The Sanibel Lighthouse beach has been a long time favorite place of ours to search for the mini shells. The evening was cool and breezy so to take a nice walk from the gulf side to the fishing pier over the weekend was delightful. Our beloved little WENTLETRAPS were scattered along the mid tide line along with a a few adorable little DUSKY CONES. Of the 5 we found, the last one we picked up I believe (the one on the far left by the cutie little pink COQUINA half) is an ALBINO DUSKY. It doesn’t look beach worn and there’s not a speck of color in it. Hmmmmm. Score!
Clark and I are now on the mend from fighting that awful cold/flu/”crud” that zapped us both from every ounce of energy and zombified our brains for a number of days- yuk! Taking a short walk on the beach was just what the doctor ordered- ahhhh we both feel much better. For us, getting outside in the sunshine is always the best medicine and searching for shells on the beach is the perfect follow up therapy.
I am channeling my inner artist looking at these CHANNELED WHELKS as I look back on our shelling trip to the Carolinas earlier this month (Beach Combing Trip To Portsmouth Island). I could have taken hundreds of photos of these incredishelly beautiful works of art as I saw them laying in the sand half buried in the islands of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.
Seeing KNOBBED WHELKSand OYSTER SHELLS rolling up in the surf was a masterful sight to behold.
Mother Nature artfully placed a SAND DOLLAR as though she staged this still-life for me to photograph.
I didn’t find all of her still-lifes in obvious places. These 2 KNOBBED WHELK shells, an ANGEL WING and oodles of OYSTER SHELLS were behind a large wrack line of driftwood, seaweeds and various sticks from sea oats and sea grasses.
The EASTERN OYSTER SHELLS are so beautiful as well, especially the juveniles as they form stunning sculptures.
After searching for miles, we found an area filled with the sweet adorable miniature shells. There were even WENTLETRAPS!
And then, Whelp… another WHELK.
How can they be this gorgeous?
We found dried KNOBBED WHELK EGG CASES too. They are so similar to our LIGHTNING WHELK egg cases we find in Sanibel but the KNOBBED WHELK EGG SACK disks are little more oval in shape.
But this just may have been the find of trip…. a GIANT EASTERN MUREX. Boom Shellalaka! It may not have been he prettiest shell on the beach but it really is giant and it just seemed impossible that we would find one. I can’t claim finding it- our friend (our hostess with mostest) Karen found it then gave it to me. Omigosh really? We don’t normally bring home shells that we don’t find ourselves (we are fortunate to already have enough) but it is an amazing memory from that day and an awesome shell. Very cool- thank you!
Clark and I (in red colors) are still smiling from our shelling trip with Nanette, Helen, Jackie, Karen and Captain Dan. We met all of them in McClellinville, South Carolina where Karen’s buddy Captain Dan Scarborough took us out on his boat to the out islands. I can’t even explain how much fun it was island hopping out on the boat all day with this crew.
We brought back a few brilliant shells with different color patterns that look like Mother Nature had a field day with her architectural designs and paint brush.
Clark and I are so grateful to these Three Crazy Carolina Girls- Jackie, Helen and Karen for inviting us on this unforgettable shelling trip. Love these girls!
To join me on a shelling trip adventure in SW Florida…
The shell world is a fascinating adventure to learn about the lives of MOLLUSKS and the people who collect their shells on the beaches across the planet. Because I am one of those people obsessed with living my life in the world of shells, I love to hang out with people who love to share their knowledge about them too. The Sanibel Shell Festival is a great place to do that.
I’m thrilled Sunnye (TX) shared her colorful shell collection she found beachcombing in Eleuthera, Bahamas (top photo).
Her sister Lisa (TX)had some awesome displays too for which they both won awards.
Lisa EXHIBITED this gorgeous SMOOTH TELLIN…
But I looooved this cool display Lisa did showing the difference between the SHARKS EYE and the FALSE SHARKS EYE. It explains and shows the difference in detail (for more info check out my post Sanibel Shark Week… Featuring The Shark Eye Shell).
And then there’s Stef! I’m so happy for her- she won a blue ribbon for her double FLAT SCALLOP she found by Sanibel’s Island Inn.
Wait… did you miss what I said? Okay, lemme slow down… she found both sides of her FLAT ZIGZAG SCALLOP still hinged together. Exactly like she displayed it… on Sanibel… and with amazing color. Wow! Years ago, I was thrilled when Clark found just the other half of a FLAT (the right valve) since it’s rare to find them here (CLICK HERE to see what the other side looks like) … and she found both perfect valves still together. Shellzam! Congrats Stefanie!
There were lots of displays showing ALBINO shells this year but this one by Ken and Joyce Matthys was really very cool. Here they shows tons of ALBINO FLORIDA PRICKLY COCKLES they’ve found through the years…
In the next case they show FLORIDA PRICKLY COCKLES which are ALBINISTIC. They explain… “Some shells lack their normal color, but they are not pure white. Instead they may be pale yellow, cream-colored, or have other hints of color. These are referred to as being albinistic”. Hmmm Haven’t you seen some like this? I have and now we’ve learned a name for this color form… ALBINISTIC.
Anne Joffe’s seashell emergency room display was hilarious and voted best for People’s Choice award. Freak and damaged shells that repaired themselves to form in odd shapes were propped in mini doctor’s offices, emergency rooms and surgery rooms with bandages, crutches and doctors notes.
Check out this PALLID CARRIER SHELL with an attached GLASS SPONGE (from the Philippines) by exhibitor Robert Linn. Wildly beautiful.
Last week I posted about the artistic side of the show with SAILORS VALENTINES, shell frames and all sorts of shell artand craft but when you look at some of these shells like these ATLANTIC TRITONS exhibited by Holly Nordyke, you realize you are looking at the most perfect work of art ever made. Stunning.
Hope to see you next year at the 80th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival!
I was very lucky this week to have a TRUE TULIP wash up on one of my beach walks last week at Gulfside City Park beach as well.
And an ANGEL WING… always magical.Magical
A colorful FLAME BOX CRAB shell…
This little cutie too… a CALICO CRAB shell.
Over the weekend as I walked across from Sanibel to Captiva on the Blind Pass bridge, I saw Mike (VA) walking with a huge shell in his hand… A huge empty HORSE CONCH! He found it on the new sand bar in the pass on the Captiva side (you can see a little of it in the photo to the right). So awesome.
Yep, the sand has been gathering here for about a month to make the sand bar again. It catches some really good stuff whenever it appears.
When I got to the other side of those jetty rocks, there’s still a huge shell pile. It’s been coming and going here for about a month too. The shells get washed into a big pile then taken back out… then washed in again.
If you just dig through, it seems there’s always something to uncover…
I found a nice JUNONIA but it had already been cracked open and had made a nice meal for some BOX CRAB… but I think it’s a fun piece anyway.
My fave find though was this sweet little perfect ZIG ZAG FLAT SCALLOP- such a beautiful color.
Although I love my little FLAT, I am so happy for Jeanne who found this absolutely drop dead gorgeous teeny tiny little LIONS PAW. It’s so dang cute I can’t stand it!
I’m so sorry I haven’t been posting as much these days – where does the time go? As soon as I get home from the beach, there’s never enough time any more to get my photos arranged. But rest assured, I still have so many stories to tell you as well as I will soon be showing you some fun exhibits from the 79th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival coming up this Thursday through Saturday March 3, 4 and 5, 2016. I hope to see you there!
Join me on one of our next iLoveShelling Adventures…
It’s crazy the masses of stranded FIGHTING CONCHS and HORSE CONCHS I showed you over 2 weeks ago (CLICK HERE) are still on the beach at Gulfside City Park.
Blind Pass Captiva has come and gone with shells a few times in the last weeks so each day is a surprise to what we find. The best thing I’ve found there recently is 10 year old Ryan from New Jersey. This kid has learned so much about shells, he could name every shell on the beach. It was so much fun to see that he was just as obsessed with all shells and bling… hmmmmm… I think I see a future Malacologist in the making. ;)
He’s pretty darn good at finding awesome shells too.
It was a special trip to Sanibel for Ryan and his grandma Hilarie – he was teaching her about shells. There’s something else interesting about this next photo too… this beach is on the inside of jetty rocks at Blind Pass Captiva- that beach is back! Over the years the sand shifts back and forth- opening and closing the pass. It’s amazing to watch the power Mother Nature has to build a beach or take away a beach within a matter of days. (CLICK HERE and HERE to see other Blind Pass changes)
I took a quick little video of the shells at Gulfside again to share with you… Honestly, it kind of makes my head spin to see all of them so its hard to focus on looking at anything else.
I just have to focus on a few other sweet treasures… and remember at times less is more.
A new shelling destination! Our iLoveShelling Adventure with Captiva Cruises has lead us to explore a new part of to Cayo Costa island… and its so cool. We had quite the adventure as the temperature dropped to the low 50s (I know, it’s not as bad as most places in winter but its kinda cold for us) so we all bundled up then pulled up to a brand new dock, walked through some awesome scenery on a brand new boardwalk…
We reached a part of Cayo Costa that nobody else can easily get to.
Lots of shells lined the shore.
It was so much fun to see what everybody was finding. Christina (MA) found lots of SAND DOLLARS.
Look how cute Patti from Minnesota is! She has SAND DOLLARS in one bag, minis in another, the Sanibel Six shells in another and I think the last bag was her bestie bag. She is an organized sheller- nice work Patti!
Mallory, Angie, Makenna and Pam (Kansas and Naples) were excited to find SAND DOLLARS and ANGEL WINGS.
I think everybody found their own “Beach Bucks”… Jennie from Philly (and Venice ;) ) found some too.
Dave from Michigan is a super sheller! He found three big empty LIGHTNING WHELKS (one is in his net) on the beach. Shellzam, Dave!
Marje and Rick (IN) were excited to find one too.
Missy from Indiana is a super sheller too finding two empty HORSE CONCHS Another Shellzam! haha
The apple doesn’t fall for from the tree… Missy’s mom Nancy is quite the sheller too…
Nancy had her eye on double SUNRAY VENUS and double CALICO CLAMS. So pretty.
Washed up in the high tide wrack line on the beach Anita (NY) found ANGEL WINGS.
Sandi (AL) and Teresa (NY) collected all sorts of shell and a few wonderful memories… and me too. Sandi, it was so much fun to meet you and say “hi” to Michelle for me?
Scott and Laura (MI) found more beach bucks too.
Jackie found a very cool ARROWHEAD SAND DOLLAR …
and Steve’s faves were the ANGEL WINGS.
Dawn and Scott (Colorado) found some really fun finds…
Don’t ya just love the pattern on that SAND DOLLAR? Those perfect PAPER FIGS have such amazing colors on the side as well.
Kim and Lona (TX) found lots of shells on our trip and showed us their Texas shells. Thanks y’all!
Jo and Jeff found shells and loved the bling… Jeff is holding a chunk of the COQUINA LIMESTONE.
Ok, so you know I like my beach bling too, right? Pam from Naples found this weird thing on the beach and asked me what is was… “Oh cool!” I got really excited to see it because I found one a few years ago but something happened to it before I could take photos. haha It’s a FISH SWIM BLADDER. After I told her that she kinda didn’t want to hold it any more (heehee) and asked me if I wanted it… heck yea! LOL So now I have a FISH SWIM BLADDER to add to the Shellaboratory. ;)
And there’s always someone that touches me and makes my day complete- Wendy and Scott from Indianapolis…
The gifts we are given from the sea are treasures we keep with us forever.
On our iLoveShelling cruises we get even more gifts… every passenger will receive a $25 gift certificate for Sealife By Congress Jewelry store!
And one more for you… here’s a gift of CYBERSHELLING! Click on the photo to enlarge it so you can see how many keepers you might see.
Join us on one of our iLoveShelling Adventures… CLICK HERE
PS- We had more special guests on our cruise as well- a film crew! In about 2 months when the piece is done, I’ll post the link here so you can see all of us on their film. We had so much fun- thanks for joining us!