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

Sanibel Sunrise Whelkcome Mat

whelk shell sunrise sanibel

As our year of 2012 is winding down, Sanibel Island is bustling with tourists this week shellebrating the holidays with sunshine, clear skies and plenty of empty souvenir seashells on our beaches. At sunrise, low tide exposed a “whelkcome” mat of large live WHELKS, CONCHS and TULIPS at Gulfside City Park this morning to view these magnificent living creatures for just a few minutes before the incoming tide covered them up again.

true tulip sunrise sanibel

A true gift to see the miracle of a living MOLLUSK.

whelk seashell beach color


sanibel sunrise stoop


  1. So beautiful!! 9 days..cant wait.

    • eeek!! so excited for your shellabration!!

      • Me too! I am busting at the seams for next Friday night to get here!

        • I think it’s going to be awesome!!

        • I am so excited too!!! It’s gonna be AWESOME!!!!

  2. A week on Sanibel would be aswesome. Love the place, especially the Castaways Resort.

  3. Just doesn’t get any more beautiful!!

  4. Ah, so beautiful. Sanibel starts to seem like a dream now we are back in the dim and chilly north, embedded in the big city.

    • Yes, and snow on the way this weekend. I feel your pain.

      • It’s hard on all of us up north… Thanks goodness we have Pam’s lovely Sanibel images to cheer us up!

        And now the shortest day has come and gone, the light of the sun will gradually be coming back to us.

  5. What a beautiful beach. I posted pics of our day at the beach at Cape Canaveral. It was a lovely way to spend Christmas! Holiday hugs, Diane

  6. Missed seeing you Dec 7 to 21. Great weather…not so great shelling. Went to Little Hickory and found bunches of fighting conchs…empty, that I brought back to Kansas for the nurses and aides caring for my Mom while I had a break. They loved seeing them. Many were not even sure what they were. May have new converts! That last pic of whelk looked empty…I only got one medium and two tiny ones. But being on Sanibel is always good. My best shell was a good sized Sunray Venus, empty and connected. oh I found a flat calico too. Happy new year and best shelling wishes.

  7. Just beautiful!

  8. I am speechless, that is beyond beautiful.

  9. Breathtaking!! :)

  10. Absolutely beautiul! The colors are breathtaking! Thanks for the uplifting photos!
    Just brightened up my mood and day here in the Northwest. We are coming down at the very end of January for the low negative tides in early February—can’t wait!

  11. Thanks for posting the beautiful photos from this morning!

  12. We were out at 4:30 am this morning pn Bowman’s Beach. The -0.7 low tide and full moon were spectacular! Saw 7 huge, live horse conchs. A lifetime memory!!

  13. Heaven. Truly heaven. Thanks for shelling, I mean sharing! :-) Happy New Year everyone.

  14. Gorgeous shots Pam. So serene and beautiful! Love them!!!

  15. What a gorgeous site! Thanks for sharing such beauty. I can almost feel the water on my toes n hear the waves lapping against the sand.

  16. Pam – we never tire of these pictures – looks like a good start for your next calendar. My Florida condo looks like Sanibel at low tide – but I never get tired of seeing it.

    • Penny, that’s what I was thinking–these would be gorgeous in the calendar! :-) Thanks, Pam!

  17. Pam… your photos are gorgeous, as though one could reach in and feel the liquid magic of the gulf waters. Thank you for these images to begin my day !!

    • Beautifully said, Charlotte!

  18. Bah! Humbug! I am shoveling snow in the Great White North! I miss my Sanibel…..


  20. I am so glad I changed my homepage to your site a few weeks ago. What a great way to start my day! I visited Sanibel last April with my Mom who is 82 and my sister. Best vacation ever. Your pictures give me a wonderful outlook to begin the day. I can’t wait to go back to Sanibel.

  21. With almost 2 feet of snow outside and more on the way…..I love to look at all your pictures, Pam and read what’s going on in Sanibel. I read all the comments top to bottom….and then I go back and read it all over again. I loved my time in Sanibel in September and we’re already planning for next year. I just made a great piece of art out of some of the seashells I collected. I bought a printer’s drawer and glued the shells in great patterns in the sections and it’s hanging on the wall. What an awsome momento. Thank you for a wonderful year of learning all about Sanibel Island, the sealife and the seashells!

    • Deborah, we would love to see your crafty artwork!! :) if you are on facebook would you be ok with posting a photo on Pam’s I love shelling facebook page?? Hope Pam doesn’t mind me asking !

      • Be glad to, Donna!

  22. Great photos! and I love your latest play on words, Whelkcome mat! Such a wit!

    Thank you, Pam, for another fantastic year of enlightenment!

    Happy New Year to all our fanatical shelling sisters and brothers!

  23. Please tell me where Gulfside City Park is located. I am new to the area and would like to see this beautiful place. I have a place in Estero that I get to visit in January and February. Thank you! Your website is amazing!

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