Shelling is beach therapy. I love a long walk along the water’s edge searching for wildlife and picking up a few beautiful shells.
Yesterday at Sanibel’s Bowmans Beach, the crowds disappeared as we walked passed the families set up for their beach day with umbrellas, coolers and beach chairs. The further we walked, the quieter my mind became. Everything else on the planet slipped away other than seeing a big wide open beach with shells, sand, water and sky.
Then the trance began. It’s like I’m being hypnotized each time I’m at the beach when I hear the waves wash up on the sand with jingle of shells rolling back and forth.
When I walk along the shell line from a recent higher tide I’m searching for shapes, textures and colors of the shells I know so well. Aha! A SHARK’S EYE hidden among the ARKS, KITTENS PAWS and VENUS CLAMS.
There are days when the shells are piled high or washing up at your feet in droves but long walks like Clark and I took yesterday are my absolute favorite. It’s what keeps me going back time and time again. It’s my beach therapy.
Amazingly enough when we got back, I got a little surprise in my email inbox. I’m in a short little film about shelling! I was asked in an interview back in February about what I love about shelling. Well…. everything actually! But then it all boiled down to how it makes me feel- I’m just so dang happy when I’m on the beach and shelling takes my mind to another galaxy. It makes me appreciate how beautiful this life is. It’s just that simple. The Beaches Of Fort Myers and Sanibel did an A-MAZING job on this film and I am over the moon shell, humbled and honored that I was asked to participate in it.
I hope you enjoy!
PS- Oh and yes- That’s Elliot Sudal (Shelliot- heehee ) in the film too. See? I told you he isn’t just a fisherman, he’s a sheller! CLICK HERE to read my post about him.
The Sanibel Lighthouse beach has been a long time favorite place of ours to search for the mini shells. The evening was cool and breezy so to take a nice walk from the gulf side to the fishing pier over the weekend was delightful. Our beloved little WENTLETRAPS were scattered along the mid tide line along with a a few adorable little DUSKY CONES. Of the 5 we found, the last one we picked up I believe (the one on the far left by the cutie little pink COQUINA half) is an ALBINO DUSKY. It doesn’t look beach worn and there’s not a speck of color in it. Hmmmmm. Score!
Clark and I are now on the mend from fighting that awful cold/flu/”crud” that zapped us both from every ounce of energy and zombified our brains for a number of days- yuk! Taking a short walk on the beach was just what the doctor ordered- ahhhh we both feel much better. For us, getting outside in the sunshine is always the best medicine and searching for shells on the beach is the perfect follow up therapy.
Shelling isn’t complicated. It’s the most relaxing activity one can do while on the beach.
Just walk along the shoreline and pick up a few seashells that you think are pretty. That’s it. So that’s exactly what we did yesterday along the beach of Big Hickory Island yesterday when we all found handfuls of ANGEL WING shells.
Okay, I have to admit though… it adds so much fun when you hop on a boat like the Sight Sea-Rto go to explore a secluded island for shells!
It’s so much fun to meet other amazing shellers like cutie shellootie Gretchen who made a new SEA STAR friend as well. After saying hello and learning how to tell if they are still alive, Gretchen gently placed her new SEA STAR friend back into the water and wished it a good long life.
Along the way of enjoying this spectacular sunny day, Peter and Alex (Connecticut) found a few keepers to put in their shell bag.
Thank goodness Peter found a couple of ALPHABET CONES- thats all he looks for… so I’d say he was successful.
Can you believe the color of that water? Theresa and Russ (soon to be Cape Coral ;)) …
found an ALPHIE, SAND DOLLAR and a few other souvenirs to remember our fab day together.
How can ya not have a good time hanging out with folks like Susan from Toronto? Really, we’re all just wanting the same thing- enjoy the outdoors and find a few good memories along the way.
She found her first ALPHABET CONE.
Lori and Glenn (Iowa) had luck finding an ALPHABET CONE too. They are so darn cute!
Ellen (Shellin’ Ellen) and Roger (VA) had their own luck beside them.
It was an incredibly gorgeous day to hunt for shells while in the water like local sheller Candy and her snorkeling sister Megan visiting from Pennsylvania.
Thank you for coming out with us Angela, Sarah and Stacy (Maine) – next time we are gonna do a little SHARKS EYE dance together. haha
I think we were happy like Mike and Linda from New Hampshire to have this gorgeous day to hunt for shells. The water was soooo amazing.
Bob and Nancy from Houston are newbie shellers who found a lot of new shells for their list… but the best shell being this colorful little DUSKY CONE. i love those little shells.
So this is why I love days like this more than anything…. I looked over to see Diana from Illinois sharing her ANGEL WINGS with some of the other shellers that she didn’t even know. That’s so sweet! So when I found out that Carolyn, Roda, Bev and Lynette were part of Sanibel Shell Crafters, it meant even more that she was sharing her treasures with them. They donate so many hours to shell crafting they are such givers as well. It’s really so simple- share the shelling joy.
Diana kept a few of her gorgeous miniature shells like just two ANGEL WINGS, ROSE PETAL TELLINS, WORM SHELLS, COQUINAS and even quite a few branches of CORAL. I loved her collections so much, you can see I photographed them in the first photo- so pretty!
It was a beautiful day filled with laughter and joy from a boat full a beautiful folks.
Beachcombers love SEA TURTLES just as much as sandy toes and seashells.
Beginning in the late 1950s, Charles LeBuffstarted monitoring the nesting habits of female SEA TURTLES on Sanibel to evaluate threats to the population. Since the 1990’s Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation’s Sea Turtle Program (along with 100s of volunteers) now surveys each nesting season which runs April through October. Through the years they’ve learned that to protect our nesting mothers and their babies, we need to keep our beaches clear of obstacles.
I normally enjoy seeing beautiful beach art but it can be disastrous for a female turtle in nesting season. On our island summer nights, female loggerhead turtles (and occasionally green turtles, leatherbacks and Kemps Ridley turtles) lay their eggs on the same beach where they were hatched decades earlier. If left over night, obstructions like sand castles, beach chairs, coolers or even deep sand pits can distract or injure the mother turtle or her babies after they hatch. Did you know that lights on the beach after dark can disorient adult and baby turtles? Yes, they go towards the light instead of heading to the water so they might end up in the street or parking lot. So we wont be doing any night shelling without red filters on our flashlights until fall. Not a bad price to pay for keeping baby turtles safe, huh?
As I was walking the beach yesterday at Gulfside City Park, I saw this deep trench that was dug out of the sand. Ut Oh! SEA TURTLES can get trapped in there.
As soon as I started filling the pit back in, Steve from the Sanibel Police beach patrol came to the rescue. He got out his shovel and smoothed the beach back to normal. You’re a good man, Steve.
I was a turtle tracker a few years ago with my friend Lisa and found a baby turtle in a big sand pit with lots of seashells on the beach. The baby turtle had been making his way to the water but got a little off track when he fell into this pit (photo below). He couldn’t get out since the sides were so steep but he moved his flippers just enough to catch my eye. We called our contact person at SCCF to make sure to follow protocol to rescue this little cutie and I was so happy to get the a-okay to pick him up and release him at the edge of the gulf. Yeah! We rescued him and watched him swim away with all his might.
As shellers, we are on the beach probably more than anybody else so we can help do our part in making our beaches as safe as possible for these little cuties.
My good friend Karen Blackford took a video of SEA TURTLES hatching a few years ago. I always love to watch it each year to remind myself what a journey they have and how we can make the beaches safe for the. Thanks Karen! CLICK HERE.
It’s the ebb and flow of shelling that keeps me going to the beach over and over again. I always see something different with every tide… like the orange sun setting over an orange COCKLE or this brilliant purple opening of this APPLE MUREX.
At any given moment, the tide may bring DOLPHINS in so close to the shore they may swim right next to a sheller (like this week!).
In the next minute, the tide may recede to reveal fresh beautiful shell treasures left on the sand.
These are a few shell souvenirs Amanda and J.J (from St Mary’s Island, Georgia) found at Blind Pass…. ALPHABET CONES.
It was also lovely to meet Carol (TN) under the Blind Pass bridge while we scooped up a few shells in the current as the tide was coming back in.
I’m so sorry I haven’t been making more videos lately, but …. to make it up to you… here’s a short video I filmed just moments before I met Carol. I love days when I catch the tide just right as the water is shallow and calm enough to see the shells roll by in the current. So take a break from your ebb and flow of your own world and come cybershelling with me for a just a minute. I think you’ll see that change is a beautiful thing.