Archive for September, 2012


Tip Toe Through The Full Moon

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sam horse conchs

We had a beautiful full moon last night which normally means a good low tide to expose more of the beach to collect more shells. But this past week it only got down to a 0.6 which is fine but not that really low tide that you hear the major shellers getting excited about. Any tide at a 0.0 or a negative low tide like a -0.1 or lower is what we consider a really good low tide. We didn’t have that this week…. nor west winds. But you know what? That didn’t matter to rookie sheller Sam from Seattle. He didn’t know anything about the tides, moon, winds and weather. He did it the old fashioned way… he worked hard inspecting every angle of the beach every day for an entire week. Yes, he found all of those empty HORSE CONCHS in the photo above… and more. He said he found several live ones too but of course put them back. He also found… wait…. remember I told you he was a rookie? Never has he been to Sanibel and he didn’t know what this was when he found it…

Sam junonia sanibel

Yes, a JUNONIA. Sam (first time sheller!) found all of those HORSE CONCHS and a JUNONIA by wading in the water chest and neck high and feeling around with his toes since he wasn’t finding anything on the beach. He’s like Alan The Toe Sheller I talked about just this week! No wonder I haven’t been finding anything on the beach. These guys are out in the water chest high digging around with their feet so these shells don’t have a chance to wash up on the shore. Clever. Sam, you da shell man!

sam junonia beach

So, Clark and I went to West Gulf Drive today with our friend Jane (Happy Birthday Janie!) to do a little toe-shellin. Nuthin. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Sam probably got everything there was to get in the water for miles along Bowman’s beach east to West Gulf Drive… which he soooo deserves! But… there are a lot of miles on the beaches of Sanibel… so if you aren’t finding anything on the beach right now, get your piggies in the water and start a little toe-shellin. Congratshellations Sam and Nancy of all of your exshellent finds!!! Thank you so Beth at Blue Dolphin for introducing us. We hope to see you next year since your first time to Sanibel was something to shellebrate.

FYI- I now have 2013 Sanibel Captiva TIDE CHARTS available… CLICK HERE

FYI2- If you want to learn how to clean those HORSE CONCHS, CLICK HERE

sunset west gulf

Categories : Horse Conch, Junonia
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It’s A Flat Out Scallop Valve

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flat zic zac scallops

I’ve never thought much about those beautiful FLAT SCALLOPS we find on the Sanibel beaches beyond their beautiful colors, their patterns and how unusual their shape is…. which is very… uhhh… flat. I’ve always called it a FLAT but now that I think about it, I’m not really sure if I made that up or not (I do that a lot- oops). I think most shellers call it a FAN SHELL or more appropriately, the ZIGZAG SCALLOP which is what the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum calls it.

left flat valve scallop

But remember, a SCALLOP is a BIVALVE … it has two valves. So think about it, both sides to this SCALLOP can’t be flat. Hmmmm… Why don’t we find the other side? A couple of weeks ago Clark and I were visiting Naples with some friends so while walking the beach Clark picked up a SCALLOP and showed it to me.

right valve zic zac

It wasn’t a FLAT, CALICO SCALLOP, ROUGH SCALLOP  and def not a LION’S PAW. My first instinct was that it was a non-native species so I told him that someone probably bought shells from the store to spread on the beach for a wedding or party. That’s how most shells that aren’t native to this area end up in someone’s shell bag … thought of as a rare shell. I put it in my pocket any way to maybe research it later.

interior zig zag scallop

When I went to the Shell Museum to have Dr Jose Leal look at the FULGURATOR OLIVE, I took this shell too. Yes! He said it was the right valve of a FLAT! Our first one ever! He told me that since the convex shape of this valve is so inflated, it catches the water current differently than the flat valve so it travels in a different direction. Look at the bulge on this baby…

side zig zag scallop

Notice that I didn’t say that he positively identified this as a ZIGZAG SCALLOP valve. Dr Leal said this could actually be a RAVENELI SCALLOP which is a very similar shell that has a flat valve and a convex valve…. but whichever it is, I’m very tickled to have finally seen the other half of a FLAT (I’m sticking with calling it just a plain old FLAT). I just want to find one like Super Sheller ClarkWay to go Clark! Do they show up more in Naples and Marco? hmmmm. Have you seen them on any other SouthWest Florida beach?

zigzag scallop pair

One quick message about the shelling this week… The beach by the jetty rocks at Blind Pass Captiva wasn’t showing many shells but I heard you had to get in the water to find anything. I walked down the beach to the point in the next photo and found lots of OLIVES and a few other good shells rolling the in the surf line. It was pretty good!

blind pass captiva beach

We went to the Lighthouse Beach Last night but didn’t find gobs of shells in the water. I didn’t look up in the high tide wrack line… which I have a feeling I would have found more shells but I am happy with just the few I found that weren’t occupied. Always happy to find candy but I think I might go back to Bowman’s and head towards Blind Pass.. that’s been the best spot for us lately!

miniature shells sanibel

lighthouse sunset colors sanibel


Get Those Toes In The Sand

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yellow fighthing conch

I have never seen so many empty beautiful FIGHTING CONCHS before as I have in the last month. I try not to pick them up but some times… ooooo… it’s so hard not to after nudging them with your toes and finding them empty. I’ve had to make myself promise only to keep the exceptional ones and I’ve learned that if I just take a picture, it satisfies the urge. You might be seeing a lot of these kinds of photos in the next couple of weeks. heehee

fighting conch beach tip

We started shelling at Bowman’s Beach since we’ve had luck there the last few weeks. Other than finding the FIGHTING CONCHS, here is a Cyber Shelling photo of what most of the other shell piles were looking like on the beach…

cyber shell bowmans

After walking the beach for miles it seemed, I ran across Alan The Toe Sheller who was finding the big shells in the water. He said “While I’m cooling off in the water, I just feel around for shells with my toes”. It worked! He found 2 big HORSE CONCHS and a big WHELK! Here he is with Gail (GA), Kevin (WI), Angelique (WI) and The Toe Sheller himself, Alan (WI). He ended up finding one more big HORSE CONCH after I took the photo then he gave the white WHELK in his hand to Gail but kept that gorgeous HORSE CONCH Angelique is holding and the new one not pictured. Wow! Talented toes!

gail kevin angelique alan seashells

Kevin went out on his Stand Up Paddle Board and said he saw a SPOTTED EAGLE RAY like we saw last week. Cool!

paddle board sanibel

Going to Bowman’s Beach is a little bit further to walk from the parking lot but it sure is a pretty path with a beautiful bridge which reflects the sky.  Gorgeous.

bridge bowmans beach sanibel

Want to know what happened at Blind Pass over the weekend? Would you like a JUNONIA for your birthday? Well, Becky could tell you that it was a good weekend and she got the best birthday gift ever. Her husband Tobias found this for her at Blind Pass on her birthday on Saturday. That’s a birthday to shellebrate!

becky junonia


UPDATE: GiveAway is now OVER…


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