank you so much for your trip report, for someone who lives on Sanibel Island, I would say this is a great compliment to Cedar Key as Sanibel has some of the best shelling anywhere in Florida.

We love Cedar Key and visit as often as possible. It still remains a sleepy little fishing village and thats the what we like.

I agree that Tony's is a wonderful choice for fresh seafood, we also like the Island Hotel and Kens Keyside Diner. We like staying at Harbour Master Suites but friends stayed at Faraway Inn during our annual October visit and loved it. It is right across the street from where you did some of your shelling.

6. Re: Cedar Key Shell Collecting Trip Report, Oct 28-30, 2011

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