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.
It’s been such a month on the islands of spotting great wildlife. Everywhere 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.
Melissa, Juliana, Becky and Garrett from Colorado walked around those tree roots to find some nice empty shells as well.
They found a bag full of double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…
Sisters Teresa and Elaine from Pensacola, FL found some keepers on the Gulf side of the island.
Elaine collected oodles of different color JINGLES to use for a picture frame craft project.
D.J. from Avon Park, Florida found empty LETTERED OLIVES and an ANGEL WING wading knee high in the water.
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.
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!
And the DOLPHINS weren’t the only wildlife coming up to say “Hi” to us… meet Casper The Friendly GHOST CRAB.
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.
He even ran into a shelling net like he wanted to play. hahaha What a character!
Even though the wildlife was exceptional, it was a wonderful day to meet exceptional people like Vicki and Bill from Arizona.
… 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.
… 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!
… And to see Bill, Michelle, Alyson and Anthony from Illinois.
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!
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.
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.
You won’t want to miss the upcoming shelling cruises! Check out the new dates CLICK HERE
I’ve combed the beaches from Blind Pass Captiva to the east of Sanibel at the lighthouse. Mid island at Gulf Side City Park is still the best shelling I’ve found in the last few days. The shells in the photo above were only a few that Carol from PA pulled out of her shell bag to show me. Pretty nice finds, huh? The OLIVES have been gorgeous. Well… there’s the ALPHABET CONE, FLORIDA CONE, BANDED TULIPS, MUREXES, WHELKS and she had a few more of those sweet PAPER FIGS in her bag too.
There were still plenty of FIGHTING CONCHS (dead and alive) like I showed you the other day but what caught my eye was this beautiful BROAD PAPER COCKLE.
We have a few in our collection but some of them have chips in them so I’m always happy to find a pretty valve like this one!
While I was at the lighthouse beach finding WENTLETRAPS (I’ll show you those on my next post), I found a KEYHOLE LIMPET.
For me, finding shells is the cherry on top… but I also love to see all of the different kinds of BEACH BLING! And I’m not the only one… Dee pointed out this deep purple BRYOZOAN COLONY growing on the wire of a crab trap. Isn’t that so cool?
Most people walk right on by a mess of SEAWEED laying on the beach. Not me! I love to pick through it to see what is hiding in there.
I found SEA WHIPS and ATLANTIC WING OYSTERS in all this BEACH BLING. Here’s a little movie to show you how I found them… (click on the next image if the movie thingie doesnt show up)
So there are so many different things to check out on the beaches right now… BUT… unfortunately we have RED TIDE coming in as well. I didn’t feel any respiratory problems today (which I have in the past when it was bad) but I did see dead fish. Yuck! Since they just washed in, I didnt really smell any bad odors so I didn’t mind walking right past them- there’s too many other cool things to inspect! Lee County issued a beach advisory yesterday so if you think you might have problems… read HERE.
Merry Christmas, SS Marcia! In my last post, Marcia asked me if I had seen beach art yet. I had to laugh when the first thing I saw when I walked on the beach was this Christmas tree made with PEN SHELLS. Then right beside it was this beautiful menorah! This is the first that I’ve seen this season so thank you to the beach art artist who made these!
There was so much Beach Bling in between Donax Rd and Fulgur Rd on Sanibel.
This was one of several TULIP EGG CASES I saw…
I didn’t even see the second KEYHOLE LIMPET on the left when I took this photo. I was so amazed at the dark stripes on the big LIMPET and the colors on the tiny APPLE MUREX and BANDED TULIP.
In one little area, the high tide was bringing in shells to build up this nice pile. See that gorgeous LIGHTNING WHELK?
Maybe the golden rays of this Sanibel sunset shining on the amber edges of the ROUGH PENS will inspire the richly talented artists who create their beach art masterpieces for we mere beachcombers to fill our hearts with joy for the holidays. Ahem…. did I ask that nicely enough for more fun holiday beach art stuff? ;)
The other day, shelling sistah Tricia G asked me if I’ve ever found a MARGINELLA on Sanibel since I don’t have one listed on the SEASHELL IDENTIFICATION page. I’ve found them before but, come to think about it, I sure haven’t found one in a long time. So last night, we headed for the lighthouse because I was on the hunt for that sneaky MARGINELLA. To double my chances, I reminded Super Sheller Clark that I wanted to find one to add to the I.D. page so I told him to be on the lookout too.
Yippee! I found one!….. er…..well…. Clark found it. He was scooping at the surf line when all the sudden I hear him laugh. “Look what I found”.
Marginellas and a broken dove
Then he found another one! And then yes, I found that little one on the right. Whew- I wasn’t completely out-shelled. Keep in mind, the biggest one is just shy of 1/2 inch and they sort of look like a BUBBLE if the aperture side is down so they aren’t easy to find. I found the broken one on the left too so I added it to the photo since I thought it was the same shell.
Marginella and Dove? aperture
Dang it! That shell on the left really doesn’t even look like a MARGINELLA at all since it has those teeth on the lip. I couldn’t even see those teeth until I took the picture and looked at it on the computer. In the last few years I can’t even look at my phone or a menu without holding them as far as my arms will extend. You know what I mean? Ha! Geez. Oh well, I’ve been fortunate so far with my eyes so I shouldn’t complain….. it’s just weird…. I’m just sayin. ;) Alright, back to the shell…. I think the broken shell on the far left is a DOVE shell just by what’s left of it but I could be wrong (I gotta get back to trusting my own eyes again- yikes!). It’s not like I can where “readers” on the beach…. maybe? ….. nahhhh.
Brown banded wentletrap
I didn’t need glasses to spot this BROWN-BAND WENTLETRAP though. Love that color running through it!
Brown banded wentletrap aperture
Nancy from Seashell Wreaths by Nancy reminded me that the name WENTLETRAP is derived from a Dutch word meaning spiral staircase.
We were on the mini shell hunt so we ran across lots of the BUBBLE shells…. appropriately named as well….
We found lots of AUGERS which again, look like their name…
So how about SHARP-RIB DRILL? That flat rib or blade off the sides is pretty sharp, huh?
Now this is getting funny! I didn’t plan on dissecting common names of shells tonight but it’s kind of fun, right? So let’s look at the KEYHOLE LIMPET…..
….and the BUTTON shell….
This CONE shell certainly looks like an ice cream cone….
But I’m not sure that this RICE OLIVE shell looks like an olive but it sure looks like rice…
Picture this next shell on top of Barbie’s doll head… yep, it’s a TURBAN. Again, I just thought this shell was pretty and knobby. I didn’t realize it had a hole in it and the barnacles attached…the eyes are going! Oh well, it’s still pretty.
We had our eyes (failing or not) focused on finding a special miniature shell by looking for the particular pattern of a MARGINELLA and we found it. We shell this beach on the east end of Sanibel regularly but we’ve probably walked right by hundreds of them just because we have been focused on other patterns of shells that we see on a regular basis. i Love Shelling. I really do because it opens my eyes to see beautiful things that I normally would never appreciate.
Our Sanibel lighthouse shells last night
Sanibel pier sunset
Top row- Pear whelk, Drill, Dwarf olive, Bubble (above), Keyhole Limpet, Tusk, Wentletrap. Bottom row- Auger, Coquina, Murex, Fighting conch
Shelling is just like life…. look beyond the obvious and you will find something beautiful and extraordinary. I always feel a calmness come over me when I search for the mini shells. When I begin to focus on all the different wash lines of the beach, I feel myself zone everything else out.
Wentletrap in tidal pool
One weedy wash line leads me to another line of sticks, broken shells and what looks like mulch. See that little WENTLETRAP among all that “mulch”? I tried to keep that bubbly foam in the photo so you could tell how it was in about 2 inches of water.
Tidal pools at sunset
I come out of the shelling zone every once in a while to soak in how beautiful this time of day is here on the beach at the lighthouse. Calming.
Tusk shell in sand
Then I go into the shelling zone again and remember to look for TUSK shells too. Can you even spot the TUSK shell?
Tusk shell on my finger
I didn’t actually mean to focus on the sand instead of my finger but I’m kinda glad you got to see how big (or I should say how “little”) the TUSK shell is AND to see what the area looked like where I found it.
Sanibel lighthouse miniature shells
These are some of the same shells as the first picture but there’s also a CANTHARUS (top left with barnacles on it), 2 KITTENS PAWS, BARNACLES, a BABY’S EAR (broken), a TURBAN and 2 CROSS BARRED VENUS clams.
“Sometimes the treasures we take from the beach are the friends we meet there~” quote by Carla Barone…
Gerry (New Hampshire) with a sea whip
Chris (IL) collecting minis
Sanibel is the perfect canvas to paint sensational sunsets, beautiful beaches, wonderful wildlife and of course, bountiful beach treasures.
Painting the Sanibel lighthouse
Clark and I walked the beach around the lighthouse late yesterday afternoon in search of some minis. I was looking for KEYHOLE LIMPETS for a picture for my Seashell Identification page. I looked in all of my bags, jars, buckets and drawers of shells and couldn’t believe I couldn’t find a good LIMPET to photograph.
Keyhole Limpet in sand
I found one! …..and another and another. Then Clark joined the hunt and found a few too.
My eye was focused on the pattern of these LIMPETS but I kept seeing the SPOTTED SLIPPERS so I picked them up too.
Spotted Slipper Shells
Since I was focused on the minis I even found TUSK SHELLS which are only 3/8 of an inch long. I was tickled to find them since I’m just learning to have the eye for them. I found three hanging out with a WENTLETRAP and two DWARF OLIVES.
Clark found this teeny tiny TURKEY WING. So to show how small it is, I put it next to the other minis.
Miniatures with turkey wing
I think I’ve been having miniatures shells on the brain because I just can’t believe how sweet this little beautifully framed piece of shell art is I received last week from Sanibel Sister Judith. You have to remember her! She is one of the sisters that uses those giant sized tweezers to pick up the minis at the lighthouse when they come to visit. This is what they make after picking up all those sweet little shells. Talk about a beautiful canvas for those mini shells. I absolutely love it! Thank you Sanibel Sister Judith!
Judith’s beautiful shell art
Judith should enter her work into the Sanibel Shell Fair and Show. It’s starts this Thursday March 3, 2011 and runs through Sunday March 5. So don’t forget and I hope to see you there!
Sanibel Sisters Linda and Judith