The best time to find lots of shells on the beaches of southwest Florida is after a storm coming from the Gulf Of Mexico – which is exactly what happened last weekend when Tropical Storm/Hurricane Hermine came through.
We never know exactly when or where the shells will start washing in after the storm leaves town but theres nothing more fun than hunting for them high and low. This is also the time to meet lots of other fun-loving shellers on the hunt for those amazing treasures that roll up on our beaches.
… And in the water when it calms.
… And anywhere in between.
Errrrr but wait. There may be something more fun than searching for them… Finding them.
This type of excitment is exactly what happened at the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach by the fishing pier last weekend. It’s what we shellers wait for and dream about!
Earlier this week the seas calmed from the storm and the shells weren’t as easy to find so Clark and I headed south towards Marco to explore the outer islands by boat.
OMG Super Sheller Clark hit the shellmongus jackpot!
On your WHELK. Get CERITH. GO Shelling!
For the past 3 days, Southwest Florida has been peppered with high winds, rough and choppy seas in Gulf Of Mexico, rain showers and extreme tides. Thank goodness we didn’t get a direct hit from Tropical Depression #9 (now named Hurricane Hermine) on Wednesday, so it was safe to go scouring the island to find a huge shell pile that formed in the morning on the west end of Sanibel at Blind Pass that brought a few awesome treasures (top photo).
After picking through those treasures for a while, I couldn’t wait to see what was happening on the east end of Sanibel at Lighthouse Beach.
The gulf side was still too choppy but by the late afternoon the shells started piling up at the waters edge on the pier side of the lighthouse.
Then more rain and more high winds… then…. fast forward to this morning at Lighthouse beach near the fishing pier again…. Shellzam!
It was Shellmania! Shells started washing up on the beach but before they could even get on shore, we had a line of shellers sitting on the sand bar in the water having a spectacsheller time.
It was total shelltopia! We all became fast friends after all 5 of these HORSE CONCHS were found in less than an hour. We would hear screams of joy when someone pulled another empty one up out of the shallow water then we splashed over to see the next trophy- give a big hug then oooh and ahhh. Such a blast!
I found a HORSE CONCH too! It was very cool although it had lots of old barnacles and shell “crust” but since we have a few already at our house, I decided to gave it away in a “guess a number between 1 and 100” game with 9 other shellers. Congrats Andrea! haha So. Much. Fun.
Feeling the anticipation of what a Tropical Depression in the Gulf Of Mexico like Hermine (aka “#9”) will do to our beaches if there’s no threat of danger, makes all shellers feel giddy with excitement. If you’re an extreme sheller, this is what we wait for. It’s happiness.
While running the beaches the last 2 days, I met so many amazing people finding such awesome treasures. This is what makes the beach here so much fun- sharing the shelling love.
We also saw Captain John shelling with his family Katherine and Jack at Blind Pass. He was the new captain with Captiva Cruises who captained our last iLoveShelling Adventure . They just moved to Sanibel 2 months ago and looks like they’re already getting the hang of finding shells. Nice TULIP!
I haven’t even gotten a chance to hit all the beaches because we still have storm bands driving thunderstorms though our area. Please remember…. any time you hear thunder PLEASE be safe and get off the beach. It’s so easy these days to find a good radar weather app to be aware of storm bands coming through so you can be prepared. If you don’t have your smart phone with you, the sound of thunder is Mother Nature’s warning signal to be safe and take cover. The shells can wait… Mother Nature knows best.
More shell stories to come so stayed safe and stay tuned ;)
Until then, have a shell of a day!
PS- Hi Joey, I hope you got that little WHELK from your Gramma Sandy. ;)
There are many beaches to explore in Southwest Florida to observe a variety of wildlife and find great shells, but it’s always a fun to make a trip to Bunche Beach in Fort Myers at low tide to roam the mud flats.
Seriously, it’s like an Easter egg hunt out there at a low tide zig zagging through the muddy sand as you walk up on to flash of pink to find gorgeous SUNRAY VENUSES with both valves still held together.
So as you can see by my photos, these “mudflats” aren’t really muddy dirt made of soil but they’re actually sandy tidal areas meeting with mangrove forests and many different grass beds. When the tide recedes, we get to see lots of other natural occurrences as well … like spotting the unmistakeable colors and pattern of a half buried empty LIGHTNING WHELK shell.
And like a itty bitty empty SHARKS EYE shell.
Among hundreds of live healthy KINGS CROWNS, I found this one empty fabshellous beauty.
Such a fun trip with friends Ada, Ann and Kathy to take a quick trip just off Sanibel.
PS- Not sure if you heard- on August 16, National Geographic published an article online by the very talented journalist Gillian Kendall with the title…. “10 Reasons to Visit Fort Myers and Sanibel, Florida”. It’s a beautiful piece featuring our beaches, islands, wildlife, fishing and…. errrrr…. and then there’s #2…. A Shellebrity. Oh Holy Cowrie! I’m still a little shell shocked! LOL But I’m so incredibly honored and honestly, oh I don’t know… a little embarrassed? Anyway…. it’s an awesome article and I guess it’s taken me a few weeks to post it since I feel a little… oh, I don’t know. It’s craziness!!! (blush, blush)
Oh… and PS again – If it turns out well, I’ll show you photos of my new and improved Shellaboratory I’m remodeling. I’m painting seashells on the concrete floor while we wait for the big storm in the gulf to bring us real shells! Here’s a sneak preview …