Every time I’ve visited my friends on Fort Myers Beach, I’ve found SAND DOLLARS (and so many other beautiful shells). It’s crazy!
I met Laura, Bruce, Rhonda and Darrell (Michigan) who were happy as clams they found so many SAND DOLLARS …
They filled up 2 bags! They asked me how they could get them home without breaking them so I suggested finding plastic containers. When we travel, we buy groceries based on what type of containers they come in… like chicken salad, lunch meat, peanut butter, etc. So what if we don’t finish the peanut butter, we get several lunches out of it and then clean out the jar and use it for shells. CLICK HERE to see one of my posts on my containers.
Susan and Vince from Canada said they could have picked up hundreds of them but chose to only take a few as souvenirs.
They picked the most perfect ones!
Other than SAND DOLLARS, I found some really pretty SPINY JEWELBOXES…
And POINTED VENUSshells too. I don’t find many of these on Sanibel but every time I go to this beautiful beach, I’ve found them.
I betcha a SAND DOLLAR the next time I take a stroll on this beach, I will find a POINTED VENUS and be just as tickled as if I found a dollar bill on the beach.
Dont Forget to check out our new dates for Shellabaloo 5!
Yep. I did it again. I got up at the crack of dawn to catch low tide… but this time I went to my fave beach on Fort Myers Beach. I found SAND DOLLARS galore!
And I wasn’t the only one finding them. I saw Ft Myers Beach local sheller Debbie (from our April iLoveShelling Cruise) with her hands full of SAND DOLLARS too.
But hold on… I’ve got to tell you the coolest story. Being obsessed with shelling reunited these friends after 20 years!
Back in February, Heidi (who follows iLoveShelling!) had signed up for our May Shellabaloo 2 and commented on the iLoveShelling Facebook page… “We did it!! We signed up for Shellabaloo 2! These two Kansas girls will be there with “shells” on!! Obsessed!!!”. Debbie saw her post and recognized her name and wrote her a message. Yes! It was the same Heidi she knew years ago when their kids grew up as best friends. Ha! Moms reunited! But unfortunately it turned out that Heidi had to cancel her Shellabaloo trip due to a health problem in the family. That’s when Debbie stepped in and told her when the health issues were resolved, Heidi had to come visit her in Fort Myers Beach to shell to her hearts content. She did.. And they found shells! They are two kindred spirits brought together again by the love of shelling. Here are Shelling Sistahs Heidi and Debbie…
Don’t ya just love that story? So it gets better… When Heidi showed up, Debbie told her that the only shell that she really wanted to find while she was there- was an ANGEL WING. It was their last shelling day together when I saw them and low and behold… que the Angelic choir in the background…. Debbie found the biggest ANGEL WING she could have ever imagined. LOL
We all found lots of other fun goodies too… like double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS.
THIS Really spiny SPINY JEWLBOX…
Woop! There is it. A FLORIDA CONE.
These were all within 4 feet of each other just laying on the beach.
To make the morning even better, I saw Loree and Roy too! I met them for the first time on the June iLoveShelling cruise so it felt like it was old home week on Ft Myers Beach. So much fun to see you both!
Loree showed me that she found a pair of FALSE ANGEL WINGS and also a pair of SUNRAY VENUS too. It was interesting to me that she pulled them both out to show me so I asked her to take a look at their shapes of both the shells… don’t they look similar in shape other than their size? That’s because they are in the same family- Veneridae. The FALSE ANGEL WING is in the VENUS family instead of the “true” ANGEL WING family. Cool, huh?
I’m so happy I made it out for the Sunday morning low tide to catch the full moon over the horizon. If you want to catch a low tide any where near Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Captiva I would suggest shelling at least one hour before through at least one hour after the lowest tide of the day. Wanna check for the next low tides? Check out the Tide Charts HERE.
Meet other obsessed shellers or hang out with us to learn more tips to finding shells. Join us for a Shelling Adventure!
If there is a better souvenir than finding an awesome LIGHTNING WHELK like this to remember a wonderful vacation… I dont know about it.
Therese told me she only saw a tiny bit of the top of this shell and thought it looked interesting enough to start digging around it. Then she realized it was this perfectly empty WHELK! Congratshellations Therese! She and her husband Dan (visiting from Minnesota) had an exshellent afternoon at Blind Pass Captiva under the bridge at low tide filling up their shell bags with WHELKS, CONCHS, OLIVES and one nice piece of a JUNONIA.
Wendy (a local Sanibelian) found a few goodies to take home to make into jewelry…
She also found a SHIVA SHELL (which I didnt even get a picture of – darn!- so CLICK HEREif you want to see one) and this incredible DOUBLE JEWELBOX. It has pieces of CORAL growing on it!
Clark found a few nice shells too but the one I got most excited about was the WHITE CRESTED TELLIN in the top left corner. We have found them more on Cayo Costa but to find one at Blind Pass is pretty rare. The shell in between the two OLIVES is a huge and thick weird shaped JINGLE I thought was interesting too. I love that weird stuff!
You really couldn’t see how big the NUTMEG was in the last photo so I thought I’d show you how big it is in Clark’s hand. It’s shellacious! It measures in at a whopping 48mm… which isn’t like a world record size (Susan H?) but it’s the biggest one we’ve seen in a long time!
I found a regular sized NUTMEG that I thought I’d keep along with a BITTERSWEET, a CALICO CLAM with a cool pattern, and my new faves- the CALICO SCALLOP.
We ended the evening watching another gorgeous sunset over a big pile of Sit ‘N Sift shells on the other side of the jetty rocks at Blind Pass Captiva.
The sky turns a lucious orange right at the horizon when the sun sets over the Gulf Of Mexico.
Then it melts into the water to end another sensational day on the island.
Oh Wait! I did take a short little video right when we first got to Blind Pass at 6pm yesterday. It’s just a little something to show you exactly where we were. This was right before Therese showed me her WHELK! Have a wonderful weekend!
Through cloudy skies and and patchy rain, I was thrilled to find this bright beam of sunshine called a CHESTNUT TURBAN colored brilliant orange. I know it doesn’t look at all “chestnutty” but believe it or not that’s what it is.
My second fave find in the last few days is another ray of sunshine…. a COLORFUL MOON SHELL (or also called a GAUDY NATICA). This one seemed exceptionally colorful AND gaudy…
Clark and I were convinced that the out islands would be loaded with shells still from Tropical Storm Debby and the weather the last then so we hopped on our boat with some friends and headed out to Cayo Costa. I found more sunshine with a little HORSE CONCH candy!
Daron, Jacob and Berringer donned the snorkeling gear…
…And found a FLORIDA CONE!
There were pockets of seashells hidden around the tree roots in the high tide wrack line where we found some BABY’S EARS.
Everybody loves these tree roots! Susan and her son Berringer were no exception. It’s the perfect backdrop for photos.
Clark was busy working his magic with the shelling backhoe and pulled up lots of LETTERED OLIVES and a few TRUE TULIPS…
All in all, it was a really fun trip on the boat but it wasn’t at all “loaded with shells” like we thought. So after our boat ride, we stopped at Blind Pass Sanibel….where it was “loaded”. I found my 2 fave shells of the weekend (the orange TURBAN and the MOON above) within 10 minutes.
I was also fortunate to have met EJ who is a research associate with Department Of Environmental Sciences at UVA (where my nephew just graduated…with distinction!) , Hannah (an educator at UVA as well) and her mom Crystal (AL). It was fascinating to hear about EJ’s project to map the mangrove ecosystems of Sanibel and research the soils and sea grass beds along SouthWest Florida. What a fun job! Well he must have mapped out where the ALPHABET CONES would wash up because they were plucking them out right when I walked by…
Crystal showed me her fave find which was an unusual cluster of shells. It is a double CORRUGATE JEWLBOX, double KITTEN’S PAW, BARNACLES and a few sprouts of CORAL that cemented together to make a beautiful little shell bouquet.
While dodging the storm clouds for 3 days, here’s an assortment of the shells we kept (Clarkis saving the LETTERED OLIVES for next year’s 4th of July parade already). Need help identifying all of these shells? Check out my SEASHELL IDENTIFICATIONpage!
Mother Nature has been providing lots of gifts from her sea this week! Not only did she give us all the Beach Bling on the east end, we were finding some excellent shells off West Gulf Drive west of Tarpon Bay Road this weekend.
In the water at the shoreline, Clarkfound a few ALPHABET CONES, colorful juvie HORSE CONCHS, SHARK’S EYES, dark colorful LETTERED OLIVES and BANDED TULIPS, a double CALICO CLAM and a double ALTERNATE TELLIN.
I was shelling the nice piles on the beach…
I found this sweet little pinkish FLORIDA SPINY JEWELBOX…
And 6 sets of pink and yellow ALTERNATE TELLINS. Here are two of them…
Just in case you didn’t catch it in the first photo, take a look at how pretty and dark orange this FLORIDA CONE is. Clark found this just as we were about to leave the beach. It’s my fave shell of the weekend!
It sure feels good to find an ALPHABET CONE again! I’ve been stumped finding the SANIBEL SIX lately so I was excited to find this baby within a half hour of arriving at Blind Pass Sanibel yesterday evening for a somewhat low tide at a .4. I still didn’t find the SANIBEL SIX though since I couldn’t find a TULIP that was in good enough shape but I’m subbing that bright orange CHESTNUT TURBAN on the right as a good find to be very happy.
See how that sand bar has moved right to the beach now? You never know what to expect the beach to look like until you walk out and see if for yourself. Always a surprise.
The tidal pool was loaded with live FIGHTING CONCHS …
On the other side of the tidal pool, shellers were lined up along the shoreline to catch the seashell loot washing up to the beach.
I met so many cool shellers like Joe and Kerry from Sebastian, FL…
..and Karen and Steve from Michigan…
Karen found two gorgeous bright orange CHESTNUT TURBANS.
Here are Tim and Mary Ann (NY) showing off Mary Ann’s cool shell sifter.
I think the prize of the evening was Tim’s incredibly large FLORIDASPINY JEWELBOX with attached valves. It’s terrific!
Anna (West Virginia) was tickled pink as she filled up her strainer with shells.
She found FIGHTING CONCHS, MUREXES, COCKLES, SCALLOPS and a pretty little TRUE TULIP.
Bob and Johnnie (TN) were on one of the shell piles searching for minis.
And they found them! I loooove this tiny little lemon yellow ROUGH SCALLOP…
They found some other colorful cuties too including a sweet FLAT SCALLOP…
It was a fabulous night meeting so many nice people and seeing the shell piles on the Sanibel side again.
I needed a break from that stupid cameraany way. No, I didn’t take any of theses photos with the J1 and by the word “stupid”, I think you can tell I’m still frustrated with it ;( . Anyway, I took a quick little video with my trusted little Panasonic DMC-ZS6 to pan the beach to show you exactly what it looked like and how the beach has changed…. yet again. Oh, and sorry about the sound. The wind noise is horrible but oh well, I just wanted y’all to see it any way.
UPDATE! Set your DVRs and Tivos for Sunday morning!!!
I forgot to mention the Sanibel/seashell story I spoke in my about March 1 post should be airing this Sunday, April 22nd on CBS Sunday Morning.We don’t know exactly when the segment will air, but the show is on 9 – 10:30am (EST) and Bill’s pieces usually run towards the last half hour of the show (10-10:30 Eastern). The disclaimer is that this is TV, and anything can happen – so it is confirmed best to all of our abilities.