And then this happened this weekend… I found this spectacsheller empty HORSE CONCH! I was walking along with my friend Alicia and then… Boom- Shellalaka! I saw part of that bright color shell half buried in the sand.. then galloped towards it and lassoed me a Horsie – Yeehaw. I reined this big bad boy filled with sand and saw it had such a nice lip and this amazing orange yellow color… and… without too many barnacles. Yup, it was bareback! Giddy Up, Horsie!
And Alicia found so many awesome shells too. She and GAIL were especially happy to both find perfect ALPHABET CONES.
We’ve had so many storms, the beach at Gulfside City Park on Sanibel Island is littered with shells of all sorts. Most of the shells were still alive on the beach at low tide which exposed so many creatures we normally don’t get to see. This is a rare time when Mother Nature decides to clean house and let us see what she’s hiding on the floor and under the carpet of the Gulf Of Mexico.
These were a few of the empty shells I found wedged in-between the ARK shells and the live MOLLUSKS.
I’m not exaggerating…. there were thousands of shells. It was overwhelming to even know where to begin to identify all of them so I just enjoyed taking in the view.
After a while, I spotted a few empty shells that were laying right on top.
And still… oodles of SEA URCHINS.
Local shellers Melody and Vickie were as thrilled and curious as I was to just see the awesome sight of the exposed beach filled with live creatures.
They couldn’t get over how gorgeous and perfect the PAPER FIGS and SEA URCHINS were. They are both so delicate.
I’m telling you, it was shocking to see that bright orange creature with so many live HORSE CONCHS exposed. The wild wild west of Florida.
These unbridled HORSES were digging back in to the sand saddling up along side and feasting on other MOLLUSKS while waiting for the tide to cover them up again and take them back to the stable. Most of those BANDED TULIPS were alive and riding horseback but can you spot the sand filled WHELK in between the PEN shell and one of those BANDED TULIPS?
Many people ask if this happens every day… No it doesn’t. Yes, our area on Sanibel and other SW Florida beaches have shells every day but these huge shells just don’t wash up at your feet every day. It’s the circle of life so it’s fun to see live creatures in their natural habitat and to be overwhelmed by Mother Nature. It’s a special occurrence just like fisherman fish for “the big one” or birders trying to spot flocks of ROSEATE SPOONBILLS or looking for DOLPHIN jumping out of the water. All of this happens on special days and mine was this weekend. Shellzam, y’all!
It is not every day we get to see SEA URCHINS wash up in the colors in the rainbow. Every day the beaches on Sanibel and SW Florida in the last few weeks have been loaded with all sorts of Beach Bling from the storms we’ve been getting every other day. After sifting through thousands of dried spineless SEA URCHINS in the high wrack line on the beach to find the unusual colors, I needed to get down to the water’s edge to see what the newest measures were that the tide was bringing in. WENTLETRAPS and other cool minis!
Every tidal line on the beach has different treasures right now from brought in by the high winds. It’s like a our very own science project spread out in lines along the shore for us to sort through and be amazed by.
Oh Buoy! Torn from their CRAB TRAPS that washed up on the beach, buoys dotting the shoreline along with DRIFTWOOD, balls of SEAWEED, EGG CASINGS….
And of course seashells.
So… I brought home the SEA URCHINS I found from the top photo, but not all of them made it home in one piece. I know, I know… I should’ve taken a plastic container to the beach with me – dang it! But I really didn’t think I was going to keep any of them but they were just so pretty I just couldn’t help it. Ha! Lesson learned- I really didn’t “need” to bring them home ay way- that’s exactly why I put myself on a shell collecting “diet”. Hmmmm… This may take a little more work than I thought hahaha.
I found shell heaven this week!
When I can be on a boat …
Filled with the nicest shellers in the world …
Finding amazing shells…
And Beach Bling…
Amazing things happen…
Great memories happen.
We even had DOLPHINS jumping beside the boat to welcome us to a spectacshellar day.
This all happened on our iLoveShelling Adventure with Sight Sea-R Cruises this week boating to Big Hickory Island, Florida. The island was loaded with awesome treasures.
And even more awesome shellers…
This is why I feel like I found shell heaven this week.
It’s not just about the shells but the experience we have along the way of finding them.
It’s about the different things we find that are beautiful to us.
And to share the experience.
To share the joy.
To share the experience with friends from the past…
And to meet new friends…
That’s not it… on every iLoveShelling Adventure …
Every passenger will receive a $25 gift certificate for Sealife By Congress Jewelry store!
Can you believe all the ALPHABET CONES, SHARKS EYES, GAUDY NATICAS, SEA PEARLS, ANGEL WINGS, SUNRAY VENUS, WORM SHELLS and BEACH BLING everybody found in all of the photos? It was crazy!
Oh wait… and I found a reeaaally cool shell too!
These trips are so much fun for me because I get to share a few tips and tricks that I’ve learned over lot of years combing our local beaches and give away shells – so I don’t normally keep any shells I find…but when I saw this “FREAK” FLORIDA CONE, Whoa…. Pounce! Look at that crazy spire.
Wanna see other “freak” shells? CLICK HERE.
Join me on an iLoveShelling Adventure boat cruise to the out islands- CLICK HERE
PS- We may have had freaking awesome shelling on our beaches this week but you folks up north in these snow storms have been on our minds every second of the day. Please stay warm and stay safe… by thinking about sifting through shells.
Shells, shells and more shells rolled in the week after the storms hit SW Florida this week. Folks who didn’t mind getting their toes wet at the surf’s edge for a couple of hours were rewarded with some a-maaaazing gifts from the sea. Annie, Lucy, Heidi and Doug who were visiting Sanibel from Ohio all found some cool shells… and look at that huge empty HORSE CONCH Lucy (in the red sweatshirt) found- it was Shellectric!
It was like playing Duck, Duck, Goose… picking up shells and looking to see if they were occupied- Live, Live… Empty!
The shell game…
It was almost too overwhelming to look at the beach with all the beautiful colors peeking out of the sand when the waves receded. Which way do I go?
LIGHTNING WHELKS… it was like a people were tripping over them. haha (Ok- I’m sort of exaggerating… errrr.. sorta)
But Im not exaggerating about this…. Chris and his wife Karen from Vermont found a JUNONIA at Blind Pass- Shellzam!
Patti from NY was overjoyed to find her own big WHELK at lighthouse beach. Boom- Shellalaka!
Then I saw her one hour later and… she found another one. haha Ooo Shell-la-la!
You can see Clark in the background scooping up shells I showed you earlier this week while families all around him found their own amazing treasures.
Rudy from MN was finding WHELKS too- he was around the same spot as Clark and there were plenty to go around for everybody. Happiness.
This says it all! The day was so spectacsheller, Kathy was doing the happy dance and shouting to the palm tree tops. Isn’t she the cutest thing?
But hold on… I never even got to show you the crazy FOSSIL SHELLS that local shellers Pam and Cheryl found near the Sanibel fishing pier…
Seriously, isn’t this crazy?
Shelling sisters Andrean and Karen from OK had the same instincts I did throughout the week because I ran in to them at just about every stop- they hit the same beaches at the same time. We should have just car pooled together hahaha. They even found the “FOSSIL PIT”.
The last time this road got washed away by a storm, the City Of Sanibel brought loads of dirt with shells mixed in from the FOSSIL pits in Florida so thats why these unbelievable shells rolled out. That OLIVE in Andrean’s hand was still shiny- Wow. And… the shell just to the right of it I believe is a Mitra lineolata which was a common shell 5 million years ago but is now extinct. Cheryl had one in her hand in the other photo too. Blows the mind, right?
I hope to do a whole post just on FOSSIL shells you can find around the islands (to see a previous post on FOSSILS CLICK HERE ) but I still have much to catch up on (it was a busy week…. my birthday week- heehee). We also had an awesome time on our iLoveShelling Adventure yesterday so I’ll show you what we found there on my next post.
I know lots of you up north are dealing with some terrible weather and preparing for scary storms this weekend so we are sending love and warm wishes to you. Please be safe!
Oh and PS- The BROWN PELICAN we took to CROW (on my last post CLICK HERE) is still being cared for at the clinic. He still has a splint on his fractured right leg but they say he is making a nice recovery. Yahoo!