There are days on Sanibel when hundreds of COCKLE shells… or DOSINIA shells… or PEN SHELLS wash up on the beach. Well, this past week (and lots of random weeks this year) there were hundreds- if not thousands- of SAND DOLLARS washing up on the beach.
Lots of them were still living (!) but some were perfectly bare of cilia and spines which means they can no longer be alive.
If you have any doubts whether a SAND DOLLAR is alive or dead, please leave it where you found it. But if you want to learn how to tell the difference, please CLICK HERE for my post How To Identify Differences Between Live And Dead Sand Dollars.
Local sheller Karen knows the ones she can keep and was as dumbfounded as I was to find gazillions of them scattered all over the beach.
So many in perfect condition.
If you look closely at this next photo, you’ll see those dark spots throughout the sand- most of those were still the live ones dotting the beach at Gulfside City Beach on Sanibel Island.
It always feels like such a special day to just see one, so I was feeling like I won the SAND DOLLAR lottery.
We have a nice collection of SAND DOLLARS already so I don’t normally pick them up any more… but… I had a few events planned this week to visit with friends so Clark and I gathered a few up to give as gifts. We placed them overnight in a bleach solution then rinsed them off in the morning. CLICK HERE for a more detailed tutorial for cleaning SAND DOLLARS.
We then placed them in the sun all day to dry out. They made for wonderful party favors for my friends that evening. Gifts from the sea.
We just had some strong NE winds move in this morning so all of these sweet beach bucks might get covered back up with the wave action. We always have to remember not to take anything for granted- they’re here one day and maybe gone the next. It happens that fast!
I’m working on new dates for our iLoveShelling cruises. I hope to have dates very soon so I can see y’all when you come to SW Florida to visit! I have through January… so CLICK HERE to join us!
A few more beautiful sunrises and sunsets have happened since I took this photo last week. I almost forgot about showing you these amazing treasures and moments because time seems to be passing with the speed of light. I didn’t find the shell of a lifetime so it didn’t seem as important to post. But that’s not what its all about, is it? It’s not just finding the biggest and best shell pile in the world. It’s finding something that makes you happy and content while you are on the hunt for that once in a lifetime seashell. The amazing thing about beach combing is that every day and every hour there’s something beautiful to see or washes up at your toes.
Life is colorful. No two people will see beauty the same way.
Enjoy each moment on the beach. You might not find a more special place on earth.
There will be days you will never forget.
We had a golden opportunity to watch a healthy, live GOLDEN OLIVE that Sara found in the water on our iLoveShelling adventure boating to Cayo Costa with Captiva Cruises on Friday. It’s always so thrilling to see a GOLDEN OLIVE (which is the not-so-common yellow color form of the LETTERED OLIVE) much less, be able to the live creature come out to say hi. Of course Sara placed it back in the water where she found it after I quickly snapped a few photos. So cool- good eye Sara!
The Shellucky Bucket of shells really works! On each of my shelling trips, I have a bucket of shells that pass around so everybody can pick a lucky shell to put in their pocket to give them a little bit more luck on our day together. Most shellers are already lucky but I feel like Clark and I are lucky enough so we want to share our luck by putting our shells we collect in the Shellucky Bucket so shellers like Barbara (CA), Judy and Bill (Fort Myers) to tune into even more Rambo shellapathic senses. haha
Every single time I step on the beach at Cayo Costa, there’s a special feeling I get. I think it’s called… peaceful and easy.
And it’s exciting! Sharon, Gina, Sue and Barb from Kansas City, MO all found SAND DOLLARS.
So did local sheller Dale from Ft Myers.
Dave and Becky (Kansas) found SAND DOLLARS too along with some other nice finds too.
Kelli (MN) was searching in the high tide wrack line for the mini shells.
She found a few shells that I haven’t found in a while… a MORTON’S EGG COCKLE (golden!) and a SPECKLED TELLIN. She was also happy to find her first BABYS EAR.
Susie and Chris from Oregon found sweet little COMB BITTERSWEETS in this same shell line pictured above.
I love how each of the COMB BITTERSWEETS have their own unique patterns and golden colors on them.
This was a special girls trip for Irma and Joyce who were visiting SW Florida from Canada. Joyce knew every single shell name so it was so much fun to see what they were finding.
Bivalves! Be still my heart. They were thrilled to have found quite a few Purplish Tagelus and to realize how many different colors of JINGLES and COQUINAS are found on Cayo Costa.
Jackie and Ritchie visiting from Flagler Beach found a few faves… COCKLES and CONCHS.
It’s always so much fun to hang out with so many fabshellous beach combers together in one place to really see how we all find so much joy on the beach.
I looooove to see all of the different treasures and identify the ones that are firsts time finds for folks. The largest white shell is a BABYS EAR, the brown shell to the left of it is a COFFEE MELAMPUS and the small white shell is a WHITE MELAPUS.
Teresa from North Carolina found all sorts of gifts from the sea and is also showing off her other gifts too- a new bumper sticker and $25 gift certificate from Sealife By Congress .
On every iLoveShelling shelling trips, each passenger receives that $25 gift certificate from Congress Jewelers on Sanibel (and the iLoveShelling bumper sticker- heehee). Oh happy days!
It was so much fun to see friends Cliff and Tina on our trip too with their family Scott and Tracy. It was such a beautiful day and seeing y’all made it that much better!
You can join us on one of our iLoveShelling adventures too! For dates and info CLICK HERE