Spotted in the County Feed

Putting gopher tortoises into the ocean in - Daytona Beach area


The above picture is what I saw when I first arrived at the beach this evening. A dead gopher tortoise in the surf, just laying there as the waves lapped away. I took one look and suspected that it was a drowning. This is something that I learned about in my Florida master naturalist classes. Well meaning people see a gopher tortiose up in the dunes area near the beach. They assume it's a sea turtle of some sorts and they are going to be nice and "help" it get back to the ocean. 

The well meaning person carries the animal out to the ocean, thinking they did their good deed for the day. Problem is, the gopher tortoise is a land animal. Sending it out to the ocean typically leads to it drowning, which is likely what happened to this particular one that was ashore in Daytona Beach Shores. 

When the beach patrol stopped to check it out I went to speak to the man and he confirmed what I suspected - that it had likely drown. He went on to say that he sees it all the time. People think they are helping the animal get back to the water, when they are really leading the animal to its death. 

He sees it all the time. That's so sad to me and all we need to do to prevent it is raise awareness.

I felt I had to take a picture and blog about this, hoping to raise some awareness about it, so that in turn it may help save some gopher tortoises. 

When you see a gopher tortoise near the dunes area of the beach (the area back off the beach that has sand, vegetation, and is dry) please keep in mind that it is a land animal. While they can be found anywhere along the beach dunes area, they are especially prolific down at Smyrna Dunes Park (which is ocean side). The gopher tortoise isn't trying to find its way back to sea and should never be carried out there.

Let's spread this message so that we can try to help prevent gopher tortoises from being drown on the beaches in the Daytona Beach area and beyond!


Disclosure: Some posts may contain links that compensate me. Please read the disclosure.

Learning to skim board from Blake at Daytona Board Store

Blake_daytona_board_store(Blake from Daytona Board Store)

As I've shared before with you all, my favorite time to go to the beach is in the evening. The sun goes down behind the buildings, so you don't need sunscreen or another form of shade, there are no crowds, and the temperatures are perfect at that time. It's a great way to relax after a very busy work week. Last night we were there and as I was relaxing and admiring the ocean (and watching the kids play), someone skim boarding caught my eye.

I've seen many people skim boarding at the beach over the years. But this guy caught my eye because I've never seen anyone do it so well! He was doing things on this skim board that I've never seen people do and didn't know skim boarders could do, quite honestly. I was impressed! The beach was not busy, but there were a few other people around and as he would do some things I would  hear people clap, so other people were admiring his skills as well. 

I told my husband as we watched him skim boarding that I thought he had to be a pro who taught it. Nobody ever skim boards as good as this guy (at least from what I've seen)!

We were ready to pack up and leave and I couldn't leave without meeting him to inquire about if he offers classes. Sure enough, he does. His name is Blake and he works for the Daytona Board Store in Daytona Beach Shores. He teaches skim boarding and they also offer summer camps for kids. Very cool!

You may want to check this out for your kids. Contact the store here and ask when Blake is offering his next skim board classes or camps. The guys is great and your kid is going to learn a lot from this him. Two thumbs up for Blake at the Daytona Board Store and his skim boarding skills... and for teaching them to others!


Disclosure: Some posts may contain links that compensate me. Please read the disclosure.