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 Cruise to 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!
The beaches of Sanibel and Captiva have been gorgeous this week with plenty of sunshine and warm breezes. But shelling has been hit or miss… to some people. In the past few days, I’ve been asked countless times “Where are the shells?”. That’s hard for me to answer since I saw this at Gulfside City Park beach today…
Uhmmmm. Those look like shells to me? There weren’t many WHELKS, TULIPS or CONES but this is how I look at it… if JUNONIAS and ALPHABET CONES were washing up on the beach every day, we would never see or learn about anything else that washes up on the beach. It would be nice at first seeing an ALPHABET soup of JUNONIAS but after a while it would kinda get old to people who come to the island every year. We do that with FIGHTING CONCHS at times. There’s no denying FIGHTING CONCHS are gorgeous shells but if you already collected 10 of them, you start to look for something else. So I always look forward to the days that make me slow down to look more closely to the shells I normally don’t “see”. Today I saw BROAD-RIBBED CARDITA shells. BROAD RIBBED CARDITAS are always on our beaches. I mean ALWAYS… but most of them have been sun bleached or worn so they look like lots of the other white BIVALVES. They are one of the most common shells in Southwest Florida but today they caught my eye because they were so colorful. Each one has a different color range of orange with some having stripes and some look like polka dots. Beauty is in the eye of the shell holder. These would be great craft shells for frames!
Anyway, there were a few other sweet shells out there too…
I also saw oodles of SEA WHIPS attached to PONDEROUS ARKS in the high tide wrack line. Most of the SEA WHIPS have lost their pretty yellow or purple colors and all that’s left is the black stem left attached to the ARK shell but this one still has a small portion of the golden yellow color still left on the stem like a sheath. Why do SEA WHIPS only seem to like to attach themselves to PONDEROUS ARKS? Of course I have a theory (I always have a theory whether its right or not- heehee). PONDEROUS ARKS have that wonderful thick black PERIOSTRACUM (skin) and they have wide ribs so SEA WHIPS have something pretty substantial to anchor themselves to. Most shells don’t have either of those features so it makes perfect sense to me, how about you? (To see a PONDEROUS ARK CLICK HERE)
Yes, those CARDITAS were pretty orange but this LETTERED OLIVE was my fave find of the day.
Oh wait- I take that back! This 33 inch, 15 pound SNOOK was my fave find of the day! I love everything there is to do on the beach and fishing is just one more thing I think is very cool. Just like shelling, you just never know what you’re gonna find. Some days you catch the big one and some days its just a nice excuse to be out in the sunshine.
Errrrrr…..Okay, I’ll fess up. This is kinda a fish tale…. “my fave find” was actually caught by a guy named Steve but I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that beautiful fish. I “found” it in Steve’s hands. Hahahaha. i Love Fishing too so next time I wanna reel one in!
Hey, Dont forget… Monday March 16, 2015 – Congress Jewelers are showcasing my Shellography with a wine and cheese gallery reception from 11am- 3pm. I’d love to meet y’all! Bring your fave finds in if you want me to ID them.
Tropical Storm Andrea swept the seashells onto Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach on Friday but she also swept most of them out into the Gulf Of Mexico by Saturday night. I figured the shells had blown to another beach so I headed to the other side of the island… Blind Pass. I found some! There was a pretty nice shell mound under the bridge that leads to Captiva. That’s where I found Jamie and Alex from Hollywood, Florida shellebrating their one year wedding anniversary. Their wedding had a seashell theme so Alex surprised Jamie with a shelling week Sanibel. Sweet!
They were sifting through smaller CLAM shells to find a few nice FIGHTING CONCHS, LGITHNING WHELKS, LETTERED OLIVES, CALICO SCALLOPS and COCKLES…
Kealey and Chad from Sarasota were having good luck shelling the same spot…
Oooooh… Look at that WORM SHELL! And they found a few nice SHARKS EYES, WHELKS and that sweet candy.
Cheri, Rylan and Amanda from New Smyrna were having a ball collecting JINGLES and SCALLOPS…
I was collecting CALICO SCALLOPS too. I can’t resist picking them up when the colors are this gorgeous!
I had a question here in the comments section the other day asking “Is there a good beach to find shells while my husband fishes?”. Now you can see for yourself! Danny caught this nice SNOOK (he gently released it immediately after I took the photo) in the same spot we were finding these shell…
I ran back down to Lighthouse Beach happy to see there were still people finding shells… the miniature shells. Jesse, Erick and Jonsiah from PA were thrilled to find their very first WENTLETRAPS…
The iLoveShelling FaceBook Page was rocking too so I wanted to share a few photos of shells that were posted from the weekend… like from Steve O who found his first PAPER FIG…
Brooke L posted this next photo and said “The shells were great, the beaches empty, waves rolling in, and a perfect sunset! Thank you TS Andrea!”
Kelly M from Dunedin, FL found the big “J” on Honeymoon Island over the weekend. Wahoo! A JUNONIA!
I love this next photo that Greg D posted. He found three huge HORSE CONCHS! He wrote “Three horse conchs I scooped up at Bind Pass Friday night. Great ending to our vacation”. Boom Shellalaka!
I never got a chance to check out Gulfside City Park but I have a feeling there might be shells showing up on that beach soon. I hope to get there tomorrow!
Don’t forget! Only 5 more days to enter to win a Shelling Vacation on Sanibel! CLICK HERE!
It has been an unusual week on Sanibel. The winds are changing directions and speed by the second which makes for an interesting site to see of all the different things that wash up on our beaches. I showed you lots of different EGG CASINGS in my last post but I found another one today… a SHARK’S EYE EGG COLLAR…
…oodles of PEN SHELLS…
but we also are seeing PURPLE SEA URCHINS…
And weird fish like this SHORTNOSE BATFISH
EEEEK! And an EEL! Yall know I love me some BEACH BLING… but EELS? They kinda creep me out for some reason.
Blllaaaahhh, Okay, now that I’m completely creeped out… I have to change the subject because I have some happy, happy stuff happening here too that I dont want to ruin! Okay.. here is a happy picture to get back in the mood of what Sanibel is NORMALLY like… having fun doing the Sanibel Stoop!
I met some awesome folks on the beach this week at the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach! This is Shelling Sister Donna R from NY…
She was on her way to finding the Sanibel Six. Yes, that ALPHABET CONE is pretty beat up but It’s still a CONE and it’s whole and HUGE!
I also met sweetie pie Katherine Haskins with her husband Tom.
Katherine love the minis so she was finding lots of different miniatures like WENTLETRAPS along with AUGERS, CERITHS and a little perfect WORMIE.
It was fun to see them on the beach together with their iLS shirts on! (teehee) Warms my heart.
I also met another awesome couple while walking on the beach today several miles west of Lighthouse Beach. Here are shellers Linda and Glen from Ohio…
Linda found an ANGEL WING! They also were happy to find their first KEYHOLE LIMPET along with these other goodies. Notice they even collect the broken SHARK’S EYES if the “eye” is still intact. Yep, they really are beautiful. I told them that when the SHARK’S EYE is brilliant blue in the middle that I’ve heard it called “Paul Newman’s eye”. This one is definitely a PAUL NEWMAN’S EYE!
Oh wait… I feel so badly that I never introduced you to Shelly (love that name!) and Kayle whom I met last week at Blind Pass when the weather was a little cooler…
I found a PYGMY OCTOPUS inside a PEN SHELL and Kayle offered to take it out in the water to put it back. So sweet!
Here are Shelly and Kayle’s gorgeous treasures from the sea that they were collecting. Keep the image of this gorgeous PAPER FIG (in the middle of this green bucket) in your mind to leave you with a happy day. See? I told you I had happy happy stuff to show you. :)
As part of the Ocean Conservancy‘s 2012 International Coastal Cleanup, Dee Serage of the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) organized volunteers to pick up and document litter on our beaches and coastlines this past Saturday. So the beach on Sanibel from Blind Pass to Bowman’s is free and clear of any trash because of our fun little cleanup crew in the photo above from left to right… Susan (Soul Sister Susan), Daron who was our efficient record keeper, me, Super Sheller Clark, Judy, Grant, Cameron and Berringer.
We spread out and literally combed the beach.. or should I say “litteraly”.
We searched high on the beach for trash…
…and we searched low on the beach for litter. We had to leave these big shells piles for another day but couldn’t help but look for something unusual.
Berringer did find a few unusal shells. Oh, and remember the SPOTTED EAGLE RAY I showed on my last video? Clark had “spotted” the ray in the water and told everybody to come look at it but Berringer is the one who knew exactly what it was right away. “Look! It’s an EAGLE RAY!” (you see why I like him?)
He found a beautiful yellow ALTERNATE TELLIN pair…
And look at the bright purple color of this SOUTHERN HORSE MUSSEL !
It even has purple in the interior…
Grant found this very cool completely dried PUFFER FISH…
This is what I call cool BEACH BLING…
Grant also found this sweet little SEA URCHIN…
Yes, there were lots of shell piles like I showed you in the cyber shelling photo on my last post with but we were on a mission to pick up trash and we had a very long walk so we only picked up the cool unusual things that didn’t weigh much… like this ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHER! We rarely find these…
Clark brought home this aqua buoy. We couldn’t throw that away!
But back to the main reason we were there… to rid the beach of any trash. Cigarettes, plastic bottles, plastic caps, more and more plastic were the top items found but I was so surprised to see so many balloons with ribbons on the beach. Balloons are a huge NO-NO to bring to the beach! They can get swallowed or wrapped around wildlife so please never take balloons to the beach for any occasion.
Fortunately, our beaches aren’t terribly littered so I think we only filled up 7 fairly small bags which is not so bad for a 2 and 1/2 mile walk. But Clark didn’t stop there. He even saw trash thrown over the beach access boardwalk so he fished it out under the rail. Go Super Sheller Clark!
I’m sure yall do this already, but just a reminder while we are shelling… let’s pick up any trash and put it in our shell bag until we can find a trash can or dumpster to dispose of it. Okay, So… lets recap what we do as “shellers”. On our beach walks we can get exercise, find treasure, explore, learn about wildlife and the creatures of the sea AND save the planet AND spread peace on earth. LOL Yes! Shellers save the planet! We are the Super Shellers!
Clark snorkeling the Keys
The Florida Keys aren’t known for beachcombing since seashells just don’t roll up on their beaches like they do here in Sanibel, Florida but they DO have shells……you just have to know where to dive or snorkel for them. This was our first time shell collecting in the Keys so we were very fortunate to have wonderful shell-crazy friends MurexKen and MurexAlice (who have been shelling the middle Keys for over 20 years) take us out in their boat to show us there are shells to be found in those vast aqua waters.
MurexKen with a Queen Conch
Within an hour or so arriving in the Keys, we strapped on our fins, mask, snorkel and grabbed our shell bags then splashed into the water to seek and explore throughout the weekend. MurexKen found a beautiful live QUEEN CONCH to point out the amazing colors and to show us how many there were living in the grasses. Since it was alive, he put it back and told us there is a big fat fine for keeping a live one. Good!
We found lots of AMERICAN STAR-SHELLS……
American Star Shells
We found a few LONG-SPINED STAR SHELLS…
Long Spined Star Shell
…and some WEST INDIAN TOP SHELLS or also called MAGPIE SHELLS…
West Indian Top shell
Clark found some absolutely perfect MILK CONCHS (MK cleaned these up for us- they look so amazing!)….
We snorkeled around the grasses…..( I think I might have to rename MurexKen as MermanKen- he’s a fish!)
Aqua man MurexKen
We snorkeled around bridges….
Bridge Florida Keys
…where MurexAlice found a nice SEA URCHIN…
MurexAlice with urchin
We snorkeled around CORAL REEFS alongside QUEEN ANGELFISH ….
Queen Angel with coral
We snorkeled around sandy sea bottoms to see this SHORTNOSE BATFISH……weird!……
I spotted a potential keeper shell… is it empty? Please be empty!
snorkeling for seashells
Oh YaYah- Nobody’s home! He’s a little beat up but I can try to clean it up…..
Empty juvenile queen conch aperture
I was so happy to find an empty QUEEN but mine couldn’t compare to MerMan MurexKen’s Queen Conch with no mollusk inside! Since the lip was broken off they were going to toss it back…..then offered it to us. Of course we’ll take it!
Empty Queen Conch
I cleaned up most of the shells with 1/4 bleach and water solution except another shell MurexKen gave us…… This outstanding HORSE CONCH with the brown “skin” or PERIOSTRACUM still on it- I love that! I just let that soak in a bucket of water with just a tad of bleach so it wouldn’t take the brown off. After I took this photo, I put it back in the bucket to soak some more to get the white “freckles” to soften up even more so I can try to rub them all off. Hey, and take a look at that little conch I found that was so beat up….. I think it’s coming along!
Queen conch, juvenile queen, horse conch
We normally have shells roll up to our feet in Sanibel so this was a fun trip for us to work a little harder (snorkeling’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it! ;) ) at seeing different shells in a different environment. The drive from Sanibel to Big Pine Key was 5 1/2 hours and worth every minute of it to spend time with MurexKen and MurexAlice. It was a trip to remember for sure- Thank you both!
Map Sanibel to Big Pine Key
I have to show you one more fascinating shell….. MurexKen found this QUEEN HELMET a few days before we got there. To read more about his finds, he posted a trip report on Trip Advisor CLICK HERE. I don’t think it gets any prettier than this…..
Queen Helmet Shell
I took some of the photos with a new Fuji underwater camera with a movie feature that was pretty good until it opened up underwater and flooded the camera. Needless to say, I took it back. The good news is…. before it flooded, I got a nice video- Click HERE to see it! Also, click HERE to see the DEER COWRIES Clark found.
Tropical Fish in the Florida Keys