Monday, July 14, 2008

What I Love about Florida, Pt. 92

I went scalloping for the first time yesterday. It was really, really fun.

We went to a boat ramp just south of Steinhatchee.

The day promised to be beautiful as we motored out toward the Gulf of Mexico.

The captain ran a tight ship. Here he gives the death stare to an unruly mate.

Everyone was out scalloping! Apparently the Florida Bay Scallop comes from "out there" around now to hang out in the shallows. In the photo below you can see the line of boats on the horizon (we got out of town a little late).

Scalloping involves a snorkel and a net bag (and a saltwater fishing license). You swim around, staring into the manatee grass and turtle grass, looking for the mollusks, which are two to three inches in diameter. Then you dive down and grab 'em! In the below photo that white blob is a scallop.

They swim by opening and closing their shells, so they can pinch you if you're not careful. Some of them, when sensing immanent capture, will try to swim away quickly (it's comical!). And although you can't tell in the below photo, the animal itself is actually beautiful. Scallops are filter feeders, so when their shells are open a sort of shaggy filter is visible, ringed with dozens of iridescent purpleish-blue eyes. I've never seen anything like it.

The water was warm and the swimming was ridiculously pleasant. It was a pretty perfect day. Plus, everyone knows boats are my favorite.

But it wasn't over! Then we went to Fanning Springs State Park, which is a new one for me. (Springs being another of my favorites, of course.) It was very crowded (Sunday and a free entry day). And THEN we got boiled peanuts, my favorite food ever!

Another positive about the day is that I only sustained a few minor injuries (re-tore something in my arm, split a toenail, and got a sunburn on my back). I mention this for those of you who know my tendencies.

Thanks, Pally.

p.s. No, I did not eat any of the scallops.


Kim said...

Wow. That was a good day! And that explains your golden glow as of late.

Betsy said...

Really enjoyed reading this blog about scalloping in Steinhatchee. Especially the captain and his evil stare. I feel lucky to have discovered Florida Ecomania and have subscribed so that I will receive all posts. I am a Florida native, do not own a car and get everthing done using the bike or my two feet, do a bit of gardening in the back yard and really enjoy the Gardening In A Minute segments that air on NPR. Why didn't you eat any scallops?

sarah said...

Kim -- I didn't know I had a golden glow!

Betsy -- good question. I'm a vegetarian.

Wicked Gardener said...

I've never heard of scalloping as a hobbie around here, but it looks like fun. I would of loved to had your share of the scallops. :D