And then this happened this weekend… I found this spectacsheller empty HORSE CONCH! I was walking along with my friend Alicia and then… Boom- Shellalaka! I saw part of that bright color shell half buried in the sand.. then galloped towards it and lassoed me a Horsie – Yeehaw. I reined this big bad boy filled with sand and saw it had such a nice lip and this amazing orange yellow color… and… without too many barnacles. Yup, it was bareback! Giddy Up, Horsie!
And Alicia found so many awesome shells too. She and GAIL were especially happy to both find perfect ALPHABET CONES.
We’ve had so many storms, the beach at Gulfside City Park on Sanibel Island is littered with shells of all sorts. Most of the shells were still alive on the beach at low tide which exposed so many creatures we normally don’t get to see. This is a rare time when Mother Nature decides to clean house and let us see what she’s hiding on the floor and under the carpet of the Gulf Of Mexico.
These were a few of the empty shells I found wedged in-between the ARK shells and the live MOLLUSKS.
I’m not exaggerating…. there were thousands of shells. It was overwhelming to even know where to begin to identify all of them so I just enjoyed taking in the view.
After a while, I spotted a few empty shells that were laying right on top.
And still… oodles of SEA URCHINS.
Local shellers Melody and Vickie were as thrilled and curious as I was to just see the awesome sight of the exposed beach filled with live creatures.
They couldn’t get over how gorgeous and perfect the PAPER FIGS and SEA URCHINS were. They are both so delicate.
I’m telling you, it was shocking to see that bright orange creature with so many live HORSE CONCHS exposed. The wild wild west of Florida.
These unbridled HORSES were digging back in to the sand saddling up along side and feasting on other MOLLUSKS while waiting for the tide to cover them up again and take them back to the stable. Most of those BANDED TULIPS were alive and riding horseback but can you spot the sand filled WHELK in between the PEN shell and one of those BANDED TULIPS?
Many people ask if this happens every day… No it doesn’t. Yes, our area on Sanibel and other SW Florida beaches have shells every day but these huge shells just don’t wash up at your feet every day. It’s the circle of life so it’s fun to see live creatures in their natural habitat and to be overwhelmed by Mother Nature. It’s a special occurrence just like fisherman fish for “the big one” or birders trying to spot flocks of ROSEATE SPOONBILLS or looking for DOLPHIN jumping out of the water. All of this happens on special days and mine was this weekend. Shellzam, y’all!
It’s hot on Sanibel Island in August and September so its the time of year when I try to organize the Rambo Shellaboratory by sorting shells we’ve collected in the past months and try to find room to display them. For months, our shells and bling we found in Okinawa, Japan sat on our dining room table while I tried to find the time to photograph and research all of the ones we couldn’t identify. I even wanted to do another post about the beach bling we found (like Buzz Lightyear, Jeanne!) but life happens and things get away from me when we return from a big trip like that. So now that its scorching hot during the day, I feel like staying in the air conditioning so I can enjoy the shells we’ve already collected instead of collecting more. Today I added a few shelves in the Shellaboratory so we can enjoy looking at our loot and share those precious memories Clark and I had while combing the beaches on that far away land we explored for weeks. I love it!
If you were keeping up with the weather on Sanibel, we’ve been watching Tropical Storm Erika in the Caribbean since we were in her path for a few days. Since we live on an island, we pay close attention when we are in the pathway for any named storm, but fortunately Erika fell apart and is no longer threatening us. That’s not to say that we don’t have some wicked skies…
Clark and I only got a few minutes on the beach before we heard thunder in the distance but we did find one or two treasures.
This morning I went to Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach to see if anything washed up. I ran into Tam Tam and Don shelling along the pier side of the beach.
They found some awesome shells! Tammy posted this photo on iLoveShelling Facebook page of her incredible LIGHTNING WHELK and this very cool medium sized HORSE CONCH.
And best of all…. Kristen (instagram @_salt_life_ ) found a JUNONIA at Lighthouse Beach! Shellzam! She tagged this photo on iLoveShelling Instagram page. Congratshellations Kristen, it beautiful!
We should have still have some really bad weather this week so I will probably still be “seeking shellter” by sorting and being a Shellab Rat but if I have any news on shells coming in from this weather, I’ll let you know!
Just in case you missed my other post about The Shellaboratory, check it out CLICK HERE
Join me on a Shelling Adventure! For more information and dates CLICK HERE.
These were my fave finds from last night’s beach walk at Gulfside City Park. I’m craving mac ‘n cheese for some reason now, aren’t you? heehee
I found the orange HORSE CONCH candies and this beautiful little perfect SAND DOLLAR in the higher wrack line. Unfortunately, this is the only photo I have of the SAND DOLLAR since … it broke. Rasher frasher.
But it’s ok … I’m happy with these sweet beach finds.
Clark was happy with his too since was such a nice evening to get out and enjoy the beach… until the no-see-ums got crazy for about 30 minutes at dusk. Time to go!
In the last few weeks we’ve had so many thunderstorms to keep us off the beach and now no-see-ums? I wish I had an answer for no-see-ums but I don’t have the perfect concoction to ward them away. I used to take an allergy pill every day and I don’t remember getting bit as much… but of course now “they” say daily allergy pills aren’t good for you- jeez- now I get no-see-ums bites. I use the same theory for no-see-ums as what I do when I hear thunder… time to get off the beach. Any time I get to spend on the beach curbs those beach cravings and its especially nice when I find a few treasures.
Join me on a Shelling Adventure! For more info and dates (I’ll be adding more soon) CLICK HERE
Could you imagine finding these 2 huge empty HORSE CONCHS wading through the Sanibel gulf waters? Well Diane Foley and her sister-in-law not only found 2 off Middle Gulf Drive... they found 5 of these gorgeous treasured shells. Shellzam! Then used my cleaning tips to get those first 2 to look amazing.
Remember Abigail from our iLoveShelling Adventure with Sight Sea-R Cruises this week? After our cruise, her dad Ken posted this photo on my Facebook page. Abigail found a big beautiful empty HORSE CONCH on Sanibel too. Yahoo!
Lainey found an awesome empty LIGHTNING WHELK at Blind Pass Sanibel. The big shells might not be rolling up on the beach but they are sure in the water. Way to go!
I was so honored to meet the Santiago family from Georgia this week staying at the Island Inn Beachfront Resort. They were the big winners of our iLoveShelling 5 Year Shellaversary GiveAway for 5 nights stay at Island Inn. It was so much fun hanging out with Sierra, Pete, Keaton, Cynthia, Claire and MaKalie who were enjoying every second of their stay in their beautiful room with a view of this awesome beach.
They showed me a few of their favorite finds including TRUE TULIPS, LETTERED OLIVES, FIGHTING CONCHS, SUNRAY VENUS, LIGHTNING WHELKS, all sorts and colors of SCALLOPS and an array of minis.
Claire couldn’t keep her eye of the cutie KITTENS PAWS. I love them too, Claire!
Big or small, strolling the beach in sunshine along aqua water is a dream come true. Live it, Love it.
Join me on a Shelling Adventure! For more information CLICK HERE…
Shellzam! This HORSE CONCH rolled up on the beach right in front of me!
As the evening tide was coming in at Gulfside City Park Beach, it was bringing oodles of PENS SHELLS, SEA URCHINS and STARFISH…
So many other cool things wash up too like yellow SEA WHIPS, DONINIAS and BONES from CRAB TRAPS. When we have high west winds, the water gets so rough that CRAB TRAPS get tossed around so hard the BONES that are left over from the bait (mostly PIGS FEET) end up falling out then wash ashore.
The Gulf Of Mexico is so powerful, even when the wind dies down the currents still have enough power to wash large live HORSE CONCHS on the beach. Clark and I saw about 6 live HORSE CONCHS wash up on to the beach. We tried to walk them out in the water far enough to not wash up again but all we can do is keep our fingers crossed they stayed there.
And then… there are magical times when one of these big, beautiful shells rolls up on the beach completely empty like this one found by Lynn from Missouri. Spectacsheller!
And then…. another big, beautiful empty HORSE CONCH rolls up for me too! We got to shellebrate together!
You want to know the most amazing thing? I filmed my find on video so you get to see it too…. hopefully soon. I was filming all of the cool BEACH BLING on my iPhone but didn’t realize that I had been videoing for 6 minutes and 40 seconds. I’ve had the hardest time downloading a video thats so long- Ack! So… as Im writing, it still has 329 minutes remaining to download. OMG Ive already been trying for a day now! So I will show you this awesome unedited video in my next post just so you can see everything single thing I saw on my beach walk and see how I found my HORSE CONCH. Its so cool!
If you want to see it as soon as it’s published on Youtube…. you can subscribe to my iLoveShelling Youtube channel to always be the first to be notified when I publish a new shelling video. After CLICKING HERE- Just click the red button on the right that says “Subscribe”
So until then… enjoy the gorgeous sunset we saw as we walked back to the car carrying my exshellent treasure.
UPDATE: The video is done and I have another post with more photos … CLICK HERE to see it!