Archive for Captiva Cruises
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
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…
That’s right! Shellabaloo 2 will be May 6, 7, 8 and 9 this year 2013!
If you missed the first Shellabaloo in January, you missed a spectacsheller time …but now it’s YOUR chance to have all the fun! Shell to your hearts content and at the same time, get to know other shell crazy people with the same shelling passion as you. I can’t wait either because I’ll get to hang out and bond with shellacious people just like me for 3 days! It’s a blast!
Here is what the Shellabaloo 2 will be all about!
It’s a shellabaloo at Island Inn Beachfront Resort May 6-9, 2013! Island Inn has put together a spectacsheller shelling package so we can shell together and get to know each other. It will be soooo exciting to meet y’all! There’s no telling what we will find by sharing all of our shelling secrets.
If you are familiar with the Island Inn, you know that it is a beachfront hotel that has kept the unique feel of “old Florida charm” with a rich history of seashells. This was where the Sanibel Shell Fair and Show was first started.
You will feel right at home. Throughout the lobby, there are shell displays. I think they love shells as much as we do!
So let me tell you more about our shellers’ retreat. On may 6th after your private tour of the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, I will join you back at Island Inn with a meet and greet (in other words… paarrrtaaay!) and dinner at one of Sanibel’s best restaurants called Traditions On The Beach. And guess what, Super Sheller Clark will be there too!
Then the next morning, you wake up to the sound of those seashells calling your name… so we’ll hit the beaches for an amazing shellathon!
Not only will we have a great treasure hunt, but Island Inn will deliver a scrumptious picnic lunch to us on the beach. This turns into the perfect time for “show and tell” to share a few of your favorite seashell treasures of the morning’s hunt and re-energize for the afternoon shelling adventure.
On Wednesday the 8th, Island Inn has provided another exshellent adventure for us as well… A Captiva Cruises full day boat trip to Cayo Costa! Wahoo! There’s a good chance we’ll get to see dolphins and manatees on the way there too. Another reason why we love shelling.
Yall know how much Clark and I love to shell around the tree roots at Cayo Costa so now I’ll be able to shell this area with YOU.
Or playing shuffleboard with a view of the gulf…
Play horseshoes … and yes, also with a view of the gulf.
They also have stand up paddle boards and kayaks you can rent out.
Or you could rent a bike to check out the rest of the island…
But the most important thing is… I do hope that we get to shell together to make our shelling connections even stronger. So Join us! Here are some details that Island Inn has graciously put together for us…
Call 800-851-5088 today and reserve your spot for this awesome exshellaganza by booking a room for 2 or 3…
… or a cottage that sleeps 6 to 8!
For more detailed information and itinerary CLICK HERE.
Thank you Island Inn for organizing this event. This is going to be a shell of a good time for all of us! So join in on the fun by calling Island Inn for accommodations pricing and any details and they can answer any of your questions at 800-851-5088. Don’t miss out on the shelladventure of a lifetime!
FYI- Remember, This sold out in 36 hours after I posted the January event so don’t wait since there are only 25 spots available. Hope to see you soon!
On the third day of our Shellabaloo, the Island Inn organized a fabulous shelling excursion for us to explore the quiet and undeveloped beaches on the island of Cayo Costa. So we gathered aboard Captiva Cruises‘ catamaran called “Playtime”, and headed for our secluded paradise.
After walking through a charming tree canopy trail with a sanded pathway,
we arrived on a shelly beach with picturesque trees and roots that act as a perfect trap for seashells.
Then everybody scattered! Some searched the roots…
Some searched the wrack lines…
Mike immediately started hunting the clear waters and found this gorgeous live LIGHTNING WHELK. After admiring the spectacular beauty of this live creature, he gently placed it back in the water. We hope it lives a much longer life and to breed more beauties!
Patty was completely mesmerized by the minis! She found lots of tiny seashells she never dreamed of paying attention to before like oodles of LUNATE CRASSINELLAS!
Here she is holding her minis and decked out with her awesome mermaid and seahorse tattoo along with Captiva Cruises’ Captain Brian…
It was so much fun to show everybody exactly where and how to spot the shells they were hunting for!
Right after I showed Jo Ann the different shells to look for in this wrack line, she showed me a COFFEE TRIVIA. Wow! I don’t find those very often!
We all had an amazing day being together and sharing our finds (CLICK HERE to see some of the other shells we found) and telling our stories while being on the island then comparing notes on the boat ride back. After arriving back at the dock, we all got together for a group shot to remember our exshellent time together.
So now that I’ve told you all the shellsational things we did over the 4 days like staying at Island Inn, cocktails and dinner at Traditions On The Beach, shelling at the different beaches and the excursion with Captiva Cruises (I didnt even get to show you the visit to Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and dinner at Doc Fords! so sorry!) … I also made up a little game of a “Shellinger Hunt” for everybody! Nope, not a scavenger hunt…. a shellinger hunt! For each of our destinations, I had questions for everybody to play along to find certain shells and learn a little something more about the island. It was fun even to put it together since I had lots of help from my adorable, sweet kitty Dustie…
I even tied WORM SHELLS to each of the Shellinger Hunt scrolls so it would start everybody out with a fun shell…
Congratshellations to winners Kathy, Karen, Jackie, Helen, Mike and Carolyn of the first ever iLoveShelling Shellinger Hunt! They won gift cards to the new awesome frozen yogurt shop on Sanibel called Zebra Frozen Yogurt. YUM!
Thank you Island Inn for organizing this 4 day spectacsheller event!!! Everything was perfect. Even the last sunset of our time together right on the beach in front of the inn was perfect…
As promised, we are working on more dates to organize more shellsational events just like this one at the Island Inn so more of us can share such a special time together. I hope to announce that very soon!!!
Ahem…. but meanwhile, while the next Shellabaloo date is still in the works… I have some exciting news!
LET’S DO A CAPTIVA CRUISE TO CAYO COSTA TOGETHER!!!
Yes! I have secured some dates so we can meet each other, enjoy a boat ride together and shell, shell, shell together on the beautiful secluded island of Cayo Costa!!
Get ready to meet the best people on the planet… other shellers just like us!
These are the dates for the iLoveShelling ShellingAdventure!
- February 17- morning cruise from 9am-12 (Sunday)
- March 16- morning cruise from 9am-12 (Saturday)
- April 13 – Morning cruise from 9am-12 (Saturday)
- May 19- afternoon cruise from 1pm-4 (Sunday)
Call Captiva Cruises for reservations at 239-472-5300 and tell them you want to join the iLoveShelling group on one of these dates!
For more information about reservations CLICK HERE
Yippee! Can you believe it? Tickets are only $50 for this shellacious get together so book soon to save your spot on one of the iLoveShelling ShellingAdventures to Cayo Costa! Come join me!
We had a shell of a good time every single minute this week during the SHELLABALOO starting at the Island Inn!! It was an unbelievable shellapalooza! The weather was gorgeous with the DOLPHINS coming out to greet us.
The shelling was terrific.
The meals were outstanding.
But most of all, my new fabulous friends were an absolute joy to be with and an amazing group to share our love for shelling together. Honestly, I haven’t come down from the high I felt while bonding with each and every one of these awesome shellers. So I have to introduce each one to you before we get to the rest of our shelladventure.
Of course you already met Joe and Patty from my last post (CLICK HERE to see) because of Joe’s macdaddy find of the LONG-SPINED STAR SHELL…
Sally and Jim from Atlanta who I met 2 years ago in Captiva, joined us…
Along with Traci and Rob from Virginia…
Maureen from California…
Mike and Carolyn from Richmond, VA…
Amy from California…
Pat and Steve from Tennessee…
JoAnn and Sid from Vermont…
Arabelle from New York…
Sara and Dan from Tampa, FL…
And the Carolina gals Kathy, Helen, Karen and Jackie with their Carolina gentleman Bill…
See? An unbelievable group of folks enjoying every aspect of the world of shelling.
which always involves sharing…
Now that you’ve met this awesome group of shellers, tomorrow I’ll show you some of the cool shells and BEACH BLING they found! Fun! Fun! Fun!!!
Oh but wait…. if you are in the Sanibel area, tomorrow’s negative low tide (-1.1) is in the morning around 7am. That is a really low tide! That means so much more of the beach will be exposed to make it easier to spot more shells. You’ll even get to see what live mollusks look like. Just make sure you leave any live shell where you found it. We want them to breed so they make more beautiful seashells so we can enjoy them forever!
Another Spring Break adventure! On Wednesday, Lori, Hayley, Culter and I went to the secluded island of Cayo Costa to relax and enjoy another gorgeous day on the islands.
I had problems getting out our own boat (Clark was busy at work so he couldn’t help) so we decided to take the easy route and hop on the Captiva Cruises shelling boat Play Time for the afternoon trip.
Low and behold, guess who our captain was… my buddy Captain Brian Holaway! It was a nice surprise!
After securing the boat on the south tip of Cayo Costa, Capt Brian walked over to our shelling spot to join us for a few minutes and immediately picked up an ALBINO YELLOW PRICKLY COCKLE. Wow, can he spot those albinos! Remember he won a red ribbon for his ALBINO WHELK at the Sanibel Shell Show this year? Amazing!
I didn’t find an albino but I quickly found a handful of my own fave honeys.
BABY’S EARS and FALSE ANGEL WINGS (they look like cute little juvie ANGEL WINGS)…
Lots of beauteous JINGLES…
A couple of CLOUDY PERIWINKLES…
I also found a PURPLISH SEMELE (left) and a CANCELLATE SEMELE (right). I’m not sure why I don’t find more of these on Sanibel but I have better luck finding them on Cayo Costa, North Captiva and in Marco. hmmmm
I had thought at one time that this BRYOZOAN COLONY was a type of CORAL but as you can see side by side… it’s not a piece of CORAL like the branch on the right. I found both of these past the tree roots on the Gulf side of the beach. (click HERE for more info on Bryozoan Colony)
Okay, this one might not be your taste but I thought this SOUTHERN RIBBED MUSSEL was just so pretty for some reason. One day, when I get a fancy camera to show you the nice details up close and personal, I promise…I’ll be able to capture more of the beauty in some of these obscure seashells.
After combing, sunning and shelling this gorgeous beach, Hayley, Cutler and Lori (VA) headed back to the boat with me after one more climb on the BLACK MANGROVE tree roots.
On the boat ride back, I couldn’t help but see how excited Margie, Kristi and Mike (California) were about their seashell loot!
They found oodles of ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLES…
Quite a few humongus SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…
And a really big LEOPARD CRAB shell.
It was a perfect day on the water with calm aqua seas, warm temps in the 80s and DOLPHINS surrounding the boat.
And to top if off, it was great being with good friends and having lots of seashell souvenirs to bring home to remember the day.