Archive for Marco Island

Marco Island shells iLS

Since we knew we’d be gone for the entire day, Clark and I packed up a cooler, snacks and a change of clothes to head for Marco Island, Florida for a day trip from Sanibel. Clark’s Rotary Club had an event in south Marco that we wanted to attend (he is still President – so proud of him!) so we figured if we had time on the way home, we’d stop at a beach. We did! We stopped at Tigertail Beach!

tiger tail beach marco map

This is the very first time we’ve been on this beach so we had to get the lay of the land by looking at the map (above). We decided to wade through the little lagoon to get to the gulf side beach on the other side…

wading water tiger tail

On my way over, I saw Jonathan and Rachel carrying handfuls of SAND DOLLARS…

sand dollars marco florida

Wow! They said they found them all along the beach in the surf line…Cool!

sand dollars tiger tail

So wading through the lagoon and down a sweet beach path we went… to find our first treasures from the Gulf Of Mexico.

seashells marco beach

All I started seeing was ROSE PETAL TELLINS! I love them!

rose petal tellins marco


sunray venus shell marco florida

We could not find any SAND DOLLARS but that’s okay because we found so many other goodies like these two FLAT SCALLOPS. Clark’s beautiful orange one is on the left, and I found the larger perfect (heehee) purple one on the right.  I call them “FLATS” but they are really called  ZIGZAG SCALLOPS .

flat scallop marco island

Clark found the prettiest PURPLISH SEMELES!

purple semele marco

We both found CANCELLATE SEMELES as well…

cancellate semele marco florida

I was thrilled with all of the multi colored JINGLE SHELLS and those ROSE PETAL TELLINS!

jingle pink tellin shells

From Tigertail Beach in Marco, Florida traveling back by car to Sanibel Island it took us about 1 and 1/2 hours by way of interstate 75…

map from Sanibel to marco

We didn’t even get there until after 4 pm and we stayed about 3 1/2 hours to have a wonderful evening exploring a new beach.

conch shell marco florida

I am so glad we had the time to stop and take our time to walk down to the north end of the spit. It took us an hour and 1/2 each way so I’m so glad we had plenty of water and thank goodness we always have shelling supplies and sunscreen in the car at all times. This was our loot we brought home… and yes, Super Sheller Clark found that gorgeous ALPHABET CONE I put right smack in the middle of our fabulous collection. Thanks Tigertail!

Marco Island shells iLS

Join us on our next trip tomorrow, Saturday April 12, as we are taking a shelling cruise to explore the island of Cayo Costa! Clark and I will show you where to find the hidden treasures of that beautiful island… CLICK HERE.



A Golden Day Boating Around Marco

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john and the dingy

Our friends John and Jane strapped a Zodiac dinghy to the top of their car on Saturday and invited us to join them for a boating adventure down to Marco Island. Yes! We are always ready for a shelling expedition.

The whole day was golden…

Jane shelling marco

Literally! Both John and Clark found GOLDEN OLIVES!

Golden Olive Marco

Golden Olive aperture

When we all got back to the boat, everybody was showing off their best finds and both guys held out their hands holding the GOLDEN OLIVES…

two golden olive seashells

Look at this huuujah ANGEL WING Clark found. It fills my whole hand…

Angel wing huge

This was the first ALPHABET CONE John found for the day.

John alphabet cone marco

These are Jane’s FLORIDA CONES. These are pretty golden too!

florida cones marco jane

Here are the rest of her best finds. Yes! She found a JUNONIA! It’s broken on one side but it’s still a JUNONIA and it might be a good candidate for making a necklace. Congrats Jane!

Janes finds

We boated over to another island (Kice) where I was taking a photo of a nice 10 inch old crusty HORSE CONCH I found on the low tide sand bar…

crusty conch shell marco

I heard Clark yell and start waving his arms. Oh no, he di-ant! Another one? He couldn’t have found another you-know-what. I looked to see how far away he was since I was way out on the sand bar. See that little speck? That’s how far he was from me.

Clark on the beach Marco

Okay, might want to avert your eyes if you’ve had a bad day or just can’t stand the thought of Clark finding yet another J….. uh…. I can’t even say it. To show me where he found it, he had it sitting right where it was when he walked up. Here… see for yourself.

junonia on th shore marco

Really? How come I didn’t look there first? The man is a shell magnet. Here is a close up of his nearly perfect JUNONIA (just the tip is missing). I want to find one! Not that I’m jealous…. oh, geez. Of course I’m jealous! Oh I’m happy for Jane and “him” too…. I guess. ;) It even has a golden color to it too!

junonia close up

You know I’m just kidding about being upset I didn’t find the big J. How could I when I found so many beautiful shells on such an awesome day? Here are some of our other golden treasures…like candy!

horsie conchs in angel wing


Top Shells Marco


Bruised Nassa seashells


Tampa Turrids


False Angel Wings


Dusky Cones Marco

and even a cool BRYOZOAN COLONY…

Tubular Horn Bryozoan Ectoprocta

It took us less than 1  1/2 hours drive time to get to our island hopping adventure in Marco aboard “our” little dinghy. Here’s the happy crew…

Marco dingy crew


PS-  I popped off some of those crusty barnacles to uncover the shell of that HORSE CONCH I found out the sand bar. It’s beautiful! I found a home for it on my outside steps as a happy welcome to our Shell Shack.

10 inch fighting conch on step




Shelling Marco Sand Bars

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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 out on this sand bar and he told me that he has found numerous JUNONIAS in the very same spot at daybreak. He has slept on his boat to get there first. He said he goes out there to fish but if the fish aren’t biting, he shells.

Ron Marco sheller

Ron (Marco)

You can see how narrow this bar is….

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


Shells of a Different Color

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True Tulip Shells

Color wheel of True Tulip Shells

After I left the beach at Blind Pass Sunday morning, I just knew there should have been more shell piles coming in from the strong north west winds from Saturday. Unfortunately, I had to run out of town for a few days so I left before the shells got stirred up enough to reach the beach. I heard Sunday afternoon (right after I left) was the best shelling day all week with oodles of LIGHTNING WHELKS and TULIPS washing up on Sanibel around Middle gulf Drive. I’m so happy for the lucky shellers (Sunny and Cshells!) who hit that Sunday seashell jackpot. Although I would have loved to see the Sunday shelling madness, I still haven’t gotten over our finds (my SCOTCH BONNET!) from last Thursday, so here are more photos of our colorful beauties from that awesome day.

Marco Lace Murex aperture

Lace Murex aperture

I’m always overwhelmed by how beautiful a LACE MUREX can be.

Spiney Jewel Box

Spiney Jewel Box

I’ve never found such a colorful SPINEY JEWEL BOX like this before last week and both sides were still together. Gorgeous.

Top Shells

Top Shells

Who knew TOP SHELLS came in so many different colors?

Marco Sand Dollars

Sand Dollars

These were the best of about ten SAND DOLLARS but not all of them made it back in one piece. I also heard that people are finding SAND DOLLARS off Middle Gulf Drive the past few days. All three of these TRUE TULIPS (2 to 3 inches) below were found by Super Sheller Clark. The middle one looks like it was made of dark chocolate… talk about rich color!

True Tulips

True Tulips

We had high south winds today and are expecting high north west winds tomorrow so I will be checking Middle Gulf Drive beaches and Blind Pass the next few days. Stir it up, baby!


Day Trip To Marco Island

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Marco Scotch Bonnet seashell

Scotch Bonnet

Looky what I found!! A gorgeous 2  1/4 inch SCOTCH BONNET! Woot! Woot! I’ve only found pieces of these delicate shells before so this was a biggy find for me. Yippee! It was so exciting.

Scotch Bonnet aperture

Scotch Bonnet aperture

Clark and I had never shelled around Marco Island, Florida (about 90 minutes south of Sanibel) before so when we were invited to go on a friend’s boat around the island we jumped at the chance. There were plenty of sand bars exposed because of the extremely low tide so we anchored out and waded in to a couple of different islands (just glad we made it back). This is what this SCOTCH BONNET looked like when I found it….

Scotch Bonnet with sea anemone

Scotch Bonnet as I found it

That SEA ANEMONE popped right off and didn’t damage the shell. I tried to submerge the SEA ANEMONE to get it to “flower” and come back to life but I think he had been out of the water too long. Maybe he was the one that helped keep the shell from breaking apart on it’s way to shore. If so, thanks Mr. Anemone, I’ll take good care of it from here on.

Dirty Scotch Bonnet aperture

As is

I was so excited to show Clark my find then witnessed his face turn green with envy. Fifteen minutes later, I heard him howl with laughter. What? What could he have found that could beat this? His own SCOTCH BONNET!

two scotch bonnets

Clark's scotch bonnet on the left and mine on the right

The same thing happened with the ROSE MUREX yesterday… I was so excited to find an uncommon shell and minutes later, he finds one to match it. We both laughed in amazement.

Marco Florida Cones

Florida Cones

Clark found the deep orange FLORIDA CONE and I found the other one. Notice the pronounced colorful tips on both of these shells.

Marco Horse Conchs

Juvenile horse conchs

I found me some candies too! Love, love ‘em. Always a good day finding a handful of my “candy corn”.

Marco Alphabet cones

Alphabet cones

Ta Da! We even found these ALPHABET CONES.

Lori with horse conch

Lori with horse conch

This is our friend blogger Lori from with a huge empty HORSE CONCH. It’s a beauty!

Shell Pile in Marco

The shell pile

This pile is where I found most of my baby HORSE CONCHS and a FLORIDA CONE, ALPHABET CONE, LACE MUREX and a bunch of TOP SHELLS (I’ll show pictures tomorrow… whew- I’m still tired from that big, long day).

Amy Tripp Marco

Amy Tripp holding a tulip

I was also thrilled to meet photographer and shell enthusiast Amy Tripp from Marco. I have seen lots of her photographs from the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum website and heard so many good things about her seashell education.

Marco gang

Our Marco Boating Gang

Sunrise boating

Boating at sunrise