Archive for November, 2009
The COQUINAS are starting to show up all over the islands. They are so small, colorful and look just like a beautiful butterfly. I found this yellow one pictured on the left and the red one pictured below on the Sanibel side of Blind Pass.
When I got home, Jane emailed me this picture of lots of beautiful COQUINAS that she found at the Lighthouse (I’m assuming that’s where she found them) this morning. Look at all of the different colors! And some look like sunbursts.
She wrote in her email “It was a COQUINA kinda day at the beach”. You are right, Jane. We were on opposite ends of the island and we saw the same shells come in.
Tina and Lee started seeing lots of shells rolling in on the beach at #6 on West Gulf Drive at around 9 am. By the time we got there around 1 pm, there was a nice size shell pile that was only getting bigger.
Lee told me that she started shelling in 1973 while staying at South Seas Plantation (now called South Seas Resort) on Captiva every year until Hurricane Charley blew through and did major damage. Since the resort took a few years to rebuild, they decided to stay on Sanibel (and liked it) so now stay and shell the beaches off West Gulf each year.
Tina had a bucket overflowing with nice shells and right on top was a cool HORSESHOE CRAB that hadn’t survived. We’ve seen a few dried baby ones lately but this was a nice bigger size. Did you know that HORSESHOE CRABS are one of the oldest species on Earth? Older than the dinosaurs! Wild, huh?
Clark had his trusty shelling “backhoe” and within 10 minutes found a gorgeous bright orange HORSE CONCH. With his backhoe, he can get right in the rough surf where the shells are harder to see from the mixture of sand, shells, water and foam. If he sees a good shell, he can scoop the area the shell is in to make sure it doesn’t get swept away. Believe me, it’s not as easy as it sounds. I’ve never gotten the hang of it. I’m a Sanibel Stooper.
Six year old Elizabeth is very excited to show us her beautiful WORM SHELL and to make sure her little sister Julia (who is two and a half) is right by her side. They were finding lots of good shells to put in their bucket at the shell mound that built up last week at Blind Pass. Their family was visiting Sanibel and Captiva for the Thanksgiving weekend from Brunswick, Georgia.
While we were walking away to go check out the shelling on the Sanibel side of Blind Pass, I saw Elizabeth pick up a FIGHTING CONCH that had a broken top and hold it up to show her mom and said ” Look! It’s a Cornucopia!”. Remarkably, it looked exactly like one.
Jane’s kitty Ding loves to follow her when she takes a walk on the beach and they do a little shelling together. Do you think he’s got a little dog mixed in his breed? So cute!
“Hey, I like all of this wave and shelling stuff…Meow”
(photo and quote sent by Jane Nov. 27)
Our friends Jeff and Tiia came over from Miami to join us for Thanksgiving along with our other good friends Libby and Michael to do a little shelling. Since we had the beach on North Captiva to ourselves, we had no trouble finding the best shells. Although we didn’t find big piles of shells, there was a string of them along the shoreline. Tiia found SAND DOLLARS (she’s showing a few in the photo), SUNRAY VENUSES, LETTERED OLIVES, and lots of URCHINS. Jeff and Clark found some nice WORM SHELLS.
Shelling was the perfect way to burn off some of our incredible feast on Useppa Island where we pigged out on oysters, crab, shrimp, turkey, stuffing, gravy…..all of the fixins, plus the most fantastic bourbon pecan pie and pumpkin pie you could imagine (don’t worry, Mom- yours is still my favorite).
Libby (yes, that Libby from BestOfSanibelCaptiva.com!) found SAND DOLLARS too but she found something even more amazing. After a 10 to 15 minute walk down the beach she got some photographs of the WHITE PELICANS that come to spend the winter in Southwest Florida and this is one of the favorite spots to hang out.
I’m thankful that I got to spend this special day with special friends.
Enjoy some of the scenery that we got to see today thanks to Libby’s great photography below.
All along the shoreline in Captiva today there are pockets of small shell piles strung together by a nice thin shell line. If you walk the shell line you are bound to happen upon a pile that you can sift through or just find a gorgeous LIGHTENING WHELK that was lying on the top of this pile like I did this afternoon.