There’s nothing better than boating to a beautiful island to “hang” out on the beach with aqua waters and seashells surrounding the shores. You can even bring your own hammock to hang out in if you get tired of finding seashells. Ha!
That’s why 48 of us gathered together on the dock of McCarthy’s Marina to catch the iLoveShelling Captiva Cruise to Cayo Costa yesterday.
Before we boarded the boat, I got to hang out with Shelling Sistahs Duska and Natalia. I love bonding with the shelling family!
Then as we boarded the boat , the show began with MANATEES swimming around us…
And more bonding with Shelling Sistah Lisa! Lisa Feds (There are quite a few Lisas so I’m gonna call her Lisa Feds) has been commenting on my blog for over 2 years so I feel like we know each other so I had to take a long-arm-photo of both of us together. It’s so nice to put a face with a name, right?
After a gorgeous 1/2 hour boat ride, we landed on the island of Cayo Costa…
It is so picturesque!
Then we got to shelling…
Super Sheller Clark was giving tips on how to shell in the water with his shelling “backhoe” when rumor spread quickly that he found something cool…
He pulled a live ALBINO FIGHTING CONCH out of the water…
First of all, it is rare to find an ALBINO FIGHTING CONCH so it was so cool to be able show the shell to so many people who had never seen one before. But then to be able to show one that is still alive is pretty cool because you realize that there is no mistaking that it is an albino and not just white because of being beach worn.
You can see the only color that is on this shell is the PERIOSTRACUM which is the brownish skin on the bottom and top. After showing this gorgeous ALBINO to everyone, Clark walked this live mollusk out in the water to keep living a happy healthy but colorless life.
I was tickled to see Debbie from Fort Myers Beach again. She was on the first iLoveShelling cruise in January then came back for the April iLS cruise (when she found a huge 14 inch empty LIGHTNING WHELK) and she came back again on this one! I’m gonna miss you Debbie if you don’t show up on the next iLS cruise in June! Here she is with Capt Brian and her best finds…
She’s got the eye for the BABY’S EARS. It just goes to show you that every day is different on each beach. I can usually spot those BABY’S EARS every time I visit Cayo Costa but didn’t find one this trip… and look at the huge one she found along with the FALSE
ANGLE ANGEL WING.
This was the only TUSK SHELL that I saw but it was a big one…
Super Sheller Clark struck again! This is why Karen gave him his “super sheller” name years ago… not only did he find an ALBINO shell, he found rare GOLDEN OLIVE.
A GOLDEN OLIVE is a LETTERED OLIVE with a yellow (citrine) color… and this one is huuuuge!
I have to introduce my favorite sheller of the day. This is Kaylie from Minnesota and she found a whole bag full of seashell goodies to take home and treasure forever. Thank you so much Kaylie for joining us on this shelling adventure to Cayo Costa!
After a fun afternoon on the beach, the adventure continued on the boat as we shared our finds… literally. I saw Terenia, Denise and Laura (who came down from Tampa for the day) with some nice SAND DOLLARS and SUNRAY VENUSES.
Then they told me they didnt actually find them… “a guy out in the water was finding them and gave them all to us”. That is so nice! I had to find out who it was. It turned out to be Ken Figa. I have “met” Ken before online because he has a facebook page called Sea Shell Collecting so we have a lot in common. He said he didn’t find anything unusual so he didn’t need to bring any more SUNRAY VENUS or SAND DOLLARS home with him so he gave them all away. See? That’s why I call this a shelling family. It’s such an amazingly nice community.
Warren from Utah found some treasures to fill his shelling tote to take back to his wife Tami who couldnt make it on the cruise with us since she injured her knee a few days ago. So sorry we missed you Tami! I hope I get to meet you when you are better!
On the boat ride to Cayo Costa, Greg had mentioned that he wanted to find a CONE. He was a man with a mission because he did find one.
Here are Pam, Sarah and Greg’s fave finds and a little BEACH BLING too. Greg’s cone doesnt seem to look too good in this photo but in real life, I swear it looked so much better!
Shelling sistahs Lynn (she’s got on an iLoveShelling cap!) and Kelly found some favorite things too.
Lynn was very happy to have found her first SEA BEAN and when I talked with Kelly, she was just thrilled with everything she found but mostly that Lynn fought her fear of boats by going on this shelling cruise. If I heard Kelly correctly, I think this was Lynn’s very first boat ride. I am so proud of you Lynn and I am so honored that you chose this cruise to be your first with such a gorgeous day with perfectly calm waters. Now that you’ve taken your maiden voyage, I hope it wont be your last.
After we got back to McCarthy’s Marina where Captiva Cruises‘ docks, we had our own little Shell and Tell where some of us did some more hanging out and showing our favorite shells or BLING. Andrea had some fun finds!
She showed a SAND DOLLAR, SUNRAY VENUS, a double FALSE ANGEL WING and she said she ha found the other shells before (CERITHS and FIGHTING CONCHS) but she thought that the SLIPPER SHELL was different because it wasn’t smooth on top. She found a SPINY SLIPPER SHELL. I need to do a whole post on SLIPPER SHELLS because as some may be common, there are 6 different SLIPPERS in SW FLorida. I’m glad she pointed out that this one was different.
Lisa Fed found WORMIES! And she wanted to add the CRAB CLAWS to add a little BLING to her faves too. Love it!
Here are Debbies faves along with that big ole BABY’S EAR I showed you at the beginning of the post. Funny thing is, I have seen those little round pine-cone-ish looking balls on the left side of the next photo but I have no idea what they are from. She added those and the SEA PEARL for her BLING but we’d love to know what they are. Anybody? UPDATE: Thank you all for helping me identify this pine cone bling! They are “CONES’ from the AUSTRALIAN PINE TREES. Thank you as well Eric Milbrandt of Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation for giving me the link to “Genus Casuarina“.
Okay and one more….
I had to take one more photo of Clark’s GOLDEN OLIVE today so you could see it a little better… well, and because I just wanted to look at it again and hold the dang thing :) Wow! It’s a beauty!
You can join in on the fun and you can hang out with a boatload of other shellers on the next iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa June 19, 2013 (Wednesday). This cruise was sold out (weehoo!) so don’t miss the boat.
On a serious note… As Clark and I and the whole shelling family are thinking of those in Oklahoma and Texas effected by the violent storms and terrible tornados.
WOWEE that looks like such fun!!! Thanks Pam for being such a great storyteller!
We had a great time, The picture came out beautiful Thanks for an enjoyable time. Looking forward to the next one
Omg what a beautiful golden olive….just an amazing find indeed.
Awesome albino conch too.
Looks like a great time had by all….perfect day for it.
Please consider a trip the day or weekend after Thanksgiving……This is on my bucket list!
I believe the little brown things are the seed cones from Australian pines.
Gorgeous cone, Clark. I’m jealous it wasn’t there when I was a few days ago!
I think Debbie’s find are sweetgum fruit. Here is a link that tells you about the sweetgum tree and fruit. http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/sweetgum.htm
Hope that helps.
As always, THANK YOU, for our trip to Cayo Costa :)
I used to call these gum balls as a kid! But I think that Janet has the answer to Debbies bling… Australian Pine cones. They are everywhere!
They look just like our sweetgums that we have in Ohio. Glad you were able to figure out what they were.
Enjoy some shelling for us!
Sorry, not a “cone”, a Golden Olive…. It’s a beauty!
I knew what you meant! At first I thought you meant the pine cone- hahaha
I had such a great time! Thanks for putting this together! It was a picture perfect day with warm gorgeous seas. It was so much fun spending the day with other shellers. It was great to meet and talk with you & Super Sheller Clark! It was awesome seeing Clark’s beautiful shells up close and in person! I am looking forward to spending this week in Sanibel searching for more shells :~).
I can’t think of a better crew to hang with on Cayo Costa than the Rambos & Cap’n Brian. Although Clark is the Super Sheller – ya’ll are super in my book.
I believe the little pine cones are from an Australian pine tree! I found a bunch of the pine cones at Delnor-Wiggins park a while back.
Of course! Australian pine cones! I see them everywhere but when Debbie had them with her bling, I drew a blank.
In the 50’s my little sis Joanie and I would float those “conies” in the moats we built around our sand castles on the beach at Naples.
Thank you so much for bringing back such a dear memory. :)
The water looks beautiful! Looks like fun.
Looks like a fun time and I love the golden olive – so pretty.
It was fun seeing you last week Pam!
It was so good to see you too Kim… And Chablis!
Pam, did you go to a different place on the island than we did. It looks different! Can’t wait to come back!
Hi Cathy! Yes, this was a different beach than the Shellabaloo 2 cruise day. You went to the north side of Cayo Costa and this half day trip is to the south tip. There are different shells at each beach and I didn’t find one sharks tooth on this last trip to the south tip. But you know how that goes… Every day is different on the beach.
I love reading about your shelling cruises!! Please keep them up. My husband and I plan to retire down there as close to Sanibel as we can afford and I can’t wait to go out on a shelling cruise with you and your gang!!
I’m going to check your dates and see if we can plan a house hunting trip at the same time as a shelling cruise this fall.
Thanks so much for your blog. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t get my Sanibel fix from you!
How I would have loved this! My last trip to Cayo Costa with Captain Brian I found my first Junonia and tusk shells. It would have been so fun to share with Sista Shellers…looks like you had a wonderful day!
Congrats on finding your first Junonia! I hope to be so lucky!! Did you find yours in the water or on shore?
Now THAT’S the kind of water I’d like to be face down in (snorkel in place of course!) It was a little cool for that when we went with you a month ago. Maybe later. Can’t wait to bring my grandchildren down in June and introduce them to the beauties of the island(s). Have fun. Johnnie
Pam, that first image with the blue water, the white branch, and the little girl playing, is so iconic! It should be in a “Come to Beautiful Florida!” advertisement!
Your blog is a regular stop for me, it’s the pictures. I don’t know why I stop because every time I find myself asking “why am I not there?”. The shells, the beaches, the water!
It’s only 1500 miles & I’m living in a RV…. Maybe next year, then again maybe tomorrow I’ll look at your pictures, give my notice to the workcamping boss, put Jimmy Buffet on the stereo & Sanibel Island in the GPS. It’s only 1500 miles!
In case it didn’t show I really enjoy your blog. See you some day!
Excellent looking shelling day!
The little cones are from the Australian pines!
Hi Pam, It was so great meeting you and Clark. I am so happy that you are such a big part of sharing with our shelling community. I look forward to our next get together.
My friend Nancy & I had such a great time on Sunday!! Thank you for organizing the trip! We do hope to do it again soon!
Looks like you all had a wonderful day. Thanks for sharing and making me feel like I was there right along with you.
My guess on Debbie’s pine-cone-ish find is that it’s an Australian pine.
I’ve stepped on those and they sure are pokey to the feet!
I love shelling. I follow your blog and am coming to join you one day. I’m from Myrtle Beach SC and am completely addicted to shelling. I love to go to Bald Head Island, NC to do some serious shelling but nothing seems to compare to what your photos convey. I know I will see you soon. Keep Shellabrating!
Looking at your post during a Thunder Storm here and wish I was still there.
Have a trip booked tomorrow, the shelling seems weak. Should we go???
Wow! I can’t wait! Only a few more weeks and we will be in my heaven on Earth, Samibel. I wish you were doing an excursion while we are there. Can shiva shells be found around the island?
I just love the cruising pictures! One day i’m going to make it one these!
Thursday we are coming just for the day, any hints the best place for us to go? I was thinking Blind pass.
So sorry I was not able to join the cruise. I had to take my family to RSW Sunday and did not get back in time to make the 12;30 arrival time. I had booked a Cayo Costa cruise with my grandchildren last Saturday but it was cancelled for some reason and we were very disappointed. However, Capitva Cruises comped us a Dolphin Cruise later that day from South Seas and we saw many fun loving dolphins and got great pix,
I am at Island Inn til Saturday and so far have only found a few Sanibel Six shells. Never seem to pick the right beach. Have been to Lighthouse, Gulf park, Blind Pass, Bowmans Beach. Now this week low tides are late in the day so not sure what to do.
Any helpful hints Pam?
The evening low tides should be a good time to shell the rest of the week. Sorry we missed you. Unfortunately we’ve had some strong east winds to push the shells back out but it should turn around the rest of the week. fingers crossed!
Looks like it was a great shelling trip. We are coming back for two months, September and October. Can’t wait to be back in Paradise. Hope we’ll get to go on one of your shelling trips to Cayo Costa then.
Best wishes to all.
John & Kathie, Dallas, TX
As sung from Willy Wonka: Clark found the Golden Ticket!!!
thanks pam for your concerns for us “okies”. it has been a wild 2 days. now if i could only be there filling my margarita bucket with shells!
Coral and I had a grand time on the shelling cruise. Tho we didn’t find many shells the island and water were beautiful and we loved being near manatees and dolphins. Thanks, Clark, for letting me see the albino fighting conch and golden olive…amazing!
I just found your website – I love it! I live in South Carolina and I’m working on a shadow box of shells I’ve collected on the Charleston beaches. I’m working on identifying what I have and that’s how I stumbled on your site. It seems you might be the perfect person to ask an identification question – with all the colors and sizes, how do I tell the difference between arks and cockles? Is there a specific characteristic I should look for?
Hi Julie, You can see for yourself what the differences are on my seashell identification page at http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/seashell-identification/ . If you click on each picture it will take you to each pot where you can see it in different angles and sometimes side by side. Good luck!
Can you tell me where I may purchase the small cones from the Australian Pine? They would be perfect for a craft I have in mind. Thank you – Lin
They were on the beach so I have no idea where you can purchase them- so sorry!