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

Pen Shells and Beach Bling

Posted by on Feb 27, 2013 in Angel Wing, Eel, Egg Casing, Octopus, Pen Shell, Purple Sea Urchin, Shark's Eye Egg Collar, Shortnose Batfish, Wentletrap | 34 comments

pen shells wash sanibel

It has been an unusual week on Sanibel. The winds are changing directions and speed by the second which makes for an interesting site to see of all the different things that wash up on our beaches. I showed you lots of different EGG CASINGS in my last post but I found another one today… a SHARK’S EYE EGG COLLAR…

sharks eye egg collar

…oodles of PEN SHELLS…

pen shell wrack line

but we also are seeing PURPLE SEA URCHINS…

urchins wash up sanibel

And weird fish like this SHORTNOSE BATFISH

shortnose batfish

EEEEK! And an EEL! Yall know I love me some BEACH BLING… but EELS? They kinda creep me out for some reason.

Sanibel eel

Blllaaaahhh, Okay, now that I’m completely creeped out… I have to change the subject because I have some happy, happy stuff happening here too that I dont want to ruin! Okay.. here is a happy picture to get back in the mood of what Sanibel is NORMALLY like… having fun doing the Sanibel Stoop!

sanibel stoop lighthouse

I met some awesome folks on the beach this week at the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach! This is Shelling Sister Donna R from NY…

donna r sanibel shelling

She was on her way to finding the Sanibel Six. Yes, that ALPHABET CONE is pretty beat up but It’s still a CONE and it’s whole and HUGE!

Sanibel six almost

I also met sweetie pie Katherine Haskins with her husband Tom.

tom katherine sanibel shelling

 Katherine love the minis so she was finding lots of different miniatures like WENTLETRAPS along with AUGERS, CERITHS and a little perfect WORMIE.

wentletrap mini shells

It was fun to see them on the beach together with their iLS shirts on! (teehee) Warms my heart.

tom katherine donna sanibel

I also met another awesome couple while walking on the beach today several miles west of Lighthouse Beach. Here are shellers Linda and Glen from Ohio…

linda glen ohio angel wing

Linda found an ANGEL WING! They also were happy to find their first KEYHOLE LIMPET along with these other goodies. Notice they even collect the broken SHARK’S EYES if the “eye” is still intact. Yep, they really are beautiful. I told them that when the SHARK’S EYE is brilliant blue in the middle that I’ve heard it called “Paul Newman’s eye”. This one is definitely a PAUL NEWMAN’S EYE!

linda angel wing shells

Oh wait… I feel so badly that I never introduced you to Shelly (love that name!) and Kayle whom I met last week at Blind Pass when the weather was a little cooler…

shelly kayle indiana seashelling

I found a PYGMY OCTOPUS inside a PEN SHELL and Kayle offered to take it out in the water to put it back. So sweet!

pigmy octopus penn shell

Here are Shelly and Kayle’s gorgeous treasures from the sea that they were collecting. Keep the image of this gorgeous PAPER FIG (in the middle of this green bucket) in your mind to leave you with a happy day. See? I told you I had happy happy stuff to show you. :)

kayle seashells


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Sea Horse Happiness

Posted by on Feb 25, 2013 in Egg Casing, Pear Whelk Egg Case, Pear Whelk Egg Chain, Seahorses | 27 comments


sea horse sanibel gscp

 I found a SEA HORSE! It was laying in the sand near some washed up sea grasses at Gulfside City Park. Yep, just laying in the sand and I screamed when I saw it. haha

seahorse in sand

I wanted to show my friend Diane where those little tiny SAND DOLLARS (sand “dimes”) were that I found the other day on my post Uber Cute Sand Dollars To Dimes . Unfortunately, we didn’t find the SAND DOLLARS but I did get to see Diane’s friends Cathie and Mary from St Louis, Wendy from The Keys and cutie Callie on the leash.

wendy cathie mary

Since we didn’t find the minis, we started looking through all of the BEACH BLING. Wendy found a CRUCIFIX SHELL! She’s an experienced sheller so she  knew immediately what it was when she saw it.

wendy beach

wendy crucifix shell

We were also finding MERMAID’S PURSES (SKATE EGG CASES). Sckeppy told me the other day “I’ve heard of skate egg cases being called “sailor’s purses”, with the observation that they are usually empty!”.

skate egg cases mermaid purses

We found so many other EGG CASES as well! From left to right… a PEAR WHELK, LIGHTNING WHELK, PAPER FIG, BANDED TULIP and TRUE TULIP. We coudn’t find a TRUE TULIP to put under the egg case but we found half a BANDED TULIP to put underneath the EGG CASE (that grew around some sort of stick).

shells with egg cases

So when you see all sorts of BEACH BLING lining the beach, always look for special treasures like this SEA HORSE !

sanibel sea horse beach

There’s always something to new to see and always new awesome friends to meet…

di friends faves


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CyberShelling At Lighthouse Beach

Posted by on Feb 23, 2013 in True tulip, True Tulip video, Tulip, Tulip Egg Case | 24 comments

tulip babies

Someone asked me the other day “How can you tell if the eggs are dead or alive in a (MOLLUSK) EGG CASING?”. I had posted a photo of little tiny shells in the capsule of a LIGHTNING WHELK EGG CASE on my post Beach Bling Babes when the question came up. The whole EGG CHAIN I had shown was completely dried and pretty crumbly so it was safe to say that there were no living baby MOLLUSKS in there. So when I picked up a few TRUE TULIP EGG CASES this morning at the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach and saw that they may still be alive, I wanted to show you the difference. Since I’m no scientist, I can’t tell you these little TRUE TULIP EGGS were definitely alive, but they sure looked like they could still be viable to me since they were still encased in their fluid capsules.

Tulip Egg Sack plug

I also looked at the little hole in the top of the capsule and saw that it was still plugged. After about a month, when the babies are ready to come out, the pore opens up (that I’m showing in the photo above) and the young will creep out. So my theory is, if I don’t know something is dead, I have to assume it’s still alive. So I put the EGG CLUSTERS back in the water to maybe have a chance of surviving. You can see it much more clearly in this video….

YEEWWW HOOOO,  CYBERSHELLERS! I have something different today. I bent down to pick up a BUTTON SHELL, then saw several fun mini goodies so I thought you might enjoy seeing them too. Click on the next photo to enlarge. Have fun!

mini seashells cyber shelling


PS- Come  shelling with me! Here’s how…

iLoveShelling ShellingAdventures

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Uber Cute Sand Dollars to Dimes

Posted by on Feb 20, 2013 in Sand Dollar, Sand Dollar Video | 45 comments

one sand dollar piece

Uber Cuteness! If “they” named SAND DOLLARS because of the similar size of a one dollar coin piece, then I found me some SAND DIMES this morning! LOL

sand dollar dime quarter

But then, they are even smaller than a dime.

itty bitty sand dollar

I know some of them are still a little dark in color but don’t worry, they weren’t still alive. They were all in different stages of losing their “fur” (that’s what I call it but they actually have fine hair or cilia that cover their bodies) so that’s why they are all different colors as well. In probably one more day they will all turn white… if they don’t break apart first.

two miniature sand dollars

 Tara (St Louis) was showing her daughter Vivian something she just found and I got very curious because they looked so excited…seashell family tradition

So I had to ask what they found. She had a few mini shells and lots of these mini SAND DOLLARS!

tara juvenile sand dollars

tara vivian collcting sand dollars

Tara introduced me to the gal who found this little treasure trove of gems first this morning, Kay from Iowa. Kay’s daughter was cleaning some shells she brought back to their place yesterday and one of these little SAND DOLLARS dropped out of another shell. Wow! So Kay went back this morning about half a mile east of Gulfside City Park (Sanibel) to see if she could find a few more. Yes! She found the spot and shared this little seashell honey hole with all of us that walked by. So sweet! Kay was a little shy of the camera but she showed me the little darlings that she had in her hand…

tiny sand dollars

Kate and Ken from Michigan were finding the bigger shells on the same beach.

kate ken sanibel shelling

Ken was especially happy he found that awesome baby LIGHTNING WHELK and the rich colored LETTERED OLIVE (grrrr… I wish you could see that one better because it is gorgeous). I know, that’s a gorgeous PAPER FIG too, right? It’s a keeper even though it has a tiny hole on the other side of the shell. It’s always a good day to find a PAPER FIG!

ken seashells sanibel

I met them just before we found the SAND “DIMES” (heehee) so they joined in on the fun too.

juvenile sand dollar

It was like we were finding real money out there! I actually think is was better than finding money (hmmmm, well, better than finding pocket change … let’s be honest! ;)) I got so excited to see this adorable BLING, I figured you would too. So I took a video for a CYBERSHELLING hunt for a few minutes so you could go with me. Enjoy!


small sand dollar colors

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i Love Shelling Cruise To Cayo Costa

Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Captiva Cruises, Carrier Shell, Cayo Costa, Jingle, Lightning Whelk | 26 comments


gail carr pam rambo cruise

Twenty five die hard shellers bundled up for 25 mph winds and 44 degree weather for a boat ride with Captiva Cruises to Cayo Costa for an awesome shelling adventure. Oh Yaya! Gail Carr showed up in the same fave hoodie and tote bag stuffed with shelling gear just like me … ready for whatever the day would bring. We looked like twins! LOL And before we took off, I met another sheller ready for the day. Mariah from Seattle told me she found a JUNONIA at Lover’s Key (in Bonita Springs) just a few days ago.

mariah junonia lovers key WA

It’s a beauty! After she showed it to me, she tucked it safely away in the car before she boarded the boat for our trip. Congratshellations, Mariah!

mariah junonia

We had no problems in the rough water at all thanks to our fearless Captain Skip and his Co-Captain Elliot. Our boat trip was smooth as silk.

captains skip elliott

Our shelling adventure began… only 15 minutes into our boat trip we witnessed an unfortunate site. We saw billowing black smoke on the tip of North Captiva Island that had just started. Captain Skip immediately called 911 but thank goodness fire and rescue were already on the way. A house went up in flames from what firefighters think was from a bad generator. There was nothing we could do to help so we continued to Cayo Costa.

burning house fire cayo costa florida

I think we all had a sick feeling in our stomaches by the site of it but we were reassured there was nothing we could do and there was no reports of anybody inside the house. We got quick insiders information from our friends, retired volunteer Captiva Fire Fighter Ron and retired Captiva Fire Commissioner Phyllis (Ron’s wife and a shelling buddy of mine). They both happen to be on our shelling cruise with their granddaughter Isabelle.

ron isabelle phyllis roots

As soon as we got on the beach, it warmed up a bit and the worries of the day started to melt away. Within 5 minutes, I scanned the high tide wrack line and saw an AMERICAN CARRIER SHELL!

Xenophora conchyliophora florida

Wow! I have shown these several times and I always say the same thing… “I know it’s not pretty…BUT really! This is a cool shell!” This shell is a collector of shells too, just like we collect shells. When the MOLLUSK that made this shell was alive, it came out of the opening and picked up that ARK shell and cemented it to its own shell. I’ve heard it may do this to be camouflaged but it could be for balance or to move more easily. I think they do it for the same reasons shellers collect shells… it’s just in their blood- they can’t help it. I have a video HERE on another post about CARRIER SHELLS if you want to see it. Anyway, if it had been laying on the beach this way in the next photo, I would never had seen it. It looks like a clump of shell bits.

carrier shell cayo costa

We made it around to the south tip of the island to find two OSPREYS building a nest.

osprey nest cayo costa

It was such a show with these two huge birds bringing sticks and fish into their nest, it was hard to leave the entertainment. Donna and I stood watching for a few minutes and when I took this photo, I caught one of the birds in flight and one in the nest. I hope you can you see it.

donna osprey nest

Then we pulled ourselves away to keep shelling…

shellers cayo costa

Merna from Nova Scotia (this weather was warm to her- ha!) told me a little something she heard about JINGLE SHELLS…

mirna nova scotia

She showed me that when you look at the inside of good JINGLES, you should see a baby’s foot print. I’ve never heard that! So she showed me and sure enough.. there it was. The MOLLUSK’s muscle scar looks just like a baby foot print left behind in the sand. Cute! You can see it best in the shell all the way to the right.

baby's foot jingle shells

 Layla and Ron from New Jersey were collecting ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLES. Can you believe she was in shorts?! ha

layla ron huge cockle angel

I was thrilled that Tonya Clayton was on our shelling trip as well. She just published a book about how to “read” beaches called “How To Read A Florida Gulf Coast Beach”.

tonya clayton read a beach

I love to “read beaches” by looking at wrack lines, tidal pools and shifting sand but I didn’t know how to read little holes in the sand. I have read many sand trails like my AUGER ART and OLIVE SHELLING but I assumed these little holes in the sand were from the COQUINAS we saw today but they aren’t! They are just little air pockets that rise from below the sand. She can tell by the shape of them. Cool!

air holes in sand

We all had a fabulous day collecting, learning and enjoying the beauty of the islands (even though it was a little chilly) but I was very impressed by Evan’s ALBINO LIGHTNING WHELK.

Evan albino whelk

He found lots of OLIVES, WHELKS, TULIPS  a NUTMEG as well but his ALBINO was awesome. BTW, he was the second one to hit the beach before anyone else so he almost had first dibs since we were the only ones on the entire beach.

evan seashell bucket cayo

The first guy down the beach was DAVE. Yep! He hit the mother load. Take a look at the monster LIGHTNING WHELK! The other side has lots of BARNACLES but they are going to clean up really nicely with some bleach diluted in water like I showed how to do on another post HERE. Great find Dave!

dave cruise cayo whelk s dakota

Not only that, he found ANGEL WINGS (okay, I have to snicker… it’s not an “angle” wing– heehee), a PAPER FIG and some other goodies too.

dave angel wings

On our boat ride back we saw the fire was contained and put out… but the house burned to the ground in that short time we were on the beach. Again, nobody was hurt but lives will be changed. We all feel for the home owners and the neighbors in this small tight knit community only accessible by boat or small plane.

burnt house cayo costa

I’m so thankful the cold, windy weather didn’t scare off my new shelling friends to go on our island outing so our small community of shellers could get to know each other a little better too. Thanks you guys! And thanks to Super Sheller Clark for going too to show everybody how he uses that shelling backhoe of his in the water. He had a group so far ahead of me on the beach, I didn’t even get to take a picture of them. Shucks! Any way, here are a few more photos from our iLoveShelling Exshellent Adventure!

debbie tree roots cayo

rachael babys ears

katie sarah VA shellers

shelling troopers

tiny doulbe false angel wings

cloudy periwinkles cayo

For more Shelling Adventures, click on the this next image…

iLoveShelling ShellingAdventures

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