Archive for Conch

Jun
16

Full Moon Rises, Shelling Tide Lowers

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shells found at Blind Pass Captiva June

During the low tide evenings this past week, we didn’t find gobs of shells on Sanibel or Captiva but we found the best empty beauties in the Blind Pass channel in between Sanibel and Captiva. With the full moon causing extreme tides, the water rushes through the pass so quickly at the lowest tide (ankle deep) I like to just wait for the shells to roll by my feet by near the jetty rocks. If you want to see a video from last year that shows how they roll by CLICK HERE

sea shells found in the channel at Blind Pass Captiva Island

We also hit the low tide at the Lighthouse Beach…

low tide shelling sanibel

This was my favorite night last week because I met Michayla from Pensacola with lots of beautiful shells in her shell bag…

Michayla from Pensacola finds sea shells on Sanibel Island Florida

I also met Paige and her mom Nikkie from Kentucky. It’s always so much fun to meet new friends that love shelling as much as I do!

Paige and Nikkie from Kentucky visit Sanibel collecting seashells

And lookie who else was shelling at Lighthouse Beach… our good friends Susan and Lee from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They definitely love shelling as much as Clark and I do.

Susan and Lee from GTMO visit Sanibel Island Florida

It’s always so much fun to see the live creatures at ow tide like FIGHTING CONCHS…

Live fighting conch seashell on Sanibel Island Florida

I’m not absolutely positive, but I believe that this is a SEA HARE EGG STRING. Seriously, it was this color… almost turquoise!

sea hare Eudisoma hepaticum egg string

We are very used to seeing SEA PORK at low tide but this SEA LIVER looks a little different because it’s flatter and a little slimier. They are dark purple when still alive then turn whitish when they die so I’m assuming part of this colony on the right has already died off and the left side is still hanging on. Of course after I took this photo, I returned this colonial tunicate to the tidal pool where I found it.

sea liver Eudisoma hepaticum

So while we were shelling Lighthouse and Blind Pass… Gary, Jane, Anna, Claire and Ella from Arkansas were shelling near Tarpon Beach when they hit  a VERY sweet honey hole. Gary said ” Just at the shelf line we found a PEN SHELL bed. After about 2 hours of digging we had 8 large horse conchs – our best shell hunt ever!”  I’m sure this will be a day in their lives they will never ever forget. Shellzam!

Gary Jane Anna Claire and Ella from Arkansas find 8 horse conchs

I love summer evenings walking the beach when the sun doesn’t set until way after 8pm then the full moon rises to brighten the sky and pull at the sea.

Sanibel full moon over Gulf of Mexico

full moon over palm trees

Jun
14

The Chimney Clam Beach Sweep

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Stimpson chimney clam Rocellaria stimpsonii drills hole into florida fighting conch

Aha! Another mystery solved. This is the little bugger that makes some of the holes in our seashells… a tiny little STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM. Remember the heart I found carved in this PONDEROUS ARK (from King Neptune)? Well, there must have been two STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAMS drilling into this shell to make that design or there was one mighty CLAM on a mission from the heart.

drilled heart in seashell

Either way you “cut” it, this is one little destructive dude of a STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM (Rocellaria stimpsonii) 

Stimpson chimney clam Rocellaria stimpsonii

I was absolutely thrilled to see both valves of this CLAM together (I know, go ahead and say it LooLoo… I’m a real shell geek LOL)…

Stimpson chimney clam side view Rocellaria stimpsonii

So we can have a better understanding of why some shells look like this…

holes in seashells made by stimpson chimney clam

In my post What Makes The Different Holes In Seashells? , I wrote…

 … these bigger holes most likely were drilled by a STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM. Oh, What? You’ve never heard of a STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM before? LOL Well, neither had I before I got so curious about what made that heart shape and found out that two separate drilled incidences by these clams are the most likely culprit. When I find a STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM, you will be the first one to know about it and I will post a photo. “

Well I didn’t find one but MurexKen did! He found this FLORIDA FIGHTING CONCH with both valves of the STIMPSON CHIMNEY CLAM still remaining in the crevice it carved out when it was still alive. This CLAM doesn’t bore into shells and coral to eat as a food source- it’s a Suspension Feeder so it captures food particles from the water somewhat like a filter feeder. It bores holes into shells and coral to use as a place to live… like a cozy little nest.

Stimpson chimney clam Rocellaria stimpsonii with florida fighting conch

Great find MurexKen! Thanks so much for sharing this with me so we can all learn such cool stuff about the the mysteries of our oceans. Now that I know what this shell looks like, I can’t wait to find one of my own (along with the GOLD-BANDED CONEof course). So catch ya later alligator, out to the beach for a CHIMNEY sweep!

Stimpson chimney clam shell Rocellaria stimpsonii makes hole in florida fighting conch

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coudy periwinkles hiding in tree knots

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.

cloudy periwinkles cayo costa

 

It’s been such a month on the islands of spotting great wildlifeEverywhere 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.

striped false limpets on fallen tree

Melissa, Juliana, Becky and Garrett from Colorado walked around those tree roots to find some nice empty shells as well.

Melissa juliana becky garrett colorado visit cayo costa for shells

They found a bag full of double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…

Sunray Venus shells at Cayo Costa

Sisters Teresa and Elaine from Pensacola, FL found some keepers on the Gulf side of the island.

teresa elaine from pan handle  visit cayo costa

Elaine collected oodles of different color JINGLES to use for a picture frame craft project.

black grey white jingle shells

D.J. from Avon Park, Florida found empty LETTERED OLIVES and an ANGEL WING wading knee high in the water.

D.J. avon park florida olive shells

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.

dolphin sight seeing captiva cruises

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!

mother dolphin and baby

And the DOLPHINS weren’t the only wildlife coming up to say “Hi” to us… meet Casper The Friendly GHOST CRAB.

casper the friendly ghost crab hiding in shadow

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.

ghost crab hiding in shadow

He even ran into a shelling net like he wanted to play. hahaha What a character!

casper the friendly ghost crab hiding in shadow

Even though the wildlife was exceptional, it was a wonderful day to meet exceptional people like Vicki and Bill from Arizona.

vicki bill arizona visit cayo costa for shells

… 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.

melinda katelyn justin indiana visit sanibel

… 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!

marie emily madison steve sandy ryan ohio visit sanibel… And to see Bill, Michelle, Alyson and Anthony from Illinois.

bill michelle alyson anthony illinois visit sanibel

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!

how to make flat scallop shell into necklace

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.

lindsay dodd with empty horse conch

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. 

iLoveShelling blue toe nail polish

You won’t want to miss the upcoming shelling cruises! Check out the new dates CLICK HERE

shelling adventures trips by pam