Archive for Cayo Costa
A couple of weeks ago we found quite a few SHARK’S TEETH during our Shellabaloo 2 shelling adventure on a full day Captiva Cruise trip to the north side of Cayo Costa.
These are just a few of the many FOSSILS we found…
After seeing so many different types of FOSSIL SHARK’S TEETH in just one area, I wanted to identify which type tooth was from what type of SHARK. Looking through my handy “Fossilized Shark’s Teeth & Fossils” book by Byron Fink, this is what I found….
The SAND SHARK and TIGER SHARK TEETH are quite different and a bit easier to identify…
The SNAGGLETOOTH SHARK is easier to identify if the serrated right edge isn’t worn to much…
The LEMON SHARK isn’t as easy to I.D. if the “gum” part isn’t as prominent as these…
I still have a hard time distinguishing the MAKO and BULL SHARKS because they look so much alike and remember, they have different teeth in the lower and upper jaws AND they look different in the Labial View as opposed to the Lingual View. The author in my little book described the LABIAL VIEW as … “The front of the shark tooth you see when the shark opens it’s lips to smile at you before swallowing you.” Then he gives us the meaning of the LINGUAL VIEW as … “The side of the shark tooth (rear) you would see if the shark just swallowed you and you were looking out of the mouth“. Oh dear! LOL
Some of these SHARKS TEETH can be up to 40 million years old when most of the state of Florida was under water. Yes, the Gulf Of Mexico has SHARKS… but not swarming off the shores of our beaches with black teeth waiting to get you so don’t worry. Live or “new” sharks teeth are whitish and most FOSSILS are black or dark brown. If you take the full day Captiva Cruise excursion to Cayo Costa State Park, don’t forget to look for FOSSILS!
I’ve been asked for some shelling reports for Sanibel and Captiva this week but the shelling hasn’t been as productive as last week because of strong east winds that have taken the shells back in the water. But! Even though we still have the east winds now, we have a really nice low tide in the evenings tonight and throughout the weekend so I think we could find some keepers on the sand bars before sunset this week. Kathy MT commented on the iLoveShelling Facebook page and said… ”Found a whole sunrise tellin beauty, Kings Crown, murex, fighting conchs, small whelks, lots of colorful scallops ( my favorites are the bright orange ) and lots of coquinas at the Sanibel side of Blind Pass this morning“. Thanks Kathy MT! So maybe even in the mornings. So whichever beach you decide to go to, try to find the sand bars and also search in the shallow water. Good luck!
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
Have you heard? The island of Cayo Costa has the best PANCAKES in the world! But save the butter and maple syrup because this is a PANCAKE SAND DOLLAR, baby.
It looks like a KEYHOLE SAND DOLLAR without the slits, right? Well wait until you see the side view because it really looks like a pancake with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
This is a really big find. Not only is it about 6 inches round but it is a very rare find here! It has one little crack on the top but other than that, it’s unbelievable.
I am so thrilled for Jan who found it on Cayo Costa last month. She said she was wading out at low tide to put a beautiful live horse conch back in the water and looked to her right in about knee deep water to see this beautiful find. I think it was Mother Nature’s way of saying “Thank you”. It was a first for her and honestly, this is the first one that I have seen too so I was thrilled to see it in person. Here’s Jan and her PANCAKE…
I met Jan last year at the Sanibel Shell Fair and as we were talking, Bill Geist and the CBS Sunday Morning Show crew started filming us. It’s a moment we will never forget so we became fast friends. Jan and her husband Bill are volunteers at the Cayo Costa State Park so Clark and I were invited to visit them on Sunday. They greeted us at the dock with a warm smiling welcome…
Just so you get your bearings straight, on Saturday’s iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa, we were on the south tip of the island but on Sunday we were visiting Jan and Bill on the north side of Cayo Costa. Here are the four of us… Bill, Jan, Clark and me.
I’ve only been to this part of the island one other time which I blogged about it HERE. So we felt so lucky to be able to ride in a golf cart because unfortunately the golf carts are private… don’t rent them on the island. It really is a secluded place so that’s what makes visiting here so wonderful.
The first stop was to see their shell collection from the past couple of months. This is where she showed us the PANCAKE SAND DOLLAR but Jan also collects a few of her favorites or odds and ends. Look how big those SHARK’S EYES are.
This is the prettiest CANCELLATE SEMELE !
Look at this rich purple color on the inside…
I love that she likes to find the unusual shells like this damaged “FREAK” SOUTHERN QUAHOG (well that’s what the large white shell with the dent in the middle looks like to me). AND she found three MACULATED BABYS EARS. The brown ones are so hard to find!!!
I could have ohhhed and ahhhed over all of her shells since each one she collected has a little something different about it. But we moved on because they wanted to show us her shell identification board she finished making this month. Wow! It’s beautiful. We got so tickled because she chose just about the same shells to put on her shell board that I chose for my seashell identification card. (It was St Paddy’s day so I had on my green)
We met Resident Ranger Mary on her day off having fun. It was great to meet you Mary and thank you for everything!
On our way to the beach, we passed the small island cemetery with the plots lined with shells.
Then we hit the beautiful beach. This is on the north side of the island so behind Bill and Clark, you can see Boca Grande.
You know we were looking hard for a PANCAKE SAND DOLLAR but no such luck. It was high tide and she said she found it near the camp ground beach. But I was happy because I found a SHARK’S TOOTH…
We had a fantastic day exploring Cayo Costa State Park ! Thank you Jan and Bill for inviting Clark and me to hang out with you on your day off. It will be another special day to remember forever. And congratshellations again on your PANCAKE SAND DOLLAR! Way cool.
When you are about to get on a boat to go to a secluded island for a morning of shelling with a bunch of people who all LOVE SHELLING as much Shelling Sistahs Marilyn and Diane from Chicago…
And avid shellers Jessica (cute aqua backpack!) and Ben from Texas… It’s gonna be a good day!
As soon as I saw Rhonda (next photo) I had to tell her how cute her necklace was. She told me she made it…. then gave it to me off her neck! OMG What? Thank you! But really, this is how sweet she is….She would have given it to the first person who had liked it that much…
You know how I know this? Because as we all were waiting to get on the boat, Rachael had commented on her necklace too and she gave Rachael this bracelet she made. She has a heart of gold!
Needless to say, our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa on Saturday was a success. It was a perfect day. Awesome people, clear skies, calm water, gorgeous weather, aqua water…. and shells!
As soon as we got off the boat on Cayo Costa, lots of people scattered to their favorite areas to look for shells. Some went straight to the water and some went straight to the shell piles on the beach.
Bill C. saw my photo above of the shellers above and said it reminded him of the painting “The Gleaners”. LOL It does! I just got a kick out of it so I had to share it with you too. I borrowed this image of Millet’s 1857 oil painting from Wikipedia to show the similarity…
I loooove to show people how to spot the BABY’S EARS and the mini shells while Clark shows the rest of the group he finds the OLIVES, CONCHS and the bigger shells. Here I am pointing out the treasures that hide in the beautiful fallen tree roots…
There were hundreds of live CLOUDY PERIWINKLES!
Sally from Sarasota was going for the minis…
She was ready with her tupperware container. She has a nice WORMIE and ANGEL WING too.
She also found beautiful CANCELATE SEMELES. This is the only beach I ever see them…
Okay one more thing… she found the biggest stinkin TUSK SHELL I’ve ever seen…
Look at all of these white shell bags filled with the bigger shells like OLIVES, SUNRAY VENUSES, WHELKS, CONCHS, WORM ROCK and CORAL!
These were all found by this adorable family that just moved to Sanibel… Berkely, Matt, Loulie and Landon.
These were their faves out of their shell bags…
I was thrilled at how many people wanted to share their favorite treasure with the group. So many of my faves too! BABY’S EARS, WORMIES, SAND DOLLARS, OLIVES, VENUS SUNRAYS and ANGEL WINGS
Okay, I have to confess. I get overwhelmed when I meet so many awesome people that love this stuff as much as I do. I just want to drink it all in …so I forget to get names and I forget to take pictures of everything. I want to enjoy the moment so I want to apologize to these amazing folks that let me photograph your hands (in the photo above) but I didnt get all of your names. I know Rachael and Johnnie but if any of yall want to comment… I’d love to add your names. Awwww. I feel so badly … but look how cute they are!
I almost just started calling everybody “Sue” and “Jim” (yall know who you are- heehee). Let me assure you, nobody was worried was I was calling them. I do know that we all had a fabulous morning exploring the beautiful island of Cayo Costa finding treasures and making new shelling friends. It is soooo much fun. Thanks to Captiva Cruises’ Captain Brian for the safe, smooth ride and Captain Yogi for the funny stories!
If you want to join me, Clark (Oops! see? I didn’t even get a picture of Clark working his shelling backhoe!), and a boatload of other shellers just like you… join us!
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…
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!