Beachcombers love SEA TURTLES just as much as sandy toes and seashells.
Beginning in the late 1950s, Charles LeBuffstarted monitoring the nesting habits of female SEA TURTLES on Sanibel to evaluate threats to the population. Since the 1990’s Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation’s Sea Turtle Program (along with 100s of volunteers) now surveys each nesting season which runs April through October. Through the years they’ve learned that to protect our nesting mothers and their babies, we need to keep our beaches clear of obstacles.
I normally enjoy seeing beautiful beach art but it can be disastrous for a female turtle in nesting season. On our island summer nights, female loggerhead turtles (and occasionally green turtles, leatherbacks and Kemps Ridley turtles) lay their eggs on the same beach where they were hatched decades earlier. If left over night, obstructions like sand castles, beach chairs, coolers or even deep sand pits can distract or injure the mother turtle or her babies after they hatch. Did you know that lights on the beach after dark can disorient adult and baby turtles? Yes, they go towards the light instead of heading to the water so they might end up in the street or parking lot. So we wont be doing any night shelling without red filters on our flashlights until fall. Not a bad price to pay for keeping baby turtles safe, huh?
As I was walking the beach yesterday at Gulfside City Park, I saw this deep trench that was dug out of the sand. Ut Oh! SEA TURTLES can get trapped in there.
As soon as I started filling the pit back in, Steve from the Sanibel Police beach patrol came to the rescue. He got out his shovel and smoothed the beach back to normal. You’re a good man, Steve.
I was a turtle tracker a few years ago with my friend Lisa and found a baby turtle in a big sand pit with lots of seashells on the beach. The baby turtle had been making his way to the water but got a little off track when he fell into this pit (photo below). He couldn’t get out since the sides were so steep but he moved his flippers just enough to catch my eye. We called our contact person at SCCF to make sure to follow protocol to rescue this little cutie and I was so happy to get the a-okay to pick him up and release him at the edge of the gulf. Yeah! We rescued him and watched him swim away with all his might.
As shellers, we are on the beach probably more than anybody else so we can help do our part in making our beaches as safe as possible for these little cuties.
My good friend Karen Blackford took a video of SEA TURTLES hatching a few years ago. I always love to watch it each year to remind myself what a journey they have and how we can make the beaches safe for the. Thanks Karen! CLICK HERE.
It’s the ebb and flow of shelling that keeps me going to the beach over and over again. I always see something different with every tide… like the orange sun setting over an orange COCKLE or this brilliant purple opening of this APPLE MUREX.
At any given moment, the tide may bring DOLPHINS in so close to the shore they may swim right next to a sheller (like this week!).
In the next minute, the tide may recede to reveal fresh beautiful shell treasures left on the sand.
These are a few shell souvenirs Amanda and J.J (from St Mary’s Island, Georgia) found at Blind Pass…. ALPHABET CONES.
It was also lovely to meet Carol (TN) under the Blind Pass bridge while we scooped up a few shells in the current as the tide was coming back in.
I’m so sorry I haven’t been making more videos lately, but …. to make it up to you… here’s a short video I filmed just moments before I met Carol. I love days when I catch the tide just right as the water is shallow and calm enough to see the shells roll by in the current. So take a break from your ebb and flow of your own world and come cybershelling with me for a just a minute. I think you’ll see that change is a beautiful thing.
A little NUTMEG always brings some nice spice to hand full of shells, don’t ya think? This NUTMEG added a lot of spice since it was not just a dash but a fairly large one Rosemarie scooped out of the Gulf of Mexico off the beach on Cayo Costa.
Captiva Cruises took us on a really fun cruise to the island with the shoreline laced with seashells as far as you could see.
Josh and Amy from Texas came back to the boat with a fist full of SAND DOLLARS.
Audrey and her mom Tonya (MN) were on a missions to find SAND DOLLARS and I’m happy to report that Audrey found two on her own. Tonya found a huge BABYS EAR but the cool thing is that since Josh and Amy knew Audrey was searching for SAND DOLLARS, they shared some of their SAND DOLLAR loot with her. So sweet!
Local sheller Sharon and her long time friend Mary visiting from Virginia had some really good luck.
A few of their faves… SAND DOLLARS, ANGEL WINGS, double SPINY JEWELBOX and a double CALICO CLAM.
It was so lovely to spend time with Nancy and Marilyn from PA and seeing some of their favorite shells.
The day was gorgeous! We were all thrilled to spend time walking along the calm turquoise water with that little jingle sound of shells washing on the beach.
Grace (MI) was resourceful enough to figure out how to carry even more shells. She strapped her shell bucket on the handle of her net… then filled up her net with shells too. You’ve got a smart girl there Nicole!
It’s always so much fun to see when other shellers get excited about finding such a variety of shells like Megan and Mary Beth (GA)
There was an OLIVE garden happening out there in the water but there was also fun shells in those lines along the shore like FLASE ANGEL WINGS, WHELKS, outrageous colors of COQUINAS, a few baby orange HORSE CONCHS and a funny little happy shell that Megan especially loved… on the far left side of the photo on her finger you’ll see a perfect happy face on that CROSS-BARRED VENUS. :)
Now talk about finding an OLIVE garden! Niki from GA was blossoming with her OLIVE bouquet.
So honored to have Cayo Costa State Park volunteer Linda on our cruise as well. We have a mutual awesome sheller friend and fellow Cayo Costa volunteer Janwho taught her to always carry a small vial with a lid to keep her small fragile finds in. Good advice Jan!
So much fun to talk shells with seasoned shellers and cuties Valerie and Donna from Kentucky. You girls rock!
Actually, we had quite a few seasoned shellers on our iLoveShelling trip. Val and Matt from Ohio not only know a lot about finding shells, they also are into the SEA BEANS and the SHARKS TEETH. I always love to talk about all the BEACH BLING with other shellers so it was awesome.
And of course it’s always a big pleasure to meet shelling families like McKenna, Joy, Cadence and Tom from PA.
You really can’t see the brilliant lemon yellow color of the ALTERNATE TELLIN in McKenna’s hand on the far left but it was really amazing. And… Candy!!
I even got to hang out a little bit more with Dottie and Jennifer to learn about some of the shelling they do in their home state of Louisiana- they said the SHARKS EYES are huge and fantastic. Maybe we’ll have to go there one day too.
Shellers Janice, Sue and Eric were visiting all the way from the UK! They are so cool and I got the warm and fuzzies just hanging out. Thank you so much for coming with us on our adventure!!!
As usual, everybody received their $25 gift certificate to Congress Jewelers!
It’s always a pleasure to meet so many cool shellers- Join me on one of our iLoveShelling shelling adventures…