In nature, it’s impossible to predict when you might see a MILLIPEDE SEASTAR or find a large pile of shells in the same place you may have seen it a week ago… or yesterday for that matter.
Because of winds and tides, the Gulf of Mexico is always moving. Winds from the east then west then north then south… the gulf is constantly swirling. Because of this continuous moving life force of waves in Southwest Florida, we get a fascinating view to watch our beaches constantly shift… leaving sand, sea life and/or their empty shells in different places every day. Just like this beautiful beach bling village I saw at Gulfside City Park beach on Sanibel Island this week, it won’t be there for long- wind and rain could wash this away at any moment. But I enjoyed every minute looking at this shellmazing piece of beach art.
We discover new treasures every day on the beach.
But it’s not every day when we will see a live HORSE CONCH and its egg casing…
Or see a LIGHTNING WHELK and its EGG CASING.
Even more unusual, I found this SLEEPY SPONGE CRAB (I believe its a Dromia personate) tucked inside a SEA PORK (TUNICATE) this week at Gulfside. Adorbs! This is exactly why a beach comber is called back to the beach over and over and over again. We learn something new every day!
I took a short little video to show you how cute he looked in his little SEA PORK house. I haven’t been doing many videos lately because I can’t figure out why they are so blurry- ugh. So I tried again and … oh boy….. it’s blurry still- grrrrrrr- but I’m going to go ahead and show it cause he’s such a cutie shellootie!
But wait y’all! Don’t forget the 80th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival is this week Thursday, Friday and Saturday – March 2, 3, 4 2017. And guess who will be there?!!! I will be at the festival every day with…..
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?
Beachcombers love SEA TURTLES just as much as sandy toes and seashells.
Beginning in the late 1950s, Charles LeBuffstarted monitoring the nesting habits of female SEA TURTLES on Sanibel to evaluate threats to the population. Since the 1990’s Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation’s Sea Turtle Program (along with 100s of volunteers) now surveys each nesting season which runs April through October. Through the years they’ve learned that to protect our nesting mothers and their babies, we need to keep our beaches clear of obstacles.
I normally enjoy seeing beautiful beach art but it can be disastrous for a female turtle in nesting season. On our island summer nights, female loggerhead turtles (and occasionally green turtles, leatherbacks and Kemps Ridley turtles) lay their eggs on the same beach where they were hatched decades earlier. If left over night, obstructions like sand castles, beach chairs, coolers or even deep sand pits can distract or injure the mother turtle or her babies after they hatch. Did you know that lights on the beach after dark can disorient adult and baby turtles? Yes, they go towards the light instead of heading to the water so they might end up in the street or parking lot. So we wont be doing any night shelling without red filters on our flashlights until fall. Not a bad price to pay for keeping baby turtles safe, huh?
As I was walking the beach yesterday at Gulfside City Park, I saw this deep trench that was dug out of the sand. Ut Oh! SEA TURTLES can get trapped in there.
As soon as I started filling the pit back in, Steve from the Sanibel Police beach patrol came to the rescue. He got out his shovel and smoothed the beach back to normal. You’re a good man, Steve.
I was a turtle tracker a few years ago with my friend Lisa and found a baby turtle in a big sand pit with lots of seashells on the beach. The baby turtle had been making his way to the water but got a little off track when he fell into this pit (photo below). He couldn’t get out since the sides were so steep but he moved his flippers just enough to catch my eye. We called our contact person at SCCF to make sure to follow protocol to rescue this little cutie and I was so happy to get the a-okay to pick him up and release him at the edge of the gulf. Yeah! We rescued him and watched him swim away with all his might.
As shellers, we are on the beach probably more than anybody else so we can help do our part in making our beaches as safe as possible for these little cuties.
My good friend Karen Blackford took a video of SEA TURTLES hatching a few years ago. I always love to watch it each year to remind myself what a journey they have and how we can make the beaches safe for the. Thanks Karen! CLICK HERE.
When I get to spend a gorgeous morning on the water with a bunch of happy, silly and extremely fun shellers… I am over the moon shell! This little shell scrabble tile art started the day off with so many warm and fuzzies… Thank you Janet for making this for me!!!
We even had a birthday party for Lynnda. Briggs, Lynnda, Craig, Laney, Ken and Katie came all the way from Nebraska to spend their time together doing what they love. Such a fun family shellebration!
We had another birthday shellebration too! Super Sheller Sawyer and his mom Melissa from Minnesota found all sorts of cool shells and beach bling.
Sawyer found this awesome dried STRIPED PUFFER FISH(aka PORCUPINE FISH or BURRFISH). After I identified it for him he said “They should call this place Treasure Island… it’s full of cool treasure”. Be still my heart.
Arriving on our Captiva Cruiseto the secluded island of Cayo Costa on our iLoveShelling Adventure is always such a treat to begin with.
It was a great day to hang out with Diane and Valerie from Ohio
Seeing all the different variety of shells and bling they found.
This gorgeous day was a fun getaway for Connie (Ohio) and Al (Iowa)
To find a few of their favorites like dried STARFISH, SEA URCHINS, ANGEL WINGS, LETTERED OLIVES, a SPECKLED TELLIN and lots of colorful JINGLES.
Alyssa from Pittsburg was happy to find her favorite too…. candy! haha A teeny little orange juvie HORSE CONCH.
Such pretty day for Rabon to find a several large SUNRAY VENUS doubles- love that smile.
Gail from Kentucky is definitely living right…. Chillaxing. Or shall we say Shellaxing? ;) es
It was a special day. We didn’t find the hundreds of SAND DOLLARS that we did last time but I feel very fortunate to have been able to hang out with such a fun group of shellers- Thanks y’all!
I still have more Shell Festival photos to show you and catching up on showing Sanibel beaches- stay tuned for more Shell ‘n Tell!
We found a huge “Sit ‘N Sift” shell pile on Cayo Costa during our iLoveShelling shelling adventure with Captiva Cruises yesterday.
As always, there’s always a lot of sharing shells when awesome shellers get together.
Every single step through the island was a great exploration while hanging out with new friends.
While Michelle from Michigan was finding a few shells by snorkeling in the water….
Her daughter Mandy found a SUNRAY VENUS.
Lauren, Aaryn, Elizabeth, Jason and Jordan (Alabama) found lots of SUNRAY VENUSES too.
They found like 15 double SUNRAY VENUS shells plus a Lauren found a huge empty WHELK that will look beautiful when all cleaned up.
Cindy, Shelby, Steve and Madi (TX) were so much fun to hang out with.
Madi found lots of LETTERED OLIVES just at the waters edge. Thanks again Madi for the cute photo on Instagram!
The water was so warm and clear Lauren, George and Beth (NY) stayed in the water just about the whole time on the island.
Andrew, Mark and Daniel (NY) felt the same way. Mark told me that the water was still so cold up in Log Island so it’s a treat to be able to play in the warm water of the Gulf Of Mexico.
The water must be cold in Michigan too because Todd and Michelle were loving the water too. :)
Martha found a sweet BABYS EAR when she combed the tip of the island…
Look at that baby…. a baby Baby Ear.
After I snapped the photo of Marth’s BABY EAR, I waded into the water to check for shells since the water was so clear then saw a big black blob way out in the water… a MANATEE! I started my video to see if I could catch its cute little nose come out of the water…and then it turned for the beach… and head straight for me! And then… I started squealing. OMG so embarrassing that my voice goes into the highest silliest pitch you’ve ever heard. Hahaha You think I was a little excited?
Funny And amazing, huh? So who found those nice shells in the first photo? They were found by Noa and her mom Joann (Utah)… big smiles for a great day.
And I just had to get a picture of me with cutie shellootie Shelling Sistahs Tanya and Tammy from Texas who showed up in their cutie shelling tee shirts together. Love these girls.
Like every iLoveShelling cruise, everybody received a $25 Gift Certificate from Congress Jewelers– Fun day!
I have new dates for all iLoveShelling beach combing adventures for 2015 and into January 2016!
Oct 5, Oct 29, Nov 6, Nov 17, Dec 2, Dec 15, Jan 11, Jan 21
Check out all the information with new dates and times then make reservations now… just CLICK HERE !