After five days, the mound of shells that built up at Blind Pass Captiva last week is still producing exshellent finds.
There was a QUEEN HELMET found this morning!
Donna and Ray from North Carolina were sifting through this shelltastic pile this morning…
when Donna found that cutie little QUEEN HELMET, a SCOTCH BONNET, 2 ALPHABET CONES (a perfect one minutes after I snapped this photo), LETTERED OLIVES, APPLE MUREXES, CERITHS, AUGERS, CHESTNUT TURBANS, FIGHTING CONCHS and gorgeous CALICO SCALLOPS.
Matt and Monika from Ohio found a spot on shell mountain to dig out some gold too.
It was the first time visiting Sanibel and Captiva for Wenjin from New Jersey… she was in shell heaven!
Its the perfect paradise ending to 2014 with 80 degree sunny weather and seashells piled a mile high. Heaven on earth.
I took a random CYBERSHELLING shot on the top of the pile when I first got there. I hope you find a few goodies! (Warning: If you like KITTENS PAWS, you might want to take a big breath before you click on this next photo. heehee)
There is nothing more exciting than seeing shells line the beach as far as the horizon.
At Tarpon Road beach access (mid island on Sanibel)… that’s what we saw yesterday- miles of shells. Amy from Alabama was a happy girl be able to witness this beautiful site as well.
She found oodles of APPLE MUREXES and FIGHTING CONCHS in a wide assortment of colors, patterns and textures along with some other beauties.
I ooohed and ahhhed over her best find (well, her best find to me anyway) which was this ROCK SHELL. Its not often I see these shells so I was excited for Amy that she found one.
I saw Ellie from Wisconsin holding her hand in a way to protect something delicate.
It was a gorgeous double ALTERNATE TELLIN with colors of yellow, pink and mauve. It looks like a beautiful butterfly!
I was thrilled to find a LONG-SPINED URCHIN and a WEST INDIAN SEA URCHIN to add to my mix of treasures (OLIVES, CONCHS, TINTED CANTHARUS, NUTMEG, ROUGH SCALLOP, dark rich BANDED TULIP, a WORMIE and …. candy!)
Then I walked the beach at BLIND PASS Sanibel to see Michelle from Illinois (right) with her family Mary, Mike, Patti and Molly. she was carrying a strange looking shell so I stopped her.
OMG its the lip of verrrry large HELMET shell. Wow! HELMETS are from Caribbean so to see the lip of that shell in such good shape and color was impressive. She also found a nice THORNY OYSTER too. Good eye, Michelle!
I saw Justin and Jeff from Connecticut scooping in the water and Bonnie combing the beach about a mile from the pass (the furthest point in the background).
They were having a ball finding some really nice shells like TULIPS, WHELKS and huge COCKLES. They said they were just as happy to find shells as being here to enjoy this awesome weather.
Krystal S posted on iLS Facebook all the shells they found yesterday morning at Blind Pass Sanibel….
Molly P posted there as well to show us she found this LIONS PAW this week on the Captiva side of Blind Pass. Congratshellations, to all of you!
Keep ’em coming, Mother Nature!
We went to Turks and Caicos Islands on our vacation and it was a-mazing! We explored just about every beautiful inch of North Caicos and took several wild adventures to Middle Caicos and found that to be just as breathtaking.
We had lots of sunshine and warm weather for great beach combing on their awesome picturesque beaches along with plenty of clear aqua water to snorkel for hours at a time. But… best of all… we found a slew of bright, beautiful and colorful seashells! Remember I showed you a photo in my last post of a KING HELMET? Clark has always wanted to find a KING HELMET shell… and now his wish has come true! He was (is) sooooo ecstatic about his find!
Can’t you see why?
He was not going to come out of that water until he found something spectacular since he was very jealous (but very happy for me) when I showed him what I found…. an ANGULAR TRITON!
Take a look at this beauty…
I still can’t believe how many juvenile QUEEN CONCHS we found…
We found them on just about every beach we visited rolling in the surf…
Most of the empty adult QUEEN CONCHS around the islands had large cuts or holes in the spire of the shell because the locals cut the shell to get the meat out for food so it was hard to find a pretty one to bring home. John “Johnny Rescue” finally found a gorgeous QUEEN CONCH!
I’m still in awe at the glossy brilliant colors of this shell…
Jane found a nice size ANGULAR TRITON too!
It was a little gunky when she found it but it cleaned up like a dream…
We were all thrilled to find SUNRISE TELLINS and GAUDY ASAPHIS shells. The SUNRISE TELLINS are the glossy yellow, pink and white ones that have the sunbeam pattern. We found quite a few different colors of the GAUDY ASAPHIS shells (yellow, orange, purple white and ones with sunbeams as well!) so I’ll separate these shells in another post so you can see the difference. Unbelievable, right?
I have so many stories and videos to share with you from our trip but I thought I’d start you off with the most important photos… shells! And that ain’t all, folks. We found looots of other amazing shells and beach bling so I’ll try to get organized quickly so I can give you the whole run down on Turks and Caicos. To see my other posts on Turks & Caicos CLICK HERE
PS-Now that we are back and I have read all of your thoughtful comments and birthday wishes from so many of you on my last post… I am overwhelmed and humbled by your kindness. Really. Thank you so much for all of your sweet words that made this very special birthday even more special. It really was a shellebration of living life and loving Mother Nature so it’s nice to be able to share that with people that feel the same way… you. Shellers!
To see my other posts on Turks & Caicos CLICK HERE.
OH, hold on! Don’t forget… I’d love to meet you on one of the dates so click on the next image to book a day!
Why such a crazy face? This is the face of pure unadulterated joy and excitement of finding a seashell….but not just any ordinary seashell. I found a QUEEN HELMET!!!
It’s perfect! I can’t believe it! This is a rare find in our area. I have never found a QUEEN HELMET before on Sanibel or Captiva and I can’t remember ever finding another one before, for that matter. But I did this morning at Blind Pass Captiva’s low tide level -0.3.
Notice the beach is built up again on the pass side of the jetty rocks. I think Blind Pass changes more often than Justin Bieber changes his Twitter stats. LOL Okay, yes, I’m still punchy! Let’s get back to the QUEEN HELMET… I took this photo before I picked it up to show you how it was laying in the pile of shells.
Would you have noticed it? Here’s a closer view of how it was nested amongst so many sweet KITTEN’S PAWS.
I have to tell you, this took great restraint to leave it sitting there to take a photo AND video before picking it up to see if it was whole. I still can’t believe I was able to do it but I was like that little QUEEN HELMET hanging with her KITTEN PAW friends. I was amongst friends as well. Our friends Eileen and Rob just arrived in Sanibel yesterday and were at Blind Pass with me this morning so I didn’t feel like I had to snatch it up before anybody else would get it. Okay, not that we aren’t ALL friends out there on the beach… LOL… but I think you know what I mean about those days when the waves of shells are crashing on the beach and whoever snags the shell off the pile first is the rightful owner (shelling 101 ;)). So here’s the video I shot so you can see exactly where we were when I found my QUEEN HELMET!
I know my vid was a little blurry (like my mind after I found it) so here are some still shots so you will know what to look for too…
This is the photo I took right before I found my shell so I’m sure it is sitting in this pile somewhere.
Okay, so after I wrote that last sentence, I had to know… Could I find that shell in this pile? It’s like playing Where’s Waldo. LOL Can you find it? OMG I think I did but it’s not clear… but it’s got to be it! What do you think?
Yes, we found other goodies as well (as you saw, Rob found an ALPHABET CONE right before our video eyes!) but I’ve run out of time and I want to take advantage of being “Queen for the Day” so I’ll show you more pics tomorrow. Have a shell of a day!
Since I awarded the SAND DOLLAR gold, silver, and bronze medal trophies this week, I knew what I needed to do when I saw this tiny juvenile JUNONIA. I had to award another special seashell medal for the summer shelling Olympics.
The Platinum Shelling medal!
The Platinum Shelling Medal goes to Tobias from Fort Myers!
As we all know, finding a JUNONIA is what we all strive for here in Sanibel and Captiva, but to find such a tiny perfect specimen is very rare… not to even mention how stinkin adorable it is. He found this trophy shell at Blind Pass Captiva near the bridge right where McKenzie found hers last week. Congratulations, Tobias!
So speaking of rare finds, Donnie found another killer shell along with his bronze medal winning seashells this weekend. It’s a little beat up but it really looks like a juvenile QUEEN HELMET!
You can find QUEEN HELMETS in the Caribbean, the Keys and on the east coast of Florida but they are not native to our area so this is a really rare find too. It’s amazing this made it here mostly in one piece with just some bumps and bruises.
Okay, I already gave you a “medal” Donnie, so you’ll just have to add this shell to your other winners. hahaha Which here is a photo of the HELMET with his other awesome finds. He found part of a JUNONIA!
Local sheller Michelle (with Eric) found a piece of JUNONIA too this weekend.
Evan found a SAND DOLLAR and a JUNONIA piece too! Wow! They all found the JUNONIAS at low tide in the same place Tobias found his- Blind Pass.
Jeannie from Tampa found some great shells too…
She found this nice WORM SHELL (Woohoo! WORMIE!), some pretty CALICO SCALLOPS and a bright orange CHESTNUT TURBAN (I wish I had gotten a better picture of that- i love those shells!).
On the Sanibel side of Blind Pass I met the nicest family from Michigan plucking seashells right out of the surf. Meet Gail, Larry, Laura, Kevin and in the front row- Ella, Theo and Emma.
They had just gotten to the beach but they all already found some faces…
Congrats again to Tobias! Thanks for tweeting this photo!
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