The only thing cloudy about our Captiva Cruises iLoveShelling trip to Cayo Costa were the live CLOUDY PERIWINKLES hiding in clusters on the tree roots at the south tip of the island.
It’s been such a month on the islands of spotting great wildlife. Everywhere I look, I am still seeing wonderful signs of healthy life… like these STRIPED FALSE LIMPETS and BARNACLES on those same tree roots with the PERIWINKLES.
Melissa, Juliana, Becky and Garrett from Colorado walked around those tree roots to find some nice empty shells as well.
They found a bag full of double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…
Sisters Teresa and Elaine from Pensacola, FL found some keepers on the Gulf side of the island.
Elaine collected oodles of different color JINGLES to use for a picture frame craft project.
D.J. from Avon Park, Florida found empty LETTERED OLIVES and an ANGEL WING wading knee high in the water.
Oh but wait… How could I forget? I have to tell you about the boat ride over to the island. We had a pod of DOLPHINS come over to say “Hi” to everybody on our boat.
When they swam closer to the boat, we could see there were 3 mother DOLPHINS… each with babies! If you look closely at this next photo, you can see the baby hugging up to the mother. So cute!
And the DOLPHINS weren’t the only wildlife coming up to say “Hi” to us… meet Casper The Friendly GHOST CRAB.
I have never seen a GHOST CRAB act so friendly! Seriously, “Casper” was not at all afraid of us and actually followed us on the beach. See? He got right in-between Sandy’s feet and hung out there for a few minutes.
He even ran into a shelling net like he wanted to play. hahaha What a character!
Even though the wildlife was exceptional, it was a wonderful day to meet exceptional people like Vicki and Bill from Arizona.
… And Melinda, Katelyn and Justin from Indiana. I especially loved meeting Katelyn since she knew all of the names of her shells but also loved all the wildlife she saw. Casper The Friendly GHOST CRAB didn’t want there to leave.
… And it was exceptional to see Marie’s beautiful family- Emily, Madison, Steve, Sandy and Ryan from Ohio. But… they were missing one Morgan, they all wanted me to tell you…. you’re next!
… And to see Bill, Michelle, Alyson and Anthony from Illinois.
I had met Michelle at Blind Pass Captiva last week when I stopped at the beach to see what the conditions were on the Captiva side by the jetty rocks. As I dug through the “picked over” shell pile, we got to talking and she told me she hadn’t found too many keeper shells but was just happy to be on the island enjoying everything else about the beach. That’s when I uncovered a beautiful FLAT SCALLOP with a tiny hole in the top. I handed it to Michelle and told her it was meant for her. I was soooo touched to see that she was on the cruise with her family AND that she made that FLAT SCALLOP into a gorgeous necklace with a little SEAHORSE charm. OMG I love that she made it into a special treasure to remember a special day we happened to meet. Shellers rock!
Lindsay had told me about an awesome HORSE CONCH she had found on Sanibel last week so when we got back to the dock at McCarthy’s Marina, she showed it to us. Wow! Lindsay, I’m so happy you showed it to us. That IS awesome and will clean up beautifully with a little elbow grease.
Even though the beach wasn’t piled up with mounds of shells this time, we were treated to a DOLPHIN show with babies, lots of friendly wildlife and most of all – a perfect day in paradise with a boat ride on calm waters full of happy people meeting an amazing community of likeminded shellers.
You won’t want to miss the upcoming shelling cruises! Check out the new dates CLICK HERE
Looking at this top picture you will see most of the shells I found last evening at Fort Myers’ Bunche Beach. Can you identify most of them? While you try to figure out each of the shells… Wanna go on a little CYBER SHELLING hunt for shells with me? All righty then let’s play a little “I Spy”! Don’t mind the “dirty” bling (a mix of peat and other good stuff that gives food to so many living organisms)… just look for some of those sweet little minis that we all love by clicking on the next image to enlarge…
This will give you an idea of how “big” those little gems are by looking at my handful of sweet somethings…
As much fun as it was collecting minis, I was tickled pink when Clark showed me his fave find… A ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHER.
We didn’t see any ROSEATE SPOONBILL birds but we did see immature WHITE IBIS birds. Ibis juveniles are mostly brown but these guys have started molting out of their plumage becoming adults.
Here are four immature WHITE IBISES hanging out with a SNOWY EGRET and a BLUE HERON.
It was a bird lovers paradise last night. I even saw the dance of the REDDISH EGRET…
Before it got dark, we stopped at Sanibel Lighthouse Beach just in time to catch a beautiful RAINBOW…
Samuel, Sheila, Gene, Freida (Cape Coral, FL) and their family in the photo above must have hit the pot of gold under the rainbow. They found all of these in the water…
I found another pot of gold under the rainbow when I met Bill, Jody, Brooke, Brandon, Laura Beth and Gramma Kaye. A golden family of shellers from Alabama.
Okay, did y’all identify most of the shells in the top picture? Errrr….I have to confess, once I got going on my own I.D.s (and put my reader glasses on), I realized that some of these shells weren’t as obvious as I thought. There were a few that I had to look up… like the PAPER BUBBLE and TURRET. I failed my own test! hahaha I hope you do better than I did! I know the photo doesn’t show both sides of the shell, but if you know what #8 is by looking at this photo or you have a better idea if I misidentified anything, please let me know. Whoops! How embarrassing! LOL (blush, blush)
Do you love shelling? Would you like to meet other shellers who love the beach and its treasures just as much as you do? Do you want to learn more about shelling in Sanibel and the out island islands? Join us for Shellabaloo 3!
When you are about to get on a boat to go to a secluded island for a morning of shelling with a bunch of people who all LOVE SHELLING as much Shelling Sistahs Marilyn and Diane from Chicago…
And avid shellers Jessica (cute aqua backpack!) and Ben from Texas… It’s gonna be a good day!
As soon as I saw Rhonda (next photo) I had to tell her how cute her necklace was. She told me she made it…. then gave it to me off her neck! OMG What? Thank you! But really, this is how sweet she is….She would have given it to the first person who had liked it that much…
You know how I know this? Because as we all were waiting to get on the boat, Rachael had commented on her necklace too and she gave Rachael this bracelet she made. She has a heart of gold!
Needless to say, our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa on Saturday was a success. It was a perfect day. Awesome people, clear skies, calm water, gorgeous weather, aqua water…. and shells!
As soon as we got off the boat on Cayo Costa, lots of people scattered to their favorite areas to look for shells. Some went straight to the water and some went straight to the shell piles on the beach.
Bill C. saw my photo above of the shellers above and said it reminded him of the painting “The Gleaners”. LOL It does! I just got a kick out of it so I had to share it with you too. I borrowed this image of Millet’s 1857 oil painting from Wikipedia to show the similarity…
Within the first 5 minutes on the beach, Michele found an awesome WORM SHELL with the tip intact.
I loooove to show people how to spot the BABY’S EARS and the mini shells while Clark shows the rest of the group he finds the OLIVES, CONCHS and the bigger shells. Here I am pointing out the treasures that hide in the beautiful fallen tree roots…
There were hundreds of live CLOUDY PERIWINKLES!
Sally from Sarasota was going for the minis…
She was ready with her tupperware container. She has a nice WORMIE and ANGEL WING too.
Okay one more thing… she found the biggest stinkin TUSK SHELL I’ve ever seen…
Look at all of these white shell bags filled with the bigger shells like OLIVES, SUNRAY VENUSES, WHELKS, CONCHS, WORM ROCK and CORAL!
These were all found by this adorable family that just moved to Sanibel… Berkely, Matt, Loulie and Landon.
These were their faves out of their shell bags…
I was thrilled at how many people wanted to share their favorite treasure with the group. So many of my faves too! BABY’S EARS, WORMIES, SAND DOLLARS, OLIVES, VENUS SUNRAYS and ANGEL WINGS
Okay, I have to confess. I get overwhelmed when I meet so many awesome people that love this stuff as much as I do. I just want to drink it all in …so I forget to get names and I forget to take pictures of everything. I want to enjoy the moment so I want to apologize to these amazing folks that let me photograph your hands (in the photo above) but I didnt get all of your names. I know Rachael and Johnnie but if any of yall want to comment… I’d love to add your names. Awwww. I feel so badly … but look how cute they are!
I almost just started calling everybody “Sue” and “Jim” (yall know who you are- heehee). Let me assure you, nobody was worried was I was calling them. I do know that we all had a fabulous morning exploring the beautiful island of Cayo Costa finding treasures and making new shelling friends. It is soooo much fun. Thanks to Captiva Cruises’ Captain Brian for the safe, smooth ride and Captain Yogi for the funny stories!
If you want to join me, Clark (Oops! see? I didn’t even get a picture of Clark working his shelling backhoe!), and a boatload of other shellers just like you… join us!
Hundreds of live FIGHTING CONCHS raised out of the sand at Lighthouse Beach yesterday to take a look around as the tide was going out.
I found one of the FIGHTING CONCHS hanging out in a tidal pool… but wait… I noticed something in the water beside it…
This FLORIDA FIGHTING CONCH was laying EGGS! The eggs are released in a gelatinous egg string then sand adheres to its thick jelly-like sheath.
I tried to get close enough to see how the eggs are released without disturbing this busy gal. If you look closely, you can see them shooting out! It’s that spout perpendicular to the eye. Go Momma! Raise some more shells!
I think this is a FIGHTING CONCH EGG STRING as well…. but why would she lay her eggs without being in the water? I followed the trail from the string to a healthy FIGHTING CONCH about a yard away. Hmmm. Maybe that jelly like sheath protects them when the tide recedes. I dunno, but I hope she raises healthy shells and I sure love to find new things like this!
Speaking of “raising shell”…. We met the Shell Raisers at Blind Pass Sanibel! These 2 brothers, Eric and Chris, have been shelling all their lives and they even witnessed a BANDED TULIP laying eggs in their live shell tank.
Chris found that huge WHELK but put it back in the water since was occupied by a monster HERMIT CRAB. They were vacationing on Sanibel with their family from the east coast of Florida . Here are Chris and Eric with (from left to right) their mom Cheryl, Sarah, Amelia and Ava.
Back at the Sanibel lighthouse, Linda (Pensacola, FL) was busy finding the mini shells…
She found a mega WENTLETRAP along with some other sweet minis…
Her best find was this gorgeous MANGROVE PERIWINKLE…
If you look closely you can see a beautiful purple lip…
Bobby (Houston TX) finally found what he was looking for…WENTLETRAPS!!
I was asked a question on I Love Shelling Facebook page by Diane F about a shell I.D. It was that ROSE WOLF SNAIL again! I told y’allI keep forgetting the name of that shell but now that I can remember the name, I completely forgot to put it on my SEASHELL IDENTIFICATION page. This shell keeps stumping me some how! Thanks Diane for asking about this shell and sending such a beautiful picture of it. I’m going to use photo for my I.D page- Thank you!
Okay, one more thing… I saw the dolphins playing near the pier last night and I just happened to video them racing along the shoreline in front of an unsuspecting family. This is no fancy video…just a little clip of our own little Sanibel Sea World…
Another Spring Break adventure! On Wednesday, Lori, Hayley, Culter and I went to the secluded island of Cayo Costa to relax and enjoy another gorgeous day on the islands.
I had problems getting out our own boat (Clark was busy at work so he couldn’t help) so we decided to take the easy route and hop on the Captiva Cruisesshelling boat Play Time for the afternoon trip.
Low and behold, guess who our captain was… my buddy Captain Brian Holaway! It was a nice surprise!
After securing the boat on the south tip of Cayo Costa, Capt Brian walked over to our shelling spot to join us for a few minutes and immediately picked up an ALBINO YELLOW PRICKLY COCKLE. Wow, can he spot those albinos! Remember he won a red ribbon for his ALBINO WHELK at the Sanibel Shell Show this year? Amazing!
I didn’t find an albino but I quickly found a handful of my own fave honeys.
BABY’S EARS and FALSE ANGEL WINGS (they look like cute little juvie ANGEL WINGS)…
Lots of beauteous JINGLES…
A couple of CLOUDY PERIWINKLES…
I also found a PURPLISH SEMELE (left) and a CANCELLATE SEMELE (right). I’m not sure why I don’t find more of these on Sanibel but I have better luck finding them on Cayo Costa, North Captiva and in Marco. hmmmm
I had thought at one time that this BRYOZOAN COLONY was a type of CORAL but as you can see side by side… it’s not a piece of CORAL like the branch on the right. I found both of these past the tree roots on the Gulf side of the beach. (click HERE for more info on Bryozoan Colony)
Okay, this one might not be your taste but I thought this SOUTHERN RIBBED MUSSEL was just so pretty for some reason. One day, when I get a fancy camera to show you the nice details up close and personal, I promise…I’ll be able to capture more of the beauty in some of these obscure seashells.
After combing, sunning and shelling this gorgeous beach, Hayley, Cutler and Lori (VA) headed back to the boat with me after one more climb on the BLACK MANGROVE tree roots.
On the boat ride back, I couldn’t help but see how excited Margie, Kristi and Mike (California) were about their seashell loot!
They found oodles of ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLES…
Quite a few humongus SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…
And a really big LEOPARD CRAB shell.
It was a perfect day on the water with calm aqua seas, warm temps in the 80s and DOLPHINS surrounding the boat.
And to top if off, it was great being with good friends and having lots of seashell souvenirs to bring home to remember the day.
The weather conditions and last night’s full moon caused an extreme high tide that washed up lots of live creatures on the beach. Unfortunately for them, an extreme low tide left them with no where to hide. Fortunately for Cory from Cape Coral (and me), he got to see a tiny live SAND DOLLAR with a few mature beauties as well as several live STARFISH at the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach then he put them back in the water.
I saw several live TRUE TULIPS hiding inside a STIFF PEN SHELL.
I did spot one empty bright orange TRUE TULIP hiding under one of those PEN SHELLS. A keeper! Yippee!
Jennifer found all of these WENTLETRAPS within an hour and a half…
Her daughter Caroline has the WENTLE-eye too …and the KING’S CROWN-eye and the BABY’S EAR-eye!
Guess who I met! …. Sanibelle! If you read a lot of my post comments, you might have read one of Sanibelle’s comments. She rocks! …well she “shells” …but you know what I mean. ;) It was a pleasure to me you, Sanibelle! This is miss cutie Sanibelle…
Since there were so many live creatures to ooooh and ahhhh at, it was hard to find many big empty shells besides PEN SHELLS. I talk about PEN SHELLS so often but I rarely ever show them so I found good example of both types that we find here. The one on the left is a STIFF PEN SHELL and the one on the right is a SAW-TOOTH PEN SHELL.
The most unusual shell I saw yesterday was a MANGROVE PERIWINKLEthat Clark found yesterday on the gulf side of Lighthouse Beach. We just don’t find many of them at that beach.
Since there are so many live shells on the beaches right now, I just want to make sure you know that you can’t take any live shells, SAND DOLLARS, STARFISH and such. You should gently put it back where you found it or in deeper waters. Lots of people don’t know how to tell if a sand dollar is alive or not. Here’s the deal… if a SAND DOLLAR is any where near the water and is brownish and looks a little “furry”, that means it is happy and healthy so we need to let it live a long time …..so it can breed! This is what live SAND DOLLARS look like. See that “fur”? Those are his feet AND how he breathes. Cool, huh?
This was the moon rise last night over Fort Myers Beach. I did not change or colorize this photo! It was really that big and colorful! I guess that’s why all the living creatures were stirring yesterday.
There should be more goodies washing in so for now…. Gone Shelling.