sea shell beach treasures

Finally. After weeks of calm, hot weather in Lee County waiting to see treasures wash up on our beaches… we found them in Cayo Costa on our iLoveShelling cruise with Captiva Cruises.

beautiful shiny shells

Shellers were finding BANDED TULIPS, LIGHTNING WHELKS, PEAR WHELKS, NUTMEGS, FIGHTING CONCHS and the shiniest most colorful LETTERED OLIVES I have seen in a while.

rachelle and justins shells

And then there’s this… James from Kentucky found a big beautiful HORSE CONCH completely intact. Shellzam! What a find!

James Kentucky vacations in Sanibel finds big shell

Not only were there shells, we saw plenty of wildlife and beautiful scenery on our secluded island.

island beach bling

Our boat was filled with shellers from all over the world who got to know one another and share experiences AND share the shells they were finding.

boating to shell island

It was so much fun to meet beach explorers like Dominic finding treasures with his family from Ohio.

Cayo Costa cruise

And to see hawk eye shellers Rachelle and Justin again (they were on our May cruise too!) not only finding amazing shells but I think they gave away more than half of the shells they found. Shellers are awesome!

rachelle justin iloveshelling cruise

We were finding shells just at the water’s edge…Cayo Costa shell collecting

as well as on the beach and wading waist high.
collecting shells on cayo costa 4

Shelling Sister Susan and Jerry from Panama City were thrilled to find beautifully patterned double SUNRAY VENUS shells half buried in the sand.

Susan Jerry Panama City visit Sanibel for shells

Kathy from Tulsa was on our cruise too! She still has her lucky Margarita bucket but since this one is on its last leg, I guess more margaritas are on order- whoohoo! I’m positive the next bucket will be lucky too.

kathy from Tulsa with big bucket of shells

Its so much fun to hang out with other happy shellers and especially to see the excitement when there are lots of treasures piling up in all sorts of shell bags and buckets.

bucket of shells

And of course…. everybody on the cruise got an unbelievable $25 gift certificate to Sealife By Congress!!! Sealife By Congress thinks shellers are awesome too!

SLBC iLSPromo

Join us on one of our next Captiva Cruises to Cayo Costa on one of these dates…

captiva cruises dates -02-2015

Or join us for other iLoveShelling shelling adventures CLICK HERE

shelling adventures trips by pam

 

Sep
10

A Barnacle Bit Of Beauty

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barnacle on blue

Have you ever found a BARNACLE flower? They are beautiful clusters of BARNACLES that cement themselves to shells or other hard surfaces in intertidal areas which wash up on our beaches as perfect little BARNACLE blossoms like this…

sw florida barnacles

When I was young, I thought BARNACLES were shells like SLIPPER SHELLS that attach themselves to HORSE CONCHS and WHELKS or like LIMPETS attaching to rocks and boat dock pilings. But they aren’t MOLLUSKS at all… they are CRUSTACEANS. They are in the same family as CRABS and LOBSTERS. Funny, huh?
Sanibel barnacle among shells on the beach

I’ve even seen BARNACLES attaching themselves to SEA TURTLES, CRABS and even MANATEES. They don’t feed on these creatures they just hitch a ride for a lifetime and filter feed. I’ve seen several live BARNACLE clusters wash up in the surf lately so I was able to get a smidge of video before I quickly put it back in the water. You’ll see how the BARNACLES cement themselves head down on this APPLE MUREX shell while their legs come out searching for water to feed. YouTube Preview Image

I haven’t spent much time scouring the beaches of SW Florida in the last month since the shelling has been…. well… it’s been a little slow. Yes, there are nice shell lines at Lighthouse Beach and there are lots of the more common shells lining Gulfside City Park but we have come to a stand still in bringing anything home unless it is something very different than we already have collected- like these BARNACLE FLOWERS. Clark and I have neglected to clean, sort and organize our treasures we have collected since I have been blogging…  So this has been the perfect time to organize. I found this cute little jar to keep them separated from our other BLING so now I can easily find them if we find more to add. I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal… but honestly, this is a huge step to get us organized! So yes, I’m making headway in the Shellaboratory.

shellaboratory jars of barnacle beach bling

Now that I’ve started on organizing, I’m obsessed with it and can’t wait until it’s completed so I can show you. So while I’ve been shelling periodically at Gulfside City Park finding BARNACLE flowers and sorting through our finds from the past, Clark told me our friend Jim found a JUNONIA. Yes. A JUNONIA! He found it in the surf at Gulfside City Park Monday around 7pm. Jim’s wife Sue is the real sheller of the family and has never found a whole JUNONIA- dang it! They said that night they had only found one OLIVE in an hour or so when Jim saw color and spots in the surf that he scooped up with his shelling backhoe. Congratshellations Jim!

Jim found a junonia

PS- Now I know what you are thinking… “impossible that perfect JUNONIA washed up when there were no other bigger shells coming in!”.  Since we know Jim and he swears he didn’t play a trick on Sue, both Clark and I believe he found it in the water at Gulfside City Park. The conditions aren’t “optimal” to bring in deep water shells like the JUNONIA right now (high or continual west winds) but Mother Nature has a way of always keeping us guessing.

Explore with me! Join us Friday SEPTEMBER 12 on our iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa- CLICK HERE!

shelling adventures trips by pam

Categories : Barnacles, Junonia
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low tide during Sanibel sunset

If you were outside last night in Southwest Florida, you were lucky to witness a gorgeous cool evening that started with colorful overcast September summer sky …

seashells on the beach at dusk

At Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel, there were scattered lines of common white CLAM and SCALLOP shells on the beach and in the surf… but… it was hard to look any further after seeing hundreds of MOON JELLYFISH (Aurelia aurita).

moon jelly fish Sanibel

It was a little creepy to see so many in the water and washing up on the beach since I’ve been stung before (CLICK HERE) but after the initial shock of seeing the MOON JELLY masses and remembering this one doesn’t sting humans, it was so cool to stop and see really how beautiful they are.

Moon jelly fish in Sanibel surf Aurelia aurita

Then I looked up at the sky when I turned the corner to see the Sanibel Pier.

Sunset at low tide over Sanibel pier

I found just a few minis (a few BUBBLES, juvie CONCHS, juvie OLIVES and one TINTED CANTHARUS) and as I looked up again the sky changed to lavender…

Purple sky behind drift wood branch

Then it changed to a deeper purple…

Purple Sky over Sanibel Pier

Then to orange…Yellow Sky over Sanibel Pier

Although I didn’t collect many shells… the evening was magical with a feast for the eyes.

Sanibel pier at sunset

Sanibel lighthouse at sunset

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