Dont you remember that old saying… “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes”? Well, it’s the same with shelling in Southwest Florida. We’ve had swirling high winds with rain the past few days so it has changed the shelling on every beach every 10 minutes. Just as the rain stopped at one point, I hurried to Sanibel Lighthouse Beach to see if the weather brought in good shelling conditions yet. I met more die-hard shellers! A little drizzly weather wasn’t going to keep Ann, Doug and Patricia from Minnesota from shelling…
Patricia found her first NUTMEG! And… notice that Patricia made her own necklace out of one of the shells (LADY-IN-WAITING VENUS) she found that already had a hole in it. So cute!
Then yesterday morning I met the cutest family from Indiana at Lighthouse Beach… Sean, Lori, Ellie, Wanda and Karl. Karl is a birder who volunteers at Ding Darling a few months in the winter and answered a few questions I had about some of the birds Ive seen lately. We realized how similar shellers are to birders then told him about Gill and Andy’s “The Big Year”.
If they were competing in The Big Year with shells, I think Sean would probably be the big winner in the family. As soon as he showed us all the great shells he was finding, he was back to his ankles in the water to find more. Love it!
Andrea from Ft Lauderdale said her day was complete since she found a perfect LACE MUREX with a pink nose.
Clark took one scoop with his shelling backhoe at the waters edge and brought a pile of shells to me. I snapped a photo so you could shell with me. CYBERSHELL away!
While I picked out some nice shells, he brought another scoop to me. Wow! Stephanie, this CYERSHELLING is for you (I got the book- Thank you!)…
Did you find these shells and more? Crazy, right? Two scoops of shellicious treasures!
There were lots of empty wonderful shells just at the surf’s edge on the gulf side at the lighthouse then walking west we found oodles of live creatures in the morning at low tide.
So… let’s get back to the “just wait 10 minutes until the weather changes for good shelling” bit. Lots of people ask me how I know which beach to be at for the good shelling all the time. Here’s a secret…. normally, I visit LOTS of beaches to find the best shelling. Yes, I can regularly find good shells or something really interesting EVERY time I walk on a beach here but I do stop by different beaches (Blind Pass, Gulfside City Park, Lighthouse) to assess the conditions on a regular basis and I don’t post on each one. That’s what is fun to me…. seeing the beaches change so much. I want to find the most interesting treasures to learn something and share it with you. So before I found so many shells at the Lighthouse Beach after the rain storm, I visited Blind Pass Captiva where I met Karen, Randy and Stephanie from Orlando…
Stephanie found a CARRIER SHELL and other goodies on the sand bar on the pass side.
It was so much fun to talk to Renee and Charles from Chicago after seeing how excited they were about their finds.
Charles found a WENTLETRAP there! After i took this photo, Renee told me she found a SCOTCH BONNET too. Huh? She told me it had a crack in to though so she didn’t put it in her “faves” pile. LOL I forgot to take a photo of it after she dug it out of her bag to show it to me and … yep! It was a beautiful SCOTCH BONNET with a small crack.
I’ve seen lots of cool BEACH BLING all week but this was my favorite… a CRUCIFIX SHELL. Hmmm… with Easter just around the corner.
If you are trapped in that unseasonably cold, snowy weather up north, I’m hoping the two scoops from Super Sheller Clark will help warm you up. We are wishing you sunshine and seashells!
It’s already a spectacsheller 2014! My dear friend Ellen found not just one LIONS PAW at Blind Pass Sanibel… but she found two LION’S PAWS!
We walked passed that sand bar area that I’ve shown you in my last couple of posts towards Bowman’s Beach where they just finished the beach renourishment project. Remember I showed you that old wooden jetty that was newly exposed last year? Well, it’s all covered up again and filled in with fresh new sand that was pumped in from the deep waters off shore in the Gulf Of Mexico. So I’m assuming that these came in with the sand since both of them are so incredibly perfect. I want to show you the interior of this LIONS PAW so you can be on the lookout as well. I was right there with her shelling and I didn’t see either of them… I missed them both! She picked them up right after I looked in the same spot. LOL All I saw were oodles of KITTENS PAW and CALICO SCALLOPS (you know I love both of them so I was already mesmerized- hahaha) It just goes to show you, there are enough shells for everybody in southwest Florida since we all see different things while shelling on the beach. I think Im going to have to call her Shellen instead of Ellen from now on. heehee She’s got the LIONS PAW eye for sure! Shellzam! Congratshellations, Shellen!
Clark was shelling just at the water’s edge with his shelling backhoe when he scooped up these beauties. Can you believe it? He found a CABRITS MUREX too! This one is pretty beat up but still… its a rare find for Sanibel. Again, prob from the beach renourishment. I haven’t gotten to a chance to see if that FLAT SCALLOP near his thumb will clean up well but its a beauty along with that bright orange CHESTNUT TURBAN.
Shellen has an eye for LIONS PAWS, Super Sheller Clark has an eye ALPHIES and I seem to have an eye for finding CARRIER SHELLS.
I also have an eye for WENTLETRAPS. As you can see in the next photo, all the way as far as you can see in the background, is a palm tree sticking up. That’s about 200 yards from the Blind Pass bridge (guestimate of course) so this is how far we walked to find our loot. Now look how far I was from the water and in that sparse shell line, I found what I believe is a TOLIN WENTLETRAP. I’ve found lots of different species of WENTLETRAPS (CLICK HERE for a line up of them) but this one looked different from the others so in my humble opinion, I think it’s a TOLIN.
But honestly, I got more excited about this beautiful piece of BEACH BLING I found. It’s a purple SEA WHIP with a few cool hitchhikers! Click on the photo to enlarge to see if you can find them too before I tell you what they are.
Did you find the ATLANTIC WING OYSTER? So cool, right?
But wait, there’s another tiny baby WING OYSTER too! Can you see it?
And then I spotted a ONE TOOTH SIMNIA on this same SEA WHIP! It’s camouflaged but look closely…
Shell Boom Bah! There are two ONE TOOTH SIMNIAS! Click this next photo to see both of them. Then go back and see if you can find both WING OYSTERS and both ONE TOOTH SIMNIAS in the first full size pic of the SEA WHIP. I know its weird but I felt like I had won the lotto. LOL This is why I love shelling so much. There are always magnificent hidden treasures on the beach… you just have to find the treasures that make you happy.
I have one more photo to show you… I am so stinkin happy for my buddy Kaybe from The Essential Beachcomber!
She finally found her JUNONIA! She posted this on iLoveShelling Facebook page… “I’m making progress. Went from finding a little tip last week to an almost whole junonia this morning at Boca Grande. It was all wrapped up in some seaweed on the wrack line.” Exshellent!
Join me on a Shelling Adventure! For more info CLICK HERE
This Thanksgiving holiday weekend has been such a Shellaganza in Southwest Florida, it’s been hard to choose which beach to shell first! But as you know by my last post, we chose to shell Blind Pass Captiva on Thursday and hit the mother load. I’m so happy we found soooo many good shells, but it’s not only that we found shells… I’m thrilled that everybody found amazing shells like this…
And I got to meet so many awesome shellers like Skip and Tina. Tina found the spectacsheller SCOTCH BONNET and Skip found the amazing ALPHABET CONE, FLAT SCALLOP and gorgeous TRUE TULIP. And those were just a few shells they found. Their bag (in the first photo) was filled to the brim with incredible shells. It was a pleasure to meet you both!
I also met Jessica, Lyle and Matthew from Virginia who now know how addicting shelling can be after finding so many shells like this in only a couple of hours. They didn’t know the names of many of the shells, so I peeked in their bags to tell them the names of most of the shells in their bags… LIGHTNING WHELKS, FIGHTING CONCHS, APPLE MUREXES, LETTERED OLIVES, BANDED TULIPS… But OMG, Wait!
Jessica found a CABRITS MUREX! Boom Shellalaka! It was mixed in with all of the other shells and had a small hole in it but I told her that was a pretty rare shell to find in our area. Very nice find!
James and his brother Jacob (from Chicago) are experienced shellers who named all of the shells they found – which BTW, was very impressive. It tickled me so much though when James snatched a perfect bright orange HORSE CONCH out of the water and shouted “Score!”. Yes you did, Jacob!
It was so much fun to see everybody finding such beautiful treasure. Local sheller Roma (who never lets me photograph her- silly girl ;)) never even got wet by the waves as she sat in the shell pile digging away. She found all of these shells in one small area…
As you saw in the video on Thanksgiving Day, Clark didn’t want to get wet since we had plans later in the day for our big meal but after finding these 2 ALPHABET CONES right next to each other coming in with surf… it was all over.
Super Sheller Clark was soaked by the time we got to our car.
Uuuuuhhhhh… and so was I.
A few minutes after Clark took that picture, I found a JUNONIA! Yes, it is a little beat up and cracked but I was very thrilled! I showed it on my last post but I love that photo so much, here it is again. These were the best of our finds on Thursday…
After shelling for countless hours Thanksgiving morning, we decided it was time to pack it up. While loading up the car with all of our loot, we met this sweetheart family Linda, Eliana and Nik from Pennsylvania ready to adventure out to find their own treasures. Prepared with shelling scoops, bags and a fantastic attitude I’m sure they found all of the shells they could hope for. So nice to meet y’all!
But that’s not all folks! I know this is a long post but I have so much to catch you up on since … really…. its been a Shellaganza. I have met so many nice folks while shelling and that was just on Thursday. I want you to meet more folks that I was shelling with yesterday (Friday) at Blind Pass (Turner Beach) it was a Sit N Sift kind of day…
The shells weren’t crashing up on the beach any more but they were buried in a mound of shells. These were all found sittin’ ‘n siftin’ by Jeff and Donna from Palm Beach Gardens….
Isn’t that amazing? Jeff and Donna were sitting right here to find a CARRIER SHELL, GAUDY NATICA, SHARKS EYES, ALPHABET CONES, FLORIDA CONES, FLATS, TULIPS… and on and on. Love it!
Shelling Sistah Connie Knight was deep into the shelling zone with her cute hat and tee on :)
It was so much fun to meet her shelling family on this big pile of gems… meet Zach, Lori and Nate with Connie all visiting from Iowa
I always love to see that rich chocolate color in the LACE MUREX Nate found along with his other favorite shells…
Local shellers Bob and Sue couldn’t resist sifting through the pile looking for a few unusual shells but I think were having more fun giving OLIVES to the other shellers. :) There were so many OLIVES!
I met sweet Patti Goodwin on last month’s iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa (“Woop!” heehee) but this time I got to meet her husband Curt too. They arrived when I was about to leave so I hope y’all found some good treasures.
I saw Becky and Wade again too. They had been at the Lighthouse Beach on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) and told me it was a great day shelling there too.
Wade found this Mega True Tulip at Lighthouse Beach! Woohoo! It was a fabulous day on all of the beaches of Southwest Florida!
Since returning from Cat Island, things have been a whirl wind… literally… with the wind whipping from the north bringing such exciting shelling days for us here at home. Then preparing for the big holiday, I haven’t been able to find one extra second to clean our Caribbean shells from our vacation or much less finish telling you all about it. I’m so sorry but when local shells arrive, I want you to know about it ASAP! So if you are anywhere near SW Florida and want to do a little shelling, most of the beaches have some great shells and some really interesting BEACH BLING to explore. Once I slow down and finish up local exploring (Island Inn beach has great shells too!) , I’ll share the rest of our adventure to the Bahamas so you will have more info on other shells from around the world.
Want to shell together? Join me on the next iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa Friday December 6, 2013 at 9am!
As I walked onto the sand of Blind Pass Captiva towards the Gulf Of Mexico yesterday, I didn’t see much of a shell pile forming on the beach. But I did see Rena (Fort Myers) in the water about knee deep with her shelling backhoe filling up her bag. It was so much fun to see such much beautiful CORAL in her bag then she showed me her two FLORIDA CONES, GIANT BITTERSWEET and that sweet little orange candy.
There was one small string of shells that had come in at the high tide, that most of the shellers were picking through to find a treasure or two. Since this was on Captiva, you could say they were doing the Captiva Crouch instead of The Sanibel Stoop…. Oh yes… that would be a crouch!
After lots of people had already picked through this wrack line, Jay still found an amazing treasure. A perfect SCOTCH BONNET! Shellzam!
Brenda and Jay from St Louis were already happy with all of the other shells that they had found so the SCOTCH BONNET was just icing on the cake.
He was so surprised that it was in perfect condition with such great color just sitting in that shell line. You just never know!
Jamie from Ft Lauderdale was doing double time. After he threw out a fishing rod to catch a few fish, he couldn’t help but catch a few shells as well.
Beautiful OLIVES and CONCHS but I couldn’t take my eye off that gorgeous ROUGH SCALLOP right below the bucket.
Around 11am I felt so lucky to find a CARRIER SHELL! This is how I saw it….
I had to leave the beach around noon but came back to Blind Pass Captiva around 3:30pm just to see what the low tide had exposed. The beach hadn’t changed that much (actually, it looked pretty picked over by then) and didn’t see lots of shells in the water like the high tide had shown… BUT …. I saw another CARRIER SHELL! I may have missed it earlier since I don’t think the tide had brought in more shells after I left but this is exactly what it looked like sitting with the other shell. Click on this next photo. Would you have noticed it?
This is what it looks like from the side view. See how it collects other shell fragments and CORAL to cement them to its shell?
Here is another view of the one I found in the morning. I love that this shell is a shell collector too like us!
I love to find unusual shells so I was thrilled with my treasures. Other than the CARRIER SHELLS, I didn’t find many whole UNIVALVES like WHELKS or TULIPS in that line of shells but I did find a piece of a LIONS PAW and a piece of JUNONIA and some awesome CALICO SCALLOPS and CORAL.
The other shell above the piece of CORAL in my last photo is a FROND OYSTER. I wouldn’t say it was a rare shell, but I don’t find many of them in good condition like this one. I know, it’s not so pretty (like the CARRIER SHELL) but I gotta tell ya, these things make me so happy when I find them. It’s all about the little things in life.
Have a great weekend!
Wow, right? We were floored by how many different species of shells we found on our shelling trip to Guantanamo Bay Cuba. These are only half of the shells we found that are identified, cleaned and photographed but we still have quite a few more to go… like the HELMETS, MUREXES and other types of TRITONS. Thank goodness for the much needed help of Lee, MurexKen and wearing the pages thin of the many shell books I’ve acquired over the years. So to start with the shells that are pictured above, I’ll let you know what they are just in case you have any of these you collected on a vacation to Caribbean waters and want to I.D. them or want to put them on your seashells bucket list. I’m sure the identifications are good because of the help I got but since most of these were firsts for us I would like to correct anything that is dead wrong.
The TRITONS TRUMPET was obviously the cream of the seashell crop for us. You may have heard the exuberance in my voice from the video on my last post? LOL
Finding HAWK-WING CONCHS was another thrill! We were astounded by how many different growth stages we found in this species. The top three on the left are adults with that nice “wing” but take a look how small the 4 are in the top right corner. They are a different form of the regular HAWK-WING… they are DWARF HAWK-WINGS. And then look at the bottom row… from left to right, you can see the growth of the thick outer lip.
I’ve always wanted to find a perfect RETICULATED COWRIE-HELMET! Well, now we have them in every size and wish I could show you close ups of each one and their colors but I have to show you so many other shells. 24 hours in each day is not enough! So many cool shells!
Like the MEASLED COWRIE in different colors and growth stages…
We found ATLANTIC GRAY COWRIES but since all of the ones we found were a little beach worn none of them were “gray”… they were yellow.
We did find ATLANTIC YELLOW COWRIES… and they aren’t yellow! They are spotted brown. Ha!
Clark can spot those CONES. He found both of these CARROT CONES…
AND he found these rare GLORY OF THE ATLANTIC CONES…
We both found quite a few MCGINTY’S LATIRUS shells. They look like our candy!
There were hundreds of WEST INDIAN TOP SHELLS (I always call them TURBANS) stuck in the rocks but we only chose to bring these six home. We always keep in mind that we have to travel with our shell finds. Yes, we could ship more of them home but we never want to take more than our fair share and we never want to take shells that will be boxed up to sit in a closet and never seen again. On vacation, we always go through our shells at night and pick out the best specimens then take back or give away the shells we replaced. Trust me, it took a few trips to learn this lesson!
These CARIBBEAN VASE shells are just as big as the WEST INDIAN TOPS and really thick and heavy. Even the best ones look a little beat up but for some reason I loooove these shells…
Oh yaya! And if you know me, you know I love my CARRIER SHELLS! I found FOUR of them! Again, not so pretty but look at the one on the far right… “he’s” carrying around at little “button” shell that he glued to himself. All four collected pieces of shell, CORAL and ROCK . I guess I like them because I can relate to them so much. We both collect shells!
The WEST INDIAN CROWN CONCHS were pretty common down there too but it was fun to find the different colors, sizes from smooth to spiny.
These sweet little COMMON DOVE SHELLS are less than an inch but soooo beautiful. We found tons of mini shells too!
…Like these CHECKERED NERITES. How cute! Now I do wish I had collected all of these shells that I saw because these would look awesome on the inside edge of a shell frame, right?
Most of the DELTOID ROCK SHELLS were very worn (as most rock shells look to me) but these were the nicest we found…
FLAMINGO TONGUES! I like the shell but I think I like the name even better.
And we found these cutie little MORONS… Oops! I meant to say MORUMS! WOOD-LOUSE MORUMS. We laughed every time we picked one up because the first time we found one, I called it a “Moron” by mistake. LOL It stuck so now of course we always call them Morons…. not that there’s anything wrong with a moron (for you Seinfeld fans!)
To make you all feel right at home, these last shells are FIGHTING CONCHS. Don’t they look similar to our FLORIDA FIGHTING CONCHS we find in southwest Florida? But then look a little closer… the spines are a little different and even the colors are somewhat different too. These are WEST INDIAN FIGHTING CONCHS!
Later in the week when I can get more done, I will show you the rest of the collection and a few more pictures of Cuba. But remember, these are not just shell from Cuba! Most of these shells can be collected on other islands in the Caribbean. We saw some of the same shells in TURKS AND CAICOS (CLICK HERE) but after getting a taste of some of these other shells, Clark and I are bound and determined to find more places we can find these shells that everybody can travel to. The hunt is 0n! So if you know other islands we can find these, please let us know!
Again, THANK YOU Susan and Lee for such an amazing friendship to make this possible for us to share this exshellent adventure!
For Part 1 – Our Weekend Collecting Seashells In Guantanamo Bay, Cuba- CLICK HERE
For Part 2- It Doesn’t Git-Mo Better Shelling Than This (Video) – CLICK HERE
Tropical Storm Andrea blew through Southwest Florida this week without stirring up too much ruckus.. other than seashells and Beach Bling! It was a sheller’s playground at Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel Island, Florida. Sara and Daren from Fort Myers were very happy Sanibel is practically in their back yard so they could drive over after the storm to find all of those seashells in the top photo by sifting through the shells at the water’s edge.
I think the happiest gal on the beach was Jessica who was visiting from Kentucky. The beach was buzzing with the news that she found a JUNONIA!!! Boom Shellalaka!
She said she saw lots of shells half buried in the sand so started digging around and up popped her JUNONIA! … And that gorgeous dark LIGHTNING WHELK… And an ANGEL WING! Wahoo!
Jim and his wife Linda took a different method of collecting shells. They plopped right down to sit in the shallow water because they were feeling so many shells at their feet. Jim scooped up this exshellent empty HORSE CONCH!
I couldn’t resist peaking in his shell bucket to see the rest of his finds from the water. Wanna peak too? Oh I know you DO!
Linda was holding her own on finding great shells. Oh yes she was! She found a perfect (and huge) ALPHABET CONE and two, count them… two perfect TRUE TULIPS…
I was thrilled to see Angela and her sister-in-law Candy again (I met them about this same time last year) loading up their buckets with goodies.
I love to see such happy families on the beach doing their own treasure hunt. All visiting from Alabama is Gracie, Dennis, Gloria, Sonya and Tyler…
They were doing yet another method of shell collecting… looking for minis! They found WENTLETRAPS, BABYS EARS, and all sorts of fun tiny miniature shells…
All while we were all finding shells, there were DOLPHINS swimming by, STARFISH scooting around in the tidal pools, live FIGHTING CONCHS burying themselves. Misty and Davis from Alabama were amazed by the all of this sea life.
Misty even found a live baby PYGMY OCTOPUS! Cool! This is not much bigger than the babies I filmed hatching on video I took several years ago. So see that video CLICK HERE. After showing this baby to us, she gently put it back in the water.
Earlier yesterday, I went to Blind Pass Captiva to see if the shells were coming in there too. Yes they were! The water was much rougher so it wasn’t as easy to get the rolling shells but Joe and Penny from MA were toughing it out and scooping up the goods…
They found some nice WHELKS, CONCHS, COCKLES and SCALLOPS.
Tom and his daughter Alma from Wisconsin found a few treasures but the rough water kept them away from filling up their bags. The water was still a bit too rough in the Gulf Of Mexico at Blind Pass for really good shelling.
There was such a big difference from rough waters at Blind Pass to the calm water around the tip of Lighthouse Beach by the Sanibel Pier. This is actually on the San Carlos Bay side of the Lighthouse. This area is great for kids at a time like this since they get to see and learn about live sea creatures and also get to take empty shells home to remember their vacation forever…. just like these cuties Cole, Chase and Isabelle visiting from Kentucky.
This is where Super Sheller Clark found this one of three ALPHABET CONES. Happy guy!
And this is also where I found my best find… a CARRIER SHELL! I know, it doesnt look like much but finding a shell I rarely see, aaaalways makes me happy. Thank you TS Andrea!
I think the best shelling today will be in the afternoon at low tide again either at Lighthouse beach or Blind Pass Captiva. I just checked the Web Cams around the island to see if the water has calmed down a little at Blind Pass Sanibel and it does look a little calmer so it should be good by the jetty rocks on the Captiva Side soon…if not now. OMG So I have to go! I’ve got to get out there before I miss something! I’ll post more soon but in the meanwhile, CLICK HERE to see the best shelling web cams for Sanibel Captiva and Ft Myers Beach.
Don’t forget to enter to win the Sanibel Shelling Vacation giveaway! Click on the next image!