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

Tip Toe Through The Full Moon

Posted by on Sep 30, 2012 in Horse Conch, Junonia | 38 comments

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

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It’s A Flat Out Scallop Valve

Posted by on Sep 27, 2012 in Flat Zigzag Scallop, Scallop, ZigZag Scallop Right Valve | 47 comments

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

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Get Those Toes In The Sand

Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 in Bowman's Beach, Fighting Conch, Junonia | 24 comments

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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GiveAway! From YOLO Watersports Captiva

Posted by on Sep 22, 2012 in Captiva, Giveaway, Shell Scoops, YOLO Captiva, YOLO Watersports Captiva | 527 comments

yolo captiva store

Hey all you shellers and beach lovers…. Let’s shellebrate!

We are GIVING AWAY a $100 YOLO gift card!

YOLO Logo small

Enter to win this YOLO Watersports $100 gift card (Yes. I said ONE HUNDRED dollar gift card!) for any of your shelling needs from this awesome surf shop on Andy Rosse Lane in Captiva! If you win, you could use the gift card to get a new shelling backhoe! And mask and snorkel! And a shell bucket and mesh bag! And waterproof bag!

shelling merchandise

The whole store is filled with cool stuff for the beach! Like flip flops…

rainbow flip flops yolo captiva

And for those crazy shelling days at Blind Pass when the shells are stacked up 4 feet high… you need Water Shoes.

water shoes yolo captiva

Hold on to your conchs, yall! Wanna know what else you could use this gift card for???  In pure island style, rent this oh-so-hot little red SCOOT COUP … modeled by owners Marcel and Betsy. Thank you so much for this giveaway!

yolo scoot coup rental

Or check out Captiva Village in a GOLF CART

golf cart captiva yolo

YOLO also has all of the fun water sport activities to use your gift card towards… like PARASAILING!

yolo parasail kelly


josh sims waverunner yolo


Hobie Sailboat yolo

You can even try out the hottest new craze… STAND UP PADDLE BOARDS like Sanibel’s own top model Kelsie Macray.

kelsie paddle board yolo

So how can you WIN this $100 gift card from YOLO on Captiva Island?

Just make a comment (GiveAway is over and comments are now closed) on THIS post any time from Saturday Sept 22 through Sunday Sept 30 to enter to win. It’s easy! You don’t have to write a lot. Just say you want to be included in the drawing or how you would use the gift card. It’ll be fun! Only one comment per person will be entered in the drawing (ahem… that means if you comment twice, only one comment will be entered;))

The contest is only a week long so hurry up and tell your friends and family to enter as well because it starts TODAY and runs through Sunday September 30, 2012.

If you don’t know how to make a comment- Click on the Title of this post (GiveAway! From YOLO Watersports Captiva) and scroll to the bottom then follow directions. Or you can click on the number in parenthesis (for example (1) or (0) ) under the post title after it says “By pam – Comments”.

inside yolo

I just showed you a few cool things YOLO has to offer. Check out more by…
Stopping in to see them at 11534 Andy Rosse Ln. Captiva, FL  (MAP)
or visit them on…

yolo capitva interior

GOOD LUCK, y’all!

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Shell Pile Rising, Sanibel Sun Setting

Posted by on Sep 20, 2012 in Bowman's Beach, Calico | 34 comments

sanibel bowmans beach sunset

Lovely. Last night at Bowman’s Beach was just that… lovely. There was a cool breeze… with peace and quite.

seashell sunset bowmans

There were seashells strung all long the beach with flocks of birds here and there… and not one bug. Ahhhh.

shell pile bowmans beach

There were quite a few members of the SANIBEL SIX (excluding the CONE) there for the picking but my fave shell of the evening was this calico scallop… which I named Saniberry Sorbet for the color name game.

saniberry scallop

I met Freddy, Jan, Fran and Mike from Atlanta who were enjoying the perfect weather as well and finding nice SAND DOLLARS!

freddy jan fran mike sand dollars

Since we’ve had nice morning low tides this week, I checked to see if the Lighthouse Beach was producing goodies.

seashells sanibel lighthouse

At the low tide line (which is right where the surf is lapping up on the beach- where you can see a Sanibel Stooper in the left corner of the next photo), I only found some SEA WEED, MANGROVE SEED PODS and other sorts of BEACH BLING, but up higher on the beach in the high tide wrack line I found BANDED TULIPS…

high tide wrack line

Apple Murexes…

apple murex sea weed

And hundred of double DOSINIAS…

dosinias sanibel wrack

So remember… just because it’s a really low tide, check the rest of the beach for shells if you aren’t having luck at the low tide line. The high tide during the middle of the night could have left the best treasures!

red beach chairs

PSSST Okay, one more thing… I have exciting news for y’all and you are gonna LOVE THIS!

My next post will be ….. a really nice….. a spectacsheller…. GiveAway!!

Stay Tuned!

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