Sand Dollar Days

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3 sand dollars in the surf

This weekend was SAND DOLLAR heaven around West Gulf Drive beach access #7. There is a nice sand bar where they are washing up and peeking out from beneath the sand.

Deb and Merritt (Ohio)

Deb and Merritt had a whole shell bag filled with SAND DOLLARS.

Sand dollar shell bag

Deb and Merritt don’t even mess around with packing fragile shells in their suitcase to take home any more … they ship them!

Judith and Alex (Boca Raton)

Judith and Alex found lots of sand dollars too and since they drove to Sanibel, they won’t have a bit of problem getting them home without breaking.

Sand dollar sand bar straight ahead!

In this picture, you can see what that sand dollar sand bar looks like. Low tide was in the morning around 9:30 this weekend. The perfect weekend ….. sleep in late…..then go shelling for sand dollars!

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live baby's ear

I’ve learned to look for this BABY’S EAR trail at low tide. They look like little dough patties since the mollusk surrounds the shell instead of hiding in it. It is very slimey! Check out this video.

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Taiwan Seashell Temple

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Taiwan Seashell Temple

Since we were all overwhelmed by the Sea Grape Lodge, I thought I would continue with seashell encrusting creativity and really knock your socks off. Caution! This isn’t for good for the weak-kneed shell crafters. Please be seated and make sure your seat belts are securely fastened. I found this on Fine Shell Art Blog which is by awesome shell crafter L.A. Givens. Thank you Lisa!

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Taiwan Seashell Temple

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The House That Seashells Built

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Sea Grape Lodge

Every inch of this house on Demere Key (just off Pine Island) is encrusted with seashells. It is mind boggling to think about adhering each and every one of those whelk shells (they look like conchs too) to the outside walls….. much less, collecting all of them together!

Seashells around each window

The house was originally built by Phil Degraff to be a winter resort and named it Sea Grape Lodge.

Left side of Sea Grape Lodge

The lodge closed a number of years ago and now is a private residence so we tried to be as respectful as possible while driving by in our boat…. but it’s like stopping in front of a house with every inch covered in christmas lights… it’s mesmerizing!

Even the fence is covered with shells

Oh my, I couldn’t get enough

I was on overload with eye candy!

Sea Grape Lodge on Demere Key

After first posting this, I received some rich historic information from quite a few people who commented on this post. Please click on the title or comments to read many wonderful stories of folks who either stay on Demere Key or had find memories of the property.


Oh What a Beautiful Boating Day

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Live Limpets on a fallen tree on Cayo Costa

No rain and no work! …. Time to get out on the water. We took the boat out to our fave spots North Captiva and Cayo Costa. We found three BABY’S EARS, a few WHELKS and WORM SHELLS (only a few) and the views were spectacular. Well worth the trip.

Periwinkle on Cayo Costa

Ibis and roots

South tip of Cayo Costa

Limpets in wood grain

Barnacles on tree root ( I know, nothing fancy but I thought it looked very picturesque)

Ibis in a Cayo Costa tree

Ibis enjoying the view

Clark with a Rocksnail

We weren’t really sure what this shell was Clark found but he insisted it was something good. It kinda looks like a worn KINGS CROWN but the opening edge is sort of serrated. It was really slimed with algae and gunk so Clark got it cleaned up and then check again in the books to see if it’s a ROCKSNAIL . That’s what it looks like so far. It’s got some wear and tear but it’s 2 and a half inches long and it’s not something we find every day. I think it’s a good find too, Clark! (Update- 10-7-10: Yes, it’s a rocksnail. We got verification from MurexKen and Dr. Jose Leal from the Shell Museum. Thank you both!)



Birds on North Captiva

Christine (Venice FL) finding shells on North Cap

Pelican landing strip


Kicking off a Winning Weekend

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Belinda's snook fish fishing Sanibel

Belinda won the battle with this awesome snook….. and I even got it on video! She said she usually shells when she and Bob visit Sanibel from Islamorada in the Florida Keys but decided to fish this time instead. She still couldn’t help but feel around for shells with her toes while waiting for the bite on her line. Sit back and enjoy Belinda versus Big Snook (she gives all the credit to The Bait Box !) video and a beautiful bright orange SCALLOP find.  But wait! We have more winners so make sure you scroll down after the movie.

shellers ann paul sanibel

Ann and Paul (MN) felt like a big winners after finding a BABYS EAR near Gulf Side City Park. The same beach where Belinda caught (and released) her big bad snook.

Now for the really big, really big (said in that Ed Sullivan voice)

Winner of the Write From The Beach GiveAway ……..

Karen M. Wells !! Congratulations, Karen!

And a big THANK YOU to everybody for leaving so many wonderful comments. This is just so much dang fun, I’ll have to start thinking of my next giveaway already.