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

Treasures of Beachcombing on Fort Myers Beach

Posted by on Mar 23, 2014 in Angel Wing, Fighting Conch, Fort Myers Beach, Purplish Tagelus, Sand Dollar, Sanibel Six | 33 comments

assortment of shells collected while beach combing swfl

These shells are just a few of many beautiful gifts from the sea I could have easily plucked off the beach and popped in my beach bucket.

beachcombing on fort myers beach

I have oodles of shells already in my house (and my yard, garage, porch, walkways, car, and of course the “shellaboratory) so I had to use restraint. But OMG, look at what washed up on south Fort Myers Beach! I showed this photo in my post but it was a little blurry so I’m trying again so you can see in just a tiny area, what kinds of shells and Beach Bling washed up together. Caryl Renz asked what was in this photo that looked like thousands of tusk shells …. here’s the answer- that’s MANATEE GRASS. When the little tubes of MANATEE GRASS get washed on shore they don’t look like your regular SEA WEED, to me it looks like parmesan cheese sprinkled over a seafood stew on the beach. But I now realize after reading Caryl’s comment, they do look like tusk shells too. Look at all the interesting things in this photo! (I hope this CYBERSHELLING shot a little more clear this time?)

manatee grass with seashells

Did you find these FLORIDA CONES while you were CYBERSHELLING?

florida cones found on Fort Myers Beach

I continued to walk south on the beach to see swarms of people in one area. Oooohhhh! I’ve gotta pick up the pace and find out what they are finding!

crowd of shellers on fort myers beach

An o-ver-whelming amount of shells and bling washed up for about a mile!

collecting sea shells after a storm

My head was spinning! Everywhere I looked, I saw seashells, CRAB SHELLS, STARFISH, SAND DOLLARS and MANATEE GRASS.

cybershelling ft myers beach for seashells

So many people were finding sweet little TRUE TULIPS like this one I saw in a cup on the beach.

seashells in a cup

There were shell lines at the shore line….

shellers stooping for shells in sw florida

But then higher on the beach the wrack line was as wide as … well there really was no “line” …it covered the whole beach! I usually find very cool shells on this beach but the shelling was ridiculous this week!

gobs of shells o ft myers beach

I usually find very cool shells on this beach but the shelling was ridiculous this week!

horse conch fort myers beach

Now you see why I had to use restraint to only pick up a few of my faves. I rinsed my treasures off then sorted them out under a cute little tiki hut . It truly is paradise!

 beach resort tiki hut with shells


shells collected on south Fort Myers Beach Florida

UPDATE: I’ve had lots of folks ask me about parking to get to this beach. In the comments section of this post I responded to Holly so I will repost here as well just in case you don’t read the comments…

There is public parking further north on Flamingo Rd with parking meters. But…. Between you and me….;) there is a shopping center near there called Santini Plaza. Some of the locals say you can park there and walk over to the beach… but don’t quote me on that, please. Id hate to have them mad at me for filling up their parking lot so they don’t have room for their patrons. If the lot is empty, I’m sure its ok but please Just be thoughtful of their parking issues for the businesses. My mission is to share the shelling love <3 but the locals with businesses of Southwest Florida need the love too :) Its gotta be a happy balance to shellebrate together! That beach is best at low tide but Let us know if the piles are still there.

PS- I tried to explain the parking in a previous post about this beach but like I said back then, it’s a little harder to get to so you don’t have as much competition. hahaha so to me thats a good thing!

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Seashells in the Sanibel Surf

Posted by on May 23, 2013 in Blind Pass, Blind Pass Video, Sanibel Six | 22 comments

seashells waves water

We didn’t see an abundance of shells on the beaches of Sanibel earlier this week but now the winds have changed from east to west along with evening negative low tides throughout the weekend… soooo… now we are finding shells again!

shelling with tools sanibel

We weren’t the only ones that found this little sweet spot on Sanibel about a half mile on from the bridge that connects Sanibel to Captiva at Blind Pass. Judy B found the Sanibel Six plus lots more…

Judy B Sanibel Six shells

Judy B was on the iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa on Sunday so I was thrilled to see her again on the beach with her son (in the water shelling).

Judy B Sanibel sheller

After I took that photo of her hand with all of the shells, about 30 minutes later, she showed me another gorgeous handful of shells she just found. I couldn’t resist! I had to take another photo with that spectasheller GAUDY NATICA (COLORFUL MOON SHELL), NUTMEGS, BANDED TULIP, CHESTMUT TURBAN and that SPINY JEWELBOX with such nice spines…

Judy B sanibel seashells

Ron and Sharon (South Dakota) and Annie, Rachael and cutie little Keara (in front) from Minnesota were all scooping shells out of the surf too…

Family seashelling Sanibel

They found quite an awesome assortment…

shells from Sanibel Florida

I started shelling right beside Lynn and Ed from Pompano and saw they were having a ball finding great shells. They said this was the best shelling they had seen all week…

Lynn Ed Sanibel shelling

Lynn showed me her bag filled with BANDED TULIPS and more…

Lynn seashells sanibel

But hold on… I have video of them! LOL I started taking a movie of all of the shells in the water and saw them keep picking up shells so I had to ask what they had. Ha! It’s hard for me to concentrate on talking while I’m filming because I get so distracted so easily. Errrr… and it’s the first time I’ve ever turned the camera on myself. Oh well, I’ll get more comfortable one day if I do more of that nonsense. Who knows but click on the vid to see..

Super Sheller Clark lived up to his name again and pulled out a perfect ALPHABET CONE and he also found one of those chocolate colored LACE MUREXES but I still havent taken a photo of it. Oh and Judy B found a dark LACIE too…but no photo- sorry! Here’s Clark with his ALPHIE though…

clark alphabet cone shelling tool

We also saw Christy and Larry from TN who were on the iLS shelling cruise too! They were not going to be outdone by Clark or anybody else by finding a brilliant bright orange mid size HORSE CONCH and a perfect FLAT SCALLOP…

browning find horse conch flat scallop sanibel

And lemme tell you, Larry is funnier than a June Bug! After showing me his perfect FLAT SCALLOP, he then showed me this shell and said “Now I’m FLAT broke!” LOL

larry's flat broke

Here they are with another treasure, their daughter  Sarah…

larry's flat broke

The evenings right now are perfect on the beach. Low humidity, 80 degrees, no bugs, low tide and shells.

collecting seashells sanible florida

We also had a little eye candy on the way home off San Cap Rd. Can you see the baby ALLIGATOR on the bike path?

sanibel captiva drive alligator

Now you can see it a little better. Wild, huh?

baby alligator bike path sanibel

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Sanibel Stoop And The Shelling Scoop

Posted by on Mar 21, 2013 in Conch, Horse Conch, Lightning Whelk, Sanibel Six, Whelk | 22 comments

blue sheller iLS

The Sanibel Island shellers have been out the last 2 days having great luck with and without their scoops. Kim from St Louis was in knee deep water scooping up treasures with her net this morning at Blind Pass Sanibel…

kim shelling sw florida

She found a bag full of trophies! She found The Sanibel SixCOCKLES, SCALLOPS plus a big honkin’ HORSE CONCH! She said it was rolling by her foot when she was in the water.

seashells yellow bag sanibel florida

She was workin’ it!

kim horse conch

The shells were piling up at the same spot I showed you last week when the Shellingmen Tribe was out in full force…

seashells sanibel island florida

I also met Darlene from Pennsylvania but was too shy to have her photo (not sure why- she’s cute as can be) but she definitely wanted to share her loot because she was happy as a clam to find all of these WHELKS, CONCHS, OLIVES, TULIPS, MUREXES (The Sanibel Six minus the CONE) , SCALLOPS and some cool CORAL.

darlene seashells

Okay, I told you this was the same spot on the Sanibel side of Blind Pass as last week where the shells were rolling in… but yesterday I found another shell pile at Blind Pass. This time it was under the bridge on the Sanibel side.

seashells under bridge sanibel

Kim from Cape Coral didn’t need a net or a scoop to sift through this pile on the canal to find some goodies to take home…

lisa blue shell bag sanibel

She sorted through to find a KINGS CROWN, HORSIES, WHELKS , TURBANS and my latest faves… the amazing colorful SCALLOPS.

lisa blue seashell bag

And last but not at all least, cutie pies Emily and Brian from Boston were wading in the water to find this live LIGHTNING WHELK…

emily brian lightning whelk sanibel

I write some times about finding an OPERCULUM on the beach so now you can see what it looks like when it’s still useful to this live MOLLUSK. It acts as the door to the opening of the shell so it can protect itself from predators. The black part around the OPERCULUM is the animal going back inside its shell. Cool, huh? So after we looked at this magnificent live creature, Emily and Brian walked it back out to the water to live happily ever after.

live lightning whelk emily

That’s what makes shelling so much fun… every day the beaches change and every day you see something different.

shells canal sanibel bp

seashells and surf iLS


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Seashells and The Shellinator

Posted by on Sep 3, 2012 in Alphabet Cone, Conch, Dusky Cone, Florida Cone, Horse Conch, Millipede Starfish, Sand Dollar, Sanibel Six | 51 comments

donnie horse conch

How does Donnie keep finding such incredible shells? On August 20 post, I showed yall all of the incredible shells he found right after Hurricane Isaac passed us by…but now this huge HORSE CONCH too? Wow! Debbie Yuhr said it best… “he should be named The Shellinator!” Bahahaha Perfect!

twin horse conchs

As you can see, The Shellinator had some competition.

Okay, Beeep Beep (the sound of a truck backing up) before I go any further I have to tell y’all what else happened this past week. My iPhone died. Long story short… I lost all of my voice memo notes. You see, when I meet someone on the beach for the first time, I have to take notes on my iPhone because I am terrible at remembering names. I also have a hard time spelling names so it’s become a crutch to just talk into my phone recorder. So all of my notes were lost when I iPhone died and the guys at the Apple store couldn’t recover them all. Aawk-Waaard! So I’m going to show you some photos of people with only nick names. You have no idea how embarrassed I am so… please, please, please comment on this post if you are one of these people to tell me your real name so I can recover from this mess. Okay,  now on with the story of the awesome shelling this week.

The Shellinator had some competition… I saw our friend Mary walking down the beach with a huge HORSE CONCH too! She told me that a German guy gave it to her after she commented on how pretty it was. Yes you read that correctly. The German guy just gave it to her because he said it was too stinky to take it on the plane tomorrow back to Germany. Wow! Here is “The German Guy” (heehee) and Mary with his gift to her…

UPDATE: “The German Guy” has a name now! Glad you had a great time in Florida, Andrew (from Bavaria)! And yes, Mary loves that shell!

mary horse conch gift

“Fort Myers Shelling Mom” and her daughter  “I Live In Texas But I Want To Be Back In Florida” were  finding shells on the beach, in the water and every where they looked.

sanibel lighthouse mother daughter

Deana and her daughter Valerie (whew, I recovered a few!) found an ALPHABET CONE and their first ANGEL WING.

angel wing abc cone

I saw cutie Shelling Sister Leanne pull this gorgeous dark orange FLORIDA CONE out of the water just a few feet from me.

Leanne alphabet cone

Shelling Sister Kathy (Oh please tell me I got your name right!) used this strainer to scoop up her goodies.

seashell sifter

I love the shell bags! They have a strap for cross shoulder handsfree shelling. These “Strappy Happy Shellers” had plenty of room for all of their treasures.

shellers shell bags

I saw Shellcrafter Jean collecting minis for her art.

jean collecting shellcraft shells

She’s holding two nice DUSKY CONES in her hand but her bucket looks empty….oh no it isn’t. Lots of WENTLEPTRAPS are hiding in that round container inside her cute pink bucket.

dusky cones pink bucket

Then I visited Blind Pass Captiva again to find our friend Sue (Illinois) with a really cool HORSE CONCH. It’s white with a yellow top!

Sue horse conch

Then I saw Shelling Sistah Lauren with bags of shells… with her iLoveShelling bag and tee! Adorable!

Lauren sand dollars starfish

But Wait! What? One of those bags was filled to the brim with SAND DOLLARS! Yowza! See how grayish they are? They arent completely white but you could tell they all had been dead for a day or so since their “fur” (it’s really their feet which is how they breath) was gone. Score! And she found dried MILLIPEDE STARFISH and everything in between not even to mention a huge chunk of JUNONIA. She said she found them all walking from Bowman’s Beach to Blind Pass. That is quite a hike! She deserves all of these treasures!

shelling bags sand dollars starfish

As I was about to leave Blind Pass, my friend Diane and her visiting girlfriends (they call themselves “Chicks On The Go”!) Juli, Denise, Marsha, Vicki, Diane and Jackie from St Louis swarmed the beach to instantly find great shells. Let me tell you, these chicks know how to have a good time!

diane girl friends seashells captiva

And like most shellers at Blind Pass this week, they found their SANIBEL SIX.

sanibel six blid pass captiva

PS- Happy Labor Day… gone shelling.

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Shelling Goes To Guppies And Gulls

Posted by on Nov 12, 2011 in Blind Pass, Guppies And Gulls Video, Laughing Gull, Sanibel Six, Snowy Egret | 6 comments

full moon captiva blind pass jetty

The full moon low tide yesterday made for a beautiful morning walk at Blind Pass Captiva. But there was so much sand filling in around the jetty on both sides that I wasn’t finding the seashell treasures that usually build up there.

captiva twin palms

As you can see the beach on the left hand side has filled in again like it did last year in December so I walked along the sand bar towards the bridge….. and finally found treasures.

shells in shallow water captiva

I was tickled to find this beautiful LIGHTNING WHELK up on the beach…

whelk jetty captiva

The minute I finished taking this picture below, the big WHELK caught me eye because it seemed to change position. There was a crab in there! He was tucked in there so deeply I didn’t see anything in there when I picked the shell up. Woops! Back in the water he went to grow big enough to claim his home a little better. So I had to hunt for another WHELK to make my Sanibel Six complete.

sanibel six captiva jetty

Earlier in the week, I walked down the beach in Captiva with my friend Ellen at low tide to find hundreds and hundreds of GULLS and other birds hanging out.

bunches of birds Captiva

They were having a feast on thousands of tiny fish caught in the tidal pool. It was fascinating being there to see half these birds enjoying an early Thanksgiving and watching the other half probably feeling a little overstuffed wanting just to take a nap. Ellen and I couldn’t figure out what kind of fish they were munching o so I’ll just call them Guppies… I know they aren’t guppies… but enjoy Guppies And Gulls with Ellen and me.

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Wave Hello To Sanibel Seashells

Posted by on Aug 17, 2011 in Florida Spiny Jewelbox, Jewel Box, Sanibel, Sanibel Six, Worm Shell | 23 comments

wave to shells

Not many shells were to be found on the beach at Blind Pass Sanibel yesterday evening….but we sure were finding them coming in with the waves.

sanibel seashells in surf bp

 I ended up finding a very nice sampling of the Sanibel Six ….

Sanibel six seashells bp

We only saw a few other people on the beach to share the gold with so it was a pleasure to hang out and talk with Lynda from Palm City, Florida.

Lynda Sanibel beach

 Diana rented a convertible in Orlando to bring her daughter Maddie to her favorite place on earth…. Sanibel to find shells.

Maddie and Diane mother daughter shelling

Looky what Clark found….. A nice wormie!

womr shell hand bp

I just love finding a double SPINEY JEWELBOX…..

spiny jewel box hand

Just because you don’t see a lot of of shells on the beach, doesn’t mean you won’t find a treasure or two. Get your toes in the water and let the waves do their job of bringing the gifts of the sea right to your feet.

wave of shells

PS- Don’t forget to sign up for the Susick Sea Shell Sifter GiveAway if you haven’t entered- CLICK HERE 

susick seashell sifter shelling scoop

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