Archive for Captiva
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.
All along the jetty rocks at Captiva’s Blind Pass, there are still bucketfuls of shell jewels to be found at low tide. It was so much fun seeing Michelle of Buckingham, Florida wading and working the water to pluck out so many beautiful gems. She found a shellacious ALPHABET CONE and too many other perfect shells to count! I also saw Steve and Karen (MI) with their grandsons Noah and Josh from Lakeland, FL with a tons of shells ready to pack up in the car after a great afternoon shelling. It was really good to see you guys again and seeing you had another successful day at Blind Pass.
Mark had lots of great luck finding shells with his snorkel gear! He and his mom Brenda were so cute enjoying everything there was to enjoy about looking for shells. They get it! It’s a treasure hunt! If the shells aren’t on the beach, you’ve got to get in the water to look for them.
Then I met the rest of the family and fell in love with every one of them. Here’s (clockwise) Brenda, Mark (Mark Senior … but lets just call him BigMark), Mark, Conner, Renee, and Aiden. See? Happiness.
And they had major success! This is just a few of their jetty jewels…
Over the weekend, Clark and I hit just about every beach and had success at each one but only brought few home (there’s only so many shells one can find room for!). This FLAT SCALLOP Clark found is our favorite shell that made the cut. I actually think this one is the prettiest one we have in all of our collection. I didn’t get a chance to take a close up but it is rich purple with a detailed line then light purple on the bottom.
Everybody always asks me where they can find SAND DOLLARS but like all shelling, it’s timing, tides, currents and just being darn lucky. Our friend Mary was lucky at the Sanibel Causeway Beach where she found this SAND DOLLAR. Wow! I had no idea SAND DOLLARS were there. Something surprising every day.
Okay, one more surprise. At dusk last night at the Lighthouse Beach…. we saw a SCREECH OWL! He was in the parking lot right next to the beach path. Can you see him?
Hmmmm. Where’s your sticker or hang tag, dude?
When girlfriends get together for a beach vacation, you can feel the sisterhood happiness and excitement all the way down the shore. The “Sistahs” are actually newbie shellers but are definitely not newbies at finding the best treasures life has to offer. Deb, Lizzi, Baba, Becky, Karen, Sharon, Betty, Roxie and Sandy each live in different parts of the world so they have a reunion each year at a new destination … so this year they picked Captiva to “shellebrate” their friendship. They even wanted matching iLoveShelling tee shirts to commemorate the occasion. I feel so honored! Here’s Karen with her cute tee and showing off the best find of the morning. A reeaaally big LACE MUREX…
That’s an exshellent find!
Talk about “exshellent” finds… these guys have been shelling for over 20 years together and know how to find the good stuff in life too. Ian, Brett, Brett’s brother Jeff (who also happens to be Ian’s dad) were also shelling near the Blind Pass bridge on the Sanibel side and as you can tell… a very happy shelling family. Look at those smiles!
They told me they had great luck fishing all day yesterday and today they will be shelling all day and already had great luck this morning. My faves are the amazingly dark LIGHTNING WHELK, huge orange CHESTNUT TURBAN, and of course… the WORMIE! (heehee- they even called it a “wormie” too) And I didn’t even take pictures of the rest of their favorite finds… like the NUTMEG, LACE MUREX, bright orange CALICO SCALLOPS and TURKEY WINGS.
Brett even shared his finds with the “Sistahs”. They were thrilled!
We had a pretty good shell pile to practice the Sanibel Stoop… and the Sit ‘N Sift…
I feel so fortunate to be part of such an amazing community of people brought together by shells. Oh, and sometimes a GREAT BLUE HERON joins in on the family fun too.
It was a gorgeous sunny day on the iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa yesterday! This beautiful HERMIT CRAB found a nice home inside this CONCH shell for lots of us to ooooh and ahhhh over it then see it go safely back into the water. But Debbie was soooo fortunate to have found this gigantic LIGHTNING WHELK completely empty!
Yowza Debbie! So happy for you! She also found a GAUDY NATICA (aka COLORFUL MOON SHELL) EGG COLLAR and a shaggy parchment worm tube.. but that gorgeous WHELK stole the show.
Holy mackeral! Super Sheller Clark found an empty LIGHTNING WHELK too. When we got back to the boat, Clark and Debbie showed their big finds of the day…
It was a day for finding big shells because Erin found another big LIGHTNING WHELK. After letting everybody see this beautiful creature alive and well with the original mollusk still inside, she walked it back into the water to live out its healthy life to breed more WHELKS. Way to go, Erin!
Like I always say… Every day the beaches change. One day the shells are piled on the beach and some days you have to work at finding them. I have to admit, we never found a huge pile of shells but this was an awesome group of shellers because they not only found those huge shells, but they found other beautiful shells they were happy with as well…
Did you notice in the last picture that little tiny SCALLOP SHELL? Love it!
Others were finding FIGHTING CONCHS and SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…
Aaron from Kansas City was finding the mini shells for his mom…
He found BABY’S EARS, FALSE ANGE WINGS and an ALBINO LIGHTNING WHELK. I think that other shell is either and OYSTER or a big KITTENS PAW but I didn’t even look at since I was inspecting the fab ALBINO WHELK.
I know this is a broken shell, but as soon as I peeked inside Shanna’s shell bucket on the way back to the dock and saw this piece, I woooped it up! She found the lip of a DEER COWRY! DEER COWRIES are very rare in Southwest Florida since they don’t live here. They live further south in the keys so for it to travel this far north… I always think any piece found here is a fun find. Especially the lip.
Here is Shanna and her mom Patricia (both from Georgia) with her fave find.. a WORM SHELL
I was thrilled to find a SPECKLED TELLIN! This is another shell I don’t normally find on our beaches. Between Clark and I, we only have about 4 that we’ve found around here (SW Florida) so to me, it’s a pretty rare find.
This is how I found it so if you see it with the interior side up, you will know to pick it up too. Errrr… Now that I look at it this way, doesn’t it look like Spock lost his ear? Weird. haha
Speaking of ears…There were quite a few people that found BABY’S EARS for the first time ever…
So let me show you a few of these beautiful souls that Clark and I got to spend some time with to exchange stories and treasures…
I had to get my picture taken with Jeanine and Della from PA. They came geared up with their iLoveShelling tee shirts just like me. Thanks you guys!
There are 3 shellers in the next photo too. Jody and Melissa will be having a baby next month so their newest addition will already have shelling experience. Doesn’t she look great? Lucky baby!
Thank you Captiva Cruises‘ Captains Keith and Kelly for a perfectly safe and smooth boating morning.
And thanks so much to these fabulous folks for joining us for this spectasheller day!
Don’t miss this experience! Join us on our next cruise May 19 from 1pm to 4pm. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO
Yippee! These shells were found at Blind Pass Sanibel yesterday. Our mornings are still in the 50s with winds from the north but there’s not a steady roll of shells on the beach every day. Why? Okay, I figured it out today. It’s because the shells arent getting a chance to wash up to the beach yet. They are getting snagged out of the water by the “Shellingmen Tribe”.
Oh, you’ve never heard of the Shellingmen before? I was thrilled to witness this wonderful site of these brave Shellingmen methodically scooping seashells and BEACH BLING out of the sea to bring back to their Shellingmen families for praises of finding hidden treasures. I watched this phenomenon for a few minutes before I started filming these four men braving the cold to scoop their treasures. I know you can’t hear everything I said in the next video because of the wind (and because I was giggling a bit too), but I still think it’s so cute.
Isn’t that fabulous??? heehee Love those Shellingmen! Okay, I’m being silly but I think my Cherokee genes got stirred up and I got such a kick out this because it’s exactly what Clark and I do! Clark (the hunter) goes out there with his shelling backhoe and I Sit ‘N Sift through the piles he brings back (the gatherer). LOL But before I get too tickled and get off track, let me introduce you to loyal Shell Warrior Duane and his Shell Queen Jan from Montana…
Then I met “Chief Shell Getter” Bryan and his Shell Princess Jan from Indiana…
Bryan was endlessly scooping ALPHABET CONES, a COLORFUL MOON SHELL, HORSE CONCHS, FIGHTING CONCHS , NUTMEGS and an awesome huge SHARKS EYE to bring back to Jan.
While I was taking the photo of the shell buckets, Bryan went out to hunt down more treasures. He brought back this ALPHABET CONE! Ungawa!
This spot has been very fickle this week for shells so if you go down to Blind Pass Sanibel, the best time is in the morning at LOW TIDE… but be careful! We’ve had some rip tides this week so the current could be tricky. Way in the background of the next photo, you can see how far we were from the Blind Pass bridge.
Twenty five die hard shellers bundled up for 25 mph winds and 44 degree weather for a boat ride with Captiva Cruises to Cayo Costa for an awesome shelling adventure. Oh Yaya! Gail Carr showed up in the same fave hoodie and tote bag stuffed with shelling gear just like me … ready for whatever the day would bring. We looked like twins! LOL And before we took off, I met another sheller ready for the day. Mariah from Seattle told me she found a JUNONIA at Lover’s Key (in Bonita Springs) just a few days ago.
It’s a beauty! After she showed it to me, she tucked it safely away in the car before she boarded the boat for our trip. Congratshellations, Mariah!
We had no problems in the rough water at all thanks to our fearless Captain Skip and his Co-Captain Elliott. Our boat trip was smooth as silk.
Our shelling adventure began… only 15 minutes into our boat trip we witnessed an unfortunate site. We saw billowing black smoke on the tip of North Captiva Island that had just started. Captain Skip immediately called 911 but thank goodness fire and rescue were already on the way. A house went up in flames from what firefighters think was from a bad generator. There was nothing we could do to help so we continued to Cayo Costa.
I think we all had a sick feeling in our stomaches by the site of it but we were reassured there was nothing we could do and there was no reports of anybody inside the house. We got quick insiders information from our friends, retired volunteer Captiva Fire Fighter Ron and retired Captiva Fire Commissioner Phyllis (Ron’s wife and a shelling buddy of mine). They both happen to be on our shelling cruise with their granddaughter Isabelle.
As soon as we got on the beach, it warmed up a bit and the worries of the day started to melt away. Within 5 minutes, I scanned the high tide wrack line and saw an AMERICAN CARRIER SHELL!
Wow! I have shown these several times and I always say the same thing… “I know it’s not pretty…BUT really! This is a cool shell!” This shell is a collector of shells too, just like we collect shells. When the MOLLUSK that made this shell was alive, it came out of the opening and picked up that ARK shell and cemented it to its own shell. I’ve heard it may do this to be camouflaged but it could be for balance or to move more easily. I think they do it for the same reasons shellers collect shells… it’s just in their blood- they can’t help it. I have a video HERE on another post about CARRIER SHELLS if you want to see it. Anyway, if it had been laying on the beach this way in the next photo, I would never had seen it. It looks like a clump of shell bits.
We made it around to the south tip of the island to find two OSPREYS building a nest.
It was such a show with these two huge birds bringing sticks and fish into their nest, it was hard to leave the entertainment. Donna and I stood watching for a few minutes and when I took this photo, I caught one of the birds in flight and one in the nest. I hope you can you see it.
Then we pulled ourselves away to keep shelling…
Merna from Nova Scotia (this weather was warm to her- ha!) told me a little something she heard about JINGLE SHELLS…
She showed me that when you look at the inside of good JINGLES, you should see a baby’s foot print. I’ve never heard that! So she showed me and sure enough.. there it was. The MOLLUSK’s muscle scar looks just like a baby foot print left behind in the sand. Cute! You can see it best in the shell all the way to the right.
Layla and Ron from New Jersey were collecting ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLES. Can you believe she was in shorts?! ha
I was thrilled that Tonya Clayton was on our shelling trip as well. She just published a book about how to “read” beaches called “How To Read A Florida Gulf Coast Beach”.
I love to “read beaches” by looking at wrack lines, tidal pools and shifting sand but I didn’t know how to read little holes in the sand. I have read many sand trails like my AUGER ART and OLIVE SHELLING but I assumed these little holes in the sand were from the COQUINAS we saw today but they aren’t! They are just little air pockets that rise from below the sand. She can tell by the shape of them. Cool!
We all had a fabulous day collecting, learning and enjoying the beauty of the islands (even though it was a little chilly) but I was very impressed by Evan’s ALBINO LIGHTNING WHELK.
He found lots of OLIVES, WHELKS, TULIPS a NUTMEG as well but his ALBINO was awesome. BTW, he was the second one to hit the beach before anyone else so he almost had first dibs since we were the only ones on the entire beach.
The first guy down the beach was DAVE. Yep! He hit the mother load. Take a look at the monster LIGHTNING WHELK! The other side has lots of BARNACLES but they are going to clean up really nicely with some bleach diluted in water like I showed how to do on another post HERE. Great find Dave!
Not only that, he found ANGEL WINGS (okay, I have to snicker… it’s not an “angle” wing- heehee), a PAPER FIG and some other goodies too.
On our boat ride back we saw the fire was contained and put out… but the house burned to the ground in that short time we were on the beach. Again, nobody was hurt but lives will be changed. We all feel for the home owners and the neighbors in this small tight knit community only accessible by boat or small plane.
I’m so thankful the cold, windy weather didn’t scare off my new shelling friends to go on our island outing so our small community of shellers could get to know each other a little better too. Thanks you guys! And thanks to Super Sheller Clark for going too to show everybody how he uses that shelling backhoe of his in the water. He had a group so far ahead of me on the beach, I didn’t even get to take a picture of them. Shucks! Any way, here are a few more photos from our iLoveShelling Exshellent Adventure!
For more Shelling Adventures, click on the this next image…