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Old 10/04/2017, 05:32 AM   #426
Ron Reefman
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As I understand it, the Keys are open to anybody, but a lot of things you might want while there are still closed. The motel we use in Marathon, The Blackfin Resort, is closed. All the state parks are closed until further notice. I checked with a couple of charter scuba/snorkel operators and they were closed as well.

I'd check with http://www.keysrecovery.org/ or google 'Florida Keys Recovery' and you'll get a good over all idea of what is going on at the time you get to Miami.

Our trip to Ft Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas has been cancelled as the National Park is also closed until further notice.


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Old 10/07/2017, 12:50 PM   #427
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The Keys are open ! Come visit and eat at your favorite establishment , stay at your
favorite resort , and dive and snorkel with your favorite dive shop . I can only speak
for Key Largo as our shop is there . We need visitors so come on down !
http://www.seadwellers.com


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Old 10/27/2017, 01:15 AM   #428
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The upper keys are open when I visited a couple weeks ago, went snorkeling at John Pennekamp, the water temp was nice but a little cloudy, WARNING we encountered lots of jelly fish, several people in the boat got hit including me, it was hard to avoid near the Christ statue, here a little video a shot.
https://youtu.be/S61g_IuGX3Q


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Old 10/27/2017, 03:16 PM   #429
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Alot of things are open now i went october 12-18 to the keys and went snorkeling on french reef and molasses reef both seemed quite sad lots of fish but not much corals, all the public beaches are open as we also went to annes beach in islamorada and smathers beach in key west great time the water temp was in the 80s that morning we went snorkeling


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Old 11/06/2017, 07:35 AM   #430
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Had great conditions on the reef this weekend ! Blue water and north winds
made for excellent dives . Had a big group in and everyone enjoyed themselves .

Sea Dwellers


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Old 01/04/2018, 06:25 AM   #431
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I'd love to go snorkeling soon, but the high temp in Cape Coral, Fl today is forecast to be 48F... brrrrrr!

On a side note the History of Diving Museum in the Keys had an all time record yesterday with 125 visitors. We've been there and it's well worth the visit. Lots of nice displays and some crazy expensive dive helmets among the 3 or 4 dozen in their interactive display!


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Old 01/04/2018, 02:36 PM   #432
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It is a bit cold in the Keys ! The History of Diving Museum is well
worth the trip . Happy Holidays !

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Old 01/15/2018, 07:40 PM   #433
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Since there is so little going on here during the cold, I'll tell you about our experience walking the beach here in SW Florida. Yesterday my wife and I went out to the Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel and did some collecting. The best days only happen a few times a year, in the winter, after a rare cold front passes through. That only happens 3 to 6 times from November to March. The front brings winds from the NW which never happens any other time here and they wash more good live stuff up on the beach. My wife collects shells and takes photos, I tear apart sponges looking for small critters. It was a fun day as we both have just started doing volunteer work for the Bailey Mathews National Shell Museum as Shell Ambassadors. We help the snowbirds and vacationers idea shells and explain the beach eco systems. I draw a lot of attention because I'm the only one tearing sponges apart.

Yesterday's collections:

4 yellow snapping shrimp (aka pistol shrimp)




3 green snapping shrimp




10-12 porcelain crabs in various sizes and colors






2 amenones




Finally a sea squirt tunicate that is a bit bigger than a golf ball



The tunicate in in my 65g shallow reef and has burried itself in the sand with just the tip of it's... it's... mouth(?) sticking out of the sand.


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Old 01/16/2018, 01:21 AM   #434
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very cool


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Old 01/19/2018, 05:06 AM   #435
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Ron I think that's a cucumber not a tunicate.

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Old 01/22/2018, 07:29 AM   #436
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You may be right, but I wouldn't bet on it as a sea cucumber or a tunicate as yet.

I was unsure just what it was when I collected it, but I was quite sure it wasn't illegal to collect per Sanibel Island, Lee County and State of Florida rules. I've collected and found lots of local sea cucumbers and they all have a different shape than this animal, they are more cigar shaped where this animal is very round with just a bit of cone shape at one end. Sea Cucumbers also have both feeding intake (with mouth parts) and an excrement end and act like worms. This animal has just one opening at the tip of the cone and both inhales and exhales water from this hole as if it were breathing.

It does look somewhat similar to a Sclerodactyla briareus, which is a cucumber, but it's more round and again, only one opening. Our best guess is that it's a Molgula occidentalis which is in fact a sandy-skinned tunicate. But I'm not 100% sure either.


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Old 01/22/2018, 08:04 AM   #437
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This site really needs a like button! Ron I always enjoy reading your posts...a big fan of yours


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Old 01/23/2018, 08:01 AM   #438
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Reefman View Post
You may be right, but I wouldn't bet on it as a sea cucumber or a tunicate as yet.

I was unsure just what it was when I collected it, but I was quite sure it wasn't illegal to collect per Sanibel Island, Lee County and State of Florida rules. I've collected and found lots of local sea cucumbers and they all have a different shape than this animal, they are more cigar shaped where this animal is very round with just a bit of cone shape at one end. Sea Cucumbers also have both feeding intake (with mouth parts) and an excrement end and act like worms. This animal has just one opening at the tip of the cone and both inhales and exhales water from this hole as if it were breathing.

It does look somewhat similar to a Sclerodactyla briareus, which is a cucumber, but it's more round and again, only one opening. Our best guess is that it's a Molgula occidentalis which is in fact a sandy-skinned tunicate. But I'm not 100% sure either.
Its an odd critter for sure, I have never seen a tunicate with only one spout, or that moves more than just inflating and deflating. To me it looked like a sea apple in the picture.

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Old 01/23/2018, 08:05 AM   #439
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Its an odd critter for sure, I have never seen a tunicate with only one spout, or that moves more than just inflating and deflating. To me it looked like a sea apple in the picture.

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Just looked at the pictures again, definitely not a sea apple

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Old 01/24/2018, 06:27 AM   #440
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This site really needs a like button! Ron I always enjoy reading your posts...a big fan of yours
Thank you! I guess it's party due to my desire to keep learning and my enthusiasm for the hobby and for the marine environment. For me, I think snorkeling is as close as I'm ever going to get to being able to watch what looks like very alien type creatures up close and personal. And becoming a Bailey Mathews National Shell Museum volunteer Shell Ambassador has opened up a whole new venue for me.

Quote:
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Just looked at the pictures again, definitely not a sea apple

I believe (not 100% sure) sea apples are exclusive to the Pacific Ocean and wouldn't be in the Caribbean.

The two I have at home now are virtually invisible as they bury themselves in the sand and only leave the very small 'snout' above the surface. I'll see about finding one and getting more photos. I'll also ask the 3 marine biologists that work at the museum what they think.

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Old 01/24/2018, 06:31 AM   #441
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Thank you! I guess it's party due to my desire to keep learning and my enthusiasm for the hobby and for the marine environment. For me, I think snorkeling is as close as I'm ever going to get to being able to watch what looks like very alien type creatures up close and personal. And becoming a Bailey Mathews National Shell Museum volunteer Shell Ambassador has opened up a whole new venue for me.
There are ones from the carribean they are just not as nice looking. I will post a pick of the next one I collect

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Old 01/26/2018, 06:46 AM   #442
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SaltySully, it turns out you were right. The marine biologist at Bailey Mathews National Shell Museum says it's a Hairy Sea Cucumber (Sclerodactyla briareus). The part I was unaware of is that it's an echinoderm and all echinoderms are protected on Sanibel Island and if I had been caught with it by FWC (Florida Wildlife Commission) I could have been fined up to $500 and the loss of the sea cucumber too!

Good to know. Sanibel has some of, if not the most restrictive collection rules in the State of Florida.


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Old 01/26/2018, 07:03 AM   #443
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SaltySully, it turns out you were right. The marine biologist at Bailey Mathews National Shell Museum says it's a Hairy Sea Cucumber (Sclerodactyla briareus). The part I was unaware of is that it's an echinoderm and all echinoderms are protected on Sanibel Island and if I had been caught with it by FWC (Florida Wildlife Commission) I could have been fined up to $500 and the loss of the sea cucumber too!

Good to know. Sanibel has some of, if not the most restrictive collection rules in the State of Florida.
I didn't know seacucumbers were protected there also, I knew live seashells were, but that surprised me. Cool find any way.

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