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

Beach Bling Babes

Posted by on Feb 15, 2013 in Blue Crab, Broad Paper Cockle, Crabs, Egg Casing, Lace Murex, Leopard, Skate Egg Case, Stone Crab, whelk egg casing | 19 comments

lace murex juvenile

Now who in their right shelling mind could not think that this little baby LACE MUREX shell is not THE cutest thing that ever washed up at the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach? heehee What a cutie petutie!

I even found smaller baby shells in some of the LIGHTNING WHELK EGG CASES that have been washing up this week…

lightning welk egg chain

Most of the disks were empty but some of them still had tiny dried shells in them…

egg sac whelk

One was torn open so we could see the teeny tiny babies. They only look like grains of sand at this point… or honestly they remind of those little bits when eat corn on the cob. Errrr, Okay, I cant really explain that well so let’s move on and get back to the point… they are tiny LIGHTNING WHELKS!

baby whelks in case

I got to share these little WHELK EGG CHAINS with a couple of gals that came to visit us from Virginia Beach. Kathleen was a good friend of Clark’s over 40 years ago and they haven’t seen each other since. What a hoot to meet Kathleen and her friend Jan and to hear about “the old days” and to catch up on all of our mutual friends while walking the beach…. and to find out they both love shelling!!!

jan clark kathleen

Today, I ran into Roma with a shell bag full of BLING!

roma shell bag

I peeked at her “Bling Bag” and saw all of this…

seashells bling crab bag

Holy Crab! She loves BEACH BLING as much as I do! She was collecting all of these different CRAB claws and shells for her daughter who makes jewelry out of them. There is a HERMIT CRAB CLAW, STONE CRAB CLAWS, BLUE CRAB CLAWS and some LEOPARD BOX CRAB shells. Ha! Love it!

crabs southwest florida

I found one more piece of cool BEACH BLING.. a MERMAID PURSE! Okay, it’s a SKATE EGG CASE but it sure is more fun to think of it as a MERMAID PURSE, right?

skate egg case shark eye

Oh, and I almost forgot to show you my fave shell today… A BROAD PAPER COCKLE. The colors on this sweetie are awwwwwesoooome…

color broad paper cockle

PS- Shellers Unite! There are still a few spots left on the iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa this Sunday the 17th from 9am to noon. Come join me and lots of other spectacsheller folks that love shelling! Call Captiva Cruises to book your shelling spot at 239-472-5300.

For more iLoveShelling Cruise dates and info on the Shellabaloo click on the next image…

iLoveShelling ShellingAdventures

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Captiva Cruises Boat To Cayo Costa

Posted by on Apr 13, 2012 in Albino Cockle, Albino Shells, Atlantic Giant, Baby's Ear, Bryozoa, Cancellate Semele, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Cloudy Periwinkle, Coral, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Dolphin, False Angel Wing, Jingle, Leopard, Mussel, Periwinkles, Purplish Semele, Semele, Southern Ribbed Mussul, Sunray Venus, Yellow Prickly Cockle | 17 comments

cayo costa south west florida

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.captiva cruises sign

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.

play time captiva boat

Low and behold, guess who our captain was… my buddy Captain Brian Holaway! It was a nice surprise!

captain brian

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!

albino cockle

 I didn’t find an albino but I quickly found a handful of my own fave honeys.

angel wings baby ears

BABY’S EARS and FALSE ANGEL WINGS (they look like cute little juvie ANGEL WINGS)…

babys ears false angel wings

 Lots of beauteous JINGLES…

jingle seashells


cloudy periwinkle

cloudy periwikles

 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

purplish and cancellate semele

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)

bryozoa coral difference

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.

southern ribbd mussel

 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.

hayley cutler lori cayo costa

On the boat ride back, I couldn’t help but see how excited Margie, Kristi and Mike (California) were about their seashell loot!

margie kristi mike california

 They found oodles of ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLES…

shells cayo costa south florida

 Quite a few humongus SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…

sunray venus cayo costa

 And a really big LEOPARD CRAB shell.

leopard crab cayo costa

 It was a perfect day on the water with calm aqua seas, warm temps in the 80s and DOLPHINS surrounding the boat.

dolphin captiva cruises 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.

seashells cayo costa


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Shelling Marco Sand Bars

Posted by on Feb 20, 2011 in Colorful Moon shell, Crabs, Florida Cone, Leopard, Lightning Whelk, Sunray Venus, Tusk Shell, Wentletrap, Whelk | 27 comments

Lightning whelk marco

Lightning whelk

I’m still exhausted from boating yesterday. Clark, friend Mary Jo and I “adventured” to take our boat down to the sand bars off Marco to do some shelling. The gulf was calm and flat for our hour and a half boat ride down (if only it had stayed that way). We pulled up to our first sand bar where I found this beautiful LIGHTING WHELK.

Marco sand bar

Marco sand bar

There was a nice shell wrack that looked very picked over but there were too many SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS to count. They are always so pretty when they are together.

Sunray venus clams

Sunray venus clams

Then I thought I hit the jack pot….

Junonia piece

Junonia piece

Only half of a JUNONIA but it was still fun to find it. Maybe I’ll make a necklace like Kathy.

junonia part ap

Half of a junonia

I found a very nice size MOON SNAIL or NATICA which Mary Jo calls them.

Moon snail marco

Marco Moon snail

Mary Jo found a TUSK SHELL which is very tiny so you can see it would blend in with just about everything in the sand. I’ve only ever found one … I don’t have any eye for them yet.

Tusk shell

Tusk shell

I found just one WENTLETRAP in what looks like coffee ground camo. There were a few RICE OLIVES in there too…. but wait! I just looked closer at this photo and there is a TUSK SHELL in this photo I didn’t even see.

wentletrap in sand

wentletrap in sand

My best find of the day was this very different FLORIDA CONE. Look at the colors and stripes- wow!

Florida Cone marco

Florida Cone marco

I met Ron from Marco and he said he boats the islands to fish but if the fish aren’t biting, he shells.

Ron Marco sheller

Ron (Marco)

Marco sand bar

Mary Jo shelling

I won’t even tell you how many times we almost got stuck on the shallow flats. It’s not easy boating down there if you don’t know the waters (which we don’t). Then the boat ride back was 2 and a half hours back to the dock …..  the gulf was very choppy which makes the ride very intense (ugh). It was a beautiful day in Marco but I’m sure glad to be back on Sanibel. To be able to walk out on the beach to find incredible shells by the handful…. priceless.

Leopard Crab shell

Leopard Crab shell

Mary Jo Clark Marco

Mary Jo and Clark in Marco

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Small Treasures, Big Pleasure

Posted by on Apr 9, 2010 in Button, Coquina, Crabs, Leopard, Lighthouse, Sanibel | 9 comments

Lace murex, turban, button, banded tulip, wentletrap, drill, coquina, and more

How could anybody not think that the smaller shells aren’t fun to collect too? Look at these cuties! You can look them up on the Seashell Identification Guide to find the names of each one. The only ones you won’t find probably are the LEOPARD CRAB shells (top middle) since they aren’t mullosks…they are shells of a crab…but they sure are pretty. You can always find treasures on Sanibel and Captiva if you take your time and look at how beautiful the shells are that you find….even if they are small.

Justin and Adria (Texas)

That’s why I enjoyed meeting Justin and Adria from Texas. It looks like she’s holding an empty bucket but that’s only because all of those smaller shells that she was finding slid down out of the shot.  I asked her if she was finding anything good and she said “All of these shells are fantastic! We don’t have anything like this at home.”  She and Justin were tickled with their tiny treasures and the time they get to spend on Sanibel while visiting family every year.  Some times it’s just the simple pleasures that are the best. Don’t you think?

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Commingling Memories

Posted by on Feb 4, 2010 in Angel Wing, Augers, Cockle, Conch, Coquina, Crabs, Horse Conch, Jingle, Kitten's Paw, Leopard, Murex, Olive, Sanibel, Scallop, Tulip, Whelk | 0 comments

Cindy (Minnesota)

It was Cindy’s last day at Casa Ybel Resort so she was shelling as much of the daylight possible before she has to go back to Minnesota tomorrow. She had found a tiny OLIVE and a few bright orange iridescent JINGLES. She mentioned that she had found many different colors of JINGLES throughout the week including black, grey, white and yellow and lots of other wonderful shells.

Cindy’s sister Mary wanted to show me all of the shells that they had collected over the week and invited me to their condo that they had rented together along with their husbands. On their screened in porch just steps from the beach, they had a whole table filled with all kinds of great shells. Mary pointed out that there was a clear line right down the middle of the table……on the left side of the table were only Mary’s shells. On the right side…..Cindy’s shells. “There will be no commingling of shells” they both said. Haha! Love it!

Mary's shells (left side), Cindy's shells (right side)

It looks like they both did pretty well finding FIGHTING CONCHS, OLIVES, lots of those gorgeous bright JINGLES, KITTEN’S PAWS, COCKLES, SCALLOPS, CLAMS, ANGEL WINGS (wow! They are hard to find intact), WHELKS, TURKEY WINGS, AUGERS, COQUINAS, TULIPS, MAUREXES and a little candy corn HORSE CONCH.

Sisters Cindy and Mary (Minnesota)

These sisters might not be commingling shells but they will be “commingling” memories of this incredible week that they said they’ve had on Sanibel. And thanks for inviting me to visit your showcase of shells!

Horse Conch, Leopard Crab shell with minis

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It’s Alive!

Posted by on Jan 23, 2010 in Alphabet Cone, Cone, Crabs, Junonia, Leopard, Lighthouse, Paper Fig, Purple Sea Urchin, Sanibel, Starfish, Urchin | 0 comments

A Live Alphabet Cone

A Live Alphabet Cone

Nick (Sanibel) with a live Alphabet Cone

Nick (Sanibel) with a live Alphabet Cone

I’ve only seen one other live CONE but I didn’t have my camera with me so this was so cool to capture. Nick was being very careful to handle this live ALPHABET CONE since they are poisonous and have dart-like teeth that can inflict painful wounds. Yikes! Some CONES from Australia have been known to be fatal, so be careful! (See UPDATE below)

I found out that Nick has been coming to Sanibel for around 40 years, has lived here for 15 years and is a major sheller. Get this…..he has found 25 JUNONIAS! WOW! Yes, I called him a “brat” (heehee)….but it was only out of jealousy.

Crab shell, Purple Urchin, Fig and Sponge

Leopard Crab shell, Purple Sea Urchin, Fig and Sponge

Kristy (Peoria, Illinois)

Kristy (Peoria, Illinois) with a Sponge and a Starfish

Kristy is a wildlife park naturalist in Illinois who is visiting Sanibel for 7 weeks “because it’s all about the wildlife here in Sanibel”.

UPDATE 8-4-10: It is now thought that the cone shell is not poisonous in the Florida area… please read the comment from MurexKen on this post

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