Friday, February 10, 2017

A Special Shelling Story

I am a part of some shelling groups on Facebook and yesterday morning the first thing I read after I got up was the story below. I laughed so hard and loved the way Barbara Maxwell wrote her story. I felt like I was there watching. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. We shellers are a peculiar bunch!
Barbara Maxwell and the luckiest little seahorse in the ocean!
Barbara's story; 

"I was walking along Delnor-Wiggins in Naples, yesterday afternoon and a seagull lands not 4 ft. in front of me. I saw it had something in it's mouth, but could not believe my eyes, as it LOOKED like a seahorse, but that's HIGHLY unlikely, right? 

But, convinced that was indeed, what I saw, I HAD to know, so I started toward the bird. He was NOT impressed with my curiosity, and flew. But not far. Just 50 yards or so. And came back to shore to consume his catch. 

Well, I hustled my 60 yr. old butt to where he landed, but again, he eluded me, heading further down the beach. Again I gave chase. 

Our daughter was out in the water hunting for trophy pieces of fossil coral, and I'm screaming at her and frantically waving my arms toward this bird. She finally sees me, and, not having a clue as to why her mother was screaming, and flailing her arms at a "sea rat", she is torn between pretending she doesn't know that crazy lady, and satisfying her morbid curiosity as to why I was harassing the local birdlife. She comes toward me and the gull, and I'm screaming, "GET HIM!" 

By this point, all eyes are on me, thinking I had been out in the sun too long, and had gone mad. So as I'm trying to run (NOT a pretty sight, I pray there is no video on Youtube), I am screaming to ANYONE who will listen, "HE'S GOT A SEAHORSE!" , which is the beach equivalent of a Johnny Depp sighting, so a few souls took pity on the lady who thinks she saw a seahorse but probably really saw a crab claw in a bird's mouth, and they try to assist. 

We would sandwich the darn bird between us, and move forward, and the little fart would TAUNT ME by DROPPING the seahorse, then as I would lunge forward, he would grab it and fly away, just out of reach! By this point, I had an entire posse of potential rescuers who had also never seen a mythic seahorse, and we had a whole PARADE of people, chasing the bird. I kept this up for what felt like 2 hours, but was really more like 15 minutes, until I couldn't do it any more. 

I have a really BAD back and I was feelin' me some PAIN. I give up, when, so help me, that stupid bird drops the seahorse RIGHT IN FRONT of a passerby. She has no IDEA what had previously transpired, and just casually bends down, picks it up and HEAVES IT into the water! 

I was HORRIFIED! I am running down the beach, screaming and waving STOP!! STOP!! But of course she can't hear me, and if she had have, she would have been TERRIFIED and ran, so....there's that... ANYWAY....she no sooner throws him in the water, when that #$!@@ bird flies out, dives in and GETS HIM AGAIN! 

Well, the chase was on, and here we all go again. (and here, I will point out, that not only did my husband NOT get up and rush to my aid, he prayed no one would know I even KNEW him, much less, was there with me. :( 

Suffering from exhaustion and frustration, the seagull drops the seahorse for the umpteenth time, and my fellow beach goers all rush at the bird at the same time, which freaks him out, and he drops his treasure. The mob descended on that seahorse like Black Friday shoppers to dollar flat screen TV's, and they get him, while I'm running to join. 

They all felt since I started this whole thing, it only fair to turn it over to me. I held him up to check for signs of life, and sure enough, he'd been through feathered hell, but he was still alive. I had just watched (name removed)'s video of a live seahorse and knew just what to do. 

I took him out in water and gently moved him back and forth to get some water in his little gills. If he has any. I'm not sure. But I would have given him mouth to mouth if I thought it would have helped. 

He was beautiful and utterly amazing, and I felt like I was holding something akin to a water unicorn. I was in awe. Daughter snapped a pic of me beaming at my success, then back to the water. We looked for any decent size shell to tuck him in to, but there were none. 

Birds were lined up along the bank, waiting for me to drop him, but I borrowed a sandcastle bucket, and filled it with water, refreshing it every few minutes, until dusk. 

Once the sun went down, the birds wouldn't see him or go after him, and I knew it was his best chance. I braved the chilly waters one last time, as the sun dipped into the horizon, and returned him to the magical waters that pushed him up for my enjoyment in the first place. 

This was a once in a lifetime moment, one I will cherish for the rest of my days. I've looked a seahorse in the eye, I've watched him move and breathe, and feel eternally blessed for the experience."

Thank you so much Barbara for letting me share your experience.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this story! I agree, it was so well written I felt like I was watching it! Thanks to Barbara for making me laugh and for saving that precious seahorse! Thanks so much for sharing this!

  2. Now that is what I would call "my kind of gal". Too many people do not have any respect for life.

    1. Dizzy, She's full of love and life, that's for sure.