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!
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…
On my way over, I saw Jonathan and Rachel carrying handfuls of SAND DOLLARS…
Wow! They said they found them all along the beach in the surf line…Cool!
So wading through the lagoon and down a sweet beach path we went… to find our first treasures from the Gulf Of Mexico.
All I started seeing was ROSE PETAL TELLINS! I love them!
And double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…
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 .
Clark found the prettiest PURPLISH SEMELES!
We both found CANCELLATE SEMELES as well…
I was thrilled with all of the multi colored JINGLE SHELLS and those ROSE PETAL TELLINS!
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…
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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…
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.
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.
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.
This is the prettiest CANCELLATE SEMELE !
Look at this rich purple color on the inside…
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!!!
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)
We met Resident Ranger Mary on her day off having fun. It was great to meet you Mary and thank you for everything!
On our way to the beach, we passed the small island cemetery with the plots lined with shells.
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.
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…
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.
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…
And avid shellers Jessica (cute aqua backpack!) and Ben from Texas… It’s gonna be a good day!
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…
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!
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!
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.
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…
Within the first 5 minutes on the beach, Michele found an awesome WORM SHELL with the tip intact.
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…
There were hundreds of live CLOUDY PERIWINKLES!
Sally from Sarasota was going for the minis…
She was ready with her tupperware container. She has a nice WORMIE and ANGEL WING too.
She also found beautiful CANCELATE SEMELES. This is the only beach I ever see them…
Okay one more thing… she found the biggest stinkin TUSK SHELL I’ve ever seen…
Look at all of these white shell bags filled with the bigger shells like OLIVES, SUNRAY VENUSES, WHELKS, CONCHS, WORM ROCK and CORAL!
These were all found by this adorable family that just moved to Sanibel… Berkely, Matt, Loulie and Landon.
These were their faves out of their shell bags…
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
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!
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!
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!
We have been so fortunate to have had absolutely gorgeous, unseasonably warm weather for weeks on end now. Yes, it’s usually “shorts” weather in SouthWest Florida in January most years but we’ve had “shorts-n-bathing suit” weather here lately. So a walk on the beach ends up turning into a dip in the water to cool off. It’s soooo nice! What could make that sound even better? Shells! There are still shells rolling up at Blind Pass… but it seems like they are on the Sanibel side now. Both Clark and I found the shells in the top photo but I have to admit Clark found the “ALPHIE” and the awesome brown LACE MUREX…
It looked perfectly clean when I got home so I quickly snapped these photos without giving it another thought. Hmmmm. Now I wish I had spent some time to clean it up since the sand shows up so much…. but just look beyond that. It’s beauuuteeeful! We don’t find the brown “LACIES” very often.
We met Lido from Orlando (he’s an actor!) having a great time filling his pockets with some excellent shells…
He found an ALPHABET CONE aaaand a FLORIDA CONE! Not so bad, right? He found that unusual color of CALICO SCALLOP as well…. so I have to admit… I spied it with all of his other shells (FIGHTING CONCHS, WHELKS etc) and liked it so much I’m the one who chose it to put in his picture with his 2 favorites. I get so tickled when I see someone else get so intrigued by the different color variations of those SCALLOPS!
Soul Sister Susan found a COLORFUL MOON shell!
Her favorites of the day were of course the spectacular MOON but she also found a double ROSE PETAL TELLIN too (top right on her hand).
Take a look at this PURPLISH SEMELE that Rosalie from Michigan found.
Not so “purplish”, right?
We find more of these shells up at Cayo Costa but she found this orangish PURPLISH right in front of the Island Inn.
The inside of that shell reminds me of something but I can’t think of what it is…. hmmmmm…… maybe it will come to me soon.
Don’t forget to reserve your spot on a shelling cruise with me! If you missed it on my last post, here’s the info…
These are the dates for the iLoveShelling ShellingAdventure!
- February 17- morning cruise from 9am-12 (Sunday)
- March 16- morning cruise from 9am-12 (Saturday)
- April 13 – Morning cruise from 9am-12 (Saturday)
- May 19- afternoon cruise from 1pm-4 (Sunday)
Call Captiva Cruises for reservations at 239-472-5300 and tell them you want to join the iLoveShelling group on one of these dates!
For more information about reservations CLICK HERE
Yippee! Can you believe it? Tickets are only $50 for this shellacious get together so book soon to save your spot on one of the iLoveShelling ShellingAdventures to Cayo Costa! Come join me!
How many times have you found a perfect SAND DOLLAR, a cute little crab shell or a SUNRAY VENUS still with both side attached… only to find them broken to pieces by the time you get home to show off your gems? Geez, I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the times I’ve done it. Fortunatley, in the last few years I miraculously grew more brain cells (thank goodness) so now I throw tubs and tubes in my tote to protect those fragile shells.
You remember all of the SAND DOLLARS I found snorkeling over the weekend? As soon as I got back to our boat, I put them in plastic tubs I’ve saved (the packaging for our butter, cottage cheese and lunch meat) to keep them from getting crushed in my bag. Recycling at its best! My favorite container is the tube from the Crystal Light packaging. I save this one for long fragile shells… like WORMIES but unfortunately I didn’t find any WORM SHELLS on our boat trip this time so I used this container keep my biggest ANGEL WING safe and sound…
Okay, so I have to show you my newest shell bag that is helping me keep my fragile shells safe until I can even get the to my containers for travel. This called a “shower tote” I found at Bed Bath and Beyond that is a rubberized mesh with tons of outside pockets. I’m loving this thing! All the non-fragiles go in the center like a regular shell bucket or bag then the fragiles get stashed in the outside pockets. The SAND DOLLARS are a perfect fit for the wider pockets and the other pockets keep small or thin shells from getting broken by the OLIVE and WHELKS being thrown on top of them. Watch out MacGyver!
In one of the smaller pockets, I threw a couple of bivalves that I found on Cayo Costa that I don’t often find on Sanibel…
This PURPLISH SEMELE is not a rare shell, but this one seemed particularly deep purple on the interior. Okay, I should have put some mineral oil on it to keep the color bright… but I didn’t. ;( I hope you can still see the deep color!
Here’s the exterior…
I also found her sister shell… the WHITE ATLANTIC SEMELE…
I’m sure both of these would be great craft shells…
I also found several CHALKY BUTTERCUP LUCINES on Cayo Costa. I never find these on Sanibel! These are the big sisters of the BUTTERCUP LUCINES (on top row of the next photo) which we do find on Sanibel frequently … and one of Clark’s faves.
After shelling all day, we stored all of our treasures safely in our containers then Captain Clark got behind the wheel as I was going to pull up the anchor… and looky who was giving us a great send off! A MANATEE!
Darn! I wished I still had my snorkel gear on with my camera to film this underwater but any way we get to see them is a really treat.
We always get excited when we see a MANATEE so not only did we see this one, we saw a whole group of them on the way home. It was thrilling! This time I got a very shaky video. Yes, shaky because I was so excited and because I had to react really quickly when I saw them surface. Clark always does a great job of watching out for them and idling the engine when they get close but we’ve never had them follow the boat like this before. It was crazy! And I cant help but squeal or ohhh and ahhh when they surface so … I’m apologizing now. I had to edit some of it out because my voice gets so weird and high and sqeaky… it’s embarrassing. LOL Enjoy!
PS- If you’d like to take a boat ride out to Cayo Costa for some shelling and sight seeing.. CLICK HERE
For more tips on traveling with seashells, click on the links below…
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.
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.
Low and behold, guess who our captain was… my buddy Captain Brian Holaway! It was a nice surprise!
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!
I didn’t find an albino but I quickly found a handful of my own fave honeys.
BABY’S EARS and FALSE ANGEL WINGS (they look like cute little juvie ANGEL WINGS)…
Lots of beauteous JINGLES…
A couple of CLOUDY PERIWINKLES…
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
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)
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.
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.
On the boat ride back, I couldn’t help but see how excited Margie, Kristi and Mike (California) were about their seashell loot!
They found oodles of ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLES…
Quite a few humongus SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…
And a really big LEOPARD CRAB shell.
It was a perfect day on the water with calm aqua seas, warm temps in the 80s and DOLPHINS surrounding the 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.