Archive for Gulf Side City Beach (Algier’s)
There are days in the summer when all I need is an evening walk on the beach to turn a hot, hectic day into a calm, relaxing oasis.
Especially if I have my best friend with me. Even if Clark (yes, he’s my husband too- heehee) and I walk separate ways on the beach to cover more ground, it’s always fun to see what the other one collects when we finally meet back up.
We both went for the minis at Gulfside City Park but I had to keep one large FIGHTING CONCH because of the fabulous rich color and Clark kept a “larger” one too- a GAUDY NATICA. I guess so! Is there anybody who can pass up a GAUDY NATICA if you see one? I think not.
We both found lots of sweet, itty bitty LETTERED OLIVE shells but most of the large adult LETTERED OLIVES were alive and scooting over all the other empty CLAM shells…
We both saw several large live LIGTHNING WHELKS as well. That’s what is so fascinating about shelling during low tide… you get to experience seeing beautiful living creatures in their natural habitat. I actually walked this guy into the Gulf Of Mexico just a bit just to get him covered with water again.
Clark said he was also busy saving several SEA HARES that washed up on the shore. Me too! This one looked like a gooey mess lying in some SEA WEED on the beach. I gently picked “him” up then submerged him into the calm water then let him go when he started coming to life. This is the same way Bryce and I saved a SEA HARE on the Sight Sea-R cruise last month but I didn’t get a photo, remember?
There is something mesmerizing about watching them swim.
Talk about calm, relaxing and mesmerizing…
Throughout the weekend we will have nice low tides in the evenings so if you want a retreat to the beach, I would suggest heading out to the closest SW Florida beach in the early evening (hopefully we can dodge the summer rain storms!) to talk a slow walk to experience this natural paradise at its best.
Join me on our next iLoveShelling adventure on Sight Sea-R Cruises Wednesday- July 16, 2014 to our newest shelling destination! Call 239-765-7272 or CLICK HERE and tell them you want to join the iLoveShelling cruise! UPDATE: July 16th is now SOLD OUT! Wow!
CLAMS, SCALLOPS and OYSTER shells. That’s what we’ve been seeing washed up on Sanibel beaches this week. Some experienced beachcombers might think this is a little boring since they have plenty of these bivalves and there weren’t many WHELKS and CONCHS to fill up their shell bag. But we always find interesting things and when Clark and I met Ilene, Dawn, Hudson and Ethan from St Petersburg, FL we saw they weren’t disappointed at this gorgeous evening either.
Ethan picked up an ARK SHELL with a hole in it and began telling me why certain shells drill holes in different areas of other shells. Oh wow- I just did a post on the different holes in shells last month so I wanted to know more. He told me that the further away the hole is from the hinge (what I call the “nose”), the predator mollusk is more stressed. If the predator drills near the hinge, he can get to all of the meat easily…but the shell is thicker there so it may take longer to drill. If the predator mollusk drilling the hole into the other mollusk is pretty desperate, he picks a spot that’s thinner and easier to drill but may not get much meat since the other mollusk might fight back or can slip away easier. A sign of a desperado. Thanks so much for such cool information, Ethan! BTW, Ethan teaches classes about Paleoceanography .
If I didn’t put you asleep on that explanation and you think this stuff is interesting too, here’s a photo of what I’m talking about. See the DOSINIA on the left with the perfect hole in the nose area and then look at the hole in the desperate CALICO CLAM with the hole in the middle of the shell. Why so desperate Mr. Murex? Okay, I’m not positive it’s a MUREX that made the hole but in my humble opinion, it sure looks like an OYSTER DRILL hole (part of the MUREX family). Take a look at my other post What Makes The Different Holes In Seashells?
Okay, lets get back to the beautiful shells… While we were all talking near Lighthouse Beach, Ilene showed me her pretty DOSINIA then I saw Hudson reach down and pick “candy” (juvie HORSE CONCH) right out of the shells at our toes. Clark then made a scoop in the water and pulled out a TRUE TULIP then gave it to them. Hmmmm, the shells looked like they were starting to come in but it was getting too dark to see.
Dawn just posted on iLoveShelling Facebook page this morning that they found all of these shells at Lighthouse Beach. Yes! The WHELKS and CONCHS are finally coming in… not that we were feeling desperate or anything. LOL
Thanks for posting, Dawn! Looks like we are going to be heading to Lighthouse Beach today to find some mermaid treasure but I’m really looking forward to our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa tomorrow with Captiva Cruises.
Join us and receive a $25 gift certificate for jewelry from Sealife By Congress. Call 239-472-5300 to reserve your spot for 9am.
With very warm days bringing heavy afternoon storms coming from the east, the downpours with lightning have put a damper on our favorite time to shell – summer evening shelling. Before dinner last night, Clark and I snuck out to Gulfside City Park for a few minutes to see if the swirling winds had brought many treasures. I always try to be thankful for whatever gift is put before me on the beach so I took a closer look at the most common shells on Sanibel. These shells are always on the beach but we overlook them most of the time since we get in the habit of only looking for our favorites. We are so very fortunate to always have so many different species of common shells so I started picking up the ones that were abundant. As I stopped to pick up some of the common shells, I was pleasantly surprised at how many varieties were right at my toes in the shallow water. There was something very therapeutic about picking them out. I thought I’d share the peace and calmness of the process so I started filming. That sweet little candy (yellow HORSE CONCH), OLIVE and CONCH were Clark’s additions to my “therapy” so I added them to my video as well. Enjoy!
Its the first day of summer!
I’ve been having a ball this week shellebrating summer with my girlfriends Laura (Orlando) and Julia from Chicago who are visiting the islands for another reason to shellebrate… It’s Julia’s birthday!
Of course we went to the beach to collect shells…
We weren’t picky about only collecting whole shells because we were inspired to pick up colorful, broken or smaller shells so we could make a Shell Sphere. Isn’t this so sweet? After making one of these styrofoam balls encrusted with hot-glued Sanibel shells collected from this vacation, it will be a memory for a lifetime.
We’ve had a glorious time on the beach catching up on our lives and taking in special moments that make our islands enchanting.
Be still my beating heart!! Seeing this awesome sight of a massive mound of shells sure does get the blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing.
Blind Pass Captiva was rocking yesterday afternoon with shells rolling in with every wave. I stood on top of the mound to see Barb from St Louis pick up a gorgeous orange FLAT SCALLOP.
Debbie from Cape Coral found her first part of a JUNONIA which is the perfect size to make into a necklace or other piece of jewelry.
I was thrilled to see that Sharon from Orlando found a very cool piece of bling…
Yesterday morning, I was at Gulfside City Park to find a wrack line of shells as far as I could see. Seeing a long string of shells like this along the shore gets my heart pumping too but once I start picking through them, it has a different effect on me… I relax and zone out everything else in the world. Love, love, love.
These are some of my gorgeous treasures…
On my last post when I showed you that crazy STARFISH eating the SEA URCHIN, I didn’t get a chance to show you some of the other cool things I found at Lighthouse Beach just after the storms came through.
I met Pam and Steve from Iowa as he was scooping up shells to bring to her to sort. It reminded me of that video of the Shellingmen Tribe I did last year. LOL
They were collecting DISK DOSINIAS, BANDED TULIPS and APPLE MUREXES.
They even found a perfect PURPLE SEA URCHIN.
I still have so many other cool things but they will have to wait but just so you know…. Most beaches along Southwest Florida today should till be very good shelling conditions. So if you are any where near a swfl beach, get going! Just try your luck at finding at least one sweet treasure.
Oh… and I added a button on the right side on this page about my camera. I constantly get asked what type of camera I use so I decided its time I just made a page about it. I’ve tried to get fancy and buy several really high end cameras with big zoom lenses but it never works out since I end up worrying about my camera instead of enjoying my time beach combing. So I stick with this one because I can capture a great photo or video while I am enjoying my time on the beach (FYI- its not waterproof though).
No, you silly goose, this shell doesn’t have a bikini on… it’s really called a HALF-NAKED PEN SHELL! I found this rare PEN SHELL (Atrina seminuda) at Gulfside City Park on Sanibel Island, Florida a few weeks ago just after high west winds so there were thousands of shells that washed up on the beach. Talk about being silly… remember my crazy post “On The Beach With Shell Eggs And Ham, Pam-I-Am“? Well that’s when I found this very rare PEN SHELL. When I say “very rare” I mean it’s very rare for Southwest Florida.
Okay wait….before you get bored with hearing about the not-so-attractive PEN SHELL, this is actually pretty dang cool, so go get some caffeine and stay with me, alright? And really, haven’t you seen tons of these shells if you’ve visited the west coast of Florida?
Last year when Shelling Sistah Susan H was here, she asked me if I had ever run into a third type of PEN SHELL (the HALF NAKED) and told me to look at a picture of it online CLICK HERE. I studied the differences between this one and the STIFF PEN SHELL and the SAW TOOTH PEN SHELL. Okay, I’ve got it in my brain… if it’s here, I’m gonna find it. I searched for an entire year to find this stinkin thing! But I found it! I think I was just as excited when I found my JUNONIA… not.
I don’t think you will ever be collecting oodles of PEN SHELLS, (I’m not sure I know anybody who actually “collects” them) but it was sure exciting to me to finally find the darn thing. The only way to really tell it apart from the other PENS is to look at the inside muscle scar of the MOLLUSK… in other words- where the meat attached to the shell.
There is a slight variance on the outside of each of these shells. From left to right… STIFF PEN SHELL, HALF-NAKED PEN SHELL and SAW TOOTH PEN SHELL. I’m not really sure if you’ll be able to see the difference from this photo, but look very closely at the right side of each of the shells. That’s the hinge.. and it is very straight on the first and third shell but slightly curved on the middle one. So now that you know that the HALF-NAKED has a curved hinge, go back to the last photo with all 3 shells and see the big gap in-between the valves of the middle shell. That’s why I even picked up the shell in the first place, I saw that slight curved hinge and immediately thought to myself… OMG maybe that’s it!
Maybe this is a better view of the curve in the hinge… on the left is the HALF-NAKED and on the right is the STIFF PEN SHELL. Can you see it now?
This is the real giveaway on the difference between these shells. The middle one is the HALF-NAKED (isn’t that just the funniest name? I get so tickled every time I say it!). Can you see more lines and shapes on the HALF NAKED right in the middle of the shell?
The next photo is a close-up of that shell and it almost looks like a face, right? Do you see the “eyes”? Okay, that is the muscle scar. Right above the “eyes” is a wide milky space before it changes complete color (like a hair line). The whole milky or pearly area is called the nacreous. The HALF-NAKED is the only one of our PENS that the muscle scar leaves such a prominent space below the nacreous border.
This next one is the STIFF PEN SHELL… the most common PEN SHELL on our beaches and it looks almost identical to the HALF- NAKED. I’m sure you’ve all seen this one if you’ve walked on the beaches in Sanibel or Captiva and you’ve probably cussed at it after you stepped on it, right? Ouch!
Here’s the interior of the STIFF PEN. It’s hard to see the muscle scar on this one but there is definitely no obvious space between the top of the muscle scar and the border of the pearly part.
This next one is the SAWTOOTH PEN SHELL. This one is easy to tell the difference from the others since it is much lighter in color and it has much smaller spines that don’t stick out (to cut your foot). I didn’t do a close up of the interior nacreous area because it didn’t really show up well… and …. wait! wake up! I’m just getting to the good part so gulp more caffeine, would ya? LOL
This is how I found my first HALF-NAKED PEN laying on the beach at Gulfside City Park.
I took the shell to Dr. Jose Leal at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum to get a positive ID from him. He positively identified it for me as the Atrina seminuda (HALF NAKED) and then told me that they did not have one of these shells at the museum. Since it was my first one I’ve ever found, I told him he could borrow it to photograph it. I know, I know, it sounds stingy that I didn’t donate it to him but geeeeez, remember…. Ive been looking for this guy for a year!
The first one I took to him to get a positive ID wasn’t so pretty and it cracked a little when I opened it up to look at the muscle scar…
So I went hunting again and low and behold… I found two more after looking at thousands of them all along Sanibel. Gulfside City Park was the winner again. I found a perfect one with no cracks that I’ve shown in my photos here and I donated this one to The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum…
They will soon have it on their website as a Southwest Florida shell and have my shell in the photo. And yes, it’s still the only one they have so far- Dr Leal looked in the archives and couldn’t find another one. I’m so proud of that little PEN SHELL! Hahaha- Really, Who would have thought I’d ever be so happy about a PEN SHELL. heehee. And I would never have known to look for it if it hadn’t been for sweet Susan H! Thank you Susan H for asking me about it and giving me something to hunt for. I always love to find new things on the beach!