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Collecting seashells on the beaches of Sanibel, Captiva and the world

Captiva Cruises Boat To Cayo Costa

cayo costa south west florida

Another Spring Break adventure! On Wednesday, Lori, Hayley, Culter and I went to the secluded island of Cayo Costa to relax and enjoy another gorgeous day on the islands.captiva cruises sign

I had problems getting out our own boat  (Clark was busy at work so he couldn’t help) so we decided to take the easy route and hop on the Captiva Cruises shelling boat Play Time for the afternoon trip.

play time captiva boat

Low and behold, guess who our captain was… my buddy Captain Brian Holaway! It was a nice surprise!

captain brian

After securing the boat on the south tip of Cayo Costa, Capt Brian walked over to our shelling spot to join us for a few minutes and immediately picked up an ALBINO YELLOW PRICKLY COCKLE. Wow, can he spot those albinos! Remember he won a red ribbon for his ALBINO WHELK at the Sanibel Shell Show this year? Amazing!

albino cockle

 I didn’t find an albino but I quickly found a handful of my own fave honeys.

angel wings baby ears

BABY’S EARS and FALSE ANGEL WINGS (they look like cute little juvie ANGEL WINGS)…

babys ears false angel wings

 Lots of beauteous JINGLES…

jingle seashells


cloudy periwinkle

cloudy periwikles

 I also found a PURPLISH SEMELE (left) and a CANCELLATE SEMELE (right). I’m not sure why I don’t find more of these on Sanibel but I have better luck finding them on Cayo Costa, North Captiva and in Marco. hmmmm

purplish and cancellate semele

I had thought at one time that this BRYOZOAN COLONY was a type of CORAL but as you can see side by side… it’s not a piece of CORAL like the branch on the right. I found both of these past the tree roots on the Gulf side of the beach. (click HERE for more info on Bryozoan Colony)

bryozoa coral difference

Okay, this one might not be your taste but I thought this SOUTHERN RIBBED MUSSEL was just so pretty for some reason. One day, when I get a fancy camera to show you the nice details up close and personal, I promise…I’ll be able to capture more of the beauty in some of these obscure seashells.

southern ribbd mussel

 After combing, sunning and shelling this gorgeous beach, Hayley, Cutler and Lori (VA) headed back to the boat with me after one more climb on the BLACK MANGROVE tree roots.

hayley cutler lori cayo costa

On the boat ride back, I couldn’t help but see how excited Margie, Kristi and Mike (California) were about their seashell loot!

margie kristi mike california

 They found oodles of ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLES…

shells cayo costa south florida

 Quite a few humongus SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…

sunray venus cayo costa

 And a really big LEOPARD CRAB shell.

leopard crab cayo costa

 It was a perfect day on the water with calm aqua seas, warm temps in the 80s and DOLPHINS surrounding the boat.

dolphin captiva cruises boat

And to top if off, it was great being with good friends and having lots of seashell souvenirs to bring home to remember the day.

seashells cayo costa



  1. Oh how I want to be there! Can’t wait until the next time!!!!

  2. How fun to have Captain Brian as your guide!! And, you found some cool shells, too!

  3. Awesome…and a nice change of pace.

  4. how wonderful…
    hubby and I are moving later this year fr ND to FL.. we can’t wait to learn more about shelling and live near the ocean! How wonderful!

  5. I am planning on taking a cruise from Punta Gorda over there some weekend, now that season is winding down. I have ever been here, and I am really excited to spend the day exploring! It looks like you all had a fantastic time!

  6. Looked like a wonderful day on Cayo Costa. The blue water looks divine!

  7. Love the angel wings! Its so funny I find so many of those PURPLISH SEMELE down here on Barefoot~so close but such diversity! Love it!!

  8. Hi Pam! Do you know if Captain Brian goes anywhere other than Cayo Costa for shelling trips? Me and my shelling sista, Della, will be there in 2 weeks. We’ve had the pleasure of taking Captain Brian’s cruise to Cayo Costa on our last 2 visits and were hoping to try somewhere new.

    How wonderful that you and your friend got to spend some time together! Thanks for taking the time to send us your wonderful pictures and videos. They mean so much to us!

    • Hi Jeannine, We took the 1pm to 4pm Captiva Cruise boat to Cayo Costa on the shelling cruise but they have a couple of different cruise options so check them out here-
      Capt Brian is also a private shelling guide when he’s not at Captiva Cruises. He will take you to different islands and “secret shelling holes” too. check him here at They are both fantastic. It just depends on what your wants and needs are but these are both great options for a really fun day. Hope this helps!

  9. Mmmm, looks as if you had a lovely time.

  10. How do you know when is a good time to come to Sanibel and surrounding area to look for shells? My friends and I want to come Thursday for the day from Venice and we don’t want to be disappointed. Can you help?

  11. Looks like that was a great shelling trip. We’ve been to Sanibel many times but have never gone on one of the shelling cruises. We’ll be back in May. That’s the first thing on our list for this trip. We use our Sanibel shells for the jewelry we make. Visit us at “”.

  12. Great trip you all had! Very nice!!

    Wish I was there but keep the stories coming, they keep my heart happy.

    Happy Shelling,

    Mary Ann

  13. Hey we missed you by a day! We were out on Tuesday, I had no idea that was Brian.

  14. I was wondering if you knew when the shelling episode was going to be on CBS Sunday morning. Thank’s Mike

    • I haven’t heard any definite dates yet, dang it!

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