To include being attacked by rogue jellyfish, multiple fishing techniques, the proper use of a net, and our copycat neighbor.
Oh yes, you read correctly. Jellyfish, contrary to popular scientific belief, are not mindless automata of the sea, guided by rudimentary senses, nothing more than a floating automatic appetite. No, it has become my firm opinion that jellyfish are evil creatures, wildly intelligent, existing only to drive humans from their watery domains.
I'm telling you.
Yesterday I received several more near-fatal stings from these evil creatures. Granted I was standing in some very rough surf, but that's neither here nor there. I was wantonly attacked several times, on my ankles, arms, and hands. My poor wife got stung in the water, went to the condo, and returned to report that a tentacle had somehow lodged itself in her bathing suit and had been repeatedly stinging her in a place that was not easily accessible in a public area. And to think that, having caught one earlier by accident I released it (at the neighbor's part of the beach.) Grateful? HAH!
The FIL outdid himself yesterday--fishing like a man possessed (or outside in the Florida sun without a hat and/or hair) he caught something like 17 catfish, at one point going so far as to catch two catfishes at one time, since we've been using double-rigs. To add insult to injury both to my own non-catching self and to the surrounding sea life he then proceeded to catch a catfish on his bottom hook and a sand crab on the upper. Seems the crab was a paid cohort of the catfish, and was trying to release the fish from the hook, and seeing as it was just a simple crab and not a mastermind jellyfish it managed not only to fail miserable in freeing the fish but also entangled his starboard-side legs in the fishing line. I spent an interesting five minutes with pliars, jaws-of-life, and some super glue to free this wily bugger, and was finally rewarded when my efforts paid off--both fish and crab returned to the briny deeps, and the crab rewarded my efforts on his behalf by not snipping any of my fingers off.
We also learned the easy way to find cool shells--wait until low tide, find the one place on the entire beach where shells are coming ashore, then stand just at the drop-off point with a net in one hand, the other outstretched to catch you when you fall. As the water rushes back out in preparation for the next wave, simply hold the net in the on-rushing flow of shells, sand and water, and catch your heart's content. Sort carefully for the good stuff while the next wave rushes in and strikes you with the force of three Yugos at full speed, sprawling you face-first into the giant bed of razor-sharp clam and scallop shells, while you try desperately not to crush the perfect whelk shell you just found.
Tiring, painful work, but I managed to collect three Wal-Mart bags full of beautiful shells in about two hours. Shadowboxes, here we come!
And our neighbor. We stay in a nice-sized duplexed condo, three stories if you count the bottom-floor garage. Right next door to us on the right is another duplex. To our left is a ten story tall gigantor condo being repaired from Katrina/Ivan damage, and right next to that, hosting something like a thousand rooms, all of which block the sunlight for several hours at a time, is an utterly frighteningly large condo called Eden, stepped like the layers of a cruise ship but twenty times as big as any Holiday Cruise Liner. And in there, somewhere, in one of those wildly expensive, hive-like rooms is a copycat. First day, we fished. The second day, he's got fishing equipment. The second day, we shell-hunted. The third day, he's shell hunting in our prime ground, er, sand. With a net just like the ones we had such success with. It's really starting to creep me out. I swear, if that barstard shows up with a pipe in his teeth I'm going to drown him in the first deep bit of surf I can find and just be done with him.
Oh, and real estate. If you want to move here, be prepared with some bank. 1.14 acres of empty beachfront (sand and beach grass provided free) will set you back a cool three and a half million. An okay, typical suburban three-bedroom house a few blocks from the beach with a minuscule pool, a dock (that is built over a NINETY FOOT DEEP CANAL that is twenty feet across) and a yard you could cut with scissors will set you back a million and a half, and you'll be able to toss your eggshells right into your neighbor's bedroom window, each house seemingly wedged right up against all the houses around it.
Not for me, thanks, I'm just here for the seashells. And the jellyfish.