I can find seashells everywhere on Sanibel… even at the Sanibel Farmers Market! Seriously, all of these veggies were made by Barbara Walling using different seashells. Dont you remember Barb? I filmed her making other shell art creations a few years back and she is still creating such fun shell crafts. Aren’t these the cutest veggies you’ve ever seen?
If you want to see this in person, you only have a few more weeks since this market is open seasonally from November through April where Betsy, Jean and Sherrill proudly display it at their booth.
You can even find seashell soaps at the market…
Honestly, I’m not much of a cook but when I have guests over, its fun to buy local fresh food and mingle with the island peeps like shellers Mary and Jim that I met on one of the iLoveShelling cruises to Cayo Costa.
But anyhoooo…back to the shelling on the beach. Here is a sampling of shell treasures I found at Gulfside City Park one morning this weekend.
Just after I met Nora, Mac, Dan and Molly (visiting from Illinois) I heard a loud “Whoa!”.
Mac found a SAND DOLLAR laying under some seaweed just like this and then fund a few more.
Then Molly asked me what this unusual bivalve was. It’s a SMOOTH DUCK CLAM. They are so fragile, it’s hard to find one that is not broken- so good finds!
I always say that there are enough shells on the beach for everyone because different people like to collect different shells. Sydney and Lori tom Indiana were trying to find broken shells and shells with holes in them.
They like to find the shells that already have holes in them so they can make jewelry. I love that they were getting so creative! I had to chime in too and told them that I like to collect the OLIVE shells without tips to make bracelets (for my tutorial CLICK HERE) and also explained how to make a seashell mobile too with broken shells. There are so many fun ways to decorate with shells!
PS- I got all my fresh ingredients at the Sanibel Farmers Market to make dinner because it was my turn to host for my book club (we’ve been together for 12 years!). I used some ideas from Pinterest and it was a fun, successful night with my girlfriends. If you like to read, this is my favorite book I’ve ever chosen that every sheller or treasure hunter would enjoy…
I always feel like I’m on vacation when I’m at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva. It’s only a 25 minute drive for me to get there but once I’m there I get a little giddy, then I relax, soak up every single gorgeous view…then of course hit the beach. Last night, my friend Diane and I combed Sunset Beach up to the north point by the jetty rocks at Redfish Pass to find a nice variety of shells. I found a piece of JUNONIA again (I found a nice piece in January too- click here) and I was tickled to find a nice NUTMEG. I always seem to find OLIVES, FLATS and TURBANS when I am there but the last few times I’ve been there, I’ve found the really orange TURBANS. Love them!
There were shells at the edge of the surf but we found shells mostly high on the beach…
…Just like Jimmy and Joey from Chicago.
Their sister Sophia pulled a baby FIGHTING CONCH out of her shell bag to show us the shell she found especially for her gramma. Sweet! She will love it, Sophia!
We made it to the end of the island just in time to catch the sunset over a pile of shells.
We had to look up every few minutes because it was too much fun to pick through the pile of shells.
Sunset over paradise.
I did find something rare last night. A rare photo- heeheehee. Diane snuck a photo of me doing the Sanibel Stoop… well actually, the Captiva Crouch. LOL I’m the one who is normally taking the “Stoop” photos so it was funny for me to see this one. Sweet Di.
Even Miss PELICAN stayed for a while with us to enjoy the calm, colorful evening.
Not a bad girls night out.
Any day I’m on a boat, I’m happy. I’m even happier when that boat pulls up to a tropical island with strings of seashells lining a beach surrounded by aqua water.
That’s why it was a very happy day on the iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa yesterday. Before we boarded our Captiva Cruises boat, I met Nan and John from Wisconson since I was immediately drawn to John’s home made shelling scoop. I love to see what different folks invent to make shelling a little easier (or more competitive! :)) so I praised his handiwork on the plastic slotted spoon on the end of a long wooden handle. Clever!
I should have know they would be awesome shellers. John made the find of the day (IMHO)- he found a MACULATED BABY’S EAR! He and Nan also found a PURPLISH TAGELUS, FALSE ANGEL WINGS, TRUE ANGEL WINGS, a KEYHOLE LIMPET, MORTON’S EGG COCKLE, and OPERCULUM (his first) and a juvie SOUTHERN QUAHOG.
It was fun to meet locals Amy and Jeff from Fort Myers and seeing how many different shells she was collecting. Oh and… notice her Seashell Identification guide attached to one of her shell bags? Love it!
Amy pulled out a few of her favorite finds and of course my eyes went straight to the humongo BABYS EAR. Then I saw how sweet the mix was…. a BUBBLE, WHELK, COMB BITTERSWEET, MELAMPUS on the top row, then 2 PURPLISH TAGELUS, a COQUINA, another PURPLISH TAGELUS and then after the BABY EAR, a FALSE ANGEL WING.
I saw lots of shellers finding PURPLISH TAGELUS shells.
Jane from Boston found a few treasures right where our boat anchored.
Two BABY’S EARS!
Marsha and Robert (Georgia) found most of their treasures on the Gulf side of the island.
Looks like they found the OLIVE garden!
Marsha and Robert were sitting beside Rachel and Sherry on the boat and realized they lived only 30 minutes from each other in Georgia. Those Georgians can find some shells!
These were just a few of Rachel and Sherry’s finds. Out of the four SHARK’S EYES, we noticed that one of the SHARK’S EYES had blue in the center of the eye…. A PAUL NEWMANS EYE!
It’s always fun to see families like Henry, Charles, Eric and Courtney’s family from Illinois learning about shells…
And seeing friends like Gary, Roxanne Marge and Gordon (all from Chicago) sharing the adventures of a new beach together.
I met Linda earlier this year on another iLoveShelling cruise but she was calling herself The Queen Of Parts since she only found a slightly broken BABYS EARS and broken ANGEL WINGS.
But then she found a few WORMIES, a gorgeous double ALTERNATE TELLIN, a BROAD PAPER COCKLE, FALSE ANGEL WINGS and an EGG COCKLE. Queen of Parts and Treasures!
It was so much fun to find shells and share the sun filled day with beautiful happy people.
My Shell Tree wish came true. Happy.
And a MANATEE too!
Dont you remember that old saying… “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes”? Well, it’s the same with shelling in Southwest Florida. We’ve had swirling high winds with rain the past few days so it has changed the shelling on every beach every 10 minutes. Just as the rain stopped at one point, I hurried to Sanibel Lighthouse Beach to see if the weather brought in good shelling conditions yet. I met more die-hard shellers! A little drizzly weather wasn’t going to keep Ann, Doug and Patricia from Minnesota from shelling…
Patricia found her first NUTMEG! And… notice that Patricia made her own necklace out of one of the shells (LADY-IN-WAITING VENUS) she found that already had a hole in it. So cute!
Then yesterday morning I met the cutest family from Indiana at Lighthouse Beach… Sean, Lori, Ellie, Wanda and Karl. Karl is a birder who volunteers at Ding Darling a few months in the winter and answered a few questions I had about some of the birds Ive seen lately. We realized how similar shellers are to birders then told him about Gill and Andy’s “The Big Year”.
If they were competing in The Big Year with shells, I think Sean would probably be the big winner in the family. As soon as he showed us all the great shells he was finding, he was back to his ankles in the water to find more. Love it!
Andrea from Ft Lauderdale said her day was complete since she found a perfect LACE MUREX with a pink nose.
Clark took one scoop with his shelling backhoe at the waters edge and brought a pile of shells to me. I snapped a photo so you could shell with me. CYBERSHELL away!
While I picked out some nice shells, he brought another scoop to me. Wow! Stephanie, this CYERSHELLING is for you (I got the book- Thank you!)…
Did you find these shells and more? Crazy, right? Two scoops of shellicious treasures!
There were lots of empty wonderful shells just at the surf’s edge on the gulf side at the lighthouse then walking west we found oodles of live creatures in the morning at low tide.
So… let’s get back to the “just wait 10 minutes until the weather changes for good shelling” bit. Lots of people ask me how I know which beach to be at for the good shelling all the time. Here’s a secret…. normally, I visit LOTS of beaches to find the best shelling. Yes, I can regularly find good shells or something really interesting EVERY time I walk on a beach here but I do stop by different beaches (Blind Pass, Gulfside City Park, Lighthouse) to assess the conditions on a regular basis and I don’t post on each one. That’s what is fun to me…. seeing the beaches change so much. I want to find the most interesting treasures to learn something and share it with you. So before I found so many shells at the Lighthouse Beach after the rain storm, I visited Blind Pass Captiva where I met Karen, Randy and Stephanie from Orlando…
Stephanie found a CARRIER SHELL and other goodies on the sand bar on the pass side.
It was so much fun to talk to Renee and Charles from Chicago after seeing how excited they were about their finds.
Charles found a WENTLETRAP there! After i took this photo, Renee told me she found a SCOTCH BONNET too. Huh? She told me it had a crack in to though so she didn’t put it in her “faves” pile. LOL I forgot to take a photo of it after she dug it out of her bag to show it to me and … yep! It was a beautiful SCOTCH BONNET with a small crack.
I’ve seen lots of cool BEACH BLING all week but this was my favorite… a CRUCIFIX SHELL. Hmmm… with Easter just around the corner.
If you are trapped in that unseasonably cold, snowy weather up north, I’m hoping the two scoops from Super Sheller Clark will help warm you up. We are wishing you sunshine and seashells!
There is nothing more exciting than seeing shells line the beach as far as the horizon.
At Tarpon Road beach access (mid island on Sanibel)… that’s what we saw yesterday- miles of shells. Amy from Alabama was a happy girl be able to witness this beautiful site as well.
She found oodles of APPLE MUREXES and FIGHTING CONCHS in a wide assortment of colors, patterns and textures along with some other beauties.
I ooohed and ahhhed over her best find (well, her best find to me anyway) which was this ROCK SHELL. Its not often I see these shells so I was excited for Amy that she found one.
I saw Ellie from Wisconsin holding her hand in a way to protect something delicate.
It was a gorgeous double ALTERNATE TELLIN with colors of yellow, pink and mauve. It looks like a beautiful butterfly!
I was thrilled to find a LONG-SPINED URCHIN and a WEST INDIAN SEA URCHIN to add to my mix of treasures (OLIVES, CONCHS, TINTED CANTHARUS, NUTMEG, ROUGH SCALLOP, dark rich BANDED TULIP, a WORMIE and …. candy!)
Then I walked the beach at BLIND PASS Sanibel to see Michelle from Illinois (right) with her family Mary, Mike, Patti and Molly. she was carrying a strange looking shell so I stopped her.
OMG its the lip of verrrry large HELMET shell. Wow! HELMETS are from Caribbean so to see the lip of that shell in such good shape and color was impressive. She also found a nice THORNY OYSTER too. Good eye, Michelle!
I saw Justin and Jeff from Connecticut scooping in the water and Bonnie combing the beach about a mile from the pass (the furthest point in the background).
They were having a ball finding some really nice shells like TULIPS, WHELKS and huge COCKLES. They said they were just as happy to find shells as being here to enjoy this awesome weather.
Krystal S posted on iLS Facebook all the shells they found yesterday morning at Blind Pass Sanibel….
Molly P posted there as well to show us she found this LIONS PAW this week on the Captiva side of Blind Pass. Congratshellations, to all of you!
Keep ‘em coming, Mother Nature!
Quick update… I stopped at Tarpon Bay Rd public beach access today just to see if these NW winds brought us some shelling treasures. Yes- The beach was loaded with fun piles to pick through and more in the water!
This next photo is from yesterday and the shells were in the water at Blind Pass and just a few scattered on the beach. But I’m sure today they have made it on to the beach but I didn’t have time to check. I’d say if you are in southwest Florida, check out the closest beach to you- it will probably have some seashell treasures! I’ll post more pics soon but wanted to give you an update ASAP.