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.
You wanted a video? Is that what I heard earlier this week after I posted photos of lots of living sea creaturesin the low tidal pools? If so…. I’m delivering! I captured some footage of the awesome SHARKS EYE, STARFISH, SAND DOLLAR, FIGHTING CONCHS, BABYS EAR and an incredible LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL. Wherever in the world you might be, sit back and enjoy the beautiful life on the Sanibel beaches.
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
We also hit the low tide at the Lighthouse Beach…
This was my favorite night last week because I met Michayla from Pensacola with lots of beautiful shells in her shell bag…
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!
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.
It’s always so much fun to see the live creatures at ow tide like FIGHTING CONCHS…
I’m not absolutely positive, but I believe that this is a SEA HARE EGG STRING. Seriously, it was this color… almost turquoise!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Either way you “cut” it, this is one little destructive dude of a 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)…
So we can have a better understanding of why some shells look like this…
“ … 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.
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 CONE, of course). So catch ya later alligator, out to the beach for a CHIMNEY sweep!
These shells are just a few of many beautiful gifts from the sea I could have easily plucked off the beach and popped in my beach bucket.
I have oodles of shells already in my house (and my yard, garage, porch, walkways, car, and of course the “shellaboratory) so I had to use restraint. But OMG, look at what washed up on south Fort Myers Beach! I showed this photo in my post but it was a little blurry so I’m trying again so you can see in just a tiny area, what kinds of shells and Beach Bling washed up together. Caryl Renz asked what was in this photo that looked like thousands of tusk shells …. here’s the answer- that’s MANATEE GRASS. When the little tubes of MANATEE GRASS get washed on shore they don’t look like your regular SEA WEED, to me it looks like parmesan cheese sprinkled over a seafood stew on the beach. But I now realize after reading Caryl’s comment, they do look like tusk shells too. Look at all the interesting things in this photo! (I hope this CYBERSHELLING shot a little more clear this time?)
Did you find these FLORIDA CONES while you were CYBERSHELLING?
I continued to walk south on the beach to see swarms of people in one area. Oooohhhh! I’ve gotta pick up the pace and find out what they are finding!
An o-ver-whelming amount of shells and bling washed up for about a mile!
My head was spinning! Everywhere I looked, I saw seashells, CRAB SHELLS, STARFISH, SAND DOLLARS and MANATEE GRASS.
So many people were finding sweet little TRUE TULIPS like this one I saw in a cup on the beach.
There were shell lines at the shore line….
But then higher on the beach the wrack line was as wide as … well there really was no “line” …it covered the whole beach! I usually find very cool shells on this beach but the shelling was ridiculous this week!
I usually find very cool shells on this beach but the shelling was ridiculous this week!
Now you see why I had to use restraint to only pick up a few of my faves. I rinsed my treasures off then sorted them out under a cute little tiki hut . It truly is paradise!
I was so tickled to find such spiny and colorful SPINY JEWELBOXES, 2 WHITE CRESTED TELLINS, NUTMEGS, GAUDY NATICAS, ROSE PETAL TELLINS, ANGEL WINGS, tiny TRUE TULIPS, WORMIES, 2 double PURPLISH TAGELUS, SHARKS EYES, and of course, WHELKS, OLIVES, CONCHS, BANDBED TULIPS and my 2 FLORIDA CONES. That’s the SANIBEL SIX double time! i Love Shelling!
UPDATE: I’ve had lots of folks ask me about parking to get to this beach. In the comments section of this post I responded to Holly so I will repost here as well just in case you don’t read the comments…
There is public parking further north on Flamingo Rd with parking meters. But…. Between you and me….;) there is a shopping center near there called Santini Plaza. Some of the locals say you can park there and walk over to the beach… but don’t quote me on that, please. Id hate to have them mad at me for filling up their parking lot so they don’t have room for their patrons. If the lot is empty, I’m sure its ok but please Just be thoughtful of their parking issues for the businesses. My mission is to share the shelling love <3 but the locals with businesses of Southwest Florida need the love too Its gotta be a happy balance to shellebrate together! That beach is best at low tide but Let us know if the piles are still there.