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?
It’s wild how many colors and patterns of COQUINA shells my friend Celeste and I found last week on Sanibel.
Combing the beach to look for beautiful treasures is the best place in the world to catch up with a dear friend like Celeste- especially finding COQUINAS as colorful as she is.
Oh yes, she is very colorful, wild and very talented. She was one of my first friends I met when we moved to Sanibel and she has kept me laughing ever since. She makes clay art that is as colorful as any COQUINA and she makes sealife for most of her pieces. I just have to show off one of her pieces to you… it has SEAHORSES, FISH, OCTOPUSES and even STINGRAYS. You can see some of her other sealife inspired pieces at ABohemeLife.com .
There was a lot of other wildlife happening on Sanibel this past week (other than hanging out with Celeste- heehee). DOLPHINS were racing up and down near the Sanibel pier.
I also had another dear friend and wild woman in town… Lizbeth. All in one day on Sanibel, she and her family witnessed SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) count LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLE nest eggs (photo by Lizbeth)…
And… They they witnessed a rescued of two baby LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLES (photo by Lizbeth)…
And then… she and her sister saw a BOBCAT cross a beach path (photo by Lizbeth) …
Then they saw a mother LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLE laying eggs on the beach… and I got to see this one too! This photo is very dark and slightly pink because you can only have a red filtered light on the beach in SEA TURTLE nesting season (May through September) on Sanibel. We wanted to be very careful and respectful while in the presence of this incredible creature in a moment like this. It’s a memory I will never forget. So cool!
During daylight hours, SCCF marked the nest and reminded us of the full circle of SEA TURTLE EGGS of the weeks events.
Then the rain started. It has been raining and raining for days and it’s hardly stopped. I should record the crickets, frogs and croaking alligators that are loving it. My back yard is filled with water so our yard shells look like they’ve gone back to the ocean… covered with water. It’s actually a beautiful sight with everything so green and lush with the symphony of nature in the background. It’s been a wild week.
The Gulf Of Mexico was clear, warm and bright turquoise at Cayo Costa this week for our iLoveShelling shelling adventure with Captiva Cruises. Just ask snorkelers Sue Ellen, Emma, Grace and Jeff from Louisiana.
Hayla, Hope, Linda and Todd from Tennessee were like little fish as they snorkeled the whole time- fun!
But even before we got to the island, California girls Teri and Allana and the whole boat witnessed…
A DOLPHIN show on the way to Cayo Costa…
Up on the beach, Kurt and Beverly from Minnesota were amazed by the JINGLE SHELLS. Kurt said “This should be called Jingle Beach!”.
Beverly showed me her hand filled with JINGLES along with a fave little SEA URCHIN and colorful COCKLE.
So pretty … and it really is “JINGLE BEACH”. They are everywhere! I picked these up in prob less than a minute.
Mother Nature was really playing a hide and seek game with us since the shells were hidden more than usual. We really had to look high and low to find them but Dick and Yvonne from Indiana did a great job finding the larger ones.
Dick said he looked high and low around the tree roots in the water and found this spectacsheller WHELK then walked along the waters edge to find the rest of these beauties.
It was so nice to meet so many awesome shellers like Cutie Shellooties Diane and Joyce from Sarasota. Joyce found a beautiful WHELK (I showed in the first photo) about the same size as Dick’s WHELK – those LIGHTNING WHELKS must have been twins!
Most of the shells (like COCKLES and SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS) Lindy from South Carolina found were at the waters edge as well.
The “Tweezer family” Deb, Judith, Brennan and Ericca came on our cruise too!
Hmmmm…. those tweezers must turn into a magical wand – a Shell Scepter- because Judith was the only who found a BABYS EAR up high on the beach… oh wait… she found 3!
Carla from Pompano, Florida was as tickled as sea punch to find this piece of DRIFTWOOD to hang her orchids in. I couldn’t even get the whole thing in the photo but it looked exactly like a SWORDFISH with a long sharp snout and knot for an eye. Awesome BEACH BLING.
And talk about awesome BEACH BLING… Terry, Sue, Rich and Micki found the coolest treasures…
They were searching in the high tide wrack line and found SEA PEARLS, SEA URCHINS and the funniest sea toys- 2 SHARKS and a Bunny! I told them the story of the LEGO Beach Bling (CLICK HERE) but of course we should always pick up any of these toys even if we don’t keep for our “Kicks and Giggles Jar”.
This is Fintastic Beach Bling!
PS- Be safe everybunny.
Join me on an iLoveShelling Shelling Adventure. For dates and info CLICK HERE
This is what a path to beach combing paradise looks like.
After arriving to the secluded island of Big Hickory on our iLoveShelling cruise with Sight Sea-R Cruisesyesterday, we were welcomed by a shell filled beach and calm Gulf Of Mexico waters.
WORM SHELLS and beautiful pieces of CORAL were every where…
In less than 5 minutes, Andrea found an incredishell LACE MUREX. She is such a lucky sheller! I met her in March on Sanibel after she found masses of great shells but the one I remembered the most was a CABRITS MUREX so it was so good to see her again. (CLICK HEREto see that post)
The first shell Gita found was a beautiful ROSE PETAL TELLIN.
It was so much fun to pick through the many shell piles to find so many treasures.
David and Willow were enjoying every minute especially the second Willow found her ANGEL WING. It’s the one shell she wanted to find on her whole trip from Colorado.
One more thing checked off her “bucket” list…
Don, Chuck and Marti from Libertyville, IL found such a wide range of gorgeous shells and beach bling.
Oooohhh- Look at that huge TULIP along wit a PAPER FIG, FLORIDA CONE, ROSE PETAL TELLIN, SAND DOLLAR and TOP SHELL Marti found. And not to mention the fragment of JUNONIA – she got some spots!
It was so much fun to hang out with Sue and Andrea from CT since they were thrilled to check off a few things on their bucket list like a CRUCIFIX SHELL for Sue and ANGEL WING for Andrea. They are birders as well as shellers so they checked off a few birds like the ROSEATE SPOONBILL and ROYAL TERN on their birding list on the boat ride over.
It was a great day meeting shellers like Steve and Becki from Ohio.
I caught up with Sanibel local Karen on the way back to the boat. Oh my goodness- She found 2 ALPHABET CONES!
As we got back on the boat to cruise back to Salty Sams Marina, it was the perfect time to peak at what other goodies this boat load of awesome folks like Anthony, Sonya (VA) and Sue (Alaska) found.
Shellzam! Sonya found 3 ALPHABET CONES! Oh… And look at all three of those FIGHTING CONCHS on the left. All three of them have bright purple lips. I think its always special to find just one with a purple aperture but to find 3 in one day is very cool.
Janet from Pennsylvania had great success too! She was doing most of her beach combing on the shore and her husband Paul said he pretty much hung out in the water the whole time. That’s about how Clark and I shell too!
Birthday girl Shelly (love her name!) and her husband Mitch (AKA her boyfriend for 32 years) found some amazing treasures.
Happy birthday to you Shelly! 2 ALPHABET CONES along with so many other great finds- wow!
Happy birthday to Linda from St Louis too! The birthday girls both found ALPHIES! Congratshellations!
As I was hanging out with another Linda, her daughter Katie and granddaughter Emma (Missouri) looking at shells… Linda told me when she saw Linda from St Louis, she realized they went to nursing school together. Small world!
These were Emma’s fave treasures. Sweet!
Loved these to from Andrea and her family too…
Every minute of the 4 hour trip was such a pleasure to meet other like minded people and find hidden gems.
To experience the beauty of the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve and to see lots of DOLPHINS, bird and other wildlife on our way to and from the island on the boat is priceless.
I normally don’t collect anything while on the iLoveShelling cruises because I now enjoy the experience of sharing information and teaching others what to look for. I like that better than collecting more MUREXES, WHELKS or other shells that we have plenty of. But…. that being said… I found a treasure too yesterday! In the highest dry wrack line, I found a lovely pink ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHER. Ooooooo- such a treat!
Join us one of our next shelling adventures or Shellabaloo! CLICK HERE for dates and events.
The only thing cloudy about our Captiva Cruises iLoveShelling trip to Cayo Costa were the live CLOUDY PERIWINKLES hiding in clusters on the tree roots at the south tip of the island.
It’s been such a month on the islands of spotting great wildlife. Everywhere I look, I am still seeing wonderful signs of healthy life… like these STRIPED FALSE LIMPETS and BARNACLES on those same tree roots with the PERIWINKLES.
Melissa, Juliana, Becky and Garrett from Colorado walked around those tree roots to find some nice empty shells as well.
They found a bag full of double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…
Sisters Teresa and Elaine from Pensacola, FL found some keepers on the Gulf side of the island.
Elaine collected oodles of different color JINGLES to use for a picture frame craft project.
D.J. from Avon Park, Florida found empty LETTERED OLIVES and an ANGEL WING wading knee high in the water.
Oh but wait… How could I forget? I have to tell you about the boat ride over to the island. We had a pod of DOLPHINS come over to say “Hi” to everybody on our boat.
When they swam closer to the boat, we could see there were 3 mother DOLPHINS… each with babies! If you look closely at this next photo, you can see the baby hugging up to the mother. So cute!
And the DOLPHINS weren’t the only wildlife coming up to say “Hi” to us… meet Casper The Friendly GHOST CRAB.
I have never seen a GHOST CRAB act so friendly! Seriously, “Casper” was not at all afraid of us and actually followed us on the beach. See? He got right in-between Sandy’s feet and hung out there for a few minutes.
He even ran into a shelling net like he wanted to play. hahaha What a character!
Even though the wildlife was exceptional, it was a wonderful day to meet exceptional people like Vicki and Bill from Arizona.
… And Melinda, Katelyn and Justin from Indiana. I especially loved meeting Katelyn since she knew all of the names of her shells but also loved all the wildlife she saw. Casper The Friendly GHOST CRAB didn’t want there to leave.
… And it was exceptional to see Marie’s beautiful family- Emily, Madison, Steve, Sandy and Ryan from Ohio. But… they were missing one Morgan, they all wanted me to tell you…. you’re next!
… And to see Bill, Michelle, Alyson and Anthony from Illinois.
I had met Michelle at Blind Pass Captiva last week when I stopped at the beach to see what the conditions were on the Captiva side by the jetty rocks. As I dug through the “picked over” shell pile, we got to talking and she told me she hadn’t found too many keeper shells but was just happy to be on the island enjoying everything else about the beach. That’s when I uncovered a beautiful FLAT SCALLOP with a tiny hole in the top. I handed it to Michelle and told her it was meant for her. I was soooo touched to see that she was on the cruise with her family AND that she made that FLAT SCALLOP into a gorgeous necklace with a little SEAHORSE charm. OMG I love that she made it into a special treasure to remember a special day we happened to meet. Shellers rock!
Lindsay had told me about an awesome HORSE CONCH she had found on Sanibel last week so when we got back to the dock at McCarthy’s Marina, she showed it to us. Wow! Lindsay, I’m so happy you showed it to us. That IS awesome and will clean up beautifully with a little elbow grease.
Even though the beach wasn’t piled up with mounds of shells this time, we were treated to a DOLPHIN show with babies, lots of friendly wildlife and most of all – a perfect day in paradise with a boat ride on calm waters full of happy people meeting an amazing community of likeminded shellers.
You won’t want to miss the upcoming shelling cruises! Check out the new dates CLICK HERE