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

Seashells, Beach Bling and …. Red Tide

 collect sea shells Sanibel

I’ve combed the beaches from Blind Pass Captiva to the east of Sanibel at the lighthouse. Mid island at Gulf Side City Park is still the best shelling I’ve found in the last few days. The shells in the photo above were only a few that Carol from PA pulled out of her shell bag to show me. Pretty nice finds, huh? The OLIVES have been gorgeous. Well… there’s the ALPHABET CONE, FLORIDA CONE, BANDED TULIPS, MUREXES, WHELKS and she had a few more of those sweet PAPER FIGS in her bag too.

carol gulf side city park seashells

There were still plenty of FIGHTING CONCHS (dead and alive) like I showed you the other day but what caught my eye was this beautiful BROAD PAPER COCKLE.

broad paper cockle

We have a few in our collection but some of them have chips in them so I’m always happy to find a pretty valve like this one!

pretty broad paper cockle

While I was at the lighthouse beach finding WENTLETRAPS (I’ll show you those on my next post), I found a KEYHOLE LIMPET.

keyhole limpet lighthouse

For me, finding shells is the cherry on top… but I also love to see all of the different kinds of BEACH BLING! And I’m not the only one… Dee pointed out this deep purple BRYOZOAN COLONY growing on the wire of a crab trap. Isn’t that so cool?

Bryozoan colony on crab trap

Most people walk right on by a mess of SEAWEED laying on the beach. Not me! I love to pick through it to see what is hiding in there.

seaweed beach bling

I found SEA WHIPS and ATLANTIC WING OYSTERS in all this BEACH BLING. Here’s a little movie to show you how I found them… (click on the next image if the movie thingie doesnt show up)

So there are so many different things to check out on the beaches right now… BUT… unfortunately we have RED TIDE coming in as well. I didn’t feel any respiratory problems today (which I have in the past when it was bad) but I did see dead fish. Yuck! Since they just washed in, I didnt really smell any bad odors so I didn’t mind walking right past them- there’s too many other cool things to inspect! Lee County issued a beach advisory yesterday so if you think you might have problems… read HERE.


  1. Wow! Loved the video! I have learned so many cool things from your videos & blogs….I will be so much more knowledgeable on my next beach vacation. Since being your apt pupil, I will impress the other beachgirls with my knowledge!!

  2. Pam, do you know how long red tore will last? We are coming next weekend with elderly parents. We were there last December during red tide.

    • Mary Beth, I really don’t know how long it will last because there are so many different variables that brings it in…. like the winds, currents and who knows what else. I dont think anybody has figured it out yet.

  3. Can’t wait to come back and find more awesome Tulips like in the first photo! When we were there in May, I only found one. Those are beauties!

  4. Great shells….love the olives. Wish I was there.

  5. Found 8 perfect paper fig shells this morning and an
    Angel wing. We are here for 10 days. Although I hate seeing the
    Impact of red tide, it is interesting to see the different
    Types of fish.

  6. I will be awaiting your post of the wentletraps!! I have yet to find them, they always elude me. When we come in January for the shellabaloo I am going to enlist your help in finding them!! Lol… :-D
    I know they are often found at the light house and I will take my take my plastic tub and search high and low for them while I collect minis. But never find them wentletraps!! One day I will thoigh. Iys my mission! Lol.

    Like you I always inspect seaweed piles. You never know what you will find!

    • The thing about the wentletraps that really fools people is that most of them are really, really, really small. So small that you might need to kneel down in order to see them. Try to go to Lighthouse during a nice low tide and look in the patches of teeny tiny stuff, not so much in the regular drift lines.

  7. I’ve learned so much from your blogs and videos and can’t wait to use all of that knowledge to find more beautiful shells on my next trip to Florida. Thanks!

  8. Some really cool stuff Pam, especially the little winged pearl oysters on the sea whips!

    Sorry about the red tide, hope it goes away soon.

  9. I found many sea whips at Gulfside on 10/30- it was my last shelling stop on the Island and I was thrilled to add to my bling collection :)

  10. Hi,

    Great website. I just found you. I was at the gulf side city park beach yesterday and today and found a total of four carrier shells! Found a bunch of baby ears too. I have been here ten days and have had great luck shelling this year. I was also told by someone that they found a baby lions paw north of the park. She said a local confirmed for her that it was a lions paw. She is the one who told me about you blog.

    Just a couple more days for me at the beach!

  11. Am here on Sanibel thru Wednesday and I am wondering where the best place is to be during the very low tides that are coming in the next few days. Weare from the St. Louis area and are here about three times a year. Your site is what helps get me thru everytime we leave until the next trip here! I have learned so much about shells and shelling, thank you for all your work!

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