Even though Hurricane Joaquin has been churning in the Caribbean hundreds of miles from Sanibel and Captiva the last few days, those north and west winds have effected our beaches and churned our gulf coast as well.
This weekend Clark and I combed the beaches (through intermittent rain without lightning) finding some cool broken brick/concrete chunks with turquoise paint (maybe an old floor?), lots of incredible “sun beam” SCALLOPS and other assorted shells and bling getting tossed up by the rough surf on the beaches closer to Captiva.
Clark found lots of dreamy creamsicle shelliciousness at Bowman’s Beach.
The gulf was much calmer near Gulfside Beach which made for a beautiful sunset to show off Ray’s perfect little juvie SAND DOLLAR.
Although Ray (from Nantucket) is visiting Sanibel for a fishing trip, he found his first SAND DOLLAR (he called it a sand nickel – heehee) along with some other shells. He noticed it was still a little dark so he knew to search for any signs of life by looking for any “fur” or cilia anywhere on the body. He asked me to check it out to make sure as well…. yep, he was right- no fur. It’s a keeper!
At Lighthouse Beach, the wind was kicking up and the shells were starting to roll in…. but you had to fast to snag them or the waves would take them right back out as fast as they came in. Dale and Wayne (Jacksonville, FL) were lucky enough to catch a few good ones but Dale said this ALPHABET CONE was the best of their collection. Awesome!
Just like this weekend, each SW Florida beach this week will probably be changing by the hour. That’s why we love to be out there and it keeps us coming back, right?
I can’t wait to see what we find on our iLoveShelling Adventure to Cayo Costa tomorrow with Captiva Cruises- So excited! If you won’t be joining us tomorrow, check out more dates by CLICKING HERE
Finding one beautifully detailed SCALLOP on the beach can set me off on a whole evening of combing the beach for just a few more special SCALLOPS with different patterns and designs.
Dont get me wrong, I still like to see and find OLIVES, CONCHS and such.
I found most of my treasures on Sanibel’s Gulfside City Park beach while stopping to giggle at the flocks of IBIS birds wading in the surf bobbing their heads while strutting along the water’s edge.
At the end of the day, collecting a few spectacsheller SCALLOP shells makes me smile and fills my happy beach heart every single time.
It doesn’t get any better than seeing a huge pile of shells wash up on the beach within one day. I was shellucky enough to see it happen at Blind Pass Captiva and to get the video of it I showed you on my last post. It was Shellectric!
Talk about “shellucky” – local sheller Susan from Pine Island found a CABRITS MUREX!
These are just a few other fab shells she found as well…
Lolly was there with her homemade shell belt collecting all sorts of goodies.
She found all sorts of shells like HORSE CONCHS, WHELKS, MUREXES and FLAT ZIG ZAGS and GIANT BITTERSWEETS…
After seeing my “CANDY” (my little HORSIES in the first photo) and Lolly’s as well, an orange HORSE CONCH is all Patti from MN was wishing to find. Moments later… voila! Patti whooped it up when she found her own sweet “CANDY”. Yay!
Babs from St Augustine was there to see all the shellnanagans and to find her own treasures.
Its always fun to see what makes different people happy when they find something unusual. I was thrilled when Babs showed me this awesome ROUGH SCALLOP that had obviously been damaged in its lifetime but survived the predatory incident (IMHO- I’m thinking that’s prob what happened).
See? At one time, this mollusk knew it had more life to live and repaired its damage to see more days. I love those type shells! This even looks like it tried to manage the shape of a heart.
This shell pile event doesn’t happen every day so when I’m there to witness it, I try to breathe it all in and enjoy every single moment.
I didn’t make it back yesterday so I have no idea if it’s all still there. Let me know if you found any treasures at Blind Pass over the weekend.
Join me on a Shelling Adventure! CLICK HERE for more info.
PS- I was at Gulfside City Park Beach over the weekend and its still loaded with shells and bling too. :)
Oh and I hope to see y’all at the 2015 78th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival at the Sanibel Community House this weekend March 5,6, and 7!
UPDATE 3-3-15: I stopped by Blind Pass Captiva …. the shell pile is completely picked over and filled with sand. Amazing. The top picture had new shells in this post washing in and the lower picture was 3 days later. The power of Mother Nature…
After five days, the mound of shells that built up at Blind Pass Captiva last week is still producing exshellent finds.
There was a QUEEN HELMET found this morning!
Donna and Ray from North Carolina were sifting through this shelltastic pile this morning…
when Donna found that cutie little QUEEN HELMET, a SCOTCH BONNET, 2 ALPHABET CONES (a perfect one minutes after I snapped this photo), LETTERED OLIVES, APPLE MUREXES, CERITHS, AUGERS, CHESTNUT TURBANS, FIGHTING CONCHS and gorgeous CALICO SCALLOPS.
Matt and Monika from Ohio found a spot on shell mountain to dig out some gold too.
It was the first time visiting Sanibel and Captiva for Wenjin from New Jersey… she was in shell heaven!
Its the perfect paradise ending to 2014 with 80 degree sunny weather and seashells piled a mile high. Heaven on earth.
I took a random CYBERSHELLING shot on the top of the pile when I first got there. I hope you find a few goodies! (Warning: If you like KITTENS PAWS, you might want to take a big breath before you click on this next photo. heehee)
Can you tell the difference between a CALICO SCALLOP, ROUGH SCALLOP, BAY SCALLOP (top row), ZIGZAG SCALLOP (the FLAT valve and deep valve) and a LION’S PAW (bottom row)? I searched through our collection to find similar sizes and color examples of each species so that you can see the differences in shapes with the exterior (above) and the interior (below). But Ack! I didn’t mean to but I switched the ZIGZAG valves in the next photo so that now the FLAT side is in the middle and the inflated side is on the second row left. Sorry- silly me!
It’s so hard to show every angle but here is a way to see how different they are and how deep the valves are. On the top row right in the next photo, you can see how much flatter the BAY SCALLOP is from the CALICO (left) and the ROUGH SCALLOP (middle) and also how deep the ribs are in the LIONS PAW. I’ve written about both valves of the ZIGZAG SCALLOP before (CLICK HERE) but not about how the valve looks beside the other SCALLOPS. Denise Kisko (my buddy in the New York Times article!) asked me how to identify the second side of the FLAT ZIGZAG. In the next photo look at the shell in first row on the left, see the big shadow under the “nose” of that SCALLOP? It doesn’t sit flat on the table because it is so inflated and the sides spread out so much. That’s the second half of the ZIGZAG bivalve shell that fits with the FLAT side (middle shell).
This is how it looks when both valves are together when it is alive…
Here is a photo of a common CALICO SCALLOP, the deep side of the ZIGZAG SCALLOP (the other side of a FLAT) and a common ROUGH SCALLOP. Can you see that the middle shell is more “fanned” and the hinge area seems a bit smaller too.
Now you can really tell the difference by looking at the interior…
When I was looking at all of our SCALLOPS, I noticed how similar the CALICO SCALLOPS and BAY SCALLOPS look alike too. There are a few different ways to tell them apart but for me, this is the best angle to look at them. Now they look different, right?
So I hope this will help you just a little bit more to tell the different SCALLOPS of Southwest Florida apart. Top left to right…. CALICO SCALLOP, ROUGH SCALLOP, BAY SCALLOP. Bottom left to right… FLAT side of ZIGZAG SCALLOP (which I normally just call a “FLAT”, ZIGZAG SCALLOP (the deep right valve), LION’S PAW.
When Denise asked me how to identify the “other side of the FLAT”, her friend Penny Lang Yelverton posted a poem on the iLoveShelling Facebook page that she and Denise wrote while together on Sanibel. She said…
“Great month on Sanibel with my friend Denise Sheldon Kisko (NYT). We wrote new lyrics to the song My Favorite Things while waiting for a storm to pass at Gulf Side.
Sand dollars, starfish and conchs of all kinds.
Kitten paws, scallops are some common finds.
Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip balm galore,
Keep you from burning so you can shell more.
Lions paws, tulips, junonia’s so fine.
Worm shells and murex are also good finds.
Blind Pass and Bowmans and Gulf Side seashore,
These are the beaches we shellers adore!
When the rain comes,
When the waves crash,
We don’t even mind.
We’ll keep on shelling for our favorite finds.
We must be out of……
I love this! Thank you Penny and Denise! You inspired me and made it fun to start sorting my SCALLOPS.
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