When you think of Vanderbilt Beach - or any beach in Southwest Florida - what comes to mind? Most likely soft white sand, bright golden sun, and a glassy aqua-colored Gulf of Mexico. That’s how we usually think of our beaches, too, but a few weeks ago, then-Tropical Storm Isaac reminded us that there is more to the beach -- and especially more to the Gulf -- than immediately meets the eye!
After an intense Isaac passed through the Gulf of Mexico, it first brought rain and heavy surf. But Isaac did more than churn up a bunch of surf-worthy waves. Isaac plowed up the sandy bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, unearthing a slew of sand-burrowing organisms and deposited them up on shore. Normally, the beaches in Naples are a wonderful place to find all sorts of shelly treasures. On any given day in the summer, if you dig your feet into the Gulf’s bottom near a sand bar, you’ll uncover countless sand dollars. But after Isaac, the shelly treasures from the bottom of the sea were all on display on Naples’ beaches, there for the taking by diehard beach-goers enjoying the bounty of the storm. We’ve collected a few photographs of some of these treasures: scallop sea shells, coral, conch shells with live conch still in them, 5-legged and even 9-legged sea stars! And so, in Naples, the old saying still rings true: every cloud - and every storm - really does have a silver lining.
Enjoy the photos of these treasures with special thanks to Maria Sunyak and Jon Sonne, our local diehard beachgoers and amateur photographers!