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Collecting seashells on the beaches of Sanibel, Captiva and the world

Spectasheller Speckled Tellin

Posted by on Nov 17, 2013 in Broad Paper Cockle, Conch, Fighting Conch, Southern Surf Clam, Speckled Tellin | 15 comments


double speckled tellin captiva

Shellzam! I think this is the first time I’ve seen someone find a double SPECKLED TELLIN shell in SouthWest Florida. We found lots of double SPECKLED TELLINS on our trip to Turks And Caicos but only a handful of single valves here in SW Florida …  none with both valves still attached. So I was tickled to see that Stephanie (Fort Myers) showed me her find. Spectacsheller!

stephanie captiva beach with shells

Along with her double TELLIN, she also found a single valve of a SPECKLED TELLIN, an awesome BROAD PAPER COCKLE, and a PURPLISH TAGELUS. Very nice.

speckled telling broad paper cockle purplish tagelus

I also saw Kathy and Pat again! They were on the March iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa so we got to laugh and reminisce about them being in the “Gleaners” photo. Lots of fun.

kathy pat shelling the water captiva

They found such a wide variety of shells but they both said that they were happiest to find lots of CERITHS.

captiva seashells pat kathy

Speaking of Cayo Costa, Dawn and Lori from Nebraska weren’t find many keeper shells on Captiva but they were still so happy they had gone to Cayo Costa to find lots of great treasures.

dawn lori nebraska visit captiva for seashells

Lori is holding up a wonderful LACE MUREX while Dawn had questions about these SOUTHERN SURF CLAMS. Why are they so brown? On our last iLoveshelling cruise, lots of folks were picking them up because they were milk chocolate…. and it’s not the Periostracum that is covering it to make it that color but maybe some sort of food source.  Hmmmmm. I don’t remember finding them this brown in the past but I love milk chocolate! I wish I had collected a few of these milk chocolate SOUTHERN SURF CLAMS too.

brown surf clam

So believe it or not the little shell line at the top of the high tide line is where Stephanie found that spectasheller SPECKLED TELLIN and her other bivalves. That’s what it looked like when I found my CARRIER SHELLS too. Again, ya just never know!

captiva beach with string of shells

 Since I didn’t find any “spectacsheller” shells in that wrack line, I was just as happy picking up broken shells like these FIGHTING CONCHS because I’m going to use them in a shell craft project. Seriously, look at the colors… and they already have perfect holes drill in them so they are easy to work with. When it’s done (and IF I’m happy with it- heehee) , I’ll show you what I did!

broken seashells for art craft projects

PS- Blind Pass Captiva beach looks like it’s going to be roped off in the next week or so due to a renourishment project. I’m so sorry but I don’t have any more information than that but if I get any updated info, I will let you know.

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As The Island Terns

Posted by on Oct 29, 2013 in Beach Art, Broad Paper Cockle, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern | 19 comments

sand and shells sanibel mermaid

As October is coming to an end, so is SEA TURTLE nesting season. This means that most or all of the nests have hatched already so we don’t have to worry about those little babies making their way from the nest to the water …. sooooo ….bring on the beach art!

mermaid beach art

Seasons come and go and so do the shells and BEACH BLING. Over the weekend I found some sweet juvie SAND DOLLARS but I went back to Gulfside City Park today and didn’t find any at all. Not one! But that’s what shelling is all about… enjoy the treasures that Mother Nature has put before you at the moment because they may not be there any other day.

sand dollar day flower

I had a few extra minutes today so I ran to the Lighthouse Beach since I haven’t been hanging out there as much lately. So happy I did. It’s always a good day when I find a BROAD PAPER COCKLE!

broad paper cockle sanibel shell

In just a few minutes I could have picked up oodles of CERITHS and in the same spot…. one LIGHTNING WHELK, one TULIP, a TARPON SCALE and what I think is the smallest double PONDEROUS ARK I’ve ever seen. Honestly, I haven’t had time to inspect it so it could be a double TRANSVERSE ARK but it had that beautiful black periostracom. They look so much alike! If I figure it out, I’ll take better photos then do another post.

seashells and tarpon scale sanibel

Okay, I HAVE to share the funniest comment on my last post that made me literally laugh out loud today. Really, I was hanging with some friends this afternoon and I snuck a peak at my iPhone to see a new blog comment from Andrea.  I didn’t want to be rude, but I read the first line and got completely engrossed then let out a huge belly laugh. I know, so rude to my friends but after I read the comment to them, we all laughed out loud together. So this is the photo of ROYAL TERNS (and SANDWICH TERNS) I posted that Andrea commented on…

royal tern wing span sanibel florida

Andrea wrote…

I guess they wanted to take terns shelling.
I hope it doesn’t take a tern for the worst!
They say one good tern deserves another.
I hope they re-tern to Sanibel when I’m there!

OK, I’m done with the tern jokes.

Just hope everyone doesn’t tern on me!”

LOL Thank you Andrea, it terned out so great I just had to share it again.

terns fly sanibel florida

Our next Shelling Adventure is November 7… Join Us!

Sanibel Cayo Costa Tours

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Super Low Tide With Super Moon

Posted by on Jun 23, 2013 in Broad Paper Cockle, Cabrit's Murex, Colorful Moon shell, King's Crown, Sand Dollar | 18 comments


clarks fave finds super moon

It’s another Super Moon weekend! This large full moon made for a super low tide to let us peek at more of the beach and expose sand bars that are usually covered with water. The photo above shows a few of Super Sheller Clark’s faves which includes 2 teeny tiny KINGS CROWNS and the cutest little ROUGH SCALLOP I’ve ever seen. He loves the ALPHIES of course but he also is so intrigued by the different color patterns of the FIGHTING CONCHS. This one is pure white (with some PERIOSTRACUM still on it) with a bright orange mouth.

But… even with all of that coolness, I think Jennifer from Maryland played a better hand.  She found a CABRITS MUREX! Boom Shellalaka!

paper fig shells cabarets murex

Jennifer and her son Chris were at Blind Pass Captiva at low tide when Jennifer found her awesome MUREX and some other goodies like those two perfect PAPER FIGS. She “Whooped” it up even more when I told her that I consider her CABRITS a pretty rare find- more rare than a JUNONIA. Whoop!

jennifer chris cabrits murex sanibel

Vera from St James City was happy to find COCKLES, WHELKS, CONCHS and lots of OLIVES to put the finishing touches on a shell frame she’s been making…

vera st james city shelling tank

Lorie from Pittsburg found a gorgeous GAUDY NATICA (I always feel like I need to also add…”also called a COLORFUL MOON”…one day I’ll decide which one I want to call it- haha). I loved her coral piece, the dark LETTERED OLIVE and the SHARKS EYE too but she was too shy to have her photo taken with them. That’s okay, Lorie! Glad you shared your shells!

lorie gaudy natica sanibel florida

We also went to the Sanibel Lighthouse to see what treasures that beach would offer us. I saw Marin and Ava finding dried up SAND DOLLARS on the highest wrack line…

kids with sand dollars sanibel

Instead of searching in the low tide line, they were clever to look in the dried SEAWEED along the vegetation by the beach accesses to find dozens of them.

ava collecting sand dollars

At low tide, we searched Lighthouse Beach, West Gulf Drive near Tarpon Bay Rd and Blind Pass and found fun treasures at each beach so I think you’ll find shells and bling at most beaches in the evenings the next few days as well. Here’s my shell bag and a few of the prizes I found…

seashells super moon low

My favorite one was this BROAD PAPER COCKLE! I love this shell!

broad paper cockle #3

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Sanibel Shelling Tarpon Bay Beach

Posted by on Apr 9, 2013 in Broad Paper Cockle, Fighting Conch, Sanibel Stoop | 22 comments

sanibel tarpon bay Rd

The shelling at Tarpon Bay Road beach access is awesome at low tide now!

tarpon beach low tide sunset

Most of the FIGHTING CONCHS are alive but there are lots of other empty shells to be found as well.

seashells found sanibel island

These shells were found by Anna, Grave and Sarah visiting Sanibel from Ohio…

anna grace sarah ohio visit sanibel

I saw Matt, Landon, Loulie and Berkeley (I met them last month on the iLoveShelling cruise!) collecting all kinds of goodies…

loulie fam sanibel island

Here are their awesome best finds…

loulie fam shells

Wanna see what else they had in their shell bags? Here ya go…

loulie  berkely shells sanibel

My fave find was this orange BROAD PAPER COCKLE. This photo really doesn’t do it justice but it’s not often I find them without a chip on the edge. I love it!

orange broad paper cockle

That’s what has been happening on Tarpon Bay Beach (Parking is plentiful at Trost Parking lot) this week, and this is what I saw at Blind Pass Captiva today. The wind has calmed so the water is back to beautiful aqua…AND… the Sit ‘N Sift shell pile back. I didn’t stay long but I did see TURBANS, OLIVES and small WHELKS just to name a few.

blind pass shell mound captiva florida

It looks like the shells are showing up on most of the beaches (Lighthouse Beach is still great for minis!)….  so I  CAN NOT wait until this Saturday April 13 for our iLoveShelling morning cruise to Cayo Costa from 9 to noon! Join Clark and me on this shelling adventure so we can share the anticipation together for our treasure hunt! CLICK HERE for more info.


Let’s do the Sanibel Stoop!

sanibel stoop tarpon beach

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Beach Bling Babes

Posted by on Feb 15, 2013 in Blue Crab, Broad Paper Cockle, Crabs, Egg Casing, Lace Murex, Leopard, Skate Egg Case, Stone Crab, whelk egg casing | 19 comments

lace murex juvenile

Now who in their right shelling mind could not think that this little baby LACE MUREX shell is not THE cutest thing that ever washed up at the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach? heehee What a cutie petutie!

I even found smaller baby shells in some of the LIGHTNING WHELK EGG CASES that have been washing up this week…

lightning welk egg chain

Most of the disks were empty but some of them still had tiny dried shells in them…

egg sac whelk

One was torn open so we could see the teeny tiny babies. They only look like grains of sand at this point… or honestly they remind of those little bits when eat corn on the cob. Errrr, Okay, I cant really explain that well so let’s move on and get back to the point… they are tiny LIGHTNING WHELKS!

baby whelks in case

I got to share these little WHELK EGG CHAINS with a couple of gals that came to visit us from Virginia Beach. Kathleen was a good friend of Clark’s over 40 years ago and they haven’t seen each other since. What a hoot to meet Kathleen and her friend Jan and to hear about “the old days” and to catch up on all of our mutual friends while walking the beach…. and to find out they both love shelling!!!

jan clark kathleen

Today, I ran into Roma with a shell bag full of BLING!

roma shell bag

I peeked at her “Bling Bag” and saw all of this…

seashells bling crab bag

Holy Crab! She loves BEACH BLING as much as I do! She was collecting all of these different CRAB claws and shells for her daughter who makes jewelry out of them. There is a HERMIT CRAB CLAW, STONE CRAB CLAWS, BLUE CRAB CLAWS and some LEOPARD BOX CRAB shells. Ha! Love it!

crabs southwest florida

I found one more piece of cool BEACH BLING.. a MERMAID PURSE! Okay, it’s a SKATE EGG CASE but it sure is more fun to think of it as a MERMAID PURSE, right?

skate egg case shark eye

Oh, and I almost forgot to show you my fave shell today… A BROAD PAPER COCKLE. The colors on this sweetie are awwwwwesoooome…

color broad paper cockle

PS- Shellers Unite! There are still a few spots left on the iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa this Sunday the 17th from 9am to noon. Come join me and lots of other spectacsheller folks that love shelling! Call Captiva Cruises to book your shelling spot at 239-472-5300.

For more iLoveShelling Cruise dates and info on the Shellabaloo click on the next image…

iLoveShelling ShellingAdventures

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Seashells, Beach Bling and …. Red Tide

Posted by on Nov 8, 2012 in Broad Paper Cockle, Bryozoa, Keyhole Limpet | 13 comments

 collect sea shells Sanibel

I’ve combed the beaches from Blind Pass Captiva to the east of Sanibel at the lighthouse. Mid island at Gulf Side City Park is still the best shelling I’ve found in the last few days. The shells in the photo above were only a few that Carol from PA pulled out of her shell bag to show me. Pretty nice finds, huh? The OLIVES have been gorgeous. Well… there’s the ALPHABET CONE, FLORIDA CONE, BANDED TULIPS, MUREXES, WHELKS and she had a few more of those sweet PAPER FIGS in her bag too.

carol gulf side city park seashells

There were still plenty of FIGHTING CONCHS (dead and alive) like I showed you the other day but what caught my eye was this beautiful BROAD PAPER COCKLE.

broad paper cockle

We have a few in our collection but some of them have chips in them so I’m always happy to find a pretty valve like this one!

pretty broad paper cockle

While I was at the lighthouse beach finding WENTLETRAPS (I’ll show you those on my next post), I found a KEYHOLE LIMPET.

keyhole limpet lighthouse

For me, finding shells is the cherry on top… but I also love to see all of the different kinds of BEACH BLING! And I’m not the only one… Dee pointed out this deep purple BRYOZOAN COLONY growing on the wire of a crab trap. Isn’t that so cool?

Bryozoan colony on crab trap

Most people walk right on by a mess of SEAWEED laying on the beach. Not me! I love to pick through it to see what is hiding in there.

seaweed beach bling

I found SEA WHIPS and ATLANTIC WING OYSTERS in all this BEACH BLING. Here’s a little movie to show you how I found them… (click on the next image if the movie thingie doesnt show up)

So there are so many different things to check out on the beaches right now… BUT… unfortunately we have RED TIDE coming in as well. I didn’t feel any respiratory problems today (which I have in the past when it was bad) but I did see dead fish. Yuck! Since they just washed in, I didnt really smell any bad odors so I didn’t mind walking right past them- there’s too many other cool things to inspect! Lee County issued a beach advisory yesterday so if you think you might have problems… read HERE.

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