It still amazes me how many variations of beautiful shells can be found on Sanibel during a morning walk on the beach during low tide.
Laura drove to Sanibel’s Gulfside City Park beach from her home in Fort Myers Beach to collect a few shells this weekend. She may not have filled up her shell bag but the treasures she found were well worth the trip… especially the fabulous FLAT SCALLOP, MUREXES and gorgeous LETTERED OLIVES she showed me (in the first photo).
Her husband Shannon found lots of those same shells in the high tide wrack line.
And he found oodles of CONCHS, DRILLS and TURKEY WINGS too to fill up his bag.
Our weather this weekend has been absolutely perfect with high 60s in the mornings and low 80s in the day. Love it!
Stacy (Pompano, FL) was having lots of luck shelling the tidal pools where she was happy finding all sorts of shell loot.
She found those glossy colorful OLIVES as well but she loves the minis too so my fave shell of hers was the tiniest and cutest little TOP SHELL (furthest to the left in her hand- cutie!).
I saw Barbara from NJ again but this time she showed me one heck of a beautiful shell she found… a GOLDEN OLIVE!
It was a dark mustard color – almost orange – and sooo beautiful but…. it was still alive. Most of the shells at the shore line were alive but I found most of the empty shells in the high wrack line or in the higher tidal pools. Barbara showed her GOLDEN OIVE to us long enough for me to get a photo, then she returned it to the sea. Breed, GOLDEN OLIVE, breed! LOL
It’s always nice to go on vacation like we did last week but living on Sanibel is sooooo nice to come home to. We are happiest living by the water’s edge on Sanibel just like most of the shells we saw at low tide this weekend… happy, healthy and very much alive.
Join me for a Shelling Adventure! Next one is tomorrow Oct 27, 2014 at 9am with Captiva Cruises. For more info CLICK HERE.
Oh and PS- I have something very special coming up this week… We are shellebrating iLoveShelling 5 years Shellaversary so Stay tuned!
There are many different approaches to finding shells on Sanibel. Shellers like Clark love to walk the water’s edge to scoop up shells with a shelling backhoe… I love to explore all of the wrack lines on the beach by walking in a zig zag formation. Some shellers snorkel for their shells. Some shellers love to find a pile of shells on the surface of the dry beach then sit and sift. Eldon from Indiana likes to find an area with shells half buried in the wet sand then start digging a hole.
As I walked up to Eldon at Sanibel Lighthouse Beach with a smile on my face watching his clever work, he reached in that hole and pulled out this gem of a shell… a perfect bright red TRUE TULIP.
And that wasn’t his only treasure that was unearthed from that hole… WHELKS, CONCHS, OLIVES, NUTMEGS, MUREXES and so much more…
Of course as always at low tide, I saw live MOLLUSKS as well. Live LETTERED OLIVES were making their tracks throughout the damp sand (check out olives spelling out letters on my post Olive i Love Shelling) making fun curly Qs and letters of the alphabet…… OMG! Oh Wait! Holy Cowrie! That’s a GOLDEN OLIVE! a L-I-V-E GOLDEN OLIVE!
Oh. How. Beautiful. As much as I wanted to pick this fella up and examine the whole shell, I left him exactly like this so I wouldn’t disturb his mission. Since GOLDEN OLIVES are just a color form of the LETTERED OLIVE, I’m really not sure if they will pass on the color form in the breeding process or not. Hmmm. Not sure if the color is in the DNA or from the eating habit or environmental factors. I didn’t have time to research it but in any case, I didn’t want to change anything in his environment by picking him up… if there is even a slight chance that this color can be passed on in breeding, I didn’t want to be responsible for upsetting him in any way. I know my theory is probably silly (MOLLUSKS get displaced all of the time- its nature!) but I sure felt better about watching and not touching.
I finally got my video downloaded from my day at Gulfside City Park on November 3! I just said how much I love to explore the wrack lines in “Z” formation, but I’m fickle about shelling… I always change it up and I also loooove to shell in the tidal pools at low tide. So I invite you to virtually take a walk with me by watching this video of my low tide shell collecting day at sunrise…
Tropical Storm Andrea gave Southwest Florida pounding rain all day yesterday (and a little the day before) but didn’t seem to do much damage (if any … that I heard). It looks like we will have another round of heavy rain and wind today but before another storm band comes through again, I’ll try to take a peak at a couple of beaches to see if the site of shell piles rolling up on the shores look promising. If I hear thunder? We’ll have to wait it out and check the beaches when it settles again. Until then, I’ll show you what I found Tuesday evening at low tide on Fort Myers Beach just before the storm hit.
Yep, I said Fort Myers Beach! I had to be there Tuesday afternoon to meet somebody so I snuck out to the south end of the beach to see if there were shells. Oh my! I’d say YES!
As soon as I stepped on the beach, Linda from New Jersey was thrilled to show me all of her shells and SAND DOLLARS. I was amazed to see so many SAND DOLLARS!
Then I walked further down the beach to see Wesley from Kentucky holding up this huge LIGHTNING WHELK. Wow!
He had just met Ace (also from Kentucky) and his his wife (she’s camera shy) as they became fast friends finding out they had so much in common. Both being shellers from Kentucky was just a start!
Can you believe how many SAND DOLLARS Ace had in this bag? They were everywhere!
Look how happy this next family is! They all came from West Virginia to be together for a family reunion on Fort Myers Beach. That’s my kind of family reunion- shorts and tee shirts wading around in the water at the beach finding treasures together. Let me introduce you to this awesome family. From left to right… Jackie, Matt, Nancy, Charlie, Mike, Marc, Mollie, Lydia, Savannah and Michelle.
They combined all their loot then they will share it all later. What a wonderful idea.
Although… I didnt share the ALPHABET CONE I found. Oops! LOL
Nobody could have pried this next gem out of my hand either. I found a GOLDEN OLIVE! Boom Shellalaka! I still cant believe it. The lip is just a little bit ragged but the color- Oh, the color is spectacsheller.
I also found a MINOR JACKKNIFE on this beach. We’ve found these before but I dont think I’ve ever found one on Sanibel. Interesting, right?
And of course I found a few SAND DOLLARS too.
I saw lots of live MILLEPEDE STARFISH scooting along in the tidal pools….
And a beautiful dried BRITTLE STAR was mixed in with shell crumbles. I didn’t have a safe place to put it to get it home in one piece, so I left him on the beach.
It was funny to me that I didn’t find lots of the same shells. Yes, there were plenty of SAND DOLLARS… but it’s like I found one cool shell after another. Just one of a kind. Like this one ANGEL WING.
Can you identify this next half buried shell? Would you have seen it? I know who else would have seen it… Cheri B! LOL Remember? She picked up the SPINY JEWELBOX I missed in a video finding an ALPHABET CONE. Crazy!
As much as I hate to admit it, this is first time I’ve ever shelled on the south end of Fort Myers Beach near the “lagoons”… but it wont be my last! I had a blast!
But what I really can’t wait for is…. to see what Tropical Storm Andrea left on our beaches! She came in with strong SSW winds from the Gulf Of Mexico to blow through Southwest Florida so I’m sure most every beach on the island will have some good shells by sometime this weekend. When? Where? What? It’s hard to pinpoint because all storms are so different. But… since Andrea came in from the southwest, Lighthouse Beach would be a logical start. Although I’m excited to scout every beach, my experience with past storms tells me the waves will still be too rough for the shells to pile up on the beach just yet. But this is what’s fun… following the clues. I’m going to follow clues of areas collecting PEN SHELLS or other sea debris or BEACH BLING to narrow down the search for shells for this fabulous treasure hunt Andrea has given us. I’ll keep you posted!
PS- I’m just gonna go ahead and keep reminding everybody until the 15th … Enter To Win a Shelling Vacation on Sanibel! CLICK HERE!
There’s nothing better than boating to a beautiful island to “hang” out on the beach with aqua waters and seashells surrounding the shores. You can even bring your own hammock to hang out in if you get tired of finding seashells. Ha!
That’s why 48 of us gathered together on the dock of McCarthy’s Marina to catch the iLoveShelling Captiva Cruise to Cayo Costa yesterday.
Before we boarded the boat, I got to hang out with Shelling Sistahs Duska and Natalia. I love bonding with the shelling family!
Then as we boarded the boat , the show began with MANATEES swimming around us…
And more bonding with Shelling Sistah Lisa! Lisa Feds (There are quite a few Lisas so I’m gonna call her Lisa Feds) has been commenting on my blog for over 2 years so I feel like we know each other so I had to take a long-arm-photo of both of us together. It’s so nice to put a face with a name, right?
After a gorgeous 1/2 hour boat ride, we landed on the island of Cayo Costa…
It is so picturesque!
Then we got to shelling…
Super Sheller Clark was giving tips on how to shell in the water with his shelling “backhoe” when rumor spread quickly that he found something cool…
He pulled a live ALBINO FIGHTING CONCH out of the water…
First of all, it is rare to find an ALBINO FIGHTING CONCH so it was so cool to be able show the shell to so many people who had never seen one before. But then to be able to show one that is still alive is pretty cool because you realize that there is no mistaking that it is an albino and not just white because of being beach worn.
You can see the only color that is on this shell is the PERIOSTRACUM which is the brownish skin on the bottom and top. After showing this gorgeous ALBINO to everyone, Clark walked this live mollusk out in the water to keep living a happy healthy but colorless life.
I was tickled to see Debbie from Fort Myers Beach again. She was on the first iLoveShelling cruise in January then came back for the April iLS cruise (when she found a huge 14 inch empty LIGHTNING WHELK) and she came back again on this one! I’m gonna miss you Debbie if you don’t show up on the next iLS cruise in June! Here she is with Capt Brian and her best finds…
She’s got the eye for the BABY’S EARS. It just goes to show you that every day is different on each beach. I can usually spot those BABY’S EARS every time I visit Cayo Costa but didn’t find one this trip… and look at the huge one she found along with the FALSE
ANGLE ANGEL WING.
This was the only TUSK SHELL that I saw but it was a big one…
Super Sheller Clark struck again! This is why Karen gave him his “super sheller” name years ago… not only did he find an ALBINO shell, he found rare GOLDEN OLIVE.
A GOLDEN OLIVE is a LETTERED OLIVE with a yellow (citrine) color… and this one is huuuuge!
I have to introduce my favorite sheller of the day. This is Kaylie from Minnesota and she found a whole bag full of seashell goodies to take home and treasure forever. Thank you so much Kaylie for joining us on this shelling adventure to Cayo Costa!
After a fun afternoon on the beach, the adventure continued on the boat as we shared our finds… literally. I saw Terenia, Denise and Laura (who came down from Tampa for the day) with some nice SAND DOLLARS and SUNRAY VENUSES.
Then they told me they didnt actually find them… “a guy out in the water was finding them and gave them all to us”. That is so nice! I had to find out who it was. It turned out to be Ken Figa. I have “met” Ken before online because he has a facebook page called Sea Shell Collecting so we have a lot in common. He said he didn’t find anything unusual so he didn’t need to bring any more SUNRAY VENUS or SAND DOLLARS home with him so he gave them all away. See? That’s why I call this a shelling family. It’s such an amazingly nice community.
Warren from Utah found some treasures to fill his shelling tote to take back to his wife Tami who couldnt make it on the cruise with us since she injured her knee a few days ago. So sorry we missed you Tami! I hope I get to meet you when you are better!
On the boat ride to Cayo Costa, Greg had mentioned that he wanted to find a CONE. He was a man with a mission because he did find one.
Here are Pam, Sarah and Greg’s fave finds and a little BEACH BLING too. Greg’s cone doesnt seem to look too good in this photo but in real life, I swear it looked so much better!
Shelling sistahs Lynn (she’s got on an iLoveShelling cap!) and Kelly found some favorite things too.
Lynn was very happy to have found her first SEA BEAN and when I talked with Kelly, she was just thrilled with everything she found but mostly that Lynn fought her fear of boats by going on this shelling cruise. If I heard Kelly correctly, I think this was Lynn’s very first boat ride. I am so proud of you Lynn and I am so honored that you chose this cruise to be your first with such a gorgeous day with perfectly calm waters. Now that you’ve taken your maiden voyage, I hope it wont be your last.
After we got back to McCarthy’s Marina where Captiva Cruises‘ docks, we had our own little Shell and Tell where some of us did some more hanging out and showing our favorite shells or BLING. Andrea had some fun finds!
She showed a SAND DOLLAR, SUNRAY VENUS, a double FALSE ANGEL WING and she said she ha found the other shells before (CERITHS and FIGHTING CONCHS) but she thought that the SLIPPER SHELL was different because it wasn’t smooth on top. She found a SPINY SLIPPER SHELL. I need to do a whole post on SLIPPER SHELLS because as some may be common, there are 6 different SLIPPERS in SW FLorida. I’m glad she pointed out that this one was different.
Lisa Fed found WORMIES! And she wanted to add the CRAB CLAWS to add a little BLING to her faves too. Love it!
Here are Debbies faves along with that big ole BABY’S EAR I showed you at the beginning of the post. Funny thing is, I have seen those little round pine-cone-ish looking balls on the left side of the next photo but I have no idea what they are from. She added those and the SEA PEARL for her BLING but we’d love to know what they are. Anybody? UPDATE: Thank you all for helping me identify this pine cone bling! They are “CONES’ from the AUSTRALIAN PINE TREES. Thank you as well Eric Milbrandt of Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation for giving me the link to “Genus Casuarina“.
Okay and one more….
I had to take one more photo of Clark’s GOLDEN OLIVE today so you could see it a little better… well, and because I just wanted to look at it again and hold the dang thing :) Wow! It’s a beauty!
You can join in on the fun and you can hang out with a boatload of other shellers on the next iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa June 19, 2013 (Wednesday) – 1pm to 4pm by calling 239-472-5300 to make your reservation. This cruise was sold out (weehoo!) so don’t miss the boat… and if you do miss the next one, don’t worry, CLICK HERE to find more dates.
On a serious note… As Clark and I and the whole shelling family are thinking of those in Oklahoma and Texas effected by the violent storms and terrible tornados, I found some good info to share on how to help through the Red Cross HERE.
A juvenile QUEEN CONCH is a very rare find on Sanibel…. and “our ” Tammy found one!!! If you’ve ever read the comments on any of my posts, her name is “Tam Tam From Michigan” and I finally got to meet her (in real life person!) this weekend on Sanibel and this was the first thing she showed me.
A juvenile QUEEN CONCH! You can find them in the Bahamas and The Florida Keys but it’s not often I hear of anybody finding one here. I’m so happy for her!
Like Donnie, she might be a little shell crazy too. She looooves shells so much, she even named her daughter Shell. This is Shell sittin ‘n siftin on a big pile off West Gulf Drive near Shalimar. Or maybe I should say… this is Shell shelling….
She told me that “Tammy” means “Palm Tree” in another language then showed me her new tattoo…
So of course since her daughter’s name is Shell and her name means Palm Tree…so she looves Sanibel and so do her girlfriends! They all love shelling Sanibel. This is Claudette (FL), Shell, Barb (VA),Tam Tam, Karen, Tracy (FL). You’ve met Claudette and Karen here before CLICK HERE and Karen happens to be Tam Tam’s cousin. The world is getting smaller, isn’t it? How cute are they with their i Love Shelling tee!!!
And the shelling sistahs can phoon too…. LOL…
Here are some of the other fabulous treasures Tam Tam found…
And even more…
Check this out… it’s an imprint (fossil, it apprears) of seashells formed in some sort of rock (Clark thinks it is limestone).
The cousins were having great luck! Karen found this GOLDEN OLIVE…
She and Claudette were finding lots of BITTERSWEETS on the beach too. I have found a few lately and I always feel like I’ve found quite a treasure when I see them. They are just so colorful!
Congrats again Tam Tam! Your QUEEN CONCH is quite the catch and I feel so lucky too to finally get to meet you and Shell. Oh and I want to share a poem again that Tammy (Tam Tam) wrote. I posted My Sweet Sanibel on May 12, 2010. CLICK HERE to enjoy!
When Joanne showed me her CABRIT’S MUREX last weekend, she told me she also had found a GOLDEN OLIVE almost the color of a pumpkin. It is! It’s brilliant! Look at the color on this gem.
Her GOLDEN OLIVE is quite a prize but when she told me she had found a golden LEAFY JEWEL BOX with both sides together as well….. that’s when I got excited. I just had to see it.
Now you might not think this is really pretty right away, but look at the colors and texture on this shell.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen both sides still together of a LEAFY on the beach before.
I have collected single valves for my own stash but never have shown one to you because it never looked interesting enough or it didn’t photograph well….okay, actually…. I thought you might think I was crazy for picking up what look like a beat up shell. But now you can see for yourself how cool they are. Don’t you think? …. Errrr…..Maybe?
These yellow and orange ROUGH SCALLOPS are fabulous too. That top yellow SCALLOP looks a little different so even if it has a few holes in the middle, that is a fabulous find. Joanne really is the golden girl!
This OLIVE pales against all of these other shells but that’s what makes it special in my book. It looks to be an albino LETTERED OLIVE.
It’s definitely not beach worn with that glossy shine to it so to me, this is a great find too.
Thanks so much, Golden Girl Joanne, for sharing your golden treasures with us.