There’s nothing better than boating to a beautiful island to “hang” out on the beach with aqua waters and seashells surrounding the shores. You can even bring your own hammock to hang out in if you get tired of finding seashells. Ha!
That’s why 48 of us gathered together on the dock of McCarthy’s Marina to catch the iLoveShelling Captiva Cruise to Cayo Costa yesterday.
Before we boarded the boat, I got to hang out with Shelling Sistahs Duska and Natalia. I love bonding with the shelling family!
Then as we boarded the boat , the show began with MANATEES swimming around us…
And more bonding with Shelling Sistah Lisa! Lisa Feds (There are quite a few Lisas so I’m gonna call her Lisa Feds) has been commenting on my blog for over 2 years so I feel like we know each other so I had to take a long-arm-photo of both of us together. It’s so nice to put a face with a name, right?
After a gorgeous 1/2 hour boat ride, we landed on the island of Cayo Costa…
It is so picturesque!
Then we got to shelling…
Super Sheller Clark was giving tips on how to shell in the water with his shelling “backhoe” when rumor spread quickly that he found something cool…
He pulled a live ALBINO FIGHTING CONCH out of the water…
First of all, it is VERY rare to find an ALBINO FIGHTING CONCH so it was so cool to be able show the shell to so many people who had never seen one before. But then to be able to show one that is still alive is pretty cool because you realize that there is no mistaking that it is an albino and not just white because of being beach worn.
You can see the only color that is on this shell is the PERIOSTRACUM which is the brownish skin on the bottom and top. After showing this gorgeous ALBINO to everyone, Clark walked this live mollusk out in the water to keep living a happy healthy but colorless life.
I was tickled to see Debbie from Fort Myers Beach again. She was on the first iLoveShelling cruise in January then came back for the April iLS cruise (when she found a huge 14 inch empty LIGHTNING WHELK) and she came back again on this one! I’m gonna miss you Debbie if you don’t show up on the next iLS cruise in June! Here she is with Capt Brian and her best finds…
She’s got the eye for the BABY’S EARS. It just goes to show you that every day is different on each beach. I can usually spot those BABY’S EARS every time I visit Cayo Costa but didn’t find one this trip… and look at the huge one she found along with the FALSE
ANGLE ANGEL WING.
This was the only TUSK SHELL that I saw but it was a big one…
Super Sheller Clark struck again! This is why Karen gave him his “super sheller” name years ago… not only did he find an ALBINO shell, he found rare GOLDEN OLIVE.
A GOLDEN OLIVE is a LETTERED OLIVE with a yellow (citrine) color… and this one is huuuuge!
I have to introduce my favorite sheller of the day. This is Kaylie from Minnesota and she found a whole bag full of seashell goodies to take home and treasure forever. Thank you so much Kaylie for joining us on this shelling adventure to Cayo Costa!
After a fun afternoon on the beach, the adventure continued on the boat as we shared our finds… literally. I saw Terenia, Denise and Laura (who came down from Tampa for the day) with some nice SAND DOLLARS and SUNRAY VENUSES.
Then they told me they didnt actually find them… “a guy out in the water was finding them and gave them all to us”. That is so nice! I had to find out who it was. It turned out to be Ken Figa. I have “met” Ken before online because he has a facebook page called Sea Shell Collecting so we have a lot in common. He said he didn’t find anything unusual so he didn’t need to bring any more SUNRAY VENUS or SAND DOLLARS home with him so he gave them all away. See? That’s why I call this a shelling family. It’s such an amazingly nice community.
Warren from Utah found some treasures to fill his shelling tote to take back to his wife Tami who couldnt make it on the cruise with us since she injured her knee a few days ago. So sorry we missed you Tami! I hope I get to meet you when you are better!
On the boat ride to Cayo Costa, Greg had mentioned that he wanted to find a CONE. He was a man with a mission because he did find one.
Here are Pam, Sarah and Greg’s fave finds and a little BEACH BLING too. Greg’s cone doesnt seem to look too good in this photo but in real life, I swear it looked so much better!
Shelling sistahs Lynn (she’s got on an iLoveShelling cap!) and Kelly found some favorite things too.
Lynn was very happy to have found her first SEA BEAN and when I talked with Kelly, she was just thrilled with everything she found but mostly that Lynn fought her fear of boats by going on this shelling cruise. If I heard Kelly correctly, I think this was Lynn’s very first boat ride. I am so proud of you Lynn and I am so honored that you chose this cruise to be your first with such a gorgeous day with perfectly calm waters. Now that you’ve taken your maiden voyage, I hope it wont be your last.
After we got back to McCarthy’s Marina where Captiva Cruises‘ docks, we had our own little Shell and Tell where some of us did some more hanging out and showing our favorite shells or BLING. Andrea had some fun finds!
She showed a SAND DOLLAR, SUNRAY VENUS, a double FALSE ANGEL WING and she said she ha found the other shells before (CERITHS and FIGHTING CONCHS) but she thought that the SLIPPER SHELL was different because it wasn’t smooth on top. She found a SPINY SLIPPER SHELL. I need to do a whole post on SLIPPER SHELLS because as some may be common, there are 6 different SLIPPERS in SW FLorida. I’m glad she pointed out that this one was different.
Lisa Fed found WORMIES! And she wanted to add the CRAB CLAWS to add a little BLING to her faves too. Love it!
Here are Debbies faves along with that big ole BABY’S EAR I showed you at the beginning of the post. Funny thing is, I have seen those little round pine-cone-ish looking balls on the left side of the next photo but I have no idea what they are from. She added those and the SEA PEARL for her BLING but we’d love to know what they are. Anybody?
Okay and one more….
I had to take one more photo of Clark’s GOLDEN OLIVE today so you could see it a little better… well, and because I just wanted to look at it again and hold the dang thing Wow! It’s a beauty!
You can join in on the fun and you can hang out with a boatload of other shellers on the next iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa June 19, 2013 (Wednesday) – 1pm to 4pm by calling 239-472-5300 to make your reservation. This cruise was sold out (weehoo!) so don’t miss the boat… and if you do miss the next one, don’t worry, CLICK HERE to find more dates.
On a serious note… As Clark and I and the whole shelling family are thinking of those in Oklahoma and Texas effected by the violent storms and terrible tornados, I found some good info to share on how to help through the Red Cross HERE.
For me, this is the perfect evening… taking a walk on the beach without any rush, without an agenda and being happy with whatever I find.
That’s how I felt this week. I just want to melt into my beachcombing and have my mind completely focused on… well… focused on NOTHING. Ahhh. It worked. And as soon as I started breathing, feeling the warm breeze and being so happy to have my toes on the sand after a long week…. the rest of the world melted away.
That’s when I found WENTLETRAPS! …And SAND DOLLARS!
I get a little “edgy” when I cant get my fix of the beach. Yes, I know, I’m VERY fortunate to be have access to the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva as often as I do but this week was so busy catching up with life in general (we all know how that goes) I didn’t get to get my normal beach therapy. There is one thing I NEVER take for granted… beach time. That’s why I think it’s important to share it because I loooove looking through wrack lines like this one near LIGHTHOUSE BEACH and knowing you love it too…
I even think it’s cool to see SEA PORK…
I was thrilled to find my treasures to take home but my favorite thing on the beach I found this week (that I couldnt take home) was seeing a mama SNOWY PLOVER and her babies. So sweet!
They are so hard to see because they blend in so closely to the sand but I snapped a few pictures of them without getting too closely to disturb them. And I got a little video! Enjoy the THREE SNOWY PLOVER BABIES AND THEIR MAMA video and if you are near SW Florida, join us on the iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa tomorrow- Sunday May 18, 2013 at 1pm at Captiva Cruises. Call 239-472-5300 for reservations.
Boom Shellalaka, Baby! Now that’s some extreme shelling! Wendy and Gerry from NY found all of the shells the last 2 days shelling from Blind Pass Sanibel to Bowman’s Beach then displayed this awesome shell photo on the iLoveShelling Facebook page to show us. Wow! I hope you can see what a variety of seashells this it.
Our buddy Donnie The Shellinator snorkeled that same area to hit the “Boom Shellalaka” too! OMG Craziness!
Our friends Dick and Mary can also scream “Boom Shalaka!”. They hit the mother load at Gulfside City Park while wading in the water to find these gems. Congratshellations Wendy, Gerry, Shellinator, Dick and Mary!
Last week, the shells were piling up on the beaches during the Shellabaloo but now you have to get in the water around knee deep to score like these folks. Hmmm…. but now that I think about it, the big HORSE CONCHS and JUNONIA were also found in the water last week. Clark and I walked the Sanibel Blind Pass beach and didn’t find anything until we waded in the water in the evening while the tide was going out. I found a gorgeous FLORIDA CONE with a purple tip. BoomShellalaka!
This past December was the first time I had ever seen this wooden sea wall exposed about a half mile from Blind Pass on the Sanibel side… then the sand covered up again over 3 months time. Now it is exposed again with more erosion within a month. It’s crazy how the sand shifts but that’s how strong the Gulf Of Mexico can be with the help of tides, high winds and strong currents… AND that’s why this is such a good area to shell in as well.
This is where I found my sweet FLORDIA CONE and Clark found 2 ALPHABET CONES in knee to shin high water.
It’s also a great place to see the changing colors of the sky at sunset as well. Ahhhhh
Oh how I love evening shelling…
After you enjoy feeling the excitement of finding shells on the beach, you get to enjoy the excitement all over again when you show them to someone else that “gets” what you found and knows how you feel. That’s why our Shellabaloo 2 “Shell ‘N Tell” was one of my favorite days of the whole week during Shellabaloo. Do you see what Michele (Ohio) is holding in her hand in the first photo with her husband Bill? She found a JUNONIA! But that’s not it… she found what she calls “The Trifecta!”… A large HORSE CONCH and a large WHELK along with her JUNONIA. Do you think she was a happy girl or what! So happy for you Michele!
Here are some of her other finds (minus the JUNONIA since she was showing it to the others when I took this) …
For the week of Shellabaloo 2, I made up another Shellinger Hunt. The hunt is really meant to just have fun learning about different shells and not to overlook some of the common shells like JINGLES and KITTENS PAWS because…. well… because I think they are beautiful too! So you will see some of the displays with a dozen JINGLES in a COCKLE SHELL because that was point for the Shellinger Hunt. It wasn’t about who could find and take the most shells off the beach- it was all about enjoying the shells that were found… and some bigger points for finding things like The Sanibel Six or finding the rarer shells. It was so much fun to see these shellers find shells they’ve never found before and to rediscover the ones that can easily be overlooked.
On our last day, I asked everybody to bring their fave finds and/or their entries for the Shellinger Hunt at our home base at Island Inn so we could all see what everybody else was collecting. We set up tables for each person to display their shells and it turned out to be a mini Sanibel Shell Show!
Terri (NY) made a beee-uuuteeeful display of her favorite finds.
Lee and Susan (Cuba) narrowed down their favorite finds on a cooler tray for the Shellinger Hunt…
Of course I added a BEACH BLING category on the hunt ( i Love the BLING!) so it’s so funny they added a dried up fish tail that looks just like a MERMAID and a washed up fishing bobber as the faves in that category. LOL
Rick (Texas) brought a plate of his fave shells… the miniature shells. I just love how everybody organized their shells so creatively!
Rick’s wife Murfy showed her faves along with her favorite vintage shell book…
There is one shell in the middle of the others that is a little different. It looks like some sort of a TURITELLA… which I dont think is native to this area. I think it is either a FOSSIL shell that found it’s way to the gulf on a high tide from sidewalk fill or it was left over from a party or wedding after someone bought shells to decorate with. Hmmmm.
If there was a prize for being creative… Sharene and Tom (Ontario) would have won for creativity!
Rusty and Donna (Apopka, FL) narrowed down the favorites and of course it included an ALPHABET CONE and the SEA WHIP that had the ONE-TOOTH SIMNIAS I showed you in the first Shellabaloo 2 post.
Roger (MO) told me that his favorite shells were the minis he found at Lighthouse Beach. It was his first time finding WENTLETRAPS, RICE OLIVES and TUSKS so it was really fun to find something new.
Margie (AL) is so adorable! Her favorite shell was the PONDEROUS ARK because she loved the black PERIOSTICUM (the shell’s “skin”) on the white shell so that’s all she collected. She is going to make a black and white frame for a mirror when she gets home so I hope we get to see it!
Cutie Pie Becka needed her own table to make room for all of her newly found treasures.
Kendra (IN) had a sweet organized display of her favorites but also for the Shellinger Hunt.
She was so afraid she was going to lose her first TUSK SHELL so she wrapped half of a bandaid around it so she would know where it was (on the blue plate). LOL
Pat (Boca Raton, FL) had an amazing display of shells and BLING for the Shellinger Hunt.
While I was oooohing and aaaahing at all of her finds, she pointed out a piece of BEACH BLING that she wanted to know what it was. Whoa! Pat! You found the OPERCULUM to the SHARKS EYE! Clark just found our first ones just last month so I was absolutely thrilled for her that… A) she saw it and picked it up… and B) that she knew it was something special to show at the Shell And Tell. See why I love these shellers? Who else would think this thing on the beach was cool…
Speaking of awesome shellers, unfortunately, Gina couldn’t come to the Shell ‘N Tell but I still have to show you one of her exshellent finds… Gina found a yellow SEA WHIP. We find the purple ones a little more often but not the perfect yellow ones like hers. And no, I couldnt get her photo either because she was a little camera shy but Ha! I took a “long-arm shot” with me in it so we could get her picture and the SEA WHIP. LOL And yep, you guessed it! There were two ONE-TOOTH SIMNIAS on it!
I have found yellow SEA WHIPS before but never one with the yellow ONE-TOOTH SIMINAS on it. Yahoo! Gina did! Such a treasure!
Okay back to the Shell ‘N Tell with the rest of the awesomeness…. Here’s Cindy with her huge HORSE CONCH I showed you in my last post! Now you can see all of the other fabulous shells she found as well.
She also found a big ALPHABET CONE …which is part of 2 sets of The Sanibel Six for her Shellinger Hunt finds. She found a FLORIDA CONE to make her other set. And look at all of the SHARKS TEETH!
Okay… It’s time to announce the winner of the Shell And Tell and you won’t believe this prize! The winning sheller went home with a silver JINGLE SHELL necklace made by Sealife By Congress. It is beautiful! This new Sanibel jewelry store in Periwinkle Place Shopping Center is filled with seashells, SEAHORSES, DOLPHINS, STARFISH, SAND DOLLARS and every other sea life in gold, silver and with tasteful gemstones as well. I was thrilled they wanted to give our winner this perfect shell necklace.
After much laughter and ado, we narrowed the winners down to Michele (with her JUNONIA and HORSE CONCH) and Cindy with her HORSE CONCH based on their points score…
Before we announce the winner, Cindy and Michele clicked their CONCHS as if it was a toast. Cute and so much fun!
Drum Roll Please! …. wait for it…… The winner is Michele! Her JINGLE necklace is perfect for her! Congratshellations, my friend!
I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun both Shellabaloo 1 (in January) and this Shellabaloo 2 have been since it really brings amazing people together with not just shelling in common but we all seem to be like-minded in so many other ways. It’s quite a bonding experience, I must say. Thank you Island Inn for hosting such a great Shellapalooza. I’m sorry to say that I don’t know when the next one will be- no dates of been set yet for this 4 day Shellathon but as soon as we’ve come up with a plan, you will be the first to know.
But wait! I’m gathering a group of shellers for an afternoon of shelling at Cayo Costa next Sunday May 19 from 1-4pm on a Captiva Cruise. Join us! CLICK HERE for more info or call 239-472-5300 and ask to come along for the next iLoveShelling cruise!
Total coup at the Shellabaloo 2! Woo Woo!
We are all so happy for Cindy from Missouri after she found this shellacious empty HORSE CONCH on the beach at the Island Inn yesterday during Shellabaloo 2. She is still two clouds above nine since she found it in the water in the midst of a pile of PEN SHELLS. How awesome! Congratshellations!
But wait… let me back up for those of you who aren’t quite sure what SHELLABALOO 2 is exactly. Island Inn Sanibel put together a 4 day, 3 night shelling package including 7 meals, a beautiful goodie bag, a trip to the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and asked me to gather and guide this group of shellers to the best possible places to find seashells and treasures from the sea. What? Hang out with a bunch of folks that love shelling as much as I do? Shell Yaya! So I had to give it a fun “shell” name (of course- it’s the iLoveShelling thang!) … so “SHELLABALOO” was born.We had the first Shellabaloo in January… and it was a Baaa-laaaast! So we had to do it again with this unbelievably fun gang…
Before I show you more a-mazing shells that were found by these shell hunter extraordinaires, let me introduce a few more of my new friends to you that I didn’t get to show you on the last post. We started off at a cocktail party at the Island Inn where I met Becca (Ft Myers), Margie (Alabama) and Paula (Alabama)…
Helen and Cathy both came from Arkansas to join the shellastravaganza…
Although this is a little blurry because of a ”long arm” self portrait …Clark was there to meet everybody to share a few of his “Super Sheller” secrets as well.
It was a fab party thanks to cuties Blanaid and Jessica! They worked out all the details on behalf of the Island Inn…
I promise to get to everybody else too but let me get you to the beach pictures. I showed you our day at Gulfside City Park and the gigantshellous mound we hit at Blind Pass Captiva on Tuesday on my last post…
Yesterday we did a full shelling day on the secluded island of Cayo Costa by way of a boat cruise by Captiva Cruises. How fun!
Terri (NY) and her mom Darlene (CA) got to enjoy a perfect day on the water…
On the way, we saw DOLPHINS as we passed the private island of Useppa and several other pods in different areas but you know how that goes with wildlife… out of prob 20 shots, this is the only semi-good one. LOL
Once we got to the boat dock at the Cayo Costa State Park Ranger Station, we took an island style “shuttle” to get to the beach side.
We hit the beach to find clear aqua blue water and a wide stretch of beautiful beach all to ourselves…
I was so surprised to find an area with oodles of SHARK’S TEETH and other FOSSILS like this STING RAY BARB on the far right of my hand!
I showed Terri what I found and within minutes she found a handful of her own…
Donna and Rusty (Apopka, FL) found some too!
They were filling up a smaller tub inside their buckets to catch all of their SHARKS TEETH…
Susan (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba) was thrilled to find SHARK’S TEETH too!
She showed me her SHARKS TEETH, then asked me about another piece she found… Oh Yaya! It’s a FOSSIL PUFFER FISH MOUTHPLATE!
Cindy and her husband Roger (MO) said they spent a whole day in Venice, Florida last year but didn’t find one SHARKS TOOTH. They were both thrilled to find their first ones!
Lee (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba) had the eye for bigger shells..
He found a bag full of double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS and some LIGHTNING WHELKS…
Kendra (Indiana) was coming back with a full shell bag too…
After a picnic lunch and a full gorgeous day on Cayo Costa, we boarded the boat to head back to Captiva…
But do you think we stopped shelling once we got back??? No!!! These are my kind of shellers. Half of the group headed to Lighthouse Beach to find out how to find WENTLETRAPS…
Yep. We found them and lots of other minis…
The evening’s perfect low tide left a wrack line of tiny treasures…
Lee, Tom and Sharene (Ontario, Canada), Lisa (NJ) and Kendra (and me!) all had quite a spectsheller day…
I have more to show you but… ACK! I’ve run out of time! I have a few more introductions and some VERY amazing finds (just as amazing as Cindy’s HORSE CONCH!) that I will show you at our “Shell And Tell”. We had our own Sanibel Shellabaloo Shell Show- so stay tuned! Here’s a sneak preview…
An amazing group of 24 shellers have gotten together from all over the country (and even Canada and Cuba!) to share the Shellabaloo 2 shelling experience on Sanibel and Captiva! It all started last night with cocktails and fabulous dinner at Island Inn Sanibel to share in our excitement for the next few days of our shelling adventure. Our dreams came true after seeing the shellacious shell pile waiting for us at Blind Pass Captiva this morning.
There were oodles of shells waiting to be uncovered. Terri found a gold mine of goodies all in one spot. She found the Sanibel Six in less than an hour!
Then I heard that familiar little yelp… you know, that one when someone finds something really good. Susan (from GTMO Cuba!) found an ALPHABET CONE!
Shelling Sistah Lisa (NJ) found her own seashell honey hole right near the jetty rocks…
She found a WENTLETRAP! We find them often on Sanibel but rarely on Captiva so this was a really good find there. She also found a FLAT, WORMIES, a KEYHOLE LIMPET, and WHELKS…
Tom plucked a beautiful BANDED TULIP out of a scoop of shells he was sifting and Sharene matched him with an awesome NUTMEG…
After a picnic lunch, we moved on to shell at Gulfside City Park to find huge wrack lines of shells and BEACH BLING. I think Rusty and Donna love Beach Bling as much as I do!
They found a purple SEA WHIP with two ONE-TOOTH SIMNIAS on it!
Along with finding lots of other goodies, Pat’s (Boca Raton) fave was this delicate PAPER FIG…
These photos are only the tip of the iceberg of the shells found today and only a few of the spectasheller folks I’ve had the privilege of hanging out with the last 2 days.
The Shellabaloo 2 will continue for two more days of shell filled fun so I will have lots more photos and introductions to make of my new found shelling buddies. If the weather and shell piles continue like today, we are in for another exshellent day in store for us tomorrow. I’m psyched!