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

Stopping For Seashells- A Marco Island Day Trip

Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 in Alphabet Cone, Cancellate Semele, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Fighting Conch, Flat Zigzag Scallop, Jingle, Marco Island, Purplish Semele, Rose Tellin, Sand Dollar, Sunray Venus, Tigertail Beach Marco Florida | 35 comments

Marco Island shells iLS

Since we knew we’d be gone for the entire day, Clark and I packed up a cooler, snacks and a change of clothes to head for Marco Island, Florida for a day trip from Sanibel. Clark’s Rotary Club had an event in south Marco that we wanted to attend (he is still President – so proud of him!) so we figured if we had time on the way home, we’d stop at a beach. We did! We stopped at Tigertail Beach!

tiger tail beach marco map

This is the very first time we’ve been on this beach so we had to get the lay of the land by looking at the map (above). We decided to wade through the little lagoon to get to the gulf side beach on the other side…

wading water tiger tail

On my way over, I saw Jonathan and Rachel carrying handfuls of SAND DOLLARS…

sand dollars marco florida

Wow! They said they found them all along the beach in the surf line…Cool!

sand dollars tiger tail

So wading through the lagoon and down a sweet beach path we went… to find our first treasures from the Gulf Of Mexico.

seashells marco beach

All I started seeing was ROSE PETAL TELLINS! I love them!

rose petal tellins marco

And double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…

sunray venus shell marco florida

We could not find any SAND DOLLARS but that’s okay because we found so many other goodies like these two FLAT SCALLOPS. Clark’s beautiful orange one is on the left, and I found the larger perfect (heehee) purple one on the right.  I call them “FLATS” but they are really called  ZIGZAG SCALLOPS .

flat scallop marco island

Clark found the prettiest PURPLISH SEMELES!

purple semele marco

We both found CANCELLATE SEMELES as well…

cancellate semele marco florida

I was thrilled with all of the multi colored JINGLE SHELLS and those ROSE PETAL TELLINS!

jingle pink tellin shells

From Tigertail Beach in Marco, Florida traveling back by car to Sanibel Island it took us about 1 and 1/2 hours by way of interstate 75…

map from Sanibel to marco

We didn’t even get there until after 4 pm and we stayed about 3 1/2 hours to have a wonderful evening exploring a new beach.

conch shell marco florida

I am so glad we had the time to stop and take our time to walk down to the north end of the spit. It took us an hour and 1/2 each way so I’m so glad we had plenty of water and thank goodness we always have shelling supplies and sunscreen in the car at all times. This was our loot we brought home… and yes, Super Sheller Clark found that gorgeous ALPHABET CONE I put right smack in the middle of our fabulous collection. Thanks Tigertail!

Marco Island shells iLS

Join us on our next trip tomorrow, Saturday April 12, as we are taking a shelling cruise to explore the island of Cayo Costa! Clark and I will show you where to find the hidden treasures of that beautiful island… CLICK HERE.

shelling-adventures-pam

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Cayo Costa IHOP… Island Home Of Pancakes

Posted by on Mar 20, 2013 in Cancellate Semele, Cayo Costa, Pancake Sand Dollar, Shark's Teeth | 29 comments

clypeaster subdepressus pancake sand dollar

Have you heard? The island of Cayo Costa has the best PANCAKES in the world! But save the butter and maple syrup because this is a PANCAKE SAND DOLLAR, baby.

pancake sand dollar bottom

It looks like a KEYHOLE SAND DOLLAR without the slits, right? Well wait until you see the side view because it really looks like a pancake with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

side view pancake san dollar

This is a really big find. Not only is it about 6 inches round but it is a very rare find here! It has one little crack on the top but other than that, it’s unbelievable.

pancake sand dollar size

I am so thrilled for Jan who found it on Cayo Costa last month. She said she was wading out at low tide to put a beautiful live horse conch back in the water and looked to her right in about knee deep water to see this beautiful find.  I think it was Mother Nature’s way of saying “Thank you”. It was a first for her and honestly, this is the first one that I have seen too so I was thrilled to see it in person. Here’s Jan and her PANCAKE…

jan pancake sand dollar

I met Jan last year at the Sanibel Shell Fair and as we were talking, Bill Geist and the CBS Sunday Morning Show crew started filming us. It’s a moment we will never forget so we became fast friends. Jan and her husband Bill are volunteers at the Cayo Costa State Park so Clark and I were invited to visit them on Sunday. They greeted us at the dock with a warm smiling welcome…

jan bill cayo costa dock

Just so you get your bearings straight, on Saturday’s iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa, we were on the south tip of the island but on Sunday we were visiting Jan and Bill on the north side of Cayo Costa. Here are the four of us… Bill, Jan, Clark and me.

welcome to Cayo Costa sign

I’ve only been to this part of the island one other time which I blogged about it HERE. So we felt so lucky to be able to ride in a golf cart because unfortunately the golf carts are private… don’t rent them on the island. It really is a secluded place so that’s what makes visiting here so wonderful.

golf cart cayo costa

The first stop was to see their shell collection from the past couple of months.  This is where she showed us the PANCAKE SAND DOLLAR but Jan also collects a few of her favorites or odds and ends. Look how big those SHARK’S EYES are.

cayo costa seashells volunteer jan

This is the prettiest CANCELLATE SEMELE !

colorful cancellate semele

Look at this rich purple color on the inside…

interior purple cancellate semele

 I love that she likes to find the unusual shells like this damaged “FREAK” SOUTHERN QUAHOG (well that’s what the large white shell with the dent in the middle looks like to me). AND she found three MACULATED BABYS EARS. The brown ones are so hard to find!!!

Maculated babys ear cayo costa

I could have ohhhed and ahhhed over all of her shells since each one she collected has a little something different about it. But we moved on because they wanted to show us her shell identification board she finished making this month. Wow! It’s beautiful. We got so tickled because she chose just about the same shells to put on her shell board that I chose for my seashell identification card. (It was St Paddy’s day so I had on my green)

pam jan identify shells

We met Resident Ranger Mary on her day off having fun. It was great to meet you Mary and thank you for everything!

Ranger Mary Cayo Costa

 On our way to the beach, we passed the small island cemetery with the plots lined with shells.

cemetery cayo costa

Then we hit the beautiful beach. This is on the north side of the island so behind Bill and Clark, you can see Boca Grande.

bill clark cayo costa

 You know we were looking hard for a PANCAKE SAND DOLLAR but no such luck. It was high tide and she said she found it near the camp ground beach. But I was happy because I found a SHARK’S TOOTH…

sharks tooth north cayo costa

We had a fantastic day exploring Cayo Costa State Park ! Thank you Jan and Bill for inviting Clark and me to hang out with you on your day off. It will be another special day to remember forever. And congratshellations again on your PANCAKE SAND DOLLAR! Way cool.

jan bill volunteers cayo costa

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A Boatload of Awesome Shellers to Cayo Costa

Posted by on Mar 18, 2013 in Cancellate Semele, Cayo Costa, Cloudy Periwinkle, Olive, Periwinkles, ShellingAdventures, Tusk Shell, Worm Shell | 27 comments

Captiva Cruises Playtime

When you are about to get on a boat to go to a secluded island for a morning of shelling with a bunch of people who all LOVE SHELLING as much Shelling Sistahs Marilyn and Diane from Chicago…

marilyn diane i love shelling tee

And avid shellers Jessica (cute aqua backpack!) and Ben from Texas… It’s gonna be a good day!

jessica ben aqua camelback

As soon as I saw Rhonda (next photo) I had to tell her how cute her necklace was. She told me she made it…. then gave it to me off her neck! OMG What? Thank you! But really, this is how sweet she is….She would have given it to the first person who had liked it that much…

rhonda shell necklace

You know how I know this? Because as we all were waiting to get on the boat, Rachael had commented on her necklace too and she gave Rachael this bracelet she made. She has a heart of gold!

rachael shell bracelet

Needless to say, our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa on Saturday was a success. It was a perfect day. Awesome people, clear skies, calm water, gorgeous weather, aqua water…. and shells!

march shell collecting cayo costa florida

As soon as we got off the boat on Cayo Costa, lots of people scattered to their favorite areas to look for shells. Some went straight to the water and some went straight to the shell piles on the beach.

shelling gleaners cayo

Bill C. saw my photo above of the shellers above and said it reminded him of the painting “The Gleaners”. LOL It does! I just got a kick out of it so I had to share it with you too. I borrowed this image of Millet’s 1857 oil painting from Wikipedia to show the similarity…

300px-Jean-François_Millet_-_Gleaners_-_Google_Art_Project_2

 Within the first 5 minutes on the beach, Michele found an awesome WORM SHELL with the tip intact.

michele wormie cayo

I loooove to show people how to spot the BABY’S EARS and the mini shells while Clark shows the rest of the group he finds the OLIVES, CONCHS and the bigger shells. Here I am pointing out the treasures that hide in the beautiful fallen tree roots…

pam shell guide

There were hundreds of live CLOUDY PERIWINKLES!

cloudy periwinkles cayo florida

Sally from Sarasota was going for the minis…

sally with smalls

She was ready with her tupperware container. She has a nice WORMIE and ANGEL WING too.

fragile shells sally

She also found beautiful CANCELATE SEMELES. This is the only beach I ever see them…

cancelate semeles cayo

Okay one more thing… she found the biggest stinkin TUSK SHELL I’ve  ever seen…

large tusk shell

Look at all of these white shell bags filled with the bigger shells like OLIVES, SUNRAY VENUSES, WHELKS, CONCHS, WORM ROCK and CORAL!

white shell bags cayo

These were all found by this adorable family that just moved to Sanibel… Berkely, Matt, Loulie and Landon.

berkeley matt loulie landon cayo costa

These were their faves out of their shell bags…

shell faves scharf

I was thrilled at how many people wanted to share their favorite treasure with the group. So many of my faves too! BABY’S EARS,  WORMIES, SAND DOLLARS, OLIVES, VENUS SUNRAYS and ANGEL WINGS

march best shells cayo costa

Okay, I have to confess. I get overwhelmed when I meet so many awesome people that love this stuff as much as I do. I just want to drink it all in …so I forget to get names and I forget to take pictures of everything. I want to enjoy the moment so I want to apologize to these amazing folks that let me photograph your hands (in the photo above) but I didnt get all of your names. I know Rachael and Johnnie but if any of yall want to comment… I’d love to add your names. Awwww. I feel so badly … but look how cute they are!

cayo costa sheller cc

I almost just started calling everybody “Sue” and “Jim” (yall know who you are- heehee). Let me assure you, nobody was worried was I was calling them.  I do know that we all had a fabulous morning exploring the beautiful island of Cayo Costa finding treasures and making new shelling friends.  It is soooo much fun. Thanks to Captiva Cruises’ Captain Brian for the safe, smooth ride and Captain Yogi for the funny stories!

yogi captiva cruises

live starfish cayo

march cayo costa collecting

alternate tellin cayo

cayo costa trail adventure

 If you want to join me, Clark (Oops! see? I didn’t even get a picture of Clark working his shelling backhoe!), and a boatload of other shellers just like you… join us!

shelling adventures pam

 

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Captiva Cruises Boat To Cayo Costa

Posted by on Apr 13, 2012 in Albino Cockle, Albino Shells, Atlantic Giant, Baby's Ear, Bryozoa, Cancellate Semele, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Cloudy Periwinkle, Coral, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Dolphin, False Angel Wing, Jingle, Leopard, Mussel, Periwinkles, Purplish Semele, Semele, Southern Ribbed Mussul, Sunray Venus, Yellow Prickly Cockle | 17 comments

cayo costa south west florida

Another Spring Break adventure! On Wednesday, Lori, Hayley, Culter and I went to the secluded island of Cayo Costa to relax and enjoy another gorgeous day on the islands.captiva cruises sign

I had problems getting out our own boat  (Clark was busy at work so he couldn’t help) so we decided to take the easy route and hop on the Captiva Cruises shelling boat Play Time for the afternoon trip.

play time captiva boat

Low and behold, guess who our captain was… my buddy Captain Brian Holaway! It was a nice surprise!

captain brian

After securing the boat on the south tip of Cayo Costa, Capt Brian walked over to our shelling spot to join us for a few minutes and immediately picked up an ALBINO YELLOW PRICKLY COCKLE. Wow, can he spot those albinos! Remember he won a red ribbon for his ALBINO WHELK at the Sanibel Shell Show this year? Amazing!

albino cockle

 I didn’t find an albino but I quickly found a handful of my own fave honeys.

angel wings baby ears

BABY’S EARS and FALSE ANGEL WINGS (they look like cute little juvie ANGEL WINGS)…

babys ears false angel wings

 Lots of beauteous JINGLES…

jingle seashells

A couple of CLOUDY PERIWINKLES…

cloudy periwinkle

cloudy periwikles

 I also found a PURPLISH SEMELE (left) and a CANCELLATE SEMELE (right). I’m not sure why I don’t find more of these on Sanibel but I have better luck finding them on Cayo Costa, North Captiva and in Marco. hmmmm

purplish and cancellate semele

I had thought at one time that this BRYOZOAN COLONY was a type of CORAL but as you can see side by side… it’s not a piece of CORAL like the branch on the right. I found both of these past the tree roots on the Gulf side of the beach. (click HERE for more info on Bryozoan Colony)

bryozoa coral difference

Okay, this one might not be your taste but I thought this SOUTHERN RIBBED MUSSEL was just so pretty for some reason. One day, when I get a fancy camera to show you the nice details up close and personal, I promise…I’ll be able to capture more of the beauty in some of these obscure seashells.

southern ribbd mussel

 After combing, sunning and shelling this gorgeous beach, Hayley, Cutler and Lori (VA) headed back to the boat with me after one more climb on the BLACK MANGROVE tree roots.

hayley cutler lori cayo costa

On the boat ride back, I couldn’t help but see how excited Margie, Kristi and Mike (California) were about their seashell loot!

margie kristi mike california

 They found oodles of ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLES…

shells cayo costa south florida

 Quite a few humongus SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…

sunray venus cayo costa

 And a really big LEOPARD CRAB shell.

leopard crab cayo costa

 It was a perfect day on the water with calm aqua seas, warm temps in the 80s and DOLPHINS surrounding the boat.

dolphin captiva cruises boat

And to top if off, it was great being with good friends and having lots of seashell souvenirs to bring home to remember the day.

seashells cayo costa

 

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Sorting Seashells For The Holidays

Posted by on Dec 22, 2011 in Atlantic Semele, Beautiful Crassatella, Broad Paper Cockle, Cancellate Semele, Chalky Buttercup Lucine, Sanibel, Semele | 20 comments

Susan H on shell pile

I first met Susan (NY) on this gigantic shell pile a couple of weeks ago about a mile east of Bowman’s Beach. If you have ever read some of the comments here, you might recognize the commenter “Susan H”. That’s her! She loves everything about seashells. She loves to collect, study, research, admire and talk about shells. IMHO (in my humble opinion) she’s a Seashell Brainiac. She even donates her time to share her knowledge of gastropods and bivalves to make Wikipedia what it is now. She’s a Wikipedian with over 60,000 edits! The amazing thing was, is that she offered to sort and organize my bivalves. I thought to myself “Oh, Honey, you have no idea what you just got yourself into!”

sorting seashells identification

You might know that I’ve only recently acquired the taste for collecting bivalves other than ANGEL WINGS and a select few. So just this past year when I saw a bivalve that I never noticed before, I’d pick it up and throw it in the “bivalve jar” and lump them all together. Before I knew it, I had lots of those jars but no time to sort them or to find out what I had. Susan persuaded me to bring those jars over to her cottage at Blue Dolphin to sort and identify anything I had questions about.

Identifying seashells

She told me to bring paper, scissors, ziplock bags and a pencil to organize and ID. She cut the paper in little squares then got to work quickly sorting. She also had told me to bring my new bivalve book (her fave too) Seashells of Southern Florida by Paula Mikkelsen & Rudiger Bieler that I showed you in yesterday’s post – the gift from MurexKen and MurexAlice!.

Seashells of Southern Florida book

Now this is where the story gets really COOL….  Susan told me that she has been a volunteer at the American Museum of Natural History in New York since 2000. During the time when Paula Mikkelsen (one of the authors of my new bivalve book) was still at the Museum, she worked directly for her for about 9 months, and sorted shells for her. She met Rudiger (the other author) on his visits to the Museum working with Paula. Susan is actually listed (with her last name misspelled as “Hewett” instead of “Hewitt”) in the acknowledgements section of that book on page 410. To me, that’s so cool- I was having a ball!!!

pam susan h identify bivalve seashells

Most of the bivalves I had in the jars were ROUGH SCALLOPS, CALICO SCALLOPS, BUTTERCUP LUCINES, COMMON JINGLES and the other shells you saw in the second photo. I was so happy when I heard her voice get a little excited when she found something other than the common shells. “Oh look, here’s a BEAUTIFUL CRASSATELLA!”

Beautiful Crassatella Eucrassatella speciosa

Beautiful Crassatella Eucrassatella speciosa

beautiful crassatella interior

beautiful crassatella interior

She didn’t mind at all this BROAD PAPER COCKLE had a chip in it. She was still excited to see it.

Broad Paper Cockle

Broad Paper Cockle

Broad Paper Cockle interior

Broad Paper Cockle interior

I don’t pick up many broken shells any more but when I find shells that I don’t normally see on the beaches of Sanibel, I’m so glad that now I pick them up. This is a CANCELLATE SEMELE

Cancellate Semele

Cancellate Semele

cancellate semele interior

cancellate semele interior

This one isn’t very attractive but now I know it’s an ATLANTIC SEMELE

Atlantic semele exterior interior

Atlantic semele exterior interior

Clark always laughs at me when I pick up a shell like this CHALKY BUTTERCUP LUCINE. It’s just big and white and not very pretty but I thought it looked like a gigantic BUTTERCUP that lost its yellow inside. I was sort of right…it’s the same family! Susan said the same thing “Oh look! A CHALKY BUTTERCUP! I found one of these the other day too!”. LOL Really? Someone else who gets excited about a CHALKY BUTTERCUP?

Chalky Buttercup Lucine

Chalky Buttercup Lucine

I have more identifications to show you but I have to wait until after Christmas. I couldn’t wait to share some it and to introduce you to Susan. It was like another fabulous Christmas present to have a “pro” like her help sort and identify my jumbled shells while we laughed and giggled. Thank you so much Susan!!

Happy, Happy Holidays to all of you!!

Chalky Buttercup Lucine interior

Chalky Buttercup Lucine interior

PS- I can’t tell you how many times I have linked a post to WIKIPEDIA to provide more information about a  certain subject. I looked back on several of them, and sure enough, Susan had done some editing on the information (her user name is Invertzoo).  After learning how many volunteers it takes to make that sight possible, I made a donation. If you ever find Wikipedia useful and want to make a donation or add content that you know about,  you can click on this logo…

wiki logo

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