Archive for June, 2011


There’s A Rainbow Somewhere

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Dosinias on the beach

We have finally gotten rain…..and rain….. and rain. We were so dry for so long but in the last few days, we’ve finally gotten some good rain for our yards and to cool things down. After a rain shower when I was a kid, I would always run to the front porch with my mom after the sun would peak out to look for rainbows. She’d shout “There’s got to be a rainbow somewhere! Let’s go see it!”.

Parchment worms on the beach

So when the sun peaked out yesterday afternoon, I ran down to the beach to see if I could catch the rainbow. Yes, there it was! Ohhhh…wait! Don’t disappear! I caught just a smidge of it but it disappeared so quickly in the clouds.

murex, dosinia pen shell

Then the rain came again….. but I caught another rainbow. The rainbow colors of COQUINAS!

Coquinas on the beach


Categories : Coquina, Dosinia, Sanibel
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Seashells Of Sanibel And Nova Scotia

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Sanibel east end

The tides have taken some of the sand that normally covers these slabs* at the lighthouse beach on Sanibel. We were so surprised to see those pieces of concrete showing so much and that we haven’t been finding bigger shells lately. So we search for minis. I did find a MAUVE-MOUTH DRILL along with some other cuties that you probably already know. Can you pick out the MUAVE MOUTH DRILL?

Sanibel seashells on a rock

If you couldn’t figure the others out, go to SEASHELL IDENTIFICATION but the one in the middle of this next picture is the MAUVE-MOUTH DRILL (I don’t have that on the I.D. page yet) ….

Mauve Mouth Drill

Mauve Mouth Drill

There were other mini collectors on the beach in between rain storms last night….

Sanibel shell scene

Eileen from Gainsville, FL was looking for NUTMEGS. Can you tell she like NUTMEGS? Hint- the beautiful bracelet!

Nutmeg seashells and Bracelet

I almost reached down to snag this little “candy” out of Dana’s (came down from Gainsville with Eileen) pile until I realized it was her stash ;)….

Shells on Sanibel beach

A few days ago, I met a few Shelling Sisters from Nova Scotia that I could have spent the whole day with. Clark and I had a wonderful trip to Nova Scotia in 2005 so I was able to reminisce and visualize all of the places they mentioned and was so intrigued with their rich Mi’kmaq culture.

Denise Colleen Mi'kmaq Sanibel

Denise and Colleen from Nova Scotia

It was so much fun reminiscing thanks to Denise and Colleen, I remembered a photo I took of our shells we found near Yarmouth. Even in 2005, I was taking pictures of our treasures….

Nova Scotia shells

Nova Scotia shells 2005

….and of course, taking pictures of Clark with shells….

Nova Scotia shelling

2005 Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Seashells

Nova Scotia Dogwinkles from 2005


* I’ve had a few people comment about those concrete slabs on the beach at the lighthouse since I posted these photos. There were a few other structures in the early 1900s that were washed away by storms. I asked my friend Susie at MacIntosh Books if she knew anything about them of if she had any books about it. She said to look at….

1) Sanybel Light, by Charles LeBuff, who lived at the lighthouse for 22 years and works at MacIntosh every Sunday

2) Sanibel’s Story, by Betty Anholt –includes several photos of lighthouse from 1943.


Let’s Shellebrate July 4th Sanibel Style

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Shellabration July 4th Sanibel

Everybody loves a parade.  And in Sanibel, everybody loves shells. So we don’t want to miss the Sanibel Shellabration 4th of July Parade with the theme of SHELLS (!) to honor the up coming 75th Annual Sanibel Shell Fair and Show in March. So we’re dusting off the Shell Mobile to share in the fun.

This is what our “float” looked like for the Captiva Holiday Village parade in December last year….

Captiva Christmas parade

Clark at the helm of the iLS Shell Mobile

So, of course, we’d like to make even more of a splash with a seashells in i Love Shelling style. So if you are in the area on July 4th and want to walk, ride a bike or ride in your own golf cart with us…come and join us!

blue fireworks

PS- I promise, I will get back to showing you some beach pictures and pics of a few dear shelling sisters I met as well. I just had to tell you what I’ve been up to….. getting ready for a parade!

Categories : Parades, Sanibel
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I Kinda Know An Echinoderm (Video)

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Club Spined Sea Urchin

Club Spined Sea Urchin


Green Variegated sea Urchin

Green Variegated Sea Urchin

This post is a continuation of our snorkeling Road Trip To Seashells In The Florida Keys because I had to do a little more research on these SEA URCHINS I saw this past weekend. We have all kinds of  ECHINODERMS (pronounced ek-EYE- no-derms) on Sanibel which include SEA STARS, SAND DOLLARS, SEA CUCUMBERS and SEA URCHINS but these are slightly different AND I wanted to share this word with you…. I love to say it ….”Echinoderm”. Ha!

Brittle Star Big Pine Key

Brittle Star off Big Pine Key

It was fun to see this “hairy” BRITTLE STAR (also an Echinoderm) while so many beautiful tropical fish casually swam by painting the sea with bright blues with stripes of yellows and greens.

So come on in the water with me and enjoy snorkeling the underwater world in only 5 to 12 feet of water around the Florida Keys.The water’s fine!

YouTube Preview Image
Clark snorkeling the Keys

Clark snorkeling the Keys

The Florida Keys aren’t known for beachcombing since seashells just don’t roll up on their beaches like they do here in Sanibel, Florida but they DO have shells……you just have to know where to dive or snorkel for them. This was our first time shell collecting in the Keys so we were very fortunate to have wonderful shell-crazy friends MurexKen and MurexAlice (who have been shelling the middle Keys for over 20 years) take us out in their boat to show us there are shells to be found in those vast aqua waters.

MurexKen with Queen Conch

MurexKen with a Queen Conch

Within an hour or so arriving in the Keys, we strapped on our fins, mask, snorkel and grabbed our shell bags then splashed into the water to seek and explore throughout the weekend. MurexKen found a beautiful live QUEEN CONCH to point out the amazing colors and to show us how many there were living in the grasses. Since it was alive, he put it back and told us there is a big fat fine for keeping a live one. Good!

We found lots of AMERICAN STAR-SHELLS……

American Star Shell

American Star Shells


Long Spined Star Shell

Long Spined Star Shell

…and some WEST INDIAN TOP SHELLS or also called MAGPIE SHELLS…

West Indian Top shell

West Indian Top shell

Clark found some absolutely perfect MILK CONCHS (MK cleaned these up for us- they look so amazing!)….

Milk Conchs

Milk Conchs

We snorkeled around the grasses…..( I think I might have to rename MurexKen as MermanKen- he’s a fish!)

Aqua man MurexKen

Aqua man MurexKen

We snorkeled around bridges….

Bridge Florida Keys

Bridge Florida Keys

…where MurexAlice found a nice SEA URCHIN…

MurexAlice with urchin

MurexAlice with urchin

We snorkeled around CORAL REEFS alongside QUEEN ANGELFISH ….

Queen Angel with coral

Queen Angel with coral

We snorkeled around sandy sea bottoms to see this SHORTNOSE BATFISH……weird!……

shortnose batfish

shortnose batfish

I spotted a potential keeper shell… is it empty? Please be empty!

snorkeling for seashells

snorkeling for seashells

Oh YaYah- Nobody’s home! He’s a little beat up but I can try to clean it up…..

Empty juvenile queen conch aperture

Empty juvenile queen conch aperture

I was so happy to find an empty QUEEN but mine couldn’t compare to MerMan MurexKen’s Queen Conch with no mollusk inside! Since the lip was broken off they were going to toss it back…..then offered it to us. Of course we’ll take it!

Empty Queen Conch

Empty Queen Conch

I cleaned up most of the shells with 1/4 bleach and water solution except another shell MurexKen gave us…… This outstanding HORSE CONCH with the brown “skin” or PERIOSTRACUM still on it- I love that! I just let that soak in a bucket of water with just a tad of bleach so it wouldn’t take the brown off. After I took this photo, I put it back in the bucket to soak some more to get the white “freckles” to soften up even more so I can try to rub them all off. Hey, and take a look at that little conch I found that was so beat up….. I think it’s coming along!

Queen conch, juvenile queen, horse conch

Queen conch, juvenile queen, horse conch

We normally have shells roll up to our feet in Sanibel so this was a fun trip for us to work a little harder (snorkeling’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it! ;) ) at seeing different shells in a different environment. The drive from Sanibel to Big Pine Key was 5 1/2 hours and worth every minute of it to spend time with MurexKen and MurexAlice.  It was a trip to remember for sure- Thank you both!

Map Sanibel to Big Pine Key

Map Sanibel to Big Pine Key

I have to show you one more fascinating shell….. MurexKen found this QUEEN HELMET a few days before we got there. To read more about his finds, he posted a trip report on Trip Advisor CLICK HERE.  I don’t think it gets any prettier than this…..

Queen Helmet Shell

Queen Helmet Shell

I took some of the photos with a new Fuji underwater camera with a movie feature that was pretty good  until it opened up underwater and flooded the camera. Needless to say, I took it back. The good news is….  before it flooded, I got a nice video- Click HERE to see it! Also, click HERE to see the DEER COWRIES Clark found.

Fish in Florida Keys

Tropical Fish in the Florida Keys


Florida Keys Atlantic Deer Cowrie

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Keys deer cowrie aperture

Last night we brought home this ATLANTIC DEER COWRIE from the Florida Keys after a long weekend road trip shelling adventure.

Deer Cowrie over water

This might be my hand showing this beautiful empty seashell but I wasn’t the one who found it. Of course, that would be Clark who spotted this gorgeous, rich chocolate shell snorkeling in areas of the Keys we had no idea existed for shells. We rarely find this shell in Sanibel (but it has been known to happen! See Atlantic Deer Cowrie Found On Sanibel) but I hear it is a fairly common to find them in the Keys. It doesn’t matter whether is is common or not to us- we were still very excited to find an empty one.

Florida Keys Deer Cowrie

Clark found this snorkeling off Big Pine Key which is an island also known for the cutest miniature deer called Key Deer who roam around in people’s yards, in parking lots …. anywhere they please.

Big Pine Key Deer

This Key Deer came right up to me and posed so I could take her picture… and maybe show me how pretty her eyes were.  Hmmmmm. I think she was telling me where they got the name DEER COWRIE.

Key Deer

I have got so many photos to go through to show you the rest of the shells we found and about our lovely hosts/friends/shelling guides all in one. I’ve even got a short video of the beautiful fish I got underwater that I hope to post tomorrow…. so stay tuned!

Map Florida Keys

Categories : Cowrie, Deer Cowrie
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