The shell world is a fascinating adventure to learn about the lives of MOLLUSKS and the people who collect their shells on the beaches across the planet. Because I am one of those people obsessed with living my life in the world of shells, I love to hang out with people who love to share their knowledge about them too. The Sanibel Shell Festival is a great place to do that.
I’m thrilled Sunnye (TX) shared her colorful shell collection she found beachcombing in Eleuthera, Bahamas (top photo).
Her sister Lisa (TX)had some awesome displays too for which they both won awards.
Lisa EXHIBITED this gorgeous SMOOTH TELLIN…
But I looooved this cool display Lisa did showing the difference between the SHARKS EYE and the FALSE SHARKS EYE. It explains and shows the difference in detail (for more info check out my post Sanibel Shark Week… Featuring The Shark Eye Shell).
And then there’s Stef! I’m so happy for her- she won a blue ribbon for her double FLAT SCALLOP she found by Sanibel’s Island Inn.
Wait… did you miss what I said? Okay, lemme slow down… she found both sides of her FLAT ZIGZAG SCALLOP still hinged together. Exactly like she displayed it… on Sanibel… and with amazing color. Wow! Years ago, I was thrilled when Clark found just the other half of a FLAT (the right valve) since it’s rare to find them here (CLICK HERE to see what the other side looks like) … and she found both perfect valves still together. Shellzam! Congrats Stefanie!
There were lots of displays showing ALBINO shells this year but this one by Ken and Joyce Matthys was really very cool. Here they shows tons of ALBINO FLORIDA PRICKLY COCKLES they’ve found through the years…
In the next case they show FLORIDA PRICKLY COCKLES which are ALBINISTIC. They explain… “Some shells lack their normal color, but they are not pure white. Instead they may be pale yellow, cream-colored, or have other hints of color. These are referred to as being albinistic”. Hmmm Haven’t you seen some like this? I have and now we’ve learned a name for this color form… ALBINISTIC.
Anne Joffe’s seashell emergency room display was hilarious and voted best for People’s Choice award. Freak and damaged shells that repaired themselves to form in odd shapes were propped in mini doctor’s offices, emergency rooms and surgery rooms with bandages, crutches and doctors notes.
Check out this PALLID CARRIER SHELL with an attached GLASS SPONGE (from the Philippines) by exhibitor Robert Linn. Wildly beautiful.
Last week I posted about the artistic side of the show with SAILORS VALENTINES, shell frames and all sorts of shell artand craft but when you look at some of these shells like these ATLANTIC TRITONS exhibited by Holly Nordyke, you realize you are looking at the most perfect work of art ever made. Stunning.
Hope to see you next year at the 80th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival!
Star light, star bright. First STARFISH yesterday in sight.
SEASTARS are always so much fun to see. This beautiful creature went right back in the calm, clear Gulf water where Linda and David (TN) found it while on our iLoveShelling adventure with Captiva Cruises yesterday.
I was also thrilled to see this gorgeous SHARKS EYE OPERCULUM that Jill (Peculiar, Missouri) found. She brought it over for me to identify and I think I went a little crazy… “Omigosh it’s perfect!”.
I always love when other beachcombers have an eye for the unusual pieces of beach bling and want to know what it is. She said she saw that cool swirl on it so she picked it up. Most people would have walked right over it… but not Jill! (check out our first one CLICK HERE-errr…. but its nowhere near as pretty as her’s).
I think Jill found that OPERCULUM because she has an eye for the small BIVALVES and likes to find shells she’s never found before. I think there are about 9 different species on her towel she brought to wrap them in for safe travels.
Jill’s not the only one that loves the bling and unusual, Shelly found all sorts of fab finds like FEATHERS, SEA URCHINS and huge shell pieces. Look at that happy smile on such a beautiful day at Cayo Costa Island!
The water was an amazing 75 degrees for Mac and Delta ( Los Angeles) to wade and scoop up a few treasures like LETTERED OLIVES and FIGHTING CONCHS. So much fun hanging out in the water with y’all!
We all found oodles of live OLIVES in the water and on the beach that we had to put back where we found them… but we were also lucky enough to find a few really glossy empty ones too.
Sue and Jens from NC were happy to find a few OLIVES and a stunning LIGHTNING WHELK too.
And PURPLISH TAGELUS shells too. These were scattered all along the mid tied wrack line on the beach so once we found one, we followed the same tide line to find so many more.
That was actually the same shell line that Krys and Mandy (Richmond, Virginia) found lots of dried out SEA URCHINS. They also found some sweet little COMB BITTERSWEETS with amazing patterns but my photo just didn’t turn out well. (I’m going to look for those COMB BITTERSWEETS the next time on Cayo Costa)
We were barely off the boat stepping foot on the beach when Louisette and Michael (from Massachusettes) found a pile of shells they started scooping up. Louisette is a Sailor’s Valentine artist so she was in heaven with all of the common ARKS, VENUS shells, JINGLES and KITTENS PAWS all the same size for her work.
Local shellers Cazzie and Beth (Fort Myers Beach) found showed me their fave shells they found- Cazzie with a CONCH and Beth with a juvie lemon yellow HORSE CONCH.
So Cazzie realized that he had never seen this shell ever before on our beaches … hmmmm… Yep- he was right. We don’t normally find these type CONCHS on our beaches. It’s what I call a “WEDDING SHELL” which is a shell from the other side of the planet that someone bought in a shell shop and threw out on the beach to decorate or something (for whole story- CLICK HERE). I haven’t seen that many WEDDING SHELLS at Cayo Costa so it was pretty fun to see this one and know it is a very common shell in Okinawa, Japan– we saw them on every single beach when we visited there. When I asked Cazzie what his favorite shell of the day was… he showed me the WEDDING SHELL. :)
Rena brought her friend Nancy (Boston) who had never even heard the term “sheller” before this trip- A newbie! She might even consider herself a sheller now? haha Hopefully!
I had a twin on our cruise! Susan and I showed up with the same outfits on- same hat and iLoveShelling tee shirt. She and her husband Stuart were on a cruise last year with us when Stuart found an OLIVE without a tip. She took that OLIVE shell to Congress Jewelers with her certificate she received on our iLoveShelling trip and had this necklace made she has on this the next photo. A wonderful memory from last year- i LOVE that!!!! So much fun to see y’all.
Just like Susan and Stuart, each passenger on this and all iLoveShelling cruises received a $25 gift certificate from Congress Jewelers (formerly Sealife By Congress) to use in their store. Thank you Congress Jewelers for being so generous with the iLoveShelling community!
It’s always so much fun to take a boat excursion to another island with a bunch of other shellers that really know how to enjoy the day. Not only did we see MANATEES, DOLPHINS, ROSEATE SPOONBILLS and other really cool wildlife, we had a blast beach combing on our Sight Sea-R boat cruise to Big Hickory Island this week.
Just hanging out with Gigi and Michele from Melbourne, FL made the day really awesome.
On the boat ride back, Gigi put all of her favorite shells she found on her yellow sifter to show us. I especially love that perfect FLAT SCALLOP. Wow- nice collection!
Joanne tickled me with her infectious with her laugh and now I know why she’s so happy. She and James (Toronto, Canada) have quite a shelling eye and have some great luck.
OMG, Look at the shells and bling they found!
Barry, Jennifer and Chris had some pretty dang good luck too…
They found such a variety of cool treasures from SAND DOLLARS, GAUDY NATICAS, ANGEL WINGS, SHARKS EYES to some very cool ALPHABET CONES.
It was a PAPER FIG kind of day for Cherie, Joe and Olivia from MD
Joe showed me 2 of the many PAPER FIGS they found but they also found ANGEL WINGS and PEAR WHELKS.
Mary and Art (Bradenton, FL) were happy to find a shell they had never found before…
Mary found her first GAUDY NATICA…
A perfect SAND DOLLAR washed up right in front of Shari and Shelby from New Mexico.
This is such a cute size…
Cutie shellooties Jackson and Emma Grace (GA) were adorable on the beach. Emma Grace found a perfect SAND DOLLAR to0.
I love to meet families like Miranda Moon, Buddy, Moni and Jeremy from St Louis who are just a passionate and curious about beach combing as I am.
Miranda Moon knew she had something unusual when she found a STINGRAY MOUTH PLATE. Very cool find!
A happy family is a beautiful family. That sums it up with Savannah, Steve, Foster and Stacy from Texas – happy, beautiful and awesome beach combers!
Pat and Gary were visiting from the east coast of Florida to do some shelling and enjoy the west coast of Florida. Nice to meet y’all!
Kari and Ava Dallas are sooooo sweet! After having a great time coming the beaches of Big Hickory with us, Kari and Ava had to head directly to the airport to catch their flight back to Dallas after our shelling adventure. Since they couldn’t take their shelling rake on the plane, she gave it to another sheller on our cruise. Soooo sweet!
Look who else was on our trip with us… Robin from Shellabaloo 6! In January I got to spend time with Robin and her mom Bobbie and this time Robin was with her sister Jill visiting from Minnesota. Sorry I missed you his time Bobbie!
Everybody found gifts from the sea AND another gift of jewelry as well…. Just as we do on every iLoveShelling cruise, each passenger received a $25 gift certificate from Sealife By Congress in Congress Jewelers. Such a treat!
Such a fabshellous day.
Join me on an iLoveShelling Adventure. FOR more info… CLICK HERE
You wanted a video? Is that what I heard earlier this week after I posted photos of lots of living sea creaturesin the low tidal pools? If so…. I’m delivering! I captured some footage of the awesome SHARKS EYE, STARFISH, SAND DOLLAR, FIGHTING CONCHS, BABYS EAR and an incredible LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL. Wherever in the world you might be, sit back and enjoy the beautiful life on the Sanibel beaches.
This is what a path to beach combing paradise looks like.
After arriving to the secluded island of Big Hickory on our iLoveShelling cruise with Sight Sea-R Cruisesyesterday, we were welcomed by a shell filled beach and calm Gulf Of Mexico waters.
WORM SHELLS and beautiful pieces of CORAL were every where…
In less than 5 minutes, Andrea found an incredishell LACE MUREX. She is such a lucky sheller! I met her in March on Sanibel after she found masses of great shells but the one I remembered the most was a CABRITS MUREX so it was so good to see her again. (CLICK HEREto see that post)
The first shell Gita found was a beautiful ROSE PETAL TELLIN.
It was so much fun to pick through the many shell piles to find so many treasures.
David and Willow were enjoying every minute especially the second Willow found her ANGEL WING. It’s the one shell she wanted to find on her whole trip from Colorado.
One more thing checked off her “bucket” list…
Don, Chuck and Marti from Libertyville, IL found such a wide range of gorgeous shells and beach bling.
Oooohhh- Look at that huge TULIP along wit a PAPER FIG, FLORIDA CONE, ROSE PETAL TELLIN, SAND DOLLAR and TOP SHELL Marti found. And not to mention the fragment of JUNONIA – she got some spots!
It was so much fun to hang out with Sue and Andrea from CT since they were thrilled to check off a few things on their bucket list like a CRUCIFIX SHELL for Sue and ANGEL WING for Andrea. They are birders as well as shellers so they checked off a few birds like the ROSEATE SPOONBILL and ROYAL TERN on their birding list on the boat ride over.
It was a great day meeting shellers like Steve and Becki from Ohio.
I caught up with Sanibel local Karen on the way back to the boat. Oh my goodness- She found 2 ALPHABET CONES!
As we got back on the boat to cruise back to Salty Sams Marina, it was the perfect time to peak at what other goodies this boat load of awesome folks like Anthony, Sonya (VA) and Sue (Alaska) found.
Shellzam! Sonya found 3 ALPHABET CONES! Oh… And look at all three of those FIGHTING CONCHS on the left. All three of them have bright purple lips. I think its always special to find just one with a purple aperture but to find 3 in one day is very cool.
Janet from Pennsylvania had great success too! She was doing most of her beach combing on the shore and her husband Paul said he pretty much hung out in the water the whole time. That’s about how Clark and I shell too!
Birthday girl Shelly (love her name!) and her husband Mitch (AKA her boyfriend for 32 years) found some amazing treasures.
Happy birthday to you Shelly! 2 ALPHABET CONES along with so many other great finds- wow!
Happy birthday to Linda from St Louis too! The birthday girls both found ALPHIES! Congratshellations!
As I was hanging out with another Linda, her daughter Katie and granddaughter Emma (Missouri) looking at shells… Linda told me when she saw Linda from St Louis, she realized they went to nursing school together. Small world!
These were Emma’s fave treasures. Sweet!
Loved these to from Andrea and her family too…
Every minute of the 4 hour trip was such a pleasure to meet other like minded people and find hidden gems.
To experience the beauty of the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve and to see lots of DOLPHINS, bird and other wildlife on our way to and from the island on the boat is priceless.
I normally don’t collect anything while on the iLoveShelling cruises because I now enjoy the experience of sharing information and teaching others what to look for. I like that better than collecting more MUREXES, WHELKS or other shells that we have plenty of. But…. that being said… I found a treasure too yesterday! In the highest dry wrack line, I found a lovely pink ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHER. Ooooooo- such a treat!
Join us one of our next shelling adventures or Shellabaloo! CLICK HERE for dates and events.