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Collecting seashells on the beaches of Sanibel, Captiva and the world

Finding a Sanibel Seahorse

Posted by on Aug 20, 2012 in REd Mangrove Seed Pod, Sargassum, Seahorses | 58 comments

seahorse head

I found a SEAHORSE on Bowman’s Beach!

Golden Sanibel Seahorse aqua

I have only found one other SEAHORSE in all the years I have been shelling so this is a real treasure for me. After I washed some of  the sand off of him, I could see that his back fin had been broken off so that’s why the little guy didn’t make it. Poor little sweetie.

seahorse in hand

SEAHORSES anchor themselves by their tail on sea grasses so maybe this guy couldn’t help but get pushed around with the tide on one of the pieces of SARGASSUM after his fin got damaged. Last night the beach was littered with SARGASSUM which looks like a SEAWEED with little berries on it. This is NOT the same as the HYDROID that I talked about on my last post. This will not sting you thank goodness.

sargassum bowmans beach

I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more shell piles instead of all this BEACH BLING but I just kept looking around the SARGASSUM and oodles of RED MANGROVE SEED PODS sprinkled along the beach.

red mangrove seed pods

That’s when I saw it!

sandy salty seahorse

I even got video of my find! Now you will see how much BEACH BLING I had to “weed” through to find this awesome treasure. Enjoy!

PS- That first photo looks like the SEAHORSE painting I did to make my Sea Life notecards.

Seahorse note card



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Lego My Beach Bling

Posted by on Feb 8, 2012 in Coin Vine Seed, Sanibel, White Mangrove seed | 24 comments

Lego beach drift

I always pick up plastic toys and occasional litter that washes up on our beaches to help keep the beaches clean and safe. Fortunately, we have very clean beaches with minimal litter but some times junk happens. That’s why when I picked up this little LEGO toy, I put it in my shell bag to throw away when I got home. Along my walk, I also saw a few of these little seeds on the beach…

Coin Vine Seed

 I got curious about what plant produces this seed so when I got home I looked in “The Little Book of Sea-Beans and other Beach Treasures” to make sure I had the identification correct for my Beach Bling  page. It turns out it’s a COIN VINE SEED. And this is a WHITE MANGROVE SEED…..

White Mangrove seed sprout

While I was thumbing through the book, I found a story about lost LEGO toys.  How ironic! In 1997, cargo ship Tokio Express lost close to five million LEGO pieces in the Atlantic ocean. I found this LEGO piece and it just so happens, the same day I ran across a story about lost LEGOs that have been found all along coastal shores. Again…How ironic!  So I spent hours surfing the web to find my LEGO identification in hopes that it would be part of the lost cargo. Nahhhh. Some little kid must have lost this new LEGO guy on the beach in Sanibel recently because this toy was made in 2011. Oh well, at least there is one less piece of litter on the beach. I decided to keep this cute LEGO toy to start to my own kicks and giggles jar like Dick and Mary have.

Lego found on the beach

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As The Sanibel Sky Terns

Posted by on Sep 27, 2011 in Black Mangrove seed, Blue Crab, Mangrove seed pod, Parchment Worms, Sandwich Tern | 15 comments

The sky Terns Black

The Sanibel sky turned black with rain clouds and turned white SANDWICH TERNS soaring by. The sky was such a beautiful back drop for them.

Terns in the black sky Sanibel

There were ROYAL TERNS and LAUGHING GULLS joining in on the fun too.

Sanibel lighthouse with birds

We didn’t stay on the beach long since that sky looked a little frightful and we weren’t seeing loads of shells other than this cute little LACE MUREX (or lacie), a few WENTLETRAPS and minis.

Lace Murex on Sanibel beach

Up high on the beach was a wide wrack line of what I call “beach bling”. Yes, I made up the phrase! Here’s my definition…. Beach Bling: noun– (beech-bling) 1. anything that washes up on the beach other than seashells. 2. Collectable and/or noncollectable debris washed up on any shore.

Sanibel Beach Bling

Doesn’t “Beach Bling” even make PARCHMENT WORMS sound better?

Parchment worms

More Beach Bling in the wrack line like BLACK MANGROVE SEEDS which are the little split green lima bean looking things in this next photo…

Black Mangrove seeds

…and the RED MANGROVE SEED PODS mixed in…

Parchment worms, red mangrove seed pods, mangrove seeds

This baby BLUE CRAB shell would fall into this category too…

young yellow blue crab

 But still the best thing to watch was the beautiful birds soaring and swirling in the stormy sky. They definitely stole the show

Sanibel stormy sky with gulls

sandwich terns Sanibel lighthouse


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Tips For Decorating Your Yard With Seashells

Posted by on Sep 20, 2011 in Conch, Decorate with shells, Mangrove seed pod, seashell decor, Whelk | 33 comments

Seashells in planter dmm

Decorating your yard with seashells is just as much fun as decorating the inside of your home with shells. I showed you how our friends Dick and Mary decorated the inside of their house (Tips To Decorate Your Home With Seashells) but now, hold on to your boot straps because the outside of their home is just as fabulous.

Urn with seashells dmm

They pick up all of those big beautifully broken WHELKS and CONCHS to fill their outdoor urns and pots to decorate their poolside patio. They look maaaw-vilous! That’s exactly why we pick them up too and call them our “yard shells”.

poolside seashell vessels

You don’t have to always put plants into your “planters”. You don’t have to water shells! Well, except if you want to make a vase out of a HORSE CONCH.

seashell flower vase

And you don’t always have to put tools in the toolbox. Put seashells here too.

seashell tool box dmm

Okay, are you ready to see the “seashell garden”? It is a 22 feet long area filled with shells they found on Sanibel. I can’t even imagine how many WHELKS, CONCHS, OLIVES…. oh you name it, it’s in there.

row of seashells dmm

seashells by pool dmm

Here’s a view looking straight down and I’d say this was a typical view of the different shells. Unbelievable, right?

seashells in the yard

They dry the shells after they wash them outside in a somewhat shaded area. This was a new batch they found.

seashells drying

In the last month, we have had an unusual amount of MANGROVE SEED PODS wash up on the beach. Mary decided to bring a few home to see if they would root. Three weeks later, they are sprouting.

Mangrove seed pods sprouting

 Now let’s move into the garage where they store and organize all of the other shells and beach bling they find before it gets placed in the yard or house. Only in my dreams, could I be this organized. And before you ask… Yes, this fine cabinet is in their garage.

seashell cabinet

Their sand is even organized.

organized beach sand

 They both were laughing and couldn’t wait to show me this jar of beach combing oddities. Yep, they found a kid’s retainer in the surf and picked up to add to their collection of oddities. LOL

beach combing oddities

 I hope you enjoyed the visit with Dick and Mary as much as I did and hopefully you got a few more ideas of what to do with your shells you find. In case you missed Part One showing the inside of their house… CLICK HERE

horse conch on table dmm




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This Weekend Rocked

Posted by on Sep 12, 2011 in Alternate Tellin, Angel Wing, Baby's Ear, False Angel Wing, Mangrove seed pod, Purplish Tagelus, Sanibel, Tellin, Worm Rock | 24 comments

diane in surf

My friend Diane joined Clark and me on the beach off West Gulf Drive yesterday for a lovely afternoon of shell seeking. We wanted to find a big WHELK like last week but she was just as happy with a candy HORSIE CONCH.

Diane with beach candy

She was even happier to find 9 BABY’S EARS…

babys ears on pen shell

Then to top it all off she framed her Sanibel Six in a very creative MANGROVE SEED POD picture frame.

sanibel 6 mangrove seed

I met another blog buddy Candice from St Pete! She saw Clark with his shelling backhoe and asked him “Are you Clark?” LOL

Candice iLS sanibel

She said she wasn’t finding much, so I walked with her just for a few minutes and we found a few goodies… 3 ALTERNATE TELLINS, a PURPLISH TAGELUS, COQUINA, FALSE ANGEL WING, 2 CONCHS, a LACE MUREX, a TURBAN and a beautiful BABY’S EAR.

candice shells

All of Candice’s shells were found on the high and dry wrack line on the far right of this next picture. On the sand bars, there were hundreds of FIGHTING CONCHS  and a few bigger shells…

shells at low tide

Aha! That’s where the big WHELK was that we were looking for. Jennifer (Sanibel) had already found that prize AND three ALPHIES!

Jennifer's shells

Nice finds, Jennifer!

Jennifer Sanibel cones whelk

Clark didn’t find another big WHELK but he did find a huuu-jahh piece of WORM ROCK. He knows this is another fave of mine. It doesn’t look like anything fabulous in this photo but trust me, it’s cool. This is a rock formed by a colony of VARIABLE WORM SNAILS (not exactly the same thing as my “wormie shells” we find) and it’s not every day for us to find it this big.

worm rock

Look at it close up…

worm rock copy

Rock on and have a happy Monday!

sand dollar in tidal pool



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I Heart Sanibel and Captiva

Posted by on Sep 9, 2011 in Angel Wing, Beach Hearts, Horse Conch, Mangrove seed pod, Purple Sea Urchin, Sanibel, Urchin | 13 comments

i heart sanibel

Don’t you just love to come across something written in the sand with shells? Me too! Especially when it’s something like this…so sweet with that little heart. We found this beach art at Blind Pass last night along with lots of goodies to remind me why I heart Sanibel too….. and Captiva.

lots of shells in surf bp

The waves were still really choppy in the Gulf so Clark and I checked out Blind Pass yesterday late afternoon and started on the Captiva side to look for shells by the jetty. Not many shells were on the beach yet but this perfect ANGEL WING was just laying on the beach exactly like this…

Angel wing while beachcombing

We took that as a good sign so we brought out the big guns and started scooping with the larger shelling backhoes in the surf. Oh yaya! We started finding oodles of OLIVES and juvie FIGHTING CONCHS. This was in one of the first piles of scooped shells…

Scooped shells

The MANGROVE  SEED PODS were coming in along with the shells…

Mangrove seed pods in beach wash

One little SEA URCHIN…

Sea Urchin in shell crush

A Horsie! (I just noticed I have a habit of putting an “ie” on the things I think are really cute. LOL It’s like when you talk about your kitties or puppies- you get “that” voice and everything is so cute ;))

horse conch rough surf

Just like these two “cutie” sisters Jessica and Allysa from Sarasota who were having a great time filling up their shell bags. They both knew most of the names of their shells- such smart girls!

Jessica Alyssa finding shells bp

We walked back over to the Sanibel side and guess who we found! Local sheller Donnie (no really, his name already had the “ie” on it, I didn’t give him that pet name- LOL) who I mentioned in my post The Elite Threewhen his daughter found a JUNONIA and a SCOTCH BONNET in the same week.

Donnie Sanibel beach

 He gives most of his shell finds away but he did have a few keepers in his shell bag. Oh, and check out his fancy shelling shoes… they have toes!

donnie shells water shoes

 While we were on the Captiva side I took a video of Clark doing sort of a How-To on using the shelling backhoe but it is taking sooooo long to download. I’ll try to post it tomorrow. Until then, have a great weekend!

UPDATE: September 10, 2011- You can see the video of this day by clicking HERE.

seashells in waves Blind Pass Captiva



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