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

High West Winds Bring In Seashells and Sea Squirts To Sanibel Beaches

Posted by on Nov 2, 2014 in Sea Fan, Sea Pork, Sea Squirts, Sea Whip, Starfish | 28 comments

fighting conch sanibel november

These are the beautiful treasures we are used to seeing on Sanibel after strong winds from the Gulf Of Mexico.

gulfside city park beach shells november

Brittany (Georgia) and her dad Steve (Kentucky) found plenty of BANDED TULIPS, LIGHTNING WHELKS, LETTERED OLIVES and APPLE MUREXES at Gulfside City Park beach yesterday.

brittany atl steve ky shelling

The weird thing? Those SEA SQUIRTS are back again by the gazillions – just like in September at Blind Pass like I showed you in the post Sanibel Sea Squirt Spectacle.

sea squirts on sanibel gscp

But this time there were more shells mixed in with them. Look at those beautiful shells Clark found! He found that awesome ALPHABET CONE  within 10 minutes of wading in the water. He said all of these shells were found by blind scooping in the water with his trusty shelling backhoe.

found shells

We found unbelievably huge SEA PORK chunks all over the beach as well. SEA PORK is a TUNICATE as well so its in the same family as the SEA SQUIRTS.

orange sea pork sanibel november

There were quite a few baby STARFISH along the shore line as well. This little one was still alive so I put it back in the water for a chance of survival.

starfish on dosinia


Clark showed me another huge glob of SEA PORK. Wowza! They are so pretty when they are this bright orange. Im not sure if its true, but I read somewhere that if SEA PORK has a bright color like this to it, it is still alive (well, the zooids that live inside might be still alive). So this one went back in the water.

orange sea pork tunicate

I found plenty of PURPLE SEA WHIPS but I dint find any that had the ONE TOOTH SIMNIAS or WINGED OYSTERS on them.

purple sea whip

I’ve never seen so many different types of SPONGES washed up…

different colors of sponges sanibel


This was probably the biggest and most perfect DEAD MANS FINGER sponge Ive ever seen.

dead man fingers sponge sanibel

There were even other weird TUNICATES hiding within the SEA PORK and SPONGES. This one was a little more gooey but had bright orange lobes just like some of the other SEA PORK TUNICATES. After such high winds, its so interesting to see all of the different plants and creatures that get washed up on our beaches. It’s like our own private touch tank – I love it!

soft orange sanibel tunicate

The rewards are even greater when we uncover little beauties like these to admire.

november 2014 sanibel shells


Dont forget to register for our iLoveShelling 5 year Shellaversary! You could win 5 Nights Stay at Island Inn! CLICK HERE

iLoveShelling 5 shellaversary iis

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Mind Blowing Beach Bling in Guantanamo Bay

Posted by on Jul 25, 2014 in Caribbean Shells, Club Spined Sea Urchin, Cuba Seashells, Green Sea Urchin, Guantanamo Bay Cuba, Long-Spined Urchin, Sea Bean, Sea Fan, sea glass, Urchin, Variegated Sea Urchin, West Indian Sea Egg, World shelling | 20 comments

collecting sea glass in Guantanamo Bay Cuba

Do you get excited when you find SEA GLASS? Me too! It’s another beautiful gem most beachcombers love to collect while looking for shells and other BEACH BLING on any walk on any beach. Oddly enough, lots of our friends don’t really get why we travel the world in search of beach treasure… until I tell them we found a honey hole for SEA GLASS. Then their ears perk up! LOL Well, since it’s impossible to bring back enough SEAGLASS in our suitcase for everybody who wants some from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba… here is a CYBERSHELLING (CYBER-SEAGLASSING) photo from last week’s adventure on Glass Beach in Gtmo (CLICK HERE for the history of this SEAGLASS). Just click on the next photo to enlarge it so you can find your own SEA GLASS. Fun! Then I’ll show you some of the other cool BLING we found.

Glass Beach guantanamo Gtmo seaglass

In my last post (CLICK HERE), I showed you some of the beautiful shells and areas we combed but couldn’t really explain how much fun Clark, me, Lee and Susan had picking through the high tide dry wrack lines in search of Bling. See that incredible SEA FAN Susan found? Un-beee-liev-able!

Rambo and Merrill shelling beach in Guantanamo Bay Cuba GTMO

I just loooove me some Bling! I’m trying to identify all of the different SEA URCHINS we found but it is not so easy. I’ll try to get close up photos of each one but oh lawd, I need more time. So … I’m almost positive we have…. WEST INDIAN SEA EGGS, VARIEGATED URCHINS, LONG-SPINED URCHINS, CLUB-SPINED URCHINS, ROCK-BORING URCHINS and SEA BISCUITS. We could  have picked up hundreds of the CLUB-SPINED SEA URCHINS that had probably gotten tossed up by a storm weeks before. They were in the highest wrack line and completely dried and preserved. Cool!

We also brought home SEA HEARTS, HAMBURGER BEANS (SEA BEANS), a few pieces of CORAL, 2 small SEA FANS, a few VERTEBRAE, PURPLE CRAB shells (haven’t looked them up yet), OPERCULUMS, old turquoise CUBAN TILES and… you see that piece of striped POTTERY on the bottom right? Lee told me that piece probably dates back to the Spanish- American war era circa 1898. Amazing, right?

Gtmo Beach Bling urchins, sea beans, pottery chards, crabs, operculums

Lee found these pieces of POTTERY from the same era. Wow- Its almost a complete plate! He said he will donate some of the pieces to the base for history and environmental research.  (Errrr…. my piece came home with me- it’s way too cool! heehee)

Spanish pottery fragments in Guantanamo Bay Cuba

Talk about cool… I found two complete old Cuban Hatuey beer GLASS BOTTLES made in the 1950s. These were so popular, Bacardi is now making this beer again.

Hatuey Beer bottles Cuba circa 1948 found in Gtmo

More awesome BLING on the beach! Lee found this WWII US Navy uniform button while he was picking through the rock and pebbles looking for SEAGLASS like in the CYBERSHELLING pic. Whoot Whoot!

Vintage US Navy button found on beach

Let me show you just a few more shell photos before I sign out for the day…. Clark found these spectasheller THORNY OYSTERS that haven’t even been really cleaned up yet. They are gorgeous. We find these in SW Florida but most times they are only fragments.

Thorny Oysters Spondylus americanus found Guantanamo Gtmo Cuba

Here’s the interior of one…

Thorny Oysters Spondylus americanus interior Guantanamo Gtmo Cuba

Lee found the mac daddy of the THORNY OYSTERS- it’s huge and with some good spines…. Both sides!

Lee with double thorny oyster

It was completely packed with hard mud and limestone so it will take a little work to get this baby cleaned up but it will be well worth it. It’s a beauty!

double thorny oyster gtmo cuba

I always think these are so funny…. the BLEEDING TOOTH. Shall I say more?

Bleeding Tooth shells Nerita peloronta Gtmo Cuba

These are some of my favorite minis we found this trip… BEADED MITERS.

Beaded Miter shell Mitra nodulosa Guantanamo Cuba Gtmo

Clark was excited (and me too) to find this HEXAGONAL MUREX since we’ve never found one before.

Muricopsis oxytata Hexagonal Murex Guantanamo Cuba Gtmo

It’s always a thrill to find a new shell!

Muricopsis oxytata Hexagonal Murex Guantanamo Cuba Gtmo

Again, we have to thank Lee and Susan for sponsoring us, being our shelling guides and letting us share this extraordinary place with everybody to learn what types of shells we can all find in the other Caribbean Islands. We are forever grateful.

Lee and Susan Merrill Guantanamo Bay sunset

I will get more shells cleaned up and photographed soon but the FLAME HELMETS are so shellsational, I had to add show you these before I go out and hit my home beach. It was fabulous finding shells in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba but it’s always so wonderful to be back home on Sanibel Island… especially with a cool evening low tide. Have a nice weekend!

Flame helmet Cassis Flammea  Guantanamo Cuba Gtmo

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She Decorates with Seashells

Posted by on Jul 6, 2010 in Augers, Decorate with shells, Olive, Sea Fan | 19 comments

Jane's auger rings

AUGERS must inspire creativity. My friend Jane got inspired to make these auger rings to surround her candles……but wait…..there’s more. Jane only needs a little inspiration because her creative juices start flowing just looking at any type of shell she picks up on the beach.

Jane's pen shell box

She picked up this box at a second hand store and covered the lid with PEN SHELLS and OLIVES for the handle. She uses hot glue to keep everything together and she says she rarely has problems with them falling off. If they do? She hot glues them right back on.

Jane's mermaid

Lots of people ask how they can display their shells. Did you ever think of making a mermaid picture? Me neither, but Jane did. She used WHELK casings for the mermaid’s hair and pen shells for her scales. Adorable!

Jane's Sanibel Island Shell art

She designed left-over tile pieces in the shape of Sanibel and surrounded it with small white shells (mostly clam shells) and added bits and pieces of red CALICO SCALLOP shells where the red mangroves are around Tarpon Bay.

Jane's fan and shell display

She puts her nicer shells in glass vessels and adds SEA FANS.

Jane's best box

Of course all of her best finds go into a special display, the Best Box.

Jane's wall shell display

She adds shells to any shelf to make it feel like home.

Jane's olive chandelier

If she finds an olive shell without a tip, she keeps it to make olive garland for her chandeliers and Christmas tree.

Her husband's shell shrine

Her husband collects the unusual beach treasure while they walk on the beach. Bones of any type and TURKEY WINGS are his favorites. Whatever makes you happy, right? Hahaha No, really those bones are pretty cool.

This is just a SMALL sampling of the art Jane creates. I havent even shown her frames. I’ll have to save those for another post. Here’s a sample…want more?

Janes mirrors in mirrors

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It’s Gettin’ Good

Posted by on Feb 15, 2010 in Cockle, Conch, Cone, Junonia, Lighthouse, Lightning Whelk, Murex, Olive, Paper Fig, Pear Whelk, Sanibel, Scallop, Sea Fan, Sponge, Starfish, Tulip, Urchin, West Gulf Drive, Whelk | 4 comments

Shells in the surf at West Gulf Drive #3

I started shelling around West Gulf Drive #7 this morning but didn’t see much until I came back down in between #2 and #3. As I was getting there, I asked a few shellers if they found anything good yet and they told me about a gal that was there around 9am found 5 CONES. The tide was getting higher and bringing in some good shells but I think she snagged all the CONES. I saw lots of LIGHTENING WHELK, MUREXES, CONCHS, COCKLES, URCHINS, TULIPS and OLIVES. They were just rolling in with the surf. “Easy pickins”…and fun!

Shellers at West Gulf #3

I blogged about Judy who found 13 JUNONIAS on me January 10 post…….well, I met her husband (and JUNONIA partner in crime), Jim, out there today. He knows his shelling and he thought it was looking good for some good shelling in the next few days. He likes that north west wind and says it’s the best wind conditions for this area of the beach. I tried to get the secret to finding all of those JUNONIAS…..and he said “it’s a lot of luck and a good NW wind on the high tide”. OK. I’m hoping this will be my year.

Whelk with lots of other shells

After I left West Gulf Drive, I headed down to the Lighthouse area. I actually couldn’t find any parking in the public lots…..all 3 were completely full! ….So I used my local’s sticker to park on East Gulf Drive by the Colony Condos. The shelling is really good there too! I only took videos down there so I’ll get that together and post that in a bit so you can see how wild it looks with all of the crazy stuff. It’s like the pictures from around Christmas. It looks like the bottom of the sea got pushed up on the beach….SPONGES, SEAWEED, SEA FANS, PEAR WHELKS, PAPER FIGS, URCHINS, STARFISH, MUREXES galore, huge old CONES…just a mixed bag of stuff. Cool!

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