When high west winds coming from the Gulf Of Mexico wash large wrack lines of PEN SHELLS, SEA WHIPS and SPONGES normally oodles of SEA URCHINS wash up as well. I often get asked “How can you tell if a sea urchin is still alive or not?” so I did a video! I’ll do SEA URCHIN identification in another post (and beach update) but since I have my girlfriend Lori and her daughter Hayley visiting from Virginia this week, I’m taking a little vaca myself for a few days. If we see unbelievable shells I need to tell you about, I’ll take a few minutes to give you an update. … but until then, enjoy the video!
Be still my beating heart!! Seeing this awesome sight of a massive mound of shells sure does get the blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing.
Blind Pass Captiva was rocking yesterday afternoon with shells rolling in with every wave. I stood on top of the mound to see Barb from St Louis pick up a gorgeous orange FLAT SCALLOP.
Debbie from Cape Coral found her first part of a JUNONIA which is the perfect size to make into a necklace or other piece of jewelry.
I was thrilled to see that Sharon from Orlando found a very cool piece of bling…
Yesterday morning, I was at Gulfside City Park to find a wrack line of shells as far as I could see. Seeing a long string of shells like this along the shore gets my heart pumping too but once I start picking through them, it has a different effect on me… I relax and zone out everything else in the world. Love, love, love.
These are some of my gorgeous treasures…
On my last post when I showed you that crazy STARFISH eating the SEA URCHIN, I didn’t get a chance to show you some of the other cool things I found at Lighthouse Beach just after the storms came through.
I met Pam and Steve from Iowa as he was scooping up shells to bring to her to sort. It reminded me of that video of the Shellingmen Tribe I did last year. LOL
They were collecting DISK DOSINIAS, BANDED TULIPS and APPLE MUREXES.
They even found a perfect PURPLE SEA URCHIN.
I still have so many other cool things but they will have to wait but just so you know…. Most beaches along Southwest Florida today should till be very good shelling conditions. So if you are any where near a swfl beach, get going! Just try your luck at finding at least one sweet treasure.
Oh… and I added a button on the right side on this page about my camera. I constantly get asked what type of camera I use so I decided its time I just made a page about it. I’ve tried to get fancy and buy several really high end cameras with big zoom lenses but it never works out since I end up worrying about my camera instead of enjoying my time beach combing. So I stick with this one because I can capture a great photo or video while I am enjoying my time on the beach (FYI- its not waterproof though).
This MILLEPEDE SEA STAR ate a whole POTATO URCHIN that was entirely too big for his belly so he split himself wide open. Are you crazy, dude?
After strong west winds yesterday, Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel had some very cool BEACH BLING washing up this morning but this takes the cake… the potato cake, that is. heehee
I could tell that the STARFISH was very much alive since his little tube feet and spines on the underside were sticking out and moving around to tell me he wanted to go back into the water so he could finish this shellicious breakfast. (Of course I understood him- I talk Starfish) In the next photo, the hole in the middle of his body is his mouth so, as you can see, the POTATO URCHIN (or HEART URCHIN) that he ate is barely visible from this side.
But looking at this view…. Holy Cowrie! The whole URCHIN is there but his belly wasn’t big enough.
In my humble opinion, it seems to reason that since SEA STARS can regrow arms if they break off, I’m assuming once this guy finishes his meal he will be able to repair his torn body and live happily ever after. So I put him back in the Gulf to digest this massive meal and hopefully live another day.
But the funnier thing is…. our friends Dick and Mary had just told us that they found a dead MILLIPEDE STARFISH on the beach that had swallowed half a bivalve. Oh my! They just sent me these iPhone photos so I could share them with you too. One valve of the ALTERNATE TELLIN bivalve shell is inside him and the other is hanging out of his mouth on the underside. This is so wild!
This is the other side that you can see that one valve is still hanging out. Crazy! Unfortunately, this SEA STAR wasn’t the brightest bulb on the tree so neither guy made it out alive from this meal.
PS- I’ve interchanged the words “SEA STAR” and “STARFISH” a few times throughout this post. I know “SEA STAR” (I intended these to be said aloud with air quotes instead of real ” ” so go ahead, air quote away!) is the more socially acceptable way to say “STARFISH” these days but I’m stuck with calling them “STARFISH” since I grew up calling them that. Just so you know. :\
I can find seashells everywhere on Sanibel… even at the Sanibel Farmers Market! Seriously, all of these veggies were made by Barbara Walling using different seashells. Dont you remember Barb? I filmed her making other shell art creations a few years back and she is still creating such fun shell crafts. Aren’t these the cutest veggies you’ve ever seen?
If you want to see this in person, you only have a few more weeks since this market is open seasonally from November through April where Betsy, Jean and Sherrill proudly display it at their booth.
You can even find seashell soaps at the market…
Honestly, I’m not much of a cook but when I have guests over, its fun to buy local fresh food and mingle with the island peeps like shellers Mary and Jim that I met on one of the iLoveShelling cruises to Cayo Costa.
But anyhoooo…back to the shelling on the beach. Here is a sampling of shell treasures I found at Gulfside City Park one morning this weekend.
Just after I met Nora, Mac, Dan and Molly (visiting from Illinois) I heard a loud “Whoa!”.
Mac found a SAND DOLLAR laying under some seaweed just like this and then fund a few more.
Then Molly asked me what this unusual bivalve was. It’s a SMOOTH DUCK CLAM. They are so fragile, it’s hard to find one that is not broken- so good finds!
I always say that there are enough shells on the beach for everyone because different people like to collect different shells. Sydney and Lori tom Indiana were trying to find broken shells and shells with holes in them.
They like to find the shells that already have holes in them so they can make jewelry. I love that they were getting so creative! I had to chime in too and told them that I like to collect the OLIVE shells without tips to make bracelets (for my tutorial CLICK HERE) and also explained how to make a seashell mobile too with broken shells. There are so many fun ways to decorate with shells!
PS- I got all my fresh ingredients at the Sanibel Farmers Market to make dinner because it was my turn to host for my book club (we’ve been together for 12 years!). I used some ideas from Pinterest and it was a fun, successful night with my girlfriends. If you like to read, this is my favorite book I’ve ever chosen that every sheller or treasure hunter would enjoy…
I always feel like I’m on vacation when I’m at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva. It’s only a 25 minute drive for me to get there but once I’m there I get a little giddy, then I relax, soak up every single gorgeous view…then of course hit the beach. Last night, my friend Diane and I combed Sunset Beach up to the north point by the jetty rocks at Redfish Pass to find a nice variety of shells. I found a piece of JUNONIA again (I found a nice piece in January too- click here) and I was tickled to find a nice NUTMEG. I always seem to find OLIVES, FLATS and TURBANS when I am there but the last few times I’ve been there, I’ve found the really orange TURBANS. Love them!
There were shells at the edge of the surf but we found shells mostly high on the beach…
…Just like Jimmy and Joey from Chicago.
Their sister Sophia pulled a baby FIGHTING CONCH out of her shell bag to show us the shell she found especially for her gramma. Sweet! She will love it, Sophia!
We made it to the end of the island just in time to catch the sunset over a pile of shells.
We had to look up every few minutes because it was too much fun to pick through the pile of shells.
Sunset over paradise.
I did find something rare last night. A rare photo- heeheehee. Diane snuck a photo of me doing the Sanibel Stoop… well actually, the Captiva Crouch. LOL I’m the one who is normally taking the “Stoop” photos so it was funny for me to see this one. Sweet Di.
Even Miss PELICAN stayed for a while with us to enjoy the calm, colorful evening.
Not a bad girls night out.
Any day I’m on a boat, I’m happy. I’m even happier when that boat pulls up to a tropical island with strings of seashells lining a beach surrounded by aqua water.
That’s why it was a very happy day on the iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa yesterday. Before we boarded our Captiva Cruises boat, I met Nan and John from Wisconson since I was immediately drawn to John’s home made shelling scoop. I love to see what different folks invent to make shelling a little easier (or more competitive! :)) so I praised his handiwork on the plastic slotted spoon on the end of a long wooden handle. Clever!
I should have know they would be awesome shellers. John made the find of the day (IMHO)- he found a MACULATED BABY’S EAR! He and Nan also found a PURPLISH TAGELUS, FALSE ANGEL WINGS, TRUE ANGEL WINGS, a KEYHOLE LIMPET, MORTON’S EGG COCKLE, and OPERCULUM (his first) and a juvie SOUTHERN QUAHOG.
It was fun to meet locals Amy and Jeff from Fort Myers and seeing how many different shells she was collecting. Oh and… notice her Seashell Identification guide attached to one of her shell bags? Love it!
Amy pulled out a few of her favorite finds and of course my eyes went straight to the humongo BABYS EAR. Then I saw how sweet the mix was…. a BUBBLE, WHELK, COMB BITTERSWEET, MELAMPUS on the top row, then 2 PURPLISH TAGELUS, a COQUINA, another PURPLISH TAGELUS and then after the BABY EAR, a FALSE ANGEL WING.
I saw lots of shellers finding PURPLISH TAGELUS shells.
Jane from Boston found a few treasures right where our boat anchored.
Two BABY’S EARS!
Marsha and Robert (Georgia) found most of their treasures on the Gulf side of the island.
Looks like they found the OLIVE garden!
Marsha and Robert were sitting beside Rachel and Sherry on the boat and realized they lived only 30 minutes from each other in Georgia. Those Georgians can find some shells!
These were just a few of Rachel and Sherry’s finds. Out of the four SHARK’S EYES, we noticed that one of the SHARK’S EYES had blue in the center of the eye…. A PAUL NEWMANS EYE!
It’s always fun to see families like Henry, Charles, Eric and Courtney’s family from Illinois learning about shells…
And seeing friends like Gary, Roxanne Marge and Gordon (all from Chicago) sharing the adventures of a new beach together.
I met Linda earlier this year on another iLoveShelling cruise but she was calling herself The Queen Of Parts since she only found a slightly broken BABYS EARS and broken ANGEL WINGS.
But then she found a few WORMIES, a gorgeous double ALTERNATE TELLIN, a BROAD PAPER COCKLE, FALSE ANGEL WINGS and an EGG COCKLE. Queen of Parts and Treasures!
It was so much fun to find shells and share the sun filled day with beautiful happy people.
My Shell Tree wish came true. Happy.
And a MANATEE too!