Auggie and Bob enjoyed their morning walk in the park while I made preparations for our day at “Sand Dollar” beach. I call it that because we always find sand dollars there. Once they returned, we loaded up the dinghy and then Bob and I took off. It’s a 5 mile ride, winding through mangrove islands (that all look the same) to find a tiny area where you can land your dinghy and walk the path to the beach.
If you don’t know where this beach is, you could never find it on your own even with someone’s directions. It is well-hidden and only marked by one single stake near the landing.
It used to be called the Tunnel of Love when it was a shallow, narrow waterway (tunnel) carved out of the mangroves that took you to the beach. After Hurricane Charlie destroyed the mangroves and the Tunnel of Love, the beach path still remained, but was very difficult to find.
We first discovered the Tunnel of Love many years ago (when it was still the tunnel) after we read about it in a guidebook that gave directions on how to find it. After it was destroyed, we tried to find the beach entrance again, but were unsuccessful. Friends took us to find it after that and we’ve gone there on every occasion that we’ve been to Cayo Costa since. Today, we were the only people on this pristine beach enjoying its beauty and solitude.
This is my FAVORITE beach for shelling and it didn’t disappoint me today. I came away with all kinds of unique shells and 10 sand dollars. This is three hours worth of shell collecting.
It was my best shelling day ever!! Among all the shells, I also found a sea anemone, a large black sea slug (still alive), and a sea fan.
We watched all kinds of sea birds munching on their favorite foods. They were quite amusing as they chased the waves back and forth.
A fly fisherman anchored right offshore from where we were sitting and provided us with our afternoon entertainment. He hooked up with a 4′, 8-10 pound tarpon right in front of our eyes and we watched it pull him around in his boat for about 20 minutes. We even got to see it jump a few times. What a sight!
After about 3 hours on the beach, we packed up and headed back to the dinghy. In the lagoon at the landing, we came upon a boat of 3 young people who had also hooked into a tarpon and had been wrestling it for 30 minutes. We saw it swimming in the shallows and were careful not to get in their way as we motored out.
It was a hot ride back with no breeze to speak of. Back at the boat, we dropped off our stuff from the beach and picked up Auggie for a trip to shore. We walked the park road in as much shade as we could find and Auggie hunted more geckos–unsuccessfully. Now we were ALL hot when we returned to the boat and quickly took refuge in the shade with a cold beverage. Around 5:00 we dinghied over to the Sea Gator for happy hour with Pat and Rick.
We enjoyed cocktails and conversation with Pat and Rick (left) and another couple, Phil and Karen, from Syracuse, NY. (right)
Back at our boat, Bob cooked lamb chops for dinner and Auggie waited anxiously for the bones. After a quick trip to shore with Auggie before the sun set, we watched a little TV and called it a day. What a day it was!