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

Laid Back Low Tide on Sanibel Island

Posted by on Jul 28, 2014 in Crucifix Shell, CyberShelling, low tide, Sunsets | 38 comments

Collecting colorful Sanibel seashells

I always have one of those laid back, “No Problem, Mon” attitudes when I comb the beach during a nice low tide on warm summer evenings on Sanibel Island. It’s the perfect weekend.

Sanibel lighthouse lowtide

There was no shelling frenzy. No racing from beach to beach trying to find a huge shell pile. No disappointment at not finding an ALPHABET CONE… or no deflated feeling of not finding the SANIBEL SIX. It was pure pleasure to stroll the Lighthouse Beach to discover little treasures like this along the way…

Simple Sanibel seashells

Theodore from Michigan felt the same way. He had a huge beach to explore and a handful of minis already in his pocket. Happy (and adorable).

Theodore from Michigan visits Sanibel for shell hunting

I was already feeling lucky so when I found this CRUCIFIX SHELL, I snapped a photo and left it where I found it so someone else could find the lucky idol.

Lucky crucifix shell on the beach of Sanibel Island Florida

We also went to Gulfside City Park in the evening this weekend where Clark found these…

low tide evening shell collection

I met cuties Sharon and Matt from Connecticut who were feeling the shelling love too.

Sharon and Matt CT enjoy Sanibel shells

I also met a Missouri family new to shelling and you can see the happiness on their faces. Here’s Hannah, Danielle, Emily, Tyler, Dave, Danielle and Jeff. Talk about cuties!

Hannah, Danielle, Emily, Tyler, Dave, Danielle, Jeff MO  Sanibel sunset

There were lots of live OLIVES making trails in the sand but every once in a while, we’d see an empty, glossy gift of goodness right at our feet.

Lettered olive shell on the beach of Sanibel Island

Laid back warm and fuzzies.

empty lettered olive on the beach

Share the laid back feeling with me and enjoy a little unhurried CYBERSHELLING with me. Take your time and I bet you’ll feel a little more laid back with a few warm and fuzzes for your day too.

Sanibel Island Cybershelling photo

Happy shelling and enjoy your week!

Low tide Beach combing at sunset on Sanibel Island



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Two Scoops Of Shellicious Treasures

Posted by on Mar 31, 2014 in Carrier Shell, Crucifix Shell, CyberShelling, Lace Murex, Lighthouse, Wentletrap | 27 comments

Sanibel Stoop at lighthouse beach

Dont you remember that old saying… “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes”? Well, it’s the same with shelling in Southwest Florida. We’ve had swirling high winds with rain the past few days so it has changed the shelling on every beach every 10 minutes. Just as the rain stopped at one point, I hurried to Sanibel Lighthouse Beach to see if the weather brought in good shelling conditions yet. I met more die-hard shellers! A little drizzly weather wasn’t going to keep Ann, Doug and Patricia from Minnesota from shelling…

Ann Doug Patricia from Minnesota visit Sanibel for seashells

Patricia found her first NUTMEG! And… notice that Patricia made her own necklace out of one of the shells (LADY-IN-WAITING VENUS) she found that already had a hole in it. So cute!

patricia found her first nutmeg

Then yesterday morning I met the cutest family from Indiana at Lighthouse Beach… Sean, Lori, Ellie, Wanda and Karl. Karl is a birder who volunteers at Ding Darling a few months in the winter and answered a few questions I had about some of the birds Ive seen lately. We realized how similar shellers are to birders then told him about Gill and Andy’s “The Big Year” 

sean, lori, ellie, wanda karl from indiana shell sanibel

If they were competing in The Big Year with shells, I think Sean would probably be the big winner in the family. As soon as he showed us all the great shells he was finding, he was back to his ankles in the water to find more. Love it!

Sanibel seashells in a shell net

Andrea from Ft Lauderdale said her day was complete since she found a perfect LACE MUREX with a pink nose.

Andrea from Fort Lauderdale found lace murex Sanibel


sanibel island lace murex

Clark took one scoop with his shelling backhoe at the waters edge and brought a pile of shells to me. I snapped a photo so you could shell with me. CYBERSHELL away!

backhoe scoop for cybershelling

While I picked out some nice shells, he brought another scoop to me. Wow! Stephanie, this CYERSHELLING is for you (I got the book- Thank you!)…

cyber shell shelling pile

Did you find these shells and more? Crazy, right? Two scoops of shellicious treasures!

sanibel cybershelling

There were lots of empty wonderful shells just at the surf’s edge on the gulf side at the lighthouse then walking west we found oodles of live creatures in the morning at low tide.

lighthouse shell photo

So…  let’s get back to the “just wait 10 minutes until the weather changes for good shelling” bit. Lots of people ask me how I know which beach to be at for the good shelling all the time. Here’s a secret…. normally, I visit LOTS of beaches to find the best shelling. Yes, I can regularly find good shells or something really interesting EVERY time I walk on a beach here but I do stop by different beaches (Blind Pass, Gulfside City Park, Lighthouse) to assess the conditions on a regular basis and I don’t post on each one. That’s what is fun to me…. seeing the beaches change so much. I want to find the most interesting treasures to learn something and share it with you. So before I found so many shells at the Lighthouse Beach after the rain storm, I visited Blind Pass Captiva where I met Karen, Randy and Stephanie from Orlando…

karen randy stephanie orlando collect shells captiva

Stephanie found a CARRIER SHELL and other goodies on the sand bar on the pass side.

carrier shell, conchs welk coral cerith

It was so much fun to talk to Renee and Charles from Chicago after seeing how excited they were about their finds.

renee charles chicago visiting captiva for shells

Charles found a WENTLETRAP there! After i took this photo, Renee told me she found a SCOTCH BONNET too. Huh? She told me it had a crack in to though so she didn’t put it in her “faves” pile. LOL I forgot to take a photo of it after she dug it out of her bag to show it to me and … yep! It was a beautiful SCOTCH BONNET with a small crack.

shells by renee and charles captiva

I’ve seen lots of cool BEACH BLING all week but this was my favorite… a CRUCIFIX SHELL. Hmmm… with Easter just around the corner.

crucifix shell on a Sanibel  beach

If you are trapped in that unseasonably cold, snowy weather up north, I’m hoping the two scoops from Super Sheller Clark will help warm you up. We are wishing you sunshine and seashells!

clark with shelling backhoe

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A SpectacSheller Shelling Party

Posted by on Sep 29, 2013 in Blind Pass, Colorful Moon shell, Crucifix Shell, CyberShelling, Flat Zigzag Scallop, Shark's Eye | 21 comments

shells collect around rocks

We haven’t seen a huge shell mound form at the jetty rocks on the Captiva side of Blind Pass in months and months. So to see folks like Sue from MA sittin’ and siftin’ through a shell mound almost 2 feet deep, made me want to jump for joy then lay down in that pile and make shell angels like we did as a kid in the snow. Sitting and sifting at one spot, Sue filled up her mesh shell bag with treasures like this FLORIDA CONE, FLAT SCALLOP  and lots of APPLE MUREXES…

seashell collection on the beach

Susan from Cape Coral found her own stash of goodies too…

susan cape coral florida shell beach

These are just some of her besties … but notice the GAUDY NATICA (COLORFUL MOON) on the top of her right hand? Becky from Memphis (September 26 post) asked to see that shell when I was ooohing and ahhhing over it because she had never seen one before. Susan said “Well of course!” then showed Becky the GAUDY NATICA …. then told her to keep it because she had a few already. Every day I meet such amazing people on our beaches! That was so sweet Susan!

susan shells gaudy natica moon turban murex conch

Linda (Safety Harbor, FL)  had her own spot in shell heaven. We all were just having the best time hanging out on the big pile just digging away finding gem and gem. It was a shelling party!

linda safety harbor visit captiva seashells

Isn’t it incredible that she was sitting in this same spot too and uncovered so many shells to fill up her bag? These were a few of her besties …

shells beach bling blind pass captiva

Teresa from TN was no exception in finding great shells to fill up her bag AND joining in on the fun of looking at everybody’s favorite shells.

teresa shell collecting sanibel captiva


teresa TN gaudi natica whelk olives

Ginger from KY found the best SHARKS EYE Ive seen in months.

Ginger sharks eye KY shell pile


sharks eye shell captiva sanibel

It was the perfect weekend to have a spectasheller shell party!

finding lots of shells to collect in south west florida

shells from Captiva sanibel florida september

But what would the party be without you? Grab a seat and start siftin’ with a little CYBERSHELLING! (click to enlarge this next photo)

cybershelling cyber photo shells

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The Sanibel Captiva Shell Report

Posted by on May 21, 2011 in Blind Pass, Blue Heron, Crucifix Shell, Paper Fig, Sanibel, Sunray Venus | 29 comments

Sanibel Great Blue Heron Bird

Captiva Great Blue Heron

I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that I’m catching you up on the good shelling from the week and if you are coming to visit, there are still shells at Blind Pass (Sanibel and Captiva), minis at the lighthouse and just west of the lighthouse we’ve been finding lots of other shells that I’ll show you.

Brianne Kelly shell collecting

Brianne and Kelly shell collecting

Brianne and her mom Kelly (AZ) were at the lighthouse  beach finding SCALLOPS, WHELKS and CONCHS but the most unusual find for Kelly was part of a CRUCIFIX SHELL. It brings good luck!

crucifix shell half

Kelly's crucifix shell

They also found some beautiful PAPER FIGS in the low tide pools…

Paper fig Sanibel shell

Paper fig

You’ve got to do The Sanibel Stoop to be able to spot good ones in the tidal pools.

Sanibel Stoop at dusk

Sanibel Stoop at dusk

The Stoopin found her this one….a double SUNRAY VENUS!

Sunray Venus clam shell Kelly

Kelly's Sunray Venus

Brianne was finally able to find and hold a live STARFISH for a minute or two to admire it before she safely put it back in the water.

star fish gazing

Brianne starfish gazing

After talking to Liz and Sergio (central FL) while they were admiring a live SAND DOLLAR , Liz told me she was a record holder for the largest ALBINO LIGHTNING WHELK and received a Best In Show award at a Florida shell show. She found it at Lover’s Key about 10 years ago. Dang it! I forgot to write down how big it was so maybe she’ll comment and let us know.

sand dollar Sanibel Island

Liz and Sergio (FL)

As we were walking west from the lighthouse the tidal pool got wider and wider for us to see live creatures and empty shells as well. This is Katie from Houston without a shell bag but making due by lining her treasures on her arm like a shelf…

Katie arm shells Sanibel

Katie (TX)

Katie's Sanibel shells

Katie's shells

This area (around the Seaside Inn) was about where I found the live SHARK’S EYE I showed a video of yesterday. If you didn’t see the video, it’s a cool one you don’t want to miss so CLICK HERE.

Tidal pool Sanibel Island

Tidal pool Sanibel Island

To catch you up on Captiva’s Blind Pass, I stopped there on Thursday to find…. ahhhhh- such beautiful calm, aqua water with a pile of shells by the jetty.

Captiva aqua water shells

Captiva aqua water

Sharon (Orlando, FL) was having a great time replenishing her shell collection since she just used most of her shells….. this is so sweet….. to decorate for her wedding last week. She is on her honeymoon!

Sharon Sanibel shell bucket

Sharon (FL)

She was happy as a clam finding ….well finding CLAMS…and SCALLOPS….and CONCHS….and this COLORFUL MOON SHELL.

Colorful moon shell aqua

Colorful moon shell

With all this happiness, I don’t even want to give you the bad news. It’s just that my little Smittie the Kitty is sick again so that’s why I haven’t been keeping up with getting out all the shelling news too timely. I think she’s going to be okay now… oh it’s too much info to go into …but she’ll be a RadioCat next month- and that’s some good news!

Smittie the kitty with shells

Smittie the pretty kitty

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Southwest Winds Bring Seashells To Sanibel

Posted by on Mar 30, 2011 in Crucifix Shell, Lightning Whelk, Sanibel, Sea Cucumber, Sunray Venus, True tulip | 15 comments

crown conch sanibel beach

Kings crown conch

I’ve had a little dry spell finding mid size shells lately but today…. The shells are back! Yippee! We had nice southwest winds the past few days and now the shells at the lighthouse beach on the pier side have started rolling in, baby.

Crucifix shell Sanibel beach

Crucifix shell near the pier

I knew it was gonna be a good day today since I found a CRUCIFIX SHELL (which is really not a shell- click HERE or on the name for more info). It’s a good luck charm!

True Tulip seashell lighthouse

Beautiful True Tulip

It’s a great day when you find a KINGS CROWN and a red TRUE TULIP!

Sunray venus clam Sanibel lighthouse

Sunray venus clam

I saw quite a few pairs of SUNRAY VINUS CLAMS that were still together. Lucky again!

Lightning whelk Sanibel lighthouse

Lightning whelk

This gorgeous LIGHTNING WHELK rolled up on the beach just waiting to be picked up by a lucky sheller.

Family on Sanibel beach

Jim, James, Katie and Connie (MI)

This was a lucky shelling family enjoying gulf treasures washing up with every handful. They were having a blast! And me too!

Sanibel seashells strainer

Jim and Connie's fabulous finds

Check out those beauties. Okay, I know you didn’t miss that butterscotch yellow TRUE TULIP sittin’ pretty in the middle of all those other shellicious shells, did you?

Sanibel boy sea cucumber

James with a sea cucumber

In with the shells, came live SEA CUCUMBERS, STARFISH and a few SEA URCHINS. James was a good sheller and gently returned this live sea critter to the water to help it survive. What a cutie!

seashells from sanibel

My shells from today

I’m sure you can identify most of these shells but I’m especially tickled by the bright orange CHESTNUT TURBAN and the little candy HORSE CONCH. There is another shell I’m also pretty tickled with but it’s broken. It is the second one down on the right side…….it’s a CARRIER SHELL! I didn’t get a good shot of it so maybe I’ll show you tomorrow if I can get a good picture. Don’t know all the other names all of the shells above? Try looking at my SEASHELL IDENTIFICATION page. Good luck ….. Tag! You’re it! I’ve now passed my good luck from finding that CRUCIFIX SHELL today on to you. Have fun.

Finding seashells on Sanibel

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

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Beach Treasures and Willet Birds

Posted by on Jan 30, 2011 in Crucifix Shell, Ring-Billed Gull, Sunsets, Willet | 18 comments

Shelling for Wentletraps

Shelling for Wentletraps

When the high tides sweep the beach of the larger shells and take them back out to sea, the hunt for smaller shells starts again along with any type of beach treasure. If you want to find the WENTLETRAPS, you’ve got to get down and dirty by bending those knees as much as possible. This is Clark at sunset at the Lighthouse Beach finding those little beauties.

Beach crucifix

Beach crucifix

I found a few wentles too but my best find was the head bone of a catfish called a CRUCIFIX SHELL. I know it sounds a little weird but it is a sign of good luck when you find one of these. Yippee! It’s gonna be a good week.

Sanibel Willet birds

Sanibel Willet birds

I also found myself paying closer attention to the birds around me since my calling to little miss cutie Sandy The Sanderling. I caught these WILLET birds (above) all resting on one leg right at the shore line. Do you know why birds stand on one leg? My friend Bonnie helped me on this one….. Because they are conserving their energy and reducing their heat loss. Smart, huh?

Gull eating seashell

Ring-billed Gull eating a seashell

Doesn’t this guy know better than to mess around with those PEN SHELLS? He didn’t get his beak caught like the Sanderling but geez, dude, watch out!

fish tooth


Maybe he lost this tooth trying to pry that shell open. LOL Yes, I know it’s not from a bird (birds don’t have teeth, silly) but what do you think it’s from?

While we think on that, let’s take a minute to relax and enjoy this scene at sunset.

Little girls at sunset

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