Shell trip! Clark and I took a beach combing road trip from Sanibel Island to Pass-A-Grille over the weekend … and had blast finding lots of shells. We found all of the shells in this next photo as we walked from our hotel Inn On The Beach, down to the south tip of the island at jetty rocks to the Pass-a-Grill North Channel.
It was like an OLIVE garden just at the water’s edge but we even found some of my faves…. WORMIES.
There were lots of shells to pick through on the gorgeous beach as well…
I was tickled to find a teeny tiny BROWN-BANDED WENTLETRAP hiding in the mix.
There is an island right across the channel from the jetty rocks called “Shell Island”. What? Shell Island? Of course we had to explore it! There are ferries to take people over to the island but since we wanted to spend all day on the water, we rented a boat. Look at the color of the fabshellous LIGHTNING WHELKS we found. Gorgeous!
We actually had more luck on the back flats of Shell Island instead of the beach on the Gulf Of Mexico side. There were lots of those empty LIGHTNING WHELKS, oodles of double SUNRAY VENUS shells and some really funny live KINGS CROWNS scooting all along shallow waters so I did a little time lapse video of one of them to show you. Ha! Groovy KING CROWN dance moves coming up….
So in between the KINGS CROWN congo, Clark found one of the prettiest orange colored LIGHTNING WHELKS we’ve ever seen. It is really the color of a carrot!
Ok- I took another video too of all of those empty LIGHTNING WHELKS. I couldn’t believe my eyes!
We also boated over to Egmont Key to find a beautiful sandy beach island.
We didn’t find as many shells on Emont Key but we found a couple of ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHERS. Ohhhhh such treat to find these pink feathers!
At the end of the day, we sat our on our lovely porch to admire all of the beautiful colors and patterns of so many different shells we ended up finding.
We had a lovely time shelling and then relaxing in our beautiful room at Inn On The Beach.
Not a bad way to celebrate our 19 year wedding anniversary, huh?
WORM SHELLS don’t follow any rules of symmetry or structure as they twist and stretch in all kinds of crazy ways doin’ their own thang- that’s why I love them so much. No two are alike!
That’s also why I love to use them in art projects like the large shell mirror in the top photo and for mermaid locks of hair.
And for smaller frames…
In Southwest Florida, we have a few different kinds of WORM SHELLS that wash up on our beaches although I never really think about their differences… Im just always thrilled to find any WORM SHELL but I think it’s time I show you the differences.
Here are the 3 varieties of WORM SHELLS we have in our area. In the next photo from left to right… VARIABLE WORM SHELL, FARGO WORM SHELL, FLORIDA WORM SHELL
You’ve seen me post WORM SHELLS a million times but I don’t think I ever even say “FARGO WORM SHELL”. I always think “WORMIE!” so who cares what kind- haha. So yes, this is the FARGO WORM SNAIL – Vermicularia fargoi – which comes in many various color forms.
These little cutie shellooties are the FLORIDA WORM SHELL – Vermicularia knorrii – (or KNORR’S WORM SNAIL). Look at those sweet little white tips!
Just so you can see the differences in size of the FARGOs and FLORIDAs…
WORM SHELLS are even fun when they are broken too. Sanibel local sheller Cherry uses them to make wooden plaques with her granddaughters’ names on them… Ella and Grace.
These are THE cutest!!!
There’s another type of WORM SHELL… the VARIABLE WORM SHELL- Petaloconchus varians. This is the one I call WORM ROCK because it really doesn’t look like a snail shell but instead it looks like a big ol’ hunk of rock or dark CORAL. Theses snails can grow into large colonies which look similar to CORAL REEF structures.
The wonderful, whimsical world of WORM SHELLS. Be still my heart.
PS- To see all of the different places that we’ve found WORM SHELLS and more photos of them, CLICK HERE and scroll down through all of the pages of posts.
Come with me on a Shelling Adventure and maybe we will find some together.
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:
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…
Our first iLoveShelling Sight Sea-R Cruise was even better than I could ever even imagined! This brand new Sight Sea-R boat proved to be the absolutely perfect shelling excursion with plenty of room to take our 48 amazing shellers to this new shelling destination only accessible by boat… Big Hickory Island.
Not only is the island filled with our favorite treasures (shells, of course)….
Our biggest surprise was from Mary and Jana of Sealife By Congress– my fave jewelry store. You won’t believe it, they gave every single person on this cruise a sterling silver sealife charm. Seriously. They came on the boat with large baskets filled with beautiful pieces of jewelry and let us all pick our gift of hand made sterling silver dolphin, starfish, sand dollars, scallops and yes… even junonia charms. So sweet!
Texas cutie cousins Pat, Pam, Kay, Peggy, Debby and Linda were thrilled to all receive such a gracious gift of jewelry. Thank you Sealife By Congress!
Let me tell you… this boat turned into a parrrr-taayyy!
So to top it off, on the boat ride to the island we spotted lots of different wildlife. There were dozens of species of birds but we were most excited about seeing many ROSEATE SPOONBILLS…
We also saw a rare sighting of a SEA TURTLE popping out of the water and we also witnessed countless pods of BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN.
This was already so much fun and we hadn’t even starting shelling yet. But I was soooo ready… especially since I saw Holly had made a special shell bucket for herself with “My Shell Holl” on it- heehee. She also made one for her husband Ted that said “Collect-Ted Shells” and she made one for me with “My Pamtastic Shells”. OMG So stinkin cute.
We were all ready to hit the beach to find shells. And we did! Sandy from Fort Myers Beach’s newspaper The Island Sand Paperfound some awesome shells to make her smile. Go back and take a look at the second photo from the top, those are her shells- See? Awesome.
We couldn’t believe how many WORM SHELLS we all found…
And lots of SHARK’S EYES…
During the boat ride back, I asked how many people found CONE shells (and not ones they picked from the “lucky bucket”) and 19 shellers raised their hands. Wow!
I’m always so happy to meet families that shell together. Christine, Anthony, Paula, Bryce and Dominic (from VT and MA) were such a pleasure to talk to.
I asked Bryce what his favorite thing about the cruise was and he reminded me that together we saved a SEA HARE that got washed up on the beach. We put the SEA HARE back in the water and after a minute, he revived and swam away- that was his favorite moment. I asked Anthony what his favorites were and he immediately showed me his ROSE PETAL TELLINS (with 2 COCQUINAS as well).
Brooke and Josh from Georgia had favorites too… SAND DOLLARS.
Clark and I loved hearing Keri (also from the Sand Paper) tell about shelling bringing back so many memories of her childhood while shelling with her grandmother. I think that’s why we love it so much… we explore the beach like we are kids again and remember those days.
Thank you Captain Phil and Meg for such a great adventure!
I still can’t believe how exciting every moment was with perfect weather seeing DOLPHINS, ROSEATE SPOONBILLS, OSPREY, PELICANS, a SEA TURLE, lots of seashells and the best group of people Clark and I could wish for.
To make a fairy tale ending, on our way back to the dock we watched the sun set over the Sanibel Lighthouse…
It was a very special day to remember. Oh but wait… I still have more photos and I have just a few more things I want to share with you about this day on my next post. The surprises continue!
You can catch a cruise too. Hop on a regularly scheduled shelling cruise on the Sight Sea-R toBig Hickory every Wednesday at 10am, Call 239-765-7272 or go to the website at http://www.sightseaflorida.com. You won’t be disappointed.
If you want to catch an iLoveShelling shelling adventure with me as your guide (once a month), CLICK HERE
Who wants to do some CYBERSHELLING??!! I’ve got it for you! There are days on Sanibel, Captiva and Fort Myers Beach when there are so many great shells washing up to your toes on the beach you feel like you hit the lottery. And there are other days when you just might have to look in the unlikely shell lines high up on the beach to find your hidden treasures. This, my friends, is why I fell in love with shelling….being surprised at finding a beautiful seashell gift of the sea that everybody else passed right on by without a glance. Click on this next photo for some CYBERSHELLING of your own. See if you can find my newest treasure… a BORING TURRET (Turritella acropora)!
Did you find it? Ha! Of course you did because you are on to me now, aren’t you. I put it right in the middle of the photograph- LOL. I found 2 BORING TURRITS in the same area I found my CROSS-HATCHED LUCINESon the new beach/sand bar Blind Pass Captiva.
Susan H showed me a beautiful specimen of a BORING TURRITELLA when she was here in December.
Also back in December, brother and sister Greg and Debbie were finding all sorts of great shells…
But with all the hoopla about folks finding CABRITS MUREXES, JUNONIAS and LIONS PAWS, I never got to show you Debbie’s precious find. The one I liked the most was Debbie’s BORING TURRET.
There are many shells from Southwest Florida that may look similar to the BORING TURRET so I’d like to show you a side by side comparison so you will be able to distinguish your shells too. Now you can see how different they are! From left to right- BORING TURRET, AUGER, CERITH and WORM SHELL.
Can you guess which other shell in this group is in the same family TURRITELLIDAE as the “BORING” one? The WORM SHELL!