Archive for Sunray Venus


Captiva Cruises Boat To Cayo Costa

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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


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



The Sanibel Captiva Shell Report

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Sanibel Great Blue Heron Bird

Captiva Great Blue Heron

I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is that I’m catching you up on the good shelling from the week and if you are coming to visit, there are still shells at Blind Pass (Sanibel and Captiva), minis at the lighthouse and just west of the lighthouse we’ve been finding lots of other shells that I’ll show you.

Brianne Kelly shell collecting

Brianne and Kelly shell collecting

Brianne and her mom Kelly (AZ) were at the lighthouse  beach finding SCALLOPS, WHELKS and CONCHS but the most unusual find for Kelly was part of a CRUCIFIX SHELL. It brings good luck!

crucifix shell half

Kelly's crucifix shell

They also found some beautiful PAPER FIGS in the low tide pools…

Paper fig Sanibel shell

Paper fig

You’ve got to do The Sanibel Stoop to be able to spot good ones in the tidal pools.

Sanibel Stoop at dusk

Sanibel Stoop at dusk

The Stoopin found her this one….a double SUNRAY VENUS!

Sunray Venus clam shell Kelly

Kelly's Sunray Venus

Brianne was finally able to find and hold a live STARFISH for a minute or two to admire it before she safely put it back in the water.

star fish gazing

Brianne starfish gazing

After talking to Liz and Sergio (central FL) while they were admiring a live SAND DOLLAR , Liz told me she was a record holder for the largest ALBINO LIGHTNING WHELK and received a Best In Show award at a Florida shell show. She found it at Lover’s Key about 10 years ago. Dang it! I forgot to write down how big it was so maybe she’ll comment and let us know.

sand dollar Sanibel Island

Liz and Sergio (FL)

As we were walking west from the lighthouse the tidal pool got wider and wider for us to see live creatures and empty shells as well. This is Katie from Houston without a shell bag but making due by lining her treasures on her arm like a shelf…

Katie arm shells Sanibel

Katie (TX)

Katie's Sanibel shells

Katie's shells

This area (around the Seaside Inn) was about where I found the live SHARK’S EYE I showed a video of yesterday. If you didn’t see the video, it’s a cool one you don’t want to miss so CLICK HERE.

Tidal pool Sanibel Island

Tidal pool Sanibel Island

To catch you up on Captiva’s Blind Pass, I stopped there on Thursday to find…. ahhhhh- such beautiful calm, aqua water with a pile of shells by the jetty.

Captiva aqua water shells

Captiva aqua water

Sharon (Orlando, FL) was having a great time replenishing her shell collection since she just used most of her shells….. this is so sweet….. to decorate for her wedding last week. She is on her honeymoon!

Sharon Sanibel shell bucket

Sharon (FL)

She was happy as a clam finding ….well finding CLAMS…and SCALLOPS….and CONCHS….and this COLORFUL MOON SHELL.

Colorful moon shell aqua

Colorful moon shell

With all this happiness, I don’t even want to give you the bad news. It’s just that my little Smittie the Kitty is sick again so that’s why I haven’t been keeping up with getting out all the shelling news too timely. I think she’s going to be okay now… oh it’s too much info to go into …but she’ll be a RadioCat next month- and that’s some good news!

Smittie the kitty with shells

Smittie the pretty kitty


My Family Visits The Island

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finding seashells

It couldn’t have been a more perfect weekend. The sun was shining, temps in the 80s, low humidity, shells in the surf….. and the very best part….. my family came to visit!!!

my family shelling

Greg and Tee!

My brother and I grew up spending our summers on the beach at Sandbridge in Virginia Beach and vacationing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The beach is in our blood so it’s a good thing we both found spouses that have that sand running through their blood too. My sister-in-law (the best a sister could ask for!) is all about the beach too so the first thing after the whole gang got here …..  we hit the beach.

Sanibel squat

Becky finding minis

Our friend Becky (and part of the family) was the first one to find out how glorious the miniature shell finds can be.

seashells handful

She found oodles of WENTLETRAPS, BUTTONS and BUBBLES scattered all along the Lighthouse beach on Saturday.

My Men shelling

Clark and Greg in the shelling zone scooping up the mini shells.

miniature seashell pile virtual shelling

This was exactly how one pile from their scooper looked after Clark or Greg dumped it on the beach for us to sift through. Go ahead, click on the photo above for some virtual shelling! How many WENTLETRAPS did you find?

I see seashells

My cutie niece Kelly spying some seashells too. I miss her already.

Virtual miniature shelling

This was a mixed bag of minis after getting rinsed at home . Click on that photo too- you’ll love this virtual shelling too!

seashells sailboats

On Sunday we started the day on the Captiva side at Blind Pass and Becky was thrilled with sittin’ and siftin’ in the shell pile by the jetty.

Junonia inside

Looky what I found! Dang! It’s not a whole JUNONIA but I’ll take it. This was good but it wasn’t even the best “part” of a shell found. Look what Clark found…..

Deer Cowrie piece

A piece of a DEER COWRIE! This seashell isn’t even native to our area but last week I showed another piece that Donnie found on my post last week and a whole one February 15.

Blind Pass seashells

We walked over the bridge to the Sanibel side of Blind Pass and saw lots of new shells washing up. I can’t believe what Clark plucked out of the water near the pilings of the bridge….

Scotch bonnet under bridge

A SCOTCH BONNET! The man is a Super Sheller!

cracked scotch bonnet

Okay, it was cracked on the other side ….but still! Since I found part of a JUNONIA too, all we needed to complete the Elite Three was to find a LION”S PAW. Would the DEER COWRIE count? ;)

Alternate tellin

He also found this ALTERNATE TELLIN and …

Sunray venus BP

This beautiful SUNRAY VENUS.

Two scoops of seashells

Greg tried two scoops of seashells to better his chances. LOL

Sanibel squatter

Tee’s in the shelling zone too.

mom daughter Captiva beach

Becky and her daughter (and Kelly’s best friend) Maddy.  Do they still say “BFF”…or was so last year?

Sanibel seashells

There were plenty of COCKLES, FIGHTING CONCHS, WHELKS, MUREXES and DOSINIAS along with so many other shells to take home with them. Shelling Success for the family!

Sanibel Biking


Southwest Winds Bring Seashells To Sanibel

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crown conch sanibel beach

Kings crown conch

I’ve had a little dry spell finding mid size shells lately but today…. The shells are back! Yippee! We had nice southwest winds the past few days and now the shells at the lighthouse beach on the pier side have started rolling in, baby.

Crucifix shell Sanibel beach

Crucifix shell near the pier

I knew it was gonna be a good day today since I found a CRUCIFIX SHELL (which is really not a shell- click HERE or on the name for more info). It’s a good luck charm!

True Tulip seashell lighthouse

Beautiful True Tulip

It’s a great day when you find a KINGS CROWN and a red TRUE TULIP!

Sunray venus clam Sanibel lighthouse

Sunray venus clam

I saw quite a few pairs of SUNRAY VINUS CLAMS that were still together. Lucky again!

Lightning whelk Sanibel lighthouse

Lightning whelk

This gorgeous LIGHTNING WHELK rolled up on the beach just waiting to be picked up by a lucky sheller.

Family on Sanibel beach

Jim, James, Katie and Connie (MI)

This was a lucky shelling family enjoying gulf treasures washing up with every handful. They were having a blast! And me too!

Sanibel seashells strainer

Jim and Connie's fabulous finds

Check out those beauties. Okay, I know you didn’t miss that butterscotch yellow TRUE TULIP sittin’ pretty in the middle of all those other shellicious shells, did you?

Sanibel boy sea cucumber

James with a sea cucumber

In with the shells, came live SEA CUCUMBERS, STARFISH and a few SEA URCHINS. James was a good sheller and gently returned this live sea critter to the water to help it survive. What a cutie!

seashells from sanibel

My shells from today

I’m sure you can identify most of these shells but I’m especially tickled by the bright orange CHESTNUT TURBAN and the little candy HORSE CONCH. There is another shell I’m also pretty tickled with but it’s broken. It is the second one down on the right side…….it’s a CARRIER SHELL! I didn’t get a good shot of it so maybe I’ll show you tomorrow if I can get a good picture. Don’t know all the other names all of the shells above? Try looking at my SEASHELL IDENTIFICATION page. Good luck ….. Tag! You’re it! I’ve now passed my good luck from finding that CRUCIFIX SHELL today on to you. Have fun.

Finding seashells on Sanibel

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.


Super Sunrise, Sunset And Super Moon

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Sanibel sunrise with gull

Sanibel sunrise

It was a super weekend with a “super moon”, super sunrise, super shelling, super dolphins and super sunsets. I am still over the moon (heehee) after seeing that dolphin rushing towards me yesterday morning at sunrise so I’ve added that video again at the end of this post. Hope you don’t mind.

Super moon shelling

Super moon seashells

The full  moon was setting over Sanibel leaving a low tide and live shells exposed on the beach. I always love to see live shells at low tide and especially when they are healthy and happy eating a scrumptious meal (sorry Mr Fighting Conch).

Lightning whelk eating conch

Lightning whelk eating conch

I was so amazed at how black this WHELK was devouring the other shell . It looked like a tar blob oozing out of his shell. Okay, let me make sure you know….this is not tar…this is a MOLLUSK!

Live Pear Whelk

Live Pear Whelk

Look how cute this live PEAR WHELK is! He’s doing a great job of making his way to deeper water.

Listen to the moon

Diana (Oregon)

Diana got out on the beach at 5:30 with a flashlight to take advantage of the full moon low tide yesterday morning. Notice the moon setting behind her right next to her ear…. I think she is listening to what the moon has to say. She found lots of FIGHTING CONCHS, a gorgeous double SUNRAY VENUS, BANDED TULIPS and lots of other shells.

Diana's seashells

Diana's seashells

Right after I took this picture and admired the moon again, I turned around to ogle at the sunrise view again and that’s when we both saw the dolphin splashing in what looked like golden water. I lost track of exactly where I was since I followed them along the beach a little ways but it was somewhere between Holiday Inn and Sundial.

Sanibel Dolphin at sunrise

Sanibel Dolphin at sunrise

It’s so much fun to see Dolphin so close to the beach whether they are feeding or playing. They corral the little fish up to the beach so they can easily pick out the ones that want to enjoy for breakfast. I happen to think they have a great time putting on a show as well.

Beachcombers with dolphins

Beachcombers with dolphins

Shellers watching dolphins

Shellers watching dolphins

Since there were two low tides yesterday, I went back to the beach in the evening….

Sanibel shell seeker

Sanibel shell seeker Todd

Todd (PA) was searching for shells in the low tide surf while his girlfriend Courtney was on the beach finding goodies.

Sanibel beachcomber courtney

Sanibel beachcomber Courtney


beachcombing shells

Courtney's beachcombing shells

So along with all of the  other super-ness of the weekend, you can see I met some super shellers.

Super Moon over Buck Key

Super Moon over Buck Key

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Shelling Marco Sand Bars

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Lightning whelk marco

Lightning whelk

I’m still exhausted from boating yesterday. Clark, friend Mary Jo and I “adventured” to take our boat down to the sand bars off Marco to do some shelling. The gulf was calm and flat for our hour and a half boat ride down (if only it had stayed that way). We pulled up to our first sand bar where I found this beautiful LIGHTING WHELK.

Marco sand bar

Marco sand bar

There was a nice shell wrack that looked very picked over but there were too many SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS to count. They are always so pretty when they are together.

Sunray venus clams

Sunray venus clams

Then I thought I hit the jack pot….

Junonia piece

Junonia piece

Only half of a JUNONIA but it was still fun to find it. Maybe I’ll make a necklace like Kathy.

junonia part ap

Half of a junonia

I found a very nice size MOON SNAIL or NATICA which Mary Jo calls them.

Moon snail marco

Marco Moon snail

Mary Jo found a TUSK SHELL which is very tiny so you can see it would blend in with just about everything in the sand. I’ve only ever found one … I don’t have any eye for them yet.

Tusk shell

Tusk shell

I found just one WENTLETRAP in what looks like coffee ground camo. There were a few RICE OLIVES in there too…. but wait! I just looked closer at this photo and there is a TUSK SHELL in this photo I didn’t even see.

wentletrap in sand

wentletrap in sand

My best find of the day was this very different FLORIDA CONE. Look at the colors and stripes- wow!

Florida Cone marco

Florida Cone marco

I met Ron from Marco and he said he boats the islands to fish but if the fish aren’t biting, he shells.

Ron Marco sheller

Ron (Marco)

Marco sand bar

Mary Jo shelling

I won’t even tell you how many times we almost got stuck on the shallow flats. It’s not easy boating down there if you don’t know the waters (which we don’t). Then the boat ride back was 2 and a half hours back to the dock …..  the gulf was very choppy which makes the ride very intense (ugh). It was a beautiful day in Marco but I’m sure glad to be back on Sanibel. To be able to walk out on the beach to find incredible shells by the handful…. priceless.

Leopard Crab shell

Leopard Crab shell

Mary Jo Clark Marco

Mary Jo and Clark in Marco