Shell trip! Clark and I took a beach combing road trip from Sanibel Island to Pass-A-Grille over the weekend … and had blast finding lots of shells. We found all of the shells in this next photo as we walked from our hotel Inn On The Beach, down to the south tip of the island at jetty rocks to the Pass-a-Grill North Channel.
It was like an OLIVE garden just at the water’s edge but we even found some of my faves…. WORMIES.
There were lots of shells to pick through on the gorgeous beach as well…
I was tickled to find a teeny tiny BROWN-BANDED WENTLETRAP hiding in the mix.
There is an island right across the channel from the jetty rocks called “Shell Island”. What? Shell Island? Of course we had to explore it! There are ferries to take people over to the island but since we wanted to spend all day on the water, we rented a boat. Look at the color of the fabshellous LIGHTNING WHELKS we found. Gorgeous!
We actually had more luck on the back flats of Shell Island instead of the beach on the Gulf Of Mexico side. There were lots of those empty LIGHTNING WHELKS, oodles of double SUNRAY VENUS shells and some really funny live KINGS CROWNS scooting all along shallow waters so I did a little time lapse video of one of them to show you. Ha! Groovy KING CROWN dance moves coming up….
So in between the KINGS CROWN congo, Clark found one of the prettiest orange colored LIGHTNING WHELKS we’ve ever seen. It is really the color of a carrot!
Ok- I took another video too of all of those empty LIGHTNING WHELKS. I couldn’t believe my eyes!
We also boated over to Egmont Key to find a beautiful sandy beach island.
We didn’t find as many shells on Emont Key but we found a couple of ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHERS. Ohhhhh such treat to find these pink feathers!
At the end of the day, we sat our on our lovely porch to admire all of the beautiful colors and patterns of so many different shells we ended up finding.
We had a lovely time shelling and then relaxing in our beautiful room at Inn On The Beach.
Not a bad way to celebrate our 19 year wedding anniversary, huh?
Sunrise. There’s something so peaceful about beach combing on Sanibel as the sun rises over the Gulf Of Mexico. It makes the rest day even more special after receiving a gift of the sea like this beautiful LIGHTNING WHELK.
Soooo…. why don’t I do it more often??? Ack! It’s terrible that I don’t take advantage of seeing such an incredible welcome from the sun each day. But… I’m just not a morning person. I do love to shell in the morning when there is a very low tide like this week at sunrise so I went to Gulfside City Park to find these beauties…
Every day has been such different shelling at Blind Pass the past few weeks so since I was already up and at ’em, I showed up at Blind Pass Sanibel by 8 am to find the shell pile getting even bigger. As I’ve said before, it only take 2 hours for this beach to change from “not many shells” to “Holy cowrie! Look at all the shells!”.
I met Carol and Terri from Pennsylvania who were thrilled with their morning treasures…
These were Terri’s fave finds. Wow! She said if she had to pick one, that stunning GAUDY NATICA (COLORFUL MOON SHELL) was her ultimate find.
I asked Carol what her fave treasures were from the morning and this is what she showed me. Wow again! Two dark KINGS CROWNS and they both found CANDY!
This was just a peek in Terri’s shell bag…
So I think I will just enjoy the few mornings like this when I have the umpfff to get out to see sunrise.
It makes the day even more special.
I’m working on dates for more shelling adventures so I hope to have those by the end of the week. Stay tuned!
Cool breezes and dramatic skies of summer evenings on the islands are fantastic. Oh… and did I forget to mention there are shells too? I felt a little giddy being at Blind Pass Sanibel last night since I haven’t been there in 2 weeks. It was lovely! Especially lovely after seeing the shells Deborah, Brian and Courtney from Jacksonville (FL) were finding. Courtney found that gorgeous knobless FIGHTING CONCH and NUTMEG.
… While her mom Deborah found her own NUTMEG and BANDED TULIP.
Brian had a pocketful of LIGHTNING WHELKS and CONCHS.
Alexis (NJ) and Todd (NY) just flew in for a weeks vacation. First stop? Blind Pass to look for shells!
They were on their way to making day #1 a great success. Did you notice Alexis’s shell bangles? She said she got them in Hawaii… but hmmmmm… maybe my OLIVE STRING bracelet could use a fancy version too.
Clark was busy finding a few goodies too…
Oh yaya, candy! The SCALLOP, OLIVE, WHELK and HORSE CONCH Clark found are oh so nice… but that KING’S CROWN! Come to Momma!
I can’t get over the skies of summertime! We got to the beach last night an hour before sunset (at low tide) and I snapped this photo of the pretty sky.
Then I shelled and gabbed a while meeting new friends. I gave most of my shells away other than a sweet little CHESTNUT TURBAN the color of a pumpkin (oops! I didnt take a photo- sorry!) But… meanwhile … the sky was changing crazy colors by the second. Each direction I turned the sky looked different. At a point it was purple! It gave everything on the beach a purple tint as well so I saw a “grape” SCALLOP and snapped another photo.
I turned towards Captiva and this is what I saw!
When we were leaving the beach about 15 minutes after sunset, I snapped another shot about the same place I took it before sunset. Oh, the summer skies of Sanibel.
Hold On! Get ready to dial your Shellaphones! We have Exciting News! Not only can we shell together during the iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa on Thursday August 15th at 1pm, but you can also join us for the FULL DAY CRUISE (10am to 4pm) to the north side of Cayo Costa on Wednesday August 28th… during Shellabaloo 3! We’ve had lots of requests to join Shellabaloo 3 for a day so now you can participate! Meet and mingle for a shell of a good time. Call 239-472-5300 to reserve your space for the iLoveShelling cruise on either half day August 15th or full day August 28th!
For more Information CLICK HERE or on the next image…
Everything seemed to be coming up pink roses while I took a walk on the south stretch of Fort Myers Beach Friday afternoon. ROSE PETAL TELLINS, ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHERS, AUGERS, SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS and BANDED TULIPS all had a beautiful pink tint. The beach was blushing with beauty!
The last time I was on this beach I found oodles of shells but I thought it may have been because of Tropical Storm Andrea. Obviously not! I went to see my friend Stefanie on south Fort Myers Beach again but this time, she went shelling with me. She was thrilled to find a SAND DOLLAR!
Well, let me rephrase… she was ecstatic when she found 7 SAND DOLLARS (one broke- waaaa)! Along with the ROSE PETAL TELLINS and ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHERS, we found a GAUDY NATICA, a NUMEG, OLIVES, FIGHTING CONCHS, 2 SHARKS EYS and 4 KINGS CROWNS. Wow!
You had to pick up each FIGHTING CONCH and KING’S CROWN to look inside to make sure nobody was home. It was fun to see lots of live shells but it was way more fun to find an empty one to shout about. “It’s empty! Look how pretty!”
We met Alysa and Justin visiting from Colorado…
They were finding great shells too!
I knew we were going to have good luck anyway though. As soon as we stepped on the south end of the beach we were surrounded by DRAGONFLIES. I’m not sure you can see them all in the next photo but click on the pic to enlarge it to see thousands of them. They bring good luck!
I tried to rescue one of them that got stuck in a tidal pool but not sure if she made it. She was sooooo beautiful!
Stefanie and I had a wonderful time collecting not only shells but very cool BEACH BLING. It’s a hidden gem!
This beach reminds me so much of Lover’s Key beaches with the same types of shells but with the added bonus of SAND DOLLARS. I guess it should remind me of that beach since it’s right across the bridge from Lover’s Key State Park. It’s a little harder to get to this beach because there is limited public parking…BUT… there are about 5 metered parking spaces about 5 blocks north on Flamingo Street. If you want to do a little shopping in Santini Plaza, you could park there and walk across the street to the beach. I think this is another reason why it’s such a good shelling beach- not much competition! LOL
PS- Remember- Big hats and sunscreen. We only want to find pink shells and pink bling… not pink skin!
The most fascinating part about being a daily beach comber is having the opportunity to witness life stages of creatures of the sea. Over the years, we’ve been so fortunate to see KINGS CROWNS (Melongena corona) in different life phases which I will show you today to round out the latest cool stage I saw this week at low tide. The first amazement about KINGS CROWNS is looking at the empty shell. We have been lucky enough to find quite a few empty KINGS CROWN seashells washing up on our beaches in Southwest Florida. They’re so beautiful!
To find a shell occupied with the MOLLUSK responsible for making such an architecturally brilliant home is always marveling to me. Two years ago, Clark found a ginormous LIVE KINGS CROWN in the shallow water. We were both in awe to see such a magnificent site of a warrior and king of his territory to grow to that size. We were happy to return it to it’s home in the water to reign over his kingdom.
There have been other KINGS CROWNS also happy and healthy after finishing a meal of CRAB de jour.
And we’ve seen them delighting in the main course of SOUTHERN QUAHOG sashimi.
But then, we’ve also seen the other side of the battle in the food chain. This huge LIVE TRUE TULIP made an appetizer out of this little guy. Now you see why these MOLLUSKS’ shells are perfectly empty at times- they get eaten by larger MOLLUSKS. This KINGS CROWN had no chance against this very strong large TULIP. Down the hatch, little KINGS CROWN.
We’ve also seen remnants of a different part of their life… We’ve found dried KINGS CROWN EGG CASES on the beach…
Speaking of EGG CASINGS…. One of the coolest things we’ve ever seen is this momma KINGS CROWN laying her eggs on an old shell. Clark picked up this whole mass not realizing she was right in the middle of giving birth. After I snapped a quick photo, Clark gently eased her back in the water and she went right along on her merry way to spit out a few more segments. A natural wonder we’ll never forget!
Notice that I said “One of the coolest things…”. I’ve got just as cool or maybe even cooler! I witnessed another miracle a few days ago… Baby KINGS CROWNS hatching out of their EGG SACKS!
This was such an awesome site to see! This was one of those days when I so wished I had one of those mack daddy cameras with the big macro lens. These babies were so itty bitty and I could see they still had the embryonic fluid….. okay honestly, I dont know if it was actually embryonic fluid… but I do know they had cute little slime trails on each of the EGG CAPSULES. So amazing!
We’ve seen so many different cycles in a KING”S CROWN life, I wanted to reminisce about them with you before I showed you the video of these babies in action? Yes! I have video! At the end of the movie, I made a slo-mo to make sure you see the little guy on the right wiggling away. Adorable! Enjoy!
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!
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!
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…
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!
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…
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.
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…
My favorite one was this BROAD PAPER COCKLE! I love this shell!