Campers Enjoy Treasures Washed Ashore by TS Elsa
The first week of July for Sanibel Sea School campers proved to be a wet one. Tropical Storm Elsa passed by the Sanibel coast on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, creating windy and rainy conditions for the summer camp. With winds forecasted to be near 40 miles per hour, Sanibel Sea School staff decided to close camp for the day on Tuesday.
“We’ve never had to cancel camp as a result of a tropical storm or hurricane before,” said Director Nicole Finnicum. “Usually the larger storms come later in the season after camp is over.”
Despite the one-day cancellation, campers were able to be out and about around Sanibel the rest of the week. The rain passed by Wednesday afternoon and campers were immediately back out on the bay surfing.
While out on the beach exploring post-Elsa, campers enjoyed finding many shell treasures and beach debris. They even found a pygmy octopus washed ashore! After a quick look at the octopus’ eight legs and allowing it to crawl atop the campers’ hands, it was safely released back into the sea.
“Since I’ve been on Sanibel, I’ve only ever seen one other octopus wash ashore and it was also after a tropical storm,” said Education Programs Manager Shannon Stainken. “They are not uncommon around Sanibel, but they are elusive.”
On Thursday night, Plankton Week campers embarked on a night snorkel in search of bioluminescent plankton. As the sun set over the horizon, campers donned their snorkels and began combing through the dark water and seagrass. Some highlights included shrimp, crabs, and pinfish.