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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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Snorkeling Sanibel’s Out Islands

Posted by on Jul 29, 2012 in Angel Wing, Conch, Horse Conch, Lion's Paw, Live Sand Dollar, Nutmeg, Sand Dollar, Sargassum, Snorkeling Video | 31 comments

boat beach seashell

We spent hours boating from Fort Myers Beach to the outer islands of Sanibel this weekend. I felt like we were on vacation! The first island we pulled up to I found this nice sized WENTLETRAP…

north cap wentletrap

It was resting in a nest of sea weeds and SARGASSUM.

wentle weeds

Okay, I’ll fess up. Clark and I weren’t really looking for WENTLETRAPS but it was a nice surprise. We were actually looking for a LION”S PAW. “Why”, you ask? Because we wanted to find this LIONS PAW’s brother or sister…. or better yet, the granddaddy!

brian lions paw

It’s a beauty, right? Did you see that all of the knuckles are in tact? Saweeeet! Captain Brian found this awesome LION’S PAW on Cayo Costa on Friday. Is this a happy face or what! Congrats Brian!

captain brian lions paw

So we looked high and low for even a piece of one…

island clark shelling

While on Cayo Costa, we met Anna (Indiana) shelling the beach with a bag full of shells tied to her walking stick…

island sheller Anna

She had a beautiful collection of shells ranging from SAND DOLLARS to that excellent yellow HORSE CONCH.

anna shell collection

Now who wouldn’t be happy with this collection? She found ANGEL WINGS, TRUE TULIPS, TURBANS, a NUTMEG, SHARK’S EYE, LIGHTNING WHELK and a cute twisted WORMIE.

anna seashell arrangement

Clark found one of these live ARROWHEAD SAND DOLLARS floating in the current then saw the other one close by. We have found dead ARROWHEADS before but neither of us has ever seen live ones like this. They are beautiful! Clark put them back in the water right after I snapped this photo to keep them nice and healthy.

live arrowhead sand dollars

Well, we didn’t find  LION”S PAW and the water clarity was a little cloudy but after seeing so many SAND DOLLARS, I put on my mask and snorkel to see what else I could find in the water. Take a few good breaths and get used to the water so you can go on my snorkeling vacation with me. Here we go!

PS- Next post I’ll show you lots of MANATEES that we saw this weekend! I love those SEA COWS!


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Yesterday’s Surf Advisory

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Baby's Ear, Lion's Paw, Sargassum | 27 comments

Sanibel beached nutmeg

After hearing there was a surf advisory with high SW winds yesterday, I couldn’t wait to see the beach filled with seashells and cool Beach Bling.

cloudy morning sanibel lighthouse

 Shawn from Kansas was in perfect Sanibel Stoop position so I figured he had already found some goodies…

collecting shells Sanibel island

 He found a nice mix of shells. I looove that LACE MUREX with the link top…

shawn seashells

After talking to him, we realized that I had met his mom a few weeks ago, She’s Shelling Sistah Karen from that special day “When Shelling Worlds Collide“. Hi Karen! Now I met your son Shawn!

shawn kansas with sanibel seashells

 Massachusetts girls Kristin, Chloe and Haley were having a blast finding PAPER FIGS, SEA URCHINS and STARFISH. Most of the STARFISH were alive so they went back to the water but there were a few dried in the high wrack line. A souvenir!

Kristin, Chloe, Haley girls sanibel beach

 I didn’t see many shells on the pier side of the Sanibel lighthouse but there was plenty of SARGASSUM. This is a type of seaweed provides a rich environment for marine animals like SEA TURTLES.



paper fig egg cases

Low and behold, I found a BABY’S EAR turned upside down in the bling…

upside down babys ear

 And just to get my heart racing, half way buried in the sand I saw the ribs of a LION’S PAW. I reached down to dig it out … and came up with a broken piece. That’s ok! Where there’s a broken piece today, there may be a whole piece tomorrow.

piece of lions paw sanibel

 We’ve had so many beautiful calm days for weeks and weeks. This is a wonderful thing for most people, right? But for us shellers, give us some messy weather! This wind was a start but maybe just 2 days back to back of high west winds… then it can go back to perfectly gorgeous island weather. Am I being too selfish?

low tide sanibel

 PS- The DOLPHINS and PELICANS were playing this morning too!

dolphin pelican sanibel gulf

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“Wash” Bucket

Posted by on Mar 12, 2010 in Driftwood, Lighthouse, Sanibel, Sargassum, Skate Egg Case, Urchin | 6 comments

Beach wash bucket

I saw Judy that lives on the east tip of Sanibel by the Lighthouse and she had this bucket filled with a little of everything she had found from the wash line. It was loaded with SPONGES, DRIFTWOOD, URCHINS and EGG CASINGS.  I asked her what she would do with it and said she was going to add this to her garden. It made me wonder….. sculpture?… fertilizer? ….mulch? I need to stop by her house to see what she’s growing in that garden.

Sargassum, Parchment Worms, Sponges, Urchins and Driftwood at the Lighthouse

Dolphin in the surf

I couldn’t believe how close this dolphin was to the shoreline. He was either playing, enjoying a snack or just giving us a show with 3 of his buddies this afternoon.

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