The weekend started with a spectacular sunset painting the sky with brilliant hues of reds, yellows, blues and even purple.
We figured this was a great sign to get out on the water in our boat to search for treasure. We found it!
And I found three MOONS! … a BABY’S EAR MOON, a SHARK’S EYE MOON, a COLORFUL MOON SHELL…
Clark found a huge empty TRUE TULIP on one of the mud flats around North Captiva…
There was a wrack line of shells on Cayo Costa…
There were hundreds… no, I think there were thousands of SOUTHERN SURF CLAMS littering the beach…
Here are a few all cleaned up…
Here’s a close up of the SOUTHERN SURF CLAM since I’ve never shown them before. This would be a great shell for shell crafting!
We found most of our keepers on the beach but other than Clark’s big TULIP, we only found these little FLY SPECK CERITHS on the mud flats…
We had heard there was red tide moving onto the Cayo Costa area but we didn’t feel that irritating tickle in the chest and had no “red tide cough”. We did see a few dead fish which was kind of creepy at first but then it seems we can always find something cool about any beach drift.
A few more treasures from our weekend in paradise…
LOVE the colors of the sky!!! And, I spotted that Kings Crown right away! Good haul from a great location!!
I wish I were down there right now. I love sanibel and shelling:)
Can’t beat that !…Beautiful.
Beautiful! How is the red tide?
Laura, Not much but scroll back up on this post about more info on the red tide.
thanks! coming this weekend. heard it was pushing to north. the most incredible shelling i ever had was in some type of bloom about 8 years ago. i found 18 alphabets in one walk, all beautiful, perfect and vibrant color. i filled i can’t tell you how many vases, etc. with shells.
Ohhh, the photo of the sunset is amazing!!! I can’t wait….next week we’ll be in the happy lane!!!
Wait for me Sanibel……Dec 9th I’ll be there!
Oh yes… it’s paradise!!! Love your weekend treasures!
What a gorgeous sunset! And your shelling finds are pretty great too. Only 5 months to go….not that I’m counting or anything.
Super sunset pics! WOW! And ‘lucky’ you with that storm brewing off the coast – I’m sure you’ll find some dandy shells! :)
What a beautiful sunset and looks like you had another great day shelling.
What time of year do you think you get the best shells? My sister and I usually come in June, but might reconsider if there is a better time. Karen
when you get an answer let me know – I’m planning on Mid April – after Spring Break. can you recommend a hotel near the beaches.
Janet in AZ
I have had the most luck in the winter — January and February. When I was there in June a couple of years ago it was slim pickings…but I’m pretty sure it depends more so on the tides and winds than the time of year.
Your question, “What time of year do you think you get the best shells?” is more complex than it might seem at first. Although many people think that there are more shells washing up on Sanibel in the winter, such is not always the case. After some storms in the spring, summer and fall the shelling can be wonderful with many excellent shells. The tides and storms are as important, if not more so, than the specific time of year. I have also seen the shelling be not so good in the winter. It really is so dependent upon the tides/weather.
In addition, there is the matter of quality versus quantity. A year ago in the fall MurexAlice and I stumbled upon a bed of dead Angel Wings, where we found a number of perfect Angel Wing pairs. (FYI, nice Angel Wing pairs will sell for $100 or more in the shell stores on Sanibel Island) That certainly was the best shelling that I have done in a long time. If I had looked in that area, I would have also found those Angel Wings the previous summer. So, the time of year was not important for us finding those exceptionally nice shells.
Then there is the question of what shells someone considers “best”. Someone looking for shells to place around a picture/mirror frame or in the glass vase may be interested in different shells than someone who is looking for Wentletraps or who wants to increase the number of individual shell species they have collected on Sanibel Island.
So, the question is really more complex. As for me, the best shells that I have found have been the ones with MurexAlice, with my children and (soon) with my grandchildren. Shelling does not get much better than that. If you have a chance to come to Sanibel Island at different times of the year, you might want to do that to see how Sanibel changes from one season to the next. MurexAlice and I got a real chuckle the first time that we saw the Christmas decorations around the palm trees. There is not a bad time to visit Sanibel!
VERY well put MurexKen.
Well said MK. Just about every day for 2 years now, I’ve recorded the variations of shells and other cool treasures to be found on Sanibel and surrounded beaches. After shelling my whole life and writing this blog, I still do not have a favorite month to find shells (Sanibel or any where) because every day and every year it is different. It’s whatever the wind blows in… literally. If you want a particular shell, look at my Seashell Identification page, click on the photo and it will take you to all the posts I’ve written and you can find out where and when that shell was found. http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/seashell-identification/ . That being said, remember that we are dealing with Mother Nature and there will not be exact shells at the exact same time year after year. I know you’ve heard it before from me before but ….The best part of shelling is that it’s a fabulous treasure hunt and the best way to enjoy the beach!!
My idea of a perfect day! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Oh Shell Ambassador!! We really need these island fixes you give us so regularly!!
Pam…what did you do to clean them and get that ‘yucky’ gold cover off of them? I just finished making a bunch of crafts, and have that gold stuff on them, and really would like them to look pristine like yours!!
By “yucky gold cover” you probably mean the periostricum, which is the outer, organic layer of many shells. If this is what you mean, you can use bleach, a 50% solution of bleach and water. Just soak the shells in the bleach for a few hours and the periostricum should come off. As always, be careful with the bleach, which can ruin nice clothes, if it gets on them. The bleach also helps remove any other organic matter that may decay and become malodorous.
Thanks…. again MurexKen!!
Cheri, I only had a few that had the gold on them. Most of them were already bright white and the ones with the gold on them I actually kept them gold. I thought some of them where pretty being white and gold for a project in the future… don’t ask me what project -LOL- one day I’ll have time to do that again….maybe.
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your blog posts. That sunset is unbelievable. It made me feel wonderful just to set eyes on it!
Pam, please make an Iloveshelling calendar for us for 2012 using your gorgeous photos. Please, please, please.
Stunning colors in the sky Wow. Thanks for the virtual shelling today. I sure needed that.
I can’t stand it! I must be there now!!!! I haven’t been since April. The sunsets, the shells….the shells ok throw in a few dolphins!!!. I miss you Sanibel!
Can we get a photo of your hubby’s cleaned up True Tulip??
Great photos of the sunset ! Always glad to hear you were up at Cayo, and North Cap. (I recognize those worm shells;) Also loved the ridges on the the surf clam. Great finds!
I love the picture of the fly speck ceriths on this post! It would be helpful (to me, and maybe others) if your shell identification guide had these guys as their own separate listing as they are pretty distinctive with their “longitudinal ridges.” I only found one of the fly-specks on my first Sanibel trip this month and it took me a while to figure out what it was. Your guide helped me quickly figure out all the others!