Archive for Sponge


Sanibel Sand Angels for Sand Dollars

Posted by: | Comments (17)

small sand dollars in a blue bucketsmall sand dollars in a blue bucket

It was SAND DOLLAR mania at Gulfside City Park this weekend! It’s a very special day to take a walk along the shore to see little tiny SAND DOLLARS washing up at your feet…

you only live once to find tiny sand dollars

My friend Betsy and I decided to meet at Gulfside City Park for a few hours to walk the beach and do a little shelling. She’s lived on the island for a long time so of course she has perfected the Sanibel Stoop

betsy sanibel stoop shelling

We’ve been good friends for YEARS and it’s the first time we’ve ever planned a walk on the beach together. What took us so long?

 Maybe its because she is a very busy gal running the Sanibel Farmers Market …. which she has Good news! The Sanibel Farmers Market opens this next Sunday November 4! Yippee! So she had to get her shelling in now before the local food fun begins.

Local Roots farmers market tote with shells

We had soooo much fun finding those little SAND DOLLARS and shells then it got even better. We saw our friend Lori with her granddaughter Julianna…

lori julianna shelling sanibel florida

Julianna wanted to pick up every shell on the beach. She said ”All of them are beautiful!” then she showed me the different colors and patterns of each one.

julianna with seashells sanibel florida

She learned how to tell if a SAND DOLLAR is alive or not by looking for the tiny hairs (or cilia) around it. On the left of the photo (click on it to enlarge), she is showing a live SAND DOLLAR with lots of the “fur” around the sides and in her other hand is the dead SAND DOLLAR that she can put in her bucket to take home to always remember this day. Thanks Julianna for showing us the difference.

how to tell if a sand dollar is alive

Melissa, Jack and Robin were on a day trip from Palm Beach to do a little shelling because they said they loooove shelling at Gulfside City Park.

melissa jack robin shelling sanibel

I couldn’t help but notice this awwweeesome SPONGE Melissa was carrying. Wow!  I think is the coolest SPONGE I’ve ever seen on Sanibel so I tried to research it to find out what type of SPONGE it is… no luck. I felt like I saw hundreds of different SPONGES in my research but none looked like this one so if you happen to know a SPONGE expert out there, lemme know what this species is, ok? Anyhoo, I hope that dries well and you get to display it with the rest of your treasures, Melissa. Good find!

sanibel beach sponge

Jack was so excited about all of his treasures, he plopped right down in the sand and surf and started making sand angels. OMG I love it! Sometimes I feel like I want to do that too, Jack! Good for you for soaking in every drop of happiness being on that beach. I might just have to try it this week too. (Doesnt he look like a sweet little STARFISH? heehee)

jack love sanibel florida

The weather this weekend was perfect… high 70s to low 80s with low humidity and plenty of sunshine so it was another beautiful weekend in paradise.

royal tern wing span sanibel florida

FYI- After searching and walking for a couple of hours to find those tiny SAND DOLLARS in the water, we realized they were a few on the shore when the tide was at its lowest. I hope they are there tomorrow too!

shelling adventures trips by pam

Categories : Birds, Sand Dollar, Sponge
Comments (17)


Posted by: | Comments (10)
Beach sponges and stuff

Beach sponges and stuff

This is what I love to see on the beach! Lots of SEA SPONGES, PARCHMENT WORM CASES, SEA PORK, and PEN SHELLS. Why? Because it means there will be great shelling in the next few days!

Double Jingle Shell in pen shell

Double Jingle Shell in pen shell

See that JINGLE SHELL on this PEN SHELL? This jingle has both sides and is attached to the Pen shell….. and this isn’t even the most exciting part of this whole picture. I’ve never noticed a 2 sided jingle until MurexKen showed me. Yes! You read that correctly! Clark and I met MurexKen and MurexAlice (celebrating their 33rd wedding anniversary) on the beach and he showed this jingle to me.

Jingle shell on pen shell

MurexKen showing the Jingle shell

For those of you who don’t “know” MK, he is a seashell identification wizard and educates us on the scientific gastropod and bivalve names with his comments on my posts. That may have been the first time I’ve written “gastropod” and “bivalve” in the same sentence…. huh? He’s rubbing off!

Jingle shell side view of both sides

Paper-thin jingle shell side view of both sides (my fingers)

Clark had to break out the big shelling backhoe and found this TUBE WORM.

Parchment worm alive

Tube worm in Clark's backhoe

I thought this was a PARCHMENT WORM but I think it’s a different MARINE WORM.

Sea Cucumber

Sea Cucumber Sanibel

Clark also found this SEA CUCUMBER in his backhoe. This guy was still alive so we put him back after I snapped this photo. Lots of fun stuff off Middle Gulf Drive near Gulf Side City Park!

Seashell Collectors from San Francisco

Allen and Julianna (San Francisco)

Julianna has been collecting shells all over the world so she and Allen were happy to finally be in Sanibel.

Seashell collectors from Connecticut

Renee, Carol, Kathleen and Julie (Connecticut)

A great shelling Girls’ Trip! These gals take a girls trip the same time their husbands get together and do a guys trip at another destination. How fun for all of them!

Pen shell pile

Pen shell pile

OK- I’ve got to get to bed so I can be up for the early morning low tide. I hope to have lots of goodies to show you…. or maybe just one… I’m not giving up on that JUNONIA!


Red Branch Coral?

Posted by: | Comments (6)

Chris's red coral or sponge

Chris and Sarah picked up this vibrant piece of beach treasure and thought it was a little piece of red branch CORAL. As you can see, it has the shape and branches like coral and so full of color. This is a very cool find…..but….I actually think this is a red SPONGE. I’m not sure it will last long (at times they turn to goo, fall apart or lose their color) but still, it’s beautiful and it’s fun to see different gifts from the sea.

Chris, Sarah and baby Logan (Crawfordsville, Indiana)

Colorful Moon shell and Kings Crown

Clark found this not-so-pretty nice sized KINGS CROWN at the lighthouse beach this weekend. Whether they have barnacles, slime, algae or worn spines, I still like them if nobody has made a home of it and clean them up. Most of the time, I can make them beautiful again by using old dental tools to pick off the barnacles, a tooth brush or scrub brush, and just a tad of bleach to get rid of the algae. I thought I’d shock you when I showed you a before and after picture when I started on the clean up. I started picking….. cleaning…… scrubbing….. errrrrr…… a little better….. back to cleaning…….. hmmmmm. Well, this is the best that this shell is going to get for me right now.

Semi-cleaned up King's Crown

Not too much of a shocker but it was still worth a try. The other side looks pretty good.

Cleaned King's Crown

We have our fair share of King’s Crowns, so when we go back to the lighthouse, we will return this where we found it so that someone else might be able to enjoy it too.


It’s Gettin’ Good

Posted by: | Comments (4)

Shells in the surf at West Gulf Drive #3

I started shelling around West Gulf Drive #7 this morning but didn’t see much until I came back down in between #2 and #3. As I was getting there, I asked a few shellers if they found anything good yet and they told me about a gal that was there around 9am found 5 CONES. The tide was getting higher and bringing in some good shells but I think she snagged all the CONES. I saw lots of LIGHTENING WHELK, MUREXES, CONCHS, COCKLES, URCHINS, TULIPS and OLIVES. They were just rolling in with the surf. “Easy pickins”…and fun!

Shellers at West Gulf #3

I blogged about Judy who found 13 JUNONIAS on me January 10 post…….well, I met her husband (and JUNONIA partner in crime), Jim, out there today. He knows his shelling and he thought it was looking good for some good shelling in the next few days. He likes that north west wind and says it’s the best wind conditions for this area of the beach. I tried to get the secret to finding all of those JUNONIAS…..and he said “it’s a lot of luck and a good NW wind on the high tide”. OK. I’m hoping this will be my year.

Whelk with lots of other shells

After I left West Gulf Drive, I headed down to the Lighthouse area. I actually couldn’t find any parking in the public lots…..all 3 were completely full! ….So I used my local’s sticker to park on East Gulf Drive by the Colony Condos. The shelling is really good there too! I only took videos down there so I’ll get that together and post that in a bit so you can see how wild it looks with all of the crazy stuff. It’s like the pictures from around Christmas. It looks like the bottom of the sea got pushed up on the beach….SPONGES, SEAWEED, SEA FANS, PEAR WHELKS, PAPER FIGS, URCHINS, STARFISH, MUREXES galore, huge old CONES…just a mixed bag of stuff. Cool!


Chocolate and Vanilla

Posted by: | Comments (0)
Artist Doug

Artist Doug

There’s a reason that we have different flavors like chocolate and vanilla to choose from….. because everybody has different taste buds and they see the world through different eyes.

That’s why I am so glad that I ran into Doug today on the path to the beach at Blind Pass on the Sanibel side. Most people pick up the pretty shells but Doug had a big bag of dead fish and sponges. “I’m going to make a mobile out of them after they are dried out” he said. I love it! He is a metal sculpture artist and he has a website . Please send me a picture of your sculpture, Doug, when it is finished. I’d love to post it.

Categories : Sponge
Comments (0)