You can’t call yourself a Floridian if you haven’t scalloped before. No, not “scalping” but the act of collecting scallops. This is one of the coolest – figuratively and literally – activities I have done and had the chance to do it last year in Citrus County, Fla. (You know, Homosassa Springs and Crystal River.)
Go with a Guide Who Knows
This snorkeling activity requires a boat and someone who knows what they’re doing, which is why hiring a guide made things easy. Guides usually have the snorkeling equipment and the knowledge for a productive day.
My posse and I spent a morning with Capt. Mike with Sunshine River Tours one day last August (who also leads manatee tours). He led us to scallop hot-spots after boating through the Homosassa River. Collecting scallops was not so easy. These little bivalves are quicker than one would think and like to hide in the sea grasses when possible. And once they’re in the bag, keep them away from your swimsuit or skin because they’ll latch on!
Where to stay in Citrus County
We stayed at the Plantation Golf Resort & Spa which is an older resort holding onto its charm. There are a host of other accommodations in Citrus County so check out the Citrus County Visitors & Convention Bureau website for a host of accommodations and even some specials.
When Scalloping Season Begins
Gov. Charlie Crist announced last week the Florida scallop harvest season will begin 12 days earlier this year on June 19, 2010, rather than July 1, and continues through Sept. 10, 2010.
This earlier date is to generate economic impact on those Florida Gulf Coast communities being impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. There is no oil in these Florida scalloping communities but the national perception seems to be that the entire state of Florida is covered in oil or at least oil is immanent – which is not true – and potential visitors have been canceling their vacations or not even booking summer beach vacations. Pushing up scalloping season (hopefully) means visitors will be heading out to other scalloping destinations to stay in hotels, dine in restaurants, scallop with a guide, and buy some really tacky Florida souvenirs.
For more on scalloping in Citrus County, Florida, check out this article.
Oh! And can’t forget the YouTube video of my trip in 2009. Don’t worry, it’s not that long.