Navigation Menu

Collecting seashells on the beaches of Sanibel, Captiva and the world

Golden Day On Cayo Costa

Posted by on Nov 8, 2015 in Blue Heron, Captiva, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Florida Wildlife, Golden Olive, Melampus, Olive, White Melampus | 7 comments

Golden Olive live mollusk Oliva sayana

We had a golden opportunity to watch a healthy, live GOLDEN OLIVE that Sara found in the water on our iLoveShelling adventure boating to Cayo Costa with Captiva Cruises on Friday. It’s always so thrilling to see a GOLDEN OLIVE (which is the not-so-common yellow color form of the LETTERED OLIVE) much less, be able to the live creature come out to say hi. Of course Sara placed it back in the water where she found it after I quickly snapped a few photos. So cool- good eye Sara!

Sara indiana with golden olive

The Shellucky Bucket of shells really works! On each of my shelling trips, I have a bucket of shells that pass around so everybody can pick a lucky shell to put in their pocket to give them a little bit more luck on our day together. Most shellers are already lucky but I feel like Clark and I are lucky enough so we want to share our luck by putting our shells we collect in the Shellucky Bucket so shellers like Barbara (CA), Judy and Bill (Fort Myers) to tune into even more Rambo shellapathic senses. haha

barbara cali, judy, bill ft myers shells

Every single time I step on the beach at Cayo Costa, there’s a special feeling I get. I think it’s called… peaceful and easy.

Boating to islands for shells

And it’s exciting! Sharon, Gina, Sue and Barb from Kansas City, MO all found SAND DOLLARS.

Sharon, Gina, Sue, Barb Kansas City with sand dollars on Cayo Costa Florida

So did local sheller Dale from Ft Myers.
Dale Ft Myers with sand dollars on Cayo costa

Dave and Becky (Kansas) found SAND DOLLARS too along with some other nice finds too.

Dave Becky Kansas Sand Dollars from Cayo Costa

Kelli (MN) was searching in the high tide wrack line for the mini shells.

Kelli MN at cayo costa

She found a few shells that I haven’t found in a while… a MORTON’S EGG COCKLE (golden!) and a SPECKLED TELLIN. She was also happy to find her first BABYS EAR.

speckled tellin, babys ear, mortons egg cockle

Shells on the beach Cayo Costa Florida

Susie and Chris from Oregon found sweet little COMB BITTERSWEETS in this same shell line pictured above.

Susie Chris Oregon comb bittersweets

I love how each of the COMB BITTERSWEETS have their own unique patterns and golden colors on them.

comb bittersweets

This was a special girls trip for Irma and Joyce who were visiting SW Florida from Canada. Joyce knew every single shell name so it was so much fun to see what they were finding.

Irma, Joyce Canada visit sanibel for shells

Bivalves! Be still my heart. They were thrilled to have found quite a few Purplish Tagelus and to realize how many different colors of JINGLES and COQUINAS are found on Cayo Costa.

bivalve mollusk purplish tagalus jingles coquina

Jackie and Ritchie visiting from Flagler Beach found a few faves… COCKLES and CONCHS.

jackie ritchie flagler beach shells on cayo costa

It’s always so much fun to hang out with so many fabshellous beach combers together in one place to really see how we all find so much joy on the beach. 

collection of seashells and beach bling

I looooove to see all of the different treasures and identify the ones that are firsts time finds for folks. The largest white shell is a BABYS EAR, the brown shell to the left of it is a COFFEE MELAMPUS and the small white shell is a WHITE MELAPUS.
babys ear coffee white melampus


Teresa from North Carolina found all sorts of gifts from the sea and is also showing off her other gifts too- a new bumper sticker and $25 gift certificate from Sealife By Congress .

Teresa NC with shells and gifts from the sea

On every iLoveShelling shelling trips, each passenger receives that $25 gift certificate from Congress Jewelers on Sanibel (and the iLoveShelling bumper sticker- heehee). Oh happy days!

Sealife By Congress Jewelers

It was so much fun to see friends Cliff and Tina on our trip too with their family Scott and Tracy. It was such a beautiful day and seeing y’all made it that much better!

Cliff Tina Scott Tracy

You can join us on one of our iLoveShelling adventures too! For dates and info CLICK HERE


Blue Heron on Cayo Costa


Read More

Collecting Fossils, Seashells and Memories on Boca Grande

Posted by on Jun 19, 2012 in Boca Grande, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Fossil, Gasparilla Island, Nickerbean Vine, Sea Bean, Sea Pearl, Shark's Teeth, White Melampus | 21 comments

Susan lighthouse

I couldn’t be happier to have another Shelling Sister that just moved to Sanibel! I feel like I’ve found my long lost Soul Sister… Susan. Of course she wanted to get the whole shelling experience on the Out Islands of Sanibel…. so before I knew it, she hired Capt. Brian Holaway for a shelling trip and she invited me to go along. Weehoo! First trip with Capt Brian!

susan capt b boat

We left the dock at 8 am but unfortunately the tide was too high to find good shells at that time so Capt Brian took us about an hour north to the beautiful town of Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island to show Susan a few landmarks by golf cart.

golf cart susan capt b

We saw the Gasparilla Island Light…

Boca grande Gasparilla Island lighthouse

We went to the Boca Grande Historical Society

Boca grande historical society

Brian’s friend Kim showed us fossils and artifacts on display at the sweet little museum…

artifacts boca grande historical

We went to the Port Boca Grande Light…

Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum

Then we hit the beach!

Boca Grande beach access

Where we sifted for SHARK’S TEETH…

sifting susan

Susan found a few FOSSILS like SHARK’S TEETH, fragments of STINGRAY BARBS and BONES.

Susans fossils

Along one of the beach paths we found a NICKERBEAN VINE with the prickly sea pods that host SEA BEANS which wash up on the beaches at times.

Nickerbean vine seed pods

These local gray drift seeds are called SEA PEARLS. So… now we know where they come from!

sea bean pearls nickerbean pod

I found a few WHITE MELAMPUS shells that were only 1/2 inch to 3/4…

white melampus identify

 But Susan found the grandpappy WHITE MELAMPUS weighing in at about 1 and 1/2 inches.

white melampus ss

UPDATE 6-21-12 – Susan H commented on Soul Sister Susan’s WHITE MELAMPUS saying “it looks as if Susan found a World Record Size (WRS) one. I’m serious, the largest size listed on Malacolog is 27 mm, which is just about an inch“.

So I got serious and dug through drawers of Clark’s dad old tools he inherited and found some very cool old calipers. Susan brought her shell over and we measured….

calipers measure seashell

Her WHITE MELAMPUS measured in at 30 mm. A World Record Size shell!! Thank you Susan H for giving us a heads up on this exciting news!

White Melampus aperuture ss

 I found a bivalve shell (it has a small hole in the top but it’s still pretty) that I didn’t recognize so after looking through all of my books… it looks like it’s a JUVENILE SOUTHERN QUAHOG. It has thin raised ridges that seem too delicate to be called a QUAHOG but I’m sure that’s what it is.

juvenile quahog

 When we got back to the dock at McCarthy’s Marina, the MANATEES were waiting for us!

manatee mcCarthys marina captiva

 We couldn’t have asked for a prettier day so thank you sooo much Soul Sister Susan for letting me tag along and to Captain Brian for guiding our gorgeous day.

seashells and sharks teeth


PS- Just if you are wondering…. Yes! Super Sheller Clark helped Soul Sister Susan and her beautiful family find their island home in paradise.  (I know, shameless plug …but hey, do you blame me?)

whelk on cayo costa

sailboat sand bar

pam brian susan boat dock captiva

Read More

Bunches of Minis at Bunche Beach

Posted by on Nov 26, 2011 in Fiddler Crab, Ladder Horn, Marginella, Melampus, Nassa | 25 comments

Bunch Beach Fort Myers Florida

In Fort Myers a mile or so before you get to the Sanibel causeway bridge, you’ll see a sign on your left for Bunche Beach. Clark and I were running a little early (very unusual) to meet some friends so we decided kill a few minutes and check out the beach. I think it’s only the second time we’ve ever stopped at Bunche Beach.

sand sculpture bunche beach

We knew it was low tide but had no idea it would be this cool.

moon walk on the horizon

It felt like we were on the moon.

low tide bunche beach fort myers florida

The crazy FIDDLER CRABS were out in the masses here too. If you missed my video of their madness, CLICK HERE.

fiddler crab fight bunche beach fort myers sanibel

fiddler crabs bunche beach florida

And lots of minis!

seashells at Bunche beach Florida

At first, I thought there were oodles of AUGERS but noticed the lip was a little fat… they are LADDER HORN SNAILS.

ladder horn snails

You can see it a little better in this next photo. Cute, huh?

ladder horn snail

And there were mounds of MELAMPUS.

Melampus seashells

Melampus seashell both

These little NASSA shells are so bright yellow and tiny, I wasn’t sure if they are the BRUISED NASSAor not. I think they may be juveniles.

Yellow Nassa

Nassa seashell

Last but not least, I found three MARGINELLAS.

Marginella seashells

 We had so much fun exploring Bunche Beach, I think we’ll make this a regular stop when we go off island.

Clark on the horizon beach

Read More

Smiles For Seashells

Posted by on Apr 3, 2011 in Horse Conch Egg Casing, Melampus, Sanibel, Sea anemone | 14 comments

shell crazy ladies

This is shelling heaven. I’m sure you understand why Clare and Robin have such great smiles on their faces as they sift through scoops of shells Clare just brought back from the water.

collecting wentletraps

Those are WENTLETRAPS they are finding!

wrack of Sanibel seashells

I felt so lucky all weekend to be able to sift through such a wide wrack of shells and talk to so many happy successful shellers at the lighthouse beach on Sanibel.

Top ten seashells

This is a day’s shell collection that any sheller would smile about. It’s like the top ten shells of Sanibel, isn’t it? I saw Connie again (from March 30 post) with a FIGHTING CONCH, PAPER FIG, TRUE TULIP, HORSE CONCH, FLORIDA CONE, ALPHABET CONES, LIGHTNING WHELK, a little tiny KING’S CROWN, and a PEAR WHELK on her shelling screen (oh yeah, and a PONDEROUS ARK but not sure I would call that a top ten shell- haha).

seashell colander

Connie with her top ten.

girl with cone shell

Rachael (Denver) found a FLORIDA CONE and two minutes later, she and her Aunt Joan scooped up all of these shells from the surf…

scoop of seashells

All of these shells in just two scoops!

shellers rachael and joan

Rachael and her Aunt Joan (Rachael’s mom’s twin sister!) smiling big.

Coffee Melampus seashell

This weekend you could find big shells but Hudson (St Pete, FL) had keen eyes to find beautiful minis too. This is a gorgeous COFFEE MELAMPUS.

boy shells with melampus shell

Happy Hudson!

girl with starfish

Hudson’s little sister Ilene filled up her bucket with COCKLES and DOSINIAS. She even saved a STARFISH by putting it back in the water.

guy collecting seashells

This guy is a malacologist in the making if you ask me. When I started talking to Mitchel (MI), he told me he was a scientific shell collector. I watched him scoop up a few good scoops of shells out of the water to take back to the sand to sift through them. Every time he’d dump the shells out, he’d draw a crowd of people to see what he found….. most of them were girls. Smart guy.

guy with shell bag

Nice Conus spurius (ALPHABET CONE), Dr M.

pens shell and tulip egg casing

There were so many different things  like this HORSE CONCH EGG CASE with a PEN SHELL washing up on the beach that I could talk about it for days….. and I think will. I’ll have to show the rest of my photos tomorrow since I’ve run out of time. I have so many more good ones …. like this

SEA ANEMONE flower…..

Sea anemone flower

Read More

Perplexed Olive

Posted by on Oct 18, 2010 in Lighthouse, Olivella Perplexa, Sanibel, White Melampus | 19 comments

olivella perplexa shell

olivella perplexa?

I’m a little perplexed. Is this an OLIVELLA PERPLEXA shell? First of all, I couldn’t find a common name for it or a good reference for it. Not that I don’t have respect for the “real” names of the shells we find, but I just happen to prefer the common …..ok- the “easy” name. And second, I couldn’t get a good picture of it. Yet another camera died on me…grrrrr. Well, I’ve just got to get used to this Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS6.

olivella perplexa seashell

olivella perplexa( ? )other side

This shell doesn’t have a lot of detail but I wanted you to see the whorls on the top.

Olivella perplexa

Olivella perplexa (?)

Maybe that’s a little better photo. Clark pulled this up in the sifter while looking for wentletraps. I dont think I’ve ever found these shells before but maybe I just never thought they looked like much… I don’t know…. See? I’m perplexed.

seashell collecting

Clark on the hunt

UPDATE: January 22, 2014… Ive just realized that since this post was written (October 18, 2010), I have learned this shell is a WHITE MELAMPUS. Take a look at my post about these shells written June 19, 2012…






Read More

My Goodness Melampus

Posted by on Sep 19, 2010 in Lighthouse, Melampus, Sanibel | 12 comments

Eastern Melampus snail shell ......... (only 1/2 inch big)

As you know, I love the mini shells. The problem is I just think they are so stinkin cute I get carried away with how adorable they are and sometimes clump them all together as a group. Everybody loves baby things, right? I don’t clump the WENTLETRAPS and my candies (JUVENILE HORSE CONCHS) with them because …well… they are my faves. But I think I better start paying more attention to each different mini shell to give them their due respect. They deserve it! They are just as beautiful.

I misnamed this shell pictured above on my September 14 post Many Mini Sea Shells as being a Marginella. I’m not sure why I’ve always called it that but it’s not. It’s a MELAMPUS. Thank goodness we have MurexKen !!!! He commented on that post to very kindly let us know that it looked like a Melampus bidentatus. He says there four species of Melampus on Sanibel so, of course, all I searched for at the lighthouse beach was Melampus shells to find a few more.

Melampus sea shells

They all look so different! I don’t think I found all 4 species but maybe the bottom left is a COFFEE MELAMPUS. I will definitely pay more attention to these little cuties and hopefully I won’t mislead yall to call them by the wrong name….. but then, this is how we learn, right?

Dragonfly on the beach

Meet  more shellers on the beach ….

Samantha, Jean and Stephanie (Orlando, Ft Myers)

Ashley, Amber, Holly, Nick and Margaret (Salt Lake, UT and Ft Myers)

Read More

Pin It on Pinterest