There are many beaches to explore in Southwest Florida to observe a variety of wildlife and find great shells, but it’s always a fun to make a trip to Bunche Beach in Fort Myers at low tide to roam the mud flats.
Seriously, it’s like an Easter egg hunt out there at a low tide zig zagging through the muddy sand as you walk up on to flash of pink to find gorgeous SUNRAY VENUSES with both valves still held together.
So as you can see by my photos, these “mudflats” aren’t really muddy dirt made of soil but they’re actually sandy tidal areas meeting with mangrove forests and many different grass beds. When the tide recedes, we get to see lots of other natural occurrences as well … like spotting the unmistakeable colors and pattern of a half buried empty LIGHTNING WHELK shell.
And like a itty bitty empty SHARKS EYE shell.
Among hundreds of live healthy KINGS CROWNS, I found this one empty fabshellous beauty.
Such a fun trip with friends Ada, Ann and Kathy to take a quick trip just off Sanibel.
PS- Not sure if you heard- on August 16, National Geographic published an article online by the very talented journalist Gillian Kendall with the title…. “10 Reasons to Visit Fort Myers and Sanibel, Florida”. It’s a beautiful piece featuring our beaches, islands, wildlife, fishing and…. errrrr…. and then there’s #2…. A Shellebrity. Oh Holy Cowrie! I’m still a little shell shocked! LOL But I’m so incredibly honored and honestly, oh I don’t know… a little embarrassed? Anyway…. it’s an awesome article and I guess it’s taken me a few weeks to post it since I feel a little… oh, I don’t know. It’s craziness!!! (blush, blush)
Oh… and PS again – If it turns out well, I’ll show you photos of my new and improved Shellaboratory I’m remodeling. I’m painting seashells on the concrete floor while we wait for the big storm in the gulf to bring us real shells! Here’s a sneak preview …
Any day on the water is an amazing day full of adventure.
Being on the water with DOLPHINS playing beside our Captiva Cruises boat on the way to the secluded island of Cayo Costa… was an exhilarating day.
Our iLoveShelling Adventure on Tuesday from Captivawas extra special for me since my life long friend Lori and her daughter Mackenzey were visiting us from Richmond, Virginia. I’ve known Lori since I was knee high so it was a gift to have them both share this experience with me.
Its such a small world, Lori and Mackenzey met other shellers on the boat that are from Richmond, Virginia too… and live about 20 minutes from each other.
It was a beautiful calm clear day with lovely adventurous families.
We had a journey finding happiness and a few gifts from the sea.
Of course everybody received another gift… $25 gift certificate to Congress Jewelers…
The day after our cruise, we had a sad day on Captiva and all of Southwest Florida. Yesterday Paul McCarthy, owner of Captiva Cruises passed away.
The journey of life…. “That you feel the sense of exhilaration and adventure“. These are the words Paul McCarthy lived by.
I have so much to be thankful for to have known Paul. He encouraged me to do these iLoveShelling cruises so I could meet the shelling community face to face instead of only online through my blog. He knew how much I would enjoy sharing my love of shelling in person by being on the water just like our cruise on Tuesday. Of course, he was right and we all should live life to the fullest and be present. He had a special gift of bring people together to learn about the environment and share experiences. He touched so many lives by being so giving of himself to others. We are so grateful to the all of the folks at Captiva Cruises who have worked alongside Paul for so many years and will continue his legacy.
“Island life suits me”. Yes, it did Paul. We will miss you.
Isn’t it crazy how beautiful these shells are? This is about the biggest empty PEAR WHELK I’ve ever seen!
The colors of this LIGHTNING WHELK are stunning.
These beautiful shells were found by these beautiful shellers on our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa with Captiva Cruises. Did you see that gorgeous orange ROUGH SCALLOP (ORANGE PECTIN). Shellzam, Super Shellers!
There were other cool shells found like this FLAT ZIG ZAG SCALLOP.
And BABYS EARS! She got to check that one off her list.
We also shellebrated birthdays. Happy Beach Birthday!
Every day is a shellebration to be on the beach.
With beautiful seashells and beautiful shellers.
Talking about beautiful shellers? This gal has made me smile for years. Sherri Bode (Sherri from MN) has commented on my blog for years by giving me positive feedback and helpful ideas …. and I finally got to meet her in person for the first time on this Shelling Adventure. She’s just as sweet and adorable in person and I’m so grateful for you Sherri- you warm my heart! The internet is a crazy and powerful way to meet like-minded folks but it’s even more fun when I can put a face with a name after meeting in person.
And then this happened…. Four years ago, Clark and I met Katie and her dad on a cold January day on the beach at Blind Pass (read post HERE). She was bursting with happiness just to be on the beach shelling that day, so neither Clark nor I ever forgot her. Omigosh, she was on the cruise too!
She still emits so much happiness when she’s on the beach finding shells. This time she was finding COQUINAS and other minis so she can make shell flowers and hearts like the ones on Shell Love Bug.
When she told me who she was, my mouth dropped seeing how she’s blossomed into such a beautiful woman since I remember that day like it was yesterday. Then she showed me on her phone the 2 photos she took that day four years ago. The first photo was of her and me. Love that! Soooo darn cute.
The second photo was Katie and Clark. I was sooooo tickled to see this photo because in a conversation to a friend just 5 days ago, Clark told the story of Katie asking him to be in a photo with her. You made his day then Katie, and you made my day this week showing me this photo! I will seriously cherish this forever.
It was truly a magical day. We even had DOLPHINS swimming up to our boat. Seriously …. can’t you see they are smiling?
I love when we all can get together to tell shelling stories. Annie brought her JUNONIA she found at Blind pass last week. Shellzam Annie!
It’s such a beautiful place to spend time shelling together.
For the whole family to hunt for treasures together. ;)
Since I’ve been so tied up for the last few months with creating Shell Love Bug (CLICK HERE)I feel so badly I didn’t get to share our awwweeesome trip last month to Big Hickory so I want y’all to know I’ve been thinking of that amazing day too.
Cutie shelling families!
Y’all are such a beautiful sight for sore eyes!
It’s always so cool to see the shells and beach bling everybody finds.
There’s nothing better to me than a happy face and Mary always makes me smile. Especially when we’re out on the water.
I was lucky to be on this party boat cruise to Cayo Costa to beat the heat of July 4th week. A perfect reason to pop out and splash around with picturesque parasols. So cute!
What better way to celebrate Fred’s birthday… Happy Birthday Fred! So good to see John could come celebrate with you too.
Talk about happy faces… Shell Love Bug made an appearance at the Sanibel 4th Of July parade. We were smiling every inch of Periwinkle Way and saw soooo many happy faces as we made our way from Bailey’s to Jerry’s. (Thanks for the photo Sandy!)
Omigosh! We passed the most fabshellous sign I’ve ever seen! haha I only got to meet Linda in the brief encounter as we passed by but you make me so happy every year, Miss Yaya. You have a beautiful mission and keep me smiling.
I woke up last week to see this clipping in one of our local newspapers… Congratshellations Amy S! She made a wish upon Shell Love Bug on National Seashell Day and look what happened. Thanks for the shout out!
Ok… and for something a little different, I always feel like summer is the time to try new things to beat the heat. Soooooo since You Only Live Once…. I tried the Flyboard at YOLO Captiva. I was flying! OMG This was such an amazing time.
My Flyboard instructor Colin found a teeny tiny BANDED TULIP but couldnt identify it. He asked … “Is this a JUNONIA?” haha Not this time Colin but we might make a sheller out of you yet.
Thanks y’all for your great smiles and positive energy.
Nice ALPHABET CONE, Denise! She found this incredible shell (incredishell) while beach combing with her family Devin, Paul and Gwyneth (they found awesome shells as well!) at Big Hickory Island on our iLoveShelling adventure with Sight Sea-R Cruises earlier this week.
I had such a great time seeing everybody find ANGEL WINGS, WORM SHELLS, SUNRAY VENUS shells and some much more. It’s what makes it so special to me.
It was so much fun to talk to Sarah and Catherine about their shelling trip to North Caicos they took last year. After I posted about our trip to Turk and Caicos in 2013, they followed our same trip and loved it just as much as we did.
I’ve “met” Jason and Twyla on iLveShelling Facebook page but I finally got to meet in person on our trip. It was a blast to hang out with y’all!
Jason showed me the KNOBLESS FIGHTING CONCH he found compared to the regular “knobbed” FIGHTING CONCH. And of course one of a few SAND DOLLARS he found.
Subreda and Sumita came all the way from Mumbai, India to visit local sheller Menju and to join us for our shelling day. They are awesome they even shared some yummy Indian snacks – deeee-licious. Thank you so much for shelling with us, y’all.
These are some of Sumita’s shells…
The shelling girls Mickey, Becky and Carolyn came out to shell with us too.
Mickey found her first SEA PEARLS…
Sisters Robin and Sue went for totally different shells.
Sue found an awesome ALPHIE, ANGELS, TULIP, KINGS CROWNS and cool Beach Bling like BRYOZOANS and SEA PEARLS.
Robin found happiness in the mini shell pile… look at that sweetest lintiest SAND DOLLAR omg.
We were in the presents of lots of other mini shell lovers too like Cheri.
Hey Hey, They are back! Jerry and Livy are learning their way around Big Hickory better than anybody on the beach and in the water. They’ve been on this same cruise quite a few time and it’s so dang cool that Jerry shares his knowledge with everybody too.
On our boat ride to the island, I saw Jon and Bob with snorkel gear so I asked Jerry if he would give them any tips. While Romaine combed the beach her men, Jon and Bob snorkeled around the water and used some of Jerry’s advice… Oh yea. Happy faces!
Most of our shellers found their treasures on the beach, like Diane and John…
… and Laura, Mike, Paula and Jim
… and Wendell and Liz .
On the return boat ride after our fabshellous shelling adventure, Bob and Romaine had mentioned they find Fulgurite pieces (fused quartz that happens when lightning strikes the sand. Remember the movie “Sweet Home Alabama”? ) on beaches of North Carolina and they thought they found some FULGURITE on Big Hickory too. Since shellers are so like minded, I showed their pieces to our whole boat of shellers … come to find out, we all collected similar pieces. Ok, so…. these are the pieces in the photo below. We are still trying to figure out if they could be FULGURITE. Last year on this iLoveShelling cruise, we had a geologist on the boat and he thought it was wave tumbled concrete from an old concrete structure. He thought the holes were old shells that had crumbled over time. Hmmmmmm… the mystery continues. Concrete? Or FULGURITE? Whadaya think?
To make the day even happier, everybody received their gift certificate from Congress Jewelers too!
It was an amazing day with awesome folks. Thank you for coming!