There’s nothing better than boating to a beautiful island to “hang” out on the beach with aqua waters and seashells surrounding the shores. You can even bring your own hammock to hang out in if you get tired of finding seashells. Ha!
That’s why 48 of us gathered together on the dock of McCarthy’s Marina to catch the iLoveShelling Captiva Cruise to Cayo Costa yesterday.
Before we boarded the boat, I got to hang out with Shelling Sistahs Duska and Natalia. I love bonding with the shelling family!
Then as we boarded the boat , the show began with MANATEES swimming around us…
And more bonding with Shelling Sistah Lisa! Lisa Feds (There are quite a few Lisas so I’m gonna call her Lisa Feds) has been commenting on my blog for over 2 years so I feel like we know each other so I had to take a long-arm-photo of both of us together. It’s so nice to put a face with a name, right?
After a gorgeous 1/2 hour boat ride, we landed on the island of Cayo Costa…
It is so picturesque!
Then we got to shelling…
Super Sheller Clark was giving tips on how to shell in the water with his shelling “backhoe” when rumor spread quickly that he found something cool…
He pulled a live ALBINO FIGHTING CONCH out of the water…
First of all, it is rare to find an ALBINO FIGHTING CONCH so it was so cool to be able show the shell to so many people who had never seen one before. But then to be able to show one that is still alive is pretty cool because you realize that there is no mistaking that it is an albino and not just white because of being beach worn.
You can see the only color that is on this shell is the PERIOSTRACUM which is the brownish skin on the bottom and top. After showing this gorgeous ALBINO to everyone, Clark walked this live mollusk out in the water to keep living a happy healthy but colorless life.
I was tickled to see Debbie from Fort Myers Beach again. She was on the first iLoveShelling cruise in January then came back for the April iLS cruise (when she found a huge 14 inch empty LIGHTNING WHELK) and she came back again on this one! I’m gonna miss you Debbie if you don’t show up on the next iLS cruise in June! Here she is with Capt Brian and her best finds…
She’s got the eye for the BABY’S EARS. It just goes to show you that every day is different on each beach. I can usually spot those BABY’S EARS every time I visit Cayo Costa but didn’t find one this trip… and look at the huge one she found along with the FALSE
ANGLE ANGEL WING.
This was the only TUSK SHELL that I saw but it was a big one…
Super Sheller Clark struck again! This is why Karen gave him his “super sheller” name years ago… not only did he find an ALBINO shell, he found rare GOLDEN OLIVE.
A GOLDEN OLIVE is a LETTERED OLIVE with a yellow (citrine) color… and this one is huuuuge!
I have to introduce my favorite sheller of the day. This is Kaylie from Minnesota and she found a whole bag full of seashell goodies to take home and treasure forever. Thank you so much Kaylie for joining us on this shelling adventure to Cayo Costa!
After a fun afternoon on the beach, the adventure continued on the boat as we shared our finds… literally. I saw Terenia, Denise and Laura (who came down from Tampa for the day) with some nice SAND DOLLARS and SUNRAY VENUSES.
Then they told me they didnt actually find them… “a guy out in the water was finding them and gave them all to us”. That is so nice! I had to find out who it was. It turned out to be Ken Figa. I have “met” Ken before online because he has a facebook page called Sea Shell Collecting so we have a lot in common. He said he didn’t find anything unusual so he didn’t need to bring any more SUNRAY VENUS or SAND DOLLARS home with him so he gave them all away. See? That’s why I call this a shelling family. It’s such an amazingly nice community.
Warren from Utah found some treasures to fill his shelling tote to take back to his wife Tami who couldnt make it on the cruise with us since she injured her knee a few days ago. So sorry we missed you Tami! I hope I get to meet you when you are better!
On the boat ride to Cayo Costa, Greg had mentioned that he wanted to find a CONE. He was a man with a mission because he did find one.
Here are Pam, Sarah and Greg’s fave finds and a little BEACH BLING too. Greg’s cone doesnt seem to look too good in this photo but in real life, I swear it looked so much better!
Shelling sistahs Lynn (she’s got on an iLoveShelling cap!) and Kelly found some favorite things too.
Lynn was very happy to have found her first SEA BEAN and when I talked with Kelly, she was just thrilled with everything she found but mostly that Lynn fought her fear of boats by going on this shelling cruise. If I heard Kelly correctly, I think this was Lynn’s very first boat ride. I am so proud of you Lynn and I am so honored that you chose this cruise to be your first with such a gorgeous day with perfectly calm waters. Now that you’ve taken your maiden voyage, I hope it wont be your last.
After we got back to McCarthy’s Marina where Captiva Cruises‘ docks, we had our own little Shell and Tell where some of us did some more hanging out and showing our favorite shells or BLING. Andrea had some fun finds!
She showed a SAND DOLLAR, SUNRAY VENUS, a double FALSE ANGEL WING and she said she ha found the other shells before (CERITHS and FIGHTING CONCHS) but she thought that the SLIPPER SHELL was different because it wasn’t smooth on top. She found a SPINY SLIPPER SHELL. I need to do a whole post on SLIPPER SHELLS because as some may be common, there are 6 different SLIPPERS in SW FLorida. I’m glad she pointed out that this one was different.
Lisa Fed found WORMIES! And she wanted to add the CRAB CLAWS to add a little BLING to her faves too. Love it!
Here are Debbies faves along with that big ole BABY’S EAR I showed you at the beginning of the post. Funny thing is, I have seen those little round pine-cone-ish looking balls on the left side of the next photo but I have no idea what they are from. She added those and the SEA PEARL for her BLING but we’d love to know what they are. Anybody? UPDATE: Thank you all for helping me identify this pine cone bling! They are “CONES’ from the AUSTRALIAN PINE TREES. Thank you as well Eric Milbrandt of Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation for giving me the link to “Genus Casuarina“.
Okay and one more….
I had to take one more photo of Clark’s GOLDEN OLIVE today so you could see it a little better… well, and because I just wanted to look at it again and hold the dang thing Wow! It’s a beauty!
You can join in on the fun and you can hang out with a boatload of other shellers on the next iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa June 19, 2013 (Wednesday) – 1pm to 4pm by calling 239-472-5300 to make your reservation. This cruise was sold out (weehoo!) so don’t miss the boat… and if you do miss the next one, don’t worry, CLICK HERE to find more dates.
On a serious note… As Clark and I and the whole shelling family are thinking of those in Oklahoma and Texas effected by the violent storms and terrible tornados, I found some good info to share on how to help through the Red Cross HERE.
After you enjoy feeling the excitement of finding shells on the beach, you get to enjoy the excitement all over again when you show them to someone else that “gets” what you found and knows how you feel. That’s why our Shellabaloo 2 “Shell ‘N Tell” was one of my favorite days of the whole week during Shellabaloo. Do you see what Michele (Ohio) is holding in her hand in the first photo with her husband Bill? She found a JUNONIA! But that’s not it… she found what she calls “The Trifecta!”… A large HORSE CONCH and a large WHELK along with her JUNONIA. Do you think she was a happy girl or what! So happy for you Michele!
Here are some of her other finds (minus the JUNONIA since she was showing it to the others when I took this) …
For the week of Shellabaloo 2, I made up another Shellinger Hunt. The hunt is really meant to just have fun learning about different shells and not to overlook some of the common shells like JINGLES and KITTENS PAWS because…. well… because I think they are beautiful too! So you will see some of the displays with a dozen JINGLES in a COCKLE SHELL because that was point for the Shellinger Hunt. It wasn’t about who could find and take the most shells off the beach- it was all about enjoying the shells that were found… and some bigger points for finding things like The Sanibel Six or finding the rarer shells. It was so much fun to see these shellers find shells they’ve never found before and to rediscover the ones that can easily be overlooked.
On our last day, I asked everybody to bring their fave finds and/or their entries for the Shellinger Hunt at our home base at Island Inn so we could all see what everybody else was collecting. We set up tables for each person to display their shells and it turned out to be a mini Sanibel Shell Show!
Terri (NY) made a beee-uuuteeeful display of her favorite finds.
Lee and Susan (Cuba) narrowed down their favorite finds on a cooler tray for the Shellinger Hunt…
Of course I added a BEACH BLING category on the hunt ( i Love the BLING!) so it’s so funny they added a dried up fish tail that looks just like a MERMAID and a washed up fishing bobber as the faves in that category. LOL
Rick (Texas) brought a plate of his fave shells… the miniature shells. I just love how everybody organized their shells so creatively!
Rick’s wife Murfy showed her faves along with her favorite vintage shell book…
There is one shell in the middle of the others that is a little different. It looks like some sort of a TURITELLA… which I dont think is native to this area. I think it is either a FOSSIL shell that found it’s way to the gulf on a high tide from sidewalk fill or it was left over from a party or wedding after someone bought shells to decorate with. Hmmmm.
If there was a prize for being creative… Sharene and Tom (Ontario) would have won for creativity!
Rusty and Donna (Apopka, FL) narrowed down the favorites and of course it included an ALPHABET CONE and the SEA WHIP that had the ONE-TOOTH SIMNIAS I showed you in the first Shellabaloo 2 post.
Roger (MO) told me that his favorite shells were the minis he found at Lighthouse Beach. It was his first time finding WENTLETRAPS, RICE OLIVES and TUSKS so it was really fun to find something new.
Margie (AL) is so adorable! Her favorite shell was the PONDEROUS ARK because she loved the black PERIOSTICUM (the shell’s “skin”) on the white shell so that’s all she collected. She is going to make a black and white frame for a mirror when she gets home so I hope we get to see it!
Cutie Pie Becka needed her own table to make room for all of her newly found treasures.
Kendra (IN) had a sweet organized display of her favorites but also for the Shellinger Hunt.
She was so afraid she was going to lose her first TUSK SHELL so she wrapped half of a bandaid around it so she would know where it was (on the blue plate). LOL
Pat (Boca Raton, FL) had an amazing display of shells and BLING for the Shellinger Hunt.
While I was oooohing and aaaahing at all of her finds, she pointed out a piece of BEACH BLING that she wanted to know what it was. Whoa! Pat! You found the OPERCULUM to the SHARKS EYE! Clark just found our first ones just last month so I was absolutely thrilled for her that… A) she saw it and picked it up… and B) that she knew it was something special to show at the Shell And Tell. See why I love these shellers? Who else would think this thing on the beach was cool…
Speaking of awesome shellers, unfortunately, Gina couldn’t come to the Shell ‘N Tell but I still have to show you one of her exshellent finds… Gina found a yellow SEA WHIP. We find the purple ones a little more often but not the perfect yellow ones like hers. And no, I couldnt get her photo either because she was a little camera shy but Ha! I took a “long-arm shot” with me in it so we could get her picture and the SEA WHIP. LOL And yep, you guessed it! There were two ONE-TOOTH SIMNIAS on it!
I have found yellow SEA WHIPS before but never one with the yellow ONE-TOOTH SIMINAS on it. Yahoo! Gina did! Such a treasure!
Okay back to the Shell ‘N Tell with the rest of the awesomeness…. Here’s Cindy with her huge HORSE CONCH I showed you in my last post! Now you can see all of the other fabulous shells she found as well.
She also found a big ALPHABET CONE …which is part of 2 sets of The Sanibel Six for her Shellinger Hunt finds. She found a FLORIDA CONE to make her other set. And look at all of the SHARKS TEETH!
Okay… It’s time to announce the winner of the Shell And Tell and you won’t believe this prize! The winning sheller went home with a silver JINGLE SHELL necklace made by Sealife By Congress. It is beautiful! This new Sanibel jewelry store in Periwinkle Place Shopping Center is filled with seashells, SEAHORSES, DOLPHINS, STARFISH, SAND DOLLARS and every other sea life in gold, silver and with tasteful gemstones as well. I was thrilled they wanted to give our winner this perfect shell necklace.
After much laughter and ado, we narrowed the winners down to Michele (with her JUNONIA and HORSE CONCH) and Cindy with her HORSE CONCH based on their points score…
Before we announce the winner, Cindy and Michele clicked their CONCHS as if it was a toast. Cute and so much fun!
Drum Roll Please! …. wait for it…… The winner is Michele! Her JINGLE necklace is perfect for her! Congratshellations, my friend!
I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun both Shellabaloo 1 (in January) and this Shellabaloo 2 have been since it really brings amazing people together with not just shelling in common but we all seem to be like-minded in so many other ways. It’s quite a bonding experience, I must say. Thank you Island Inn for hosting such a great Shellapalooza. I’m sorry to say that I don’t know when the next one will be- no dates of been set yet for this 4 day Shellathon but as soon as we’ve come up with a plan, you will be the first to know.
But wait! I’m gathering a group of shellers for an afternoon of shelling at Cayo Costa next Sunday May 19 from 1-4pm on a Captiva Cruise. Join us! CLICK HERE for more info or call 239-472-5300 and ask to come along for the next iLoveShelling cruise!
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!
Shell Fair Seashell mirror
We finally got some much needed rain this morning to water the plants and to refresh the island. Whenever it rains, I get excited about doing an art project since I know I’ll be inside all day. I revisited my photos from the Sanibel Shell Fair and Show to get inspiration and a few ideas… then I realized… I never showed you most of the winners from the craft division of the show.
Blue Ribbon best Seashell flower arrangement hobbyist
Can you see how this artist made the cacti? SEA URCHINS with TUSK shells poking out of the holes! What a fabulous idea to use TUSKS as thorns. I love creative people.
Sharon Thomas blue ribbon
Take you time and browse through the rest of these magnificent works of shell art.
Blue Ribbon Hobbyist Lucy Ann Read
ROSE PETAL TELLIN butterfies!
Deborah Yamin Second place winner
This one by Deborah Yamin is simple yet so elegant. Look at the OPERCULUM leaves.
Blue Ribbon Leslie Anding, Hobbyist
I love boxes of any kind and this one is especially sweet, isn’t it? I bet Leslie self collected those little WENTLETRAPS and ARK shells. I met her at the beach last year looking for those shells and BABY’S EARS on post Mixed Shell Bag.
Brandy Llewelyn blue ribbon winner
I also met Brandy Llewelyn last year looking for mini shells at the lighthouse.
Blue Ribbon winner Elaine Alvo
This is an adorable mermaid with her SEAHORSE and seashell treasure chest.
Blue Ribbon winner Victoria Ross, Hobbyist
Blue Ribbon single stem hobbyist Donna Carey
Blue Ribbon for Tyler Schoenherr
Have you gotten inspired yet? Well, I kind of went in a different direction. Instead of getting inspired to make shell crafts, I got inspired to do more posts about shell art and crafting so we will know what to do with those beautiful shells we bring home. But for now, the sun has come out …. so off to the beach to try to find another interesting shell or two.
Shell Ladies by Leanna Sherrill -blue ribbon
These are just a few little minis that we found along the beach in the tidal pools at low tide on Sanibel. Obviously they are empty without their original inhabitants. Sometimes after the mollusk dies and leaves the shell empty, another creature takes up residency…. HERMIT CRABS! Check out this short video of these little mini shells inhabited by tiny crazy hermit crabs zipping here and there.
They are so cute, aren’t they? I just love seeing that little WENTLETRAP running around! heehee Here are a few more we found that didn’t have any live creatures inside them that we were able to bring home. Please remember, do not take any shell with a live animal inside it. It’s not fair to kill them and it’s against the law here in Lee County.
Orange Ribbed Cantharus
Single tusk shell
Baby horse conch shells....Candies!
While Clark and I were walking along the surf line looking for minis, we had a fella that swam along us for quite some time…
Cownose ray in surf
Sanibel is the perfect canvas to paint sensational sunsets, beautiful beaches, wonderful wildlife and of course, bountiful beach treasures.
Painting the Sanibel lighthouse
Clark and I walked the beach around the lighthouse late yesterday afternoon in search of some minis. I was looking for KEYHOLE LIMPETS for a picture for my Seashell Identification page. I looked in all of my bags, jars, buckets and drawers of shells and couldn’t believe I couldn’t find a good LIMPET to photograph.
Keyhole Limpet in sand
I found one! …..and another and another. Then Clark joined the hunt and found a few too.
My eye was focused on the pattern of these LIMPETS but I kept seeing the SPOTTED SLIPPERS so I picked them up too.
Spotted Slipper Shells
Since I was focused on the minis I even found TUSK SHELLS which are only 3/8 of an inch long. I was tickled to find them since I’m just learning to have the eye for them. I found three hanging out with a WENTLETRAP and two DWARF OLIVES.
Clark found this teeny tiny TURKEY WING. So to show how small it is, I put it next to the other minis.
Miniatures with turkey wing
I think I’ve been having miniatures shells on the brain because I just can’t believe how sweet this little beautifully framed piece of shell art is I received last week from Sanibel Sister Judith. You have to remember her! She is one of the sisters that uses those giant sized tweezers to pick up the minis at the lighthouse when they come to visit. This is what they make after picking up all those sweet little shells. Talk about a beautiful canvas for those mini shells. I absolutely love it! Thank you Sanibel Sister Judith!
Judith’s beautiful shell art
Judith should enter her work into the Sanibel Shell Fair and Show. It’s starts this Thursday March 3, 2011 and runs through Sunday March 5. So don’t forget and I hope to see you there!
Sanibel Sisters Linda and Judith