While shelling at Blind Pass Sanibel, I took a little break to the high dry beach sand to drink some water and reapply some sunscreen. Most of you are the same way I am- anywhere on the beach I still can’t help but look for shells. So that’s what I did. Up on the dry sand away from the water… on the part of the beach most people stomp over on their way to the water’s edge… scanned the sand and look what I found.
I found quite a few SHIVA SHELLS (CHESTNUT TURBAN OPERCULUM). Im rich! I found MERMAID MONEY! (or MERMAID TEARS)
They were sitting in the sand just like this…
When I started getting excited to find them, I realized that I was missing some since they were upside down… errr… I call it “upside down” since the swirly part wasn’t showing like this…
Omigosh, then I found a SPECKELED TELLIN…
During my short rehydrating break, I found the SHIVAS, the TELLIN, BORING TURRETS, a bright orange FLY SPECK CERITH, MAUVE MOUTH DRILL and SOUTHERN FLATCOILS.
We find SOUTHERN FLATCOILS at Cayo Costa just about every trip in the high wrack lines. They are LAND SNAILS that get washed up on the beach with the sea weeds so you might find them in the same areas you find might find ROSY WOLF SNAILS and SEA PEARLS.
I also found some CHESTNUT TURBANS as well.
Along with finding DARK CERITHS, ROUGH SCALLOPS and APPLE MUREXES, all of these smaller surprise shells up on the high dry beach made my day that much more interesting. Love that stuff!
Wow… WORM SHELLS, WHELKS and even a WENTLETRAP! Our weekend away was wonderful collecting CLAMS, CONCHS and CORAL on the coast of Clearwater Beach.
I’m still giddy with all these shells.
Lots of these shells were found on our boating day with Captain Paul Hajash I told you about on my last post “i Love Shelling- Clearwater Beach” but we also found lots of shells on the beach in front of our hotel – Hilton Clearwater Beach. Right beside the hotel is Pier 60 which seems to collect little pockets of shells … and you know we love our mini shells… oh yaya baby… lots minis!
Omigosh… a WENTLETRAP!
We weren’t even in full shelling gear… we were just walking the beach back from the festivities at Pier 60 (ooooh- and ice cream) and started seeing so many sweet shells. These were only a few treasures Clark found in just a few minutes… another BABYS EAR, more SHIVA SHELLS and another LONG SPINED STAR SHELL. Yes!
Wouldn’t you love to see what that shell line looked like with all these mini shells? Aha! I thought that would be the case so I snapped a photo of this little area of lots of broken bits of shells… but there are some goodies in there too. Actually, there are oodles of goodies. I didn’t even see the SHIVA SHELL when I took the photo, but now looking back at it… theres one in this CYBER SHELLING next photo. Can you find it? It doesn’t have the swirly side showing but if you look back at my last post and look at my hand full of them, you will see what the other side looks like and you’ll be able to spot this one. Click on the next image to enlarge it for some fun CYBERSHELLING… and then I’ll show you a monster of a shell just a few feet away from this.
After we picked up a few more minis, we saw Dave and Susie from Michigan holding this huuuuge live LIGHTNING WHELK. Shellzam! Such a gorgeous creature. Their son Jason found it right in front of the hotel but as Dave and Susie were returning this live animal back to the water, Jason ran up to the room. I missed Jason but Im thrilled I got to see his amazing MOLLUSK before it went back to the sea… to hopefully breed more beautiful LIGHTNING WHELKS.
We met Jett and his mom Ashley (Indiana) coming off the beach with a bucket of shells too. Jett’s favorite was a perfect FIGHTING CONCH.
We spent one full day just being beach bums and met so many folks who had no idea there were beautiful shells only steps away from them. (Their loss and our gain? hahaha)
We also did a little exploring of the other things Clearwater Beach has to offer… like seeing Winter the Dolphin. She’s the DOLPHIN who lost her tail then was rescued and rehabilitated at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It’s an amazing true story of Winter and a prosthetic tail that was made for her so she could survive. She then went on to star in movies about her life Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2. Clark and I learned about Winter after watching the first movie so it was so much fun to be able to see her in person. Here she is with her BFF, Hope, as we watched them from the underwater viewing window.
We felt like little kids when we got to hold Winter’s prosthetic tail and sleeve. We love that Clearwater Marine Aquarium isn’t actually an “aquarium” though… it’s really a rehabilitation center. They don’t have dolphin shows or any other animal shows- its more of an educational center for the public with their mission being Rescue, Rehab and Release. The 3 Rs. Of course Winter can’t be released back into the wild but most animals they rescue are only there until they are ready to go back to living in their natural habitat. Its an awesome place.
We missed the evening festivities at the beginning of our trip because we were completely worn out from shelling all day, but we finally made it back to Pier 60 for the sunset party. With live music serenading the sun setting over the gulf- its so fun and colorful.
A fabulous way to end a beautiful weekend.
As promised, here are a few tips about how to get to Caladesi and a few other things about shelling Clearwater Beach that were asked from my last post…
Years ago, Caladesi Island State Park (pronounced Cal-a-dee-see) and Clearwater Beach were separated by a channel of water so they were 2 different islands but that channel has been filled in by winds and currents over the years filling the channel with sand so now they are one island. Meaning… We could have walked 3 miles on the beach to the north tip of Caladesi from our hotel on Clearwater Beach…. and yes, we could have done that But we would have had to walk BACK the 3 miles …. carrying a boat load of shells. Also, we could have driven to Honeymoon Island north of Clearwater Beach to catch the 20 minute ferry to the marina on Caladesi and walk to the beach and shell that area. Either of those options are do-able but we chose to hire a boat captain so that we could quickly get to the areas we wanted to shell… the north tip and the sand flats. We only had a short time to shell so we wanted to see the area for ourselves and be able to tell Captain Hajash to keep going or stop at a flat if we saw anything. It was perfect!
If you go, here are the highlights of our awesome trip:
Shelling/Fishing Boat Captain- Captain Paul Hajash, http://www.flyfishingflorida.com
Hilton Clearwater Beach – http://www.hiltonclearwaterbeach.com
Clearwater Marine Aquarium- http://www.seewinter.com
Pier 60- http://www.sunsetsatpier60.com
Crabby Bills- http://www.crabbybills.com/BW.html
And if you still need more info…. http://www.beachchamber.com
We are addicted to shelling… So we love to explore different shelling areas of Florida. We found a great new (to us) shelling hole… Clearwater Beach!
Weehoo- Road Trip! We drove 2 1/2 hours north of Sanibel to spend our Thanksgiving right smack on the beach at the Clearwater Beach Hilton having our dinner there with round one Turkey and fixins and seconds of beach bling and bivalves (shrimp, scallops and oysters- heehee).
We hired shelling/fishing guide Captain Paul Hajash of Reel Florida Adventures Fishing Charters. Okay, honestly, it wasn’t easy to find a shelling guide as I googled and called MANY charters but everybody thought I was crazy that I wanted to “hire a boat to find shells”. hahaha I finally talked to Capt. Paul Hajash (pronounce “Hash”) who is mainly a fishing guide but he completely understood what Clark and I wanted to do since his wife is a sheller and we could walk from our hotel to the dock. Aha.. Perfect! His only concern was it was gonna be cold… 44 degrees on the water. Ouch. The winds were pounding from the NW for 3 or 4 days and we shellers know that NW winds and cold weather bring in shells. The winds were calming down and the tide was low…. So heck yaya we still want to go!
After layering up in warm clothes for this unseasonably cold weather, Captain Paul took us to some beautiful sand flats on the way to Caladesi State Park and as soon as I got out…. WORM SHELLS! And FIGHTING CONCHS, CORAL, SUNRAY VENUS and oodles of TURBAN SHELLS.
a BABY’S EAR…
I was in shell heaven as I found LONG SPINED STAR SHELLS and hundreds of SHIVA SHELLS. I don’t find these CHESTNUT TURBAN OPERCULUMS very often so I was over the moon shell (heehee- I’m still pretty giddy!).
While I was in my own little glorshellous shell world, Clark came back from his ShellAdventure on the flats…
Shellzam! Holy Cowrie, that’s the biggest WORM SHELL I’ve ever seen! Not to mention 2 fabshellous ALPHABET CONES, a big LIGHTNING WHELK, and a KINGS CROWN (with incredible spines).
That’s why we call him Super Sheller Clark! (I couldn’t help but steal that WHELK for a picture)
We only had time to make sure there were no critters in any of our shells, so we still need to rinse and clean them up to really show you the variety of amazing treasures we found… but here’s a sneak preview of what I’ll show you on my next post.
After a day of spectacsheller shelling and fantastic food, we were too stinkin cold and tired to be outside to watch sunset… but low and behold, the view from our room couldn’t have been a better ending to an amazing day.
PS- I will give you more info about our trip, show more shelling on other beaches of Clearwater Beach and details on all the shells on my next post… so stay tuned! Feeling thankful…
I’ve never seen so many glossy PAINTED EGG COCKLES wash up together as much as I have on the new sand bar at Blind Pass Captiva. Gail Carr (Maryland) collected of these beauties and much more sweet gems she sorted in this fab tackle box…
That nice little organized box had another side too she filled with sweet treasures…
I love to talk to people who get so much enjoyment at collecting so many different varieties of shells… as I do. Gail said “Each shell has it’s own unique beauty.” I agree! That’s why I got so thrilled when she showed me she found a couple of my new fave shell… the CROSS-HATCHED LUCINE.
She found a TEXAS LONGHORN too!
She even found a few SHIVA SHELLS … which are the OPERCULUM to the CHESTNUT TURBAN. Gail happen to find a few bright orange CHESTNUT TURBANS as well so I wanted you to see what they looked like together.
Looking in the same area where I found my SCOTCH BONNET last week, I found 6 more CROSS-HATCHED LUCINES.
I was thrilled to have shared the excitement with Gail since she had found a few and didn’t think I wasn’t crazy for feeling so excited about finding “just another silly plain white clam shell”. LOL
In less than a month, this whole sandy beach on the pass side of the jetty rocks has formed and if you look closely, here are some hidden gems in there. Seriously… twenty days ago, I took this next photo of the shelling on the Sanibel side and it shows in the background the Captiva jetty rocks…no sand bar.
Over the weekend (on my way to find my precious LUCINES) I took this photo of my view as I stood on the bridge that connects Sanibel to Captiva looking over to the Captiva side. Wild, huh? This is what keeps me shelling day after day… the beaches change every single day and you never know what you will find until you get there!
I am still in awe of how many different seashells we found on our vacation to North Caicos and Middle Caicos of the Turks and Caicos Islands. I’m also in awe (okay, let me tell the truth…. “overwhelmed” would be the right word) because I took over 1100 photographs. Yikes! So this is what I’m going to do since I can’t smoosh all of these amazing shells, photos and info in just this one post. I’m going to show you our best finds now and then in my next post I’ll show you where we found them and a few maps just in case you ever want to go there on one of your shelling vacations too. After that, I’ll show you where we stayed on North Caicos and a few restaurants and other things we loved about the islands. But for now, lets get on with the seashell show! I showed you Clark’s KING HELMET, my ANGULAR TRITON and some QUEEN CONCHS on my last post but these PARTRIDGE TUNS for sure made it on our “besties” list. They look like really fragile scotch bonnets without the thick lip.
Here’s a close up the bottom of our LONG-SPINED STAR SHELL I showed on my vacation “teaser” (heehee) post. I say “our” shell because Clark and I were snorkeling side by side when we both spotted this beauty as the same time. Gorgeous, right?
Here are the different colors of the GAUDY ASAPHIS I talked about…
We could have gathered hundreds of doubles! Clark collected so many different colors then picked through them to get the best to bring back…
The double SPECKLED TELLINS were such a treat too! We are always tickled to find beautiful bivalves when both valves are still attached…
Believe it or not, this is my first BLEEDING TOOTH NERITE. I saw oodles of NERITES, but since I was trying to be very selective in what we brought home, I chose this one I’ve never found before to bring home and it’s one of my faves!
And of course the SUNRISE TELLINS. Oh my. They really look like they have been colorfully painted then sprayed with a high gloss coating. It was astonishing to find a perfect double SUNRISE TELLIN laying in the shallow water half covered by sand. A true gift of the sea.
Oops! I forgot to put my MILK CONCH in my bestie photo but this has to be part of my favorites list too!
I found this MILK CONCH and a juvie QUEEN CONCH the first night we arrived… which was my birthday night. YAY! We didn’t want to waste a minute so we walked the beach as soon as we arrived and these washed up at my feet. YAY Again!
I love the minis!!!! Just like here in Sanibel, if we are visiting a beach and we aren’t finding the larger shells in the wrack line, at the shoreline or in the water, we start looking for miniature shells. We found them! They are just so stinkin sweet, arent they?
But wait! There’s more! I want to share Jane and John’s besties too!
You saw John Johnny Rescue’s QUEEN CONCH and Jane’s ANGULAR TRITON yesterday and they found the SUNRISE TELLINS and PARTRIDGE TUNS as well…. But… John found this very cool CONE!
It really doesn’t match exactly with that thin lip, high spire and a few other details and I havent had time to research further, but our best guess is that it’s a CROWN CONE.
UPDATE! Deenie just commented to tell us that this is not a CONE at all! It’s a juvenile HAWKWING CONCH! How cool is that. Now that I know what it is, I can completely recognize the shape and now I know why the lip is so thin unlike a CONE and the spire is so tall. Thank you so much Deenie!
Well how about that… John found an adult HAWKWING CONCH as well so you can see what that juvie will look like when it grows up.
And look at the color and lines of this RETICULATED COWRIE-HELMET!
It is a spectacular shell! Good find John!
I’m still stunned and amazed at this next shell…. well I should really say “BEACH BLING”. It’s the OPERULUM to the COLORFUL MOON SHELL! It’s a SHIVA SHELL.
What? Why haven’t we ever found these on Sanibel??? We have gobs of COLORFUL MOONS (GAUDY NATICAS) so why don’t we find their OPERCULUMS more often? Weird. Plain Weird. Thanks Susan for the heads up on this beaut. So now we have something new to look for in SouthWest Florida too so look at the exterior of this SHIVA SHELL to put this in your shelling brain. Anyway, John found this one in the high tide wrack line mixed in with some other Beach Bling and a few days later I found one too but it wasn’t perfect like this…
So how cool are these shells from The Caicos, huh? Let me show you the whole kit and caboodle of shells Clark and I brought back. Keep in mind, after rinsing and inspecting the shells we collected each day, we didn’t bring home the majority of our shells to Sanibel. We inspected for cracks, critters, crud or replaced them for better specimens. We want to respect the islands, sand and beaches so we have to be conservative with the shells we take. We only kept the ones we knew we would either display in our home or research for the blog. Look how beautiful they are! I could just sit and stare at all of these treasures for hours at a time!
I’ll try to give you as much information as possible about our stay in a short time so I’m already working on a map to show you where most of our shells were found on our exshellent adventure!
Summer Road Trip! Clark and I wanted to take a quick weekend getaway to celebrate our 15th year wedding anniversary (!) so we hopped in the car on Friday night and headed north on I-75 with no reservations and no time restraints. We first heard about Honeymoon Island at the Sanibel Shell Fair and Showa few years ago so we set our radar for somewhere in that vicinity. After a 2 1/2 hour drive, we ended up at the Best Western Yacht Harbor Inn in Dunedin, Florida just in time for sunset.
After a big breakfast Saturday morning and a 10 minute drive, we were ready to seek and explore Anniversary Island…. whoops…. I mean, Honeymoon Island.
Unfortunately, there’s only parking on the south side of the island but we wanted to get to the north tip…. so we started our beach combing journey 2.5 miles to the north tip and right away found CHESTNUT TURBANS in between the rocks.
And more Turbans…..
This is only a pittance of what we found and we could have brought home a gazillion…
Since we were seeing oodles and oodles of these TURBANS, I started looking for their operculums called SHIVA SHELLS or CAT’S EYES or even called MERMAID MONEY. Capt. Brian told me about them last month so I figured since all the signs were there, we’d find them…. and we did! This is what they look like…
Once we got the eye (no pun intended- ha!) for them, they were everywhere. Can you find them in this next picture? Click on the photo if you want to enlarge it for virtual SHIVA SHELLING…
They look like albino split peas to me and just about the same size averaging about 3/8 of an inch.
Here’s a photo with a TURBAN so you can see the size a bit better…
Pretty cool, huh? I have so much more to show you so this is just Part One of our weekend trip because I can’t wait another second to tell you who won the Susick Sea Shell Sifter ! …….Drum roll Please!
The random winner of the Susick Sea Shell Sifter GiveAway is Kelli G.! Congratulations Kelli G and thanks to all of yall for your comments to enter!
Coming Soon- Road Trip To Honeymoon Island Florida – Part 2