For 5 days now, the shelling in SouthWest Florida as been has been outrageous! It doesn’t get more outrageous that finding your very first JUNONIA after 20 years of searching… then 2 days later, finding JUNONIA #2! Jill from Miami was livin’ the good life this weekend finding those trophies plus two ALPHABET CONES to boot. Shellzam! Congratshellations, Jill- so happy for you!
But wait.. the outrageousness continued! Wouldn’t you love to find a huge empty HORSE CONCH like this with a bright orange interior?
Gail and Alicia not only found that one gorgeous shell, they found 3 more! … Plus a nice size LIGHTNING WHELK too. Over the long weekend, they were out every morning before sunrise and said there were hundreds of live HORSE CONCHS rolling in the surf on the beach near Island Inn but kept on looking to find ones that were empty.
So I’m sure you can image how happy they were to find those amazing large shells already…. then to find a SEAHORSE too? They found this guy in the afternoon just getting back out on the beach in the high tide wrack line. REally, after all of those trophy shells then a SEAHORSE….Outrageous! Congrats Gail and Alicia!
I found quite a variety on Island Inn beach as well but nothing compared to what they found of course…
I met Lea and her daughter Kristi from Omaha picking up the dried MILLIPEDE STARFISH in the high tide wrack line.
They asked me how to preserve these awesome SEASTARS so they can put them in shadowboxes when they get home. Honestly, I have never had luck with keeping them in tact because I guess I keep them outside or in my garage too long and the humidity gets to them so they break apart and start stinking -Ack! I’m doing something wrong so I never pick them up anymore- I don’t care how bone dry and perfect they are. But… My friend Moira makes beautiful shadowboxes with them as well as Kim who both live in Chicago- they have no problems so I hope they see this so they can explain in a comment how they get them home without breaking them and keeping them intact for a frame.
Fort Myers Beach was rocking with shells too! My friend Debbie’s dad Dennis from Kansas was in town for the holiday and they found lots of treasures…
Repeat… they found LOTS of treasures… LOL
Throughout the holiday weekend, I saw lots of shells at Lighthouse Beach, South Seas, Blind Pass, Island Inn, …. and my last stop for the weekend shelling was Gulfside City Park this morning for low tide. I found such a variety of shells again including a perfect ALPHABET CONE along with the best SHARK’S EYE I’ve found in a while. But my real favorites where violet colored FIGHTING CONCHS which I don’t think I’ve ever found colors in FIGHTING CONCHS like these before. Weird, because I even found another purple one at Island Inn beach the other day. So unusual.
This morning Karen from Orlando area was happy with her finds too…
She found a perfect ANGEL WING and a few SAND DOLLARS…
And these are just a few that were in her bag. Awesome.
There where so many live creatures as well. It’s always fascinating to see these beautiful living animals in their natural habitat like this beautiful live LIGHTNING WHELK. Since this shell was occupied, I dug a hole for him to wait it out until the higher tide came back in so he could scoot along wherever it wished.
Don’t forget! We have an iLoveShelling Cruise on Friday December 6, 2013 at 9am. We can do some fun shelling together… so Join Us! CLICK HERE
Wow cubed!!! I can remember times like this many moons ago shelling with my Mom near the West Wind Inn. Great shelling days and even better memories. Miss you, Mom. :)
I am thrilled to report that I found pieces of junonia shells this past Saturday on Indian Rocks beach! Not a whole shell, but I was walking on sunshine to have found several pieces because I didn’t realize they could be that far up the coast from Sanibel.
Michelle, isn’t it fun to see those spots? its like you heart skips a beat! congratshellations!
How many cone shells did Dennis find? So green with envy.
Oh1 How I wish I was there!!!
AHHH HOW EXCITING!! Hearing this shelltastic news makes me wonder if Sanibel was number one in the world (from number 2) this week. Had to be! :)
I have to say Pam, that I’d be shellebrating to with these outrageously wonderful finds! You are so whetting my appetite for when I come for Shellabaloo 4! Congrats to all on collecting all these beauties! Christmas is starting early on Sanibel!
Cant wait to see you at Shellabaloo Angela! I’ve put in my order to Mother Nature for outrageous shelling for Shellabaloo week too. :)
Beautiful shells! Those purple conchs are truly amazing. Congrats to all!
During this last week I saw one live one of those mauve juvenile conchs here at Blue Dolphin, and yesterday I found an empty one, slightly smaller. I wonder if it is a speciality of this stretch of West Gulf Drive maybe…
I hope there are some shells left when I come down later in the month.
Sooooo jealous! Can’t wait!
oh my gosh, your new gallery photos are breathtaking!!!! got teary looking at all the beautiful photos. one day we’ll be down there for good. for now, this is pure heaven!
I’m drooling over all these great finds!!
To get the seastars home, I rinse them off and dip them in some bleachy water and then let them dry on the counter until we are ready to go home. Then I wrap them in paper towels and layer them in a plastic tupperware container, wrap that in a towel and put it in my carry on bag.
When we get home I un-wrap them and let them sit out and air dry for about 2 weeks and then I coat them with watered down elmers glue. Works like a charm!
We also soak the millipede starfish in bleach water. Usually overnight. Then, rinse with plain water. Then we leave them on the table on the lanai until it’s time to go home. We wrap in paper towels and out them in a small-ish Rubbermaid container. We get the containers at Baileys on Sanibel.
Unlike Kim, tho, I didn’t coat them with any glue water.
I hot glued the starfish into a shadow box. The background is black, so the starfish really stands out!
Thank you Moira and Kim for your words of wisdom! I still haven’t had the time to try this but I will take your advice. Since there are a few dry starfish on the beach right now, I will pick one or 2 up and … keep my fingers crossed! it sounds so simple – thanks gain!
Best way to get delicate shells home, buy a loaf of sliced white bread and pack the starfish in between a few layers of bread. You can then wrap the loaf in a towel or clothing if you are flying home. I have done it this way when shipping shells home and when carrying them with me on the plane.
And Pam, this post just about made me cry. So happy for all of the shellers!
Love all the shells-junonias,alphabets,horse conchs, purple fighting conchs and a seahorse! I guess there isn’t any more information about collecting dead sand dollars? Hope there will be some shells next year.
Omg Pat! Yes, u can collect dead sand dollars at lovers key state park. I didn’t write about that yet on that other post? That was when we were getting ready for vaca so I must have thought I already wrote it. I’ll make sure I go back to that post. THANK YOU for reminding me!
I’m not sure if you are talking about an incident at Lover’s Key last month when shellers were instructed to throw all sand dollars back into the water by a park employee? If this is what the poster was talking about I have more info. I was there that morning, long story short, the “employee” who had us throw them back was a volunteer who was confused on what a dead sand dollar looked like. I called the park headquarters that same day, and the bottom line is this matter has been straightened out. As long as the sand dollar is dead they are allowed to be kept.
I can smell the salt water, hear the surf and feel the sand between my toes. Oh how I want to be there,
My jaw hit the floor when I saw all those amazing shells!!! Also I think you chose wisely with the photos you put on the twenty20 website. Great photography!
I AM SIMPLY SPEECHSHELLESS !!
Luv the reply!
THX Mary Ann !!
Pam, Sistah’ Shellers & Fellers make me soooooo HAPPY :)
I read once that starfish should be soaked in rubbing alcohol overnight and laid on a paper towel to dry in the morning. I’ve been using this trick for years with great results! Have brought home starfish intact (and not smelly!) from Tybee to Dubai. Give it a try! :)
This post was really too much, first the two junonia’s, then a humongous horse conch and then they have armful’s of huge shells….best shelling week ever I’d say!
Hi Pam – Can’t wait for Friday! My neighbor and I will be joining your group to Cayo Costa. Hope some of these great shells are waiting for us there!!
I find the half and half Elmer’s glue solution works well on all the delicate items, even sea urchins as long as you’ve emptied out those innards!
Just make sure the glue is well dried, wrap them in paper towel, and they will fly home safely in a plastic container…..
The more delicate items might need more than one coat of glue solution….
Oh my!!!! Congrats to all. I will go shelling with Gail & Alicia anytime, wow what finds….woohooo. Jill, you should play the lottery with that luck! Great shelling all. As I was reading the blog I kept gasping with every pic I saw, AMAZING finds.
Wish I was there,
East Granby. CT
what beautiful finds!!!!!!!!! must be that special time of the year that gives us gifts from the sea. :) happy holidays and wonderful shellabrations to all. to pam and clark thank you shell much for your time and including us in your special paradise.
OMG! Just amazing! Thanks so much for sharing all these great pics.
On This morning’s low tide I found one nice patch at the water’s edge on West Gulf Drive The patch had a lot of good one inch and two inch shells in it. Fancy stuff and pretty too, but not as fancy as these finds!
Pam, love your art photos!!! There’s a lot of happiness in those images :)
So glad you are finding interesting things. Are you at the Dolphin again?
Please keep us posted on your finds. Enjoy the warmth for those of us up here in the cold. :)
Hi Katherine! Yes, that’s where I am. :)
Yesterday I found a nice nutmeg, a really large cayenne keyhole limpet, two lovely top shells, one banded tulip and two very small true tulips, four mauve-mouth drills and four very pretty candies, about 10 apple murex (small ones), and goodness knows how many gorgeous baby fighting conchs, all in the same small patch down by the water’s edge.
I also found one valve of a thorny oyster and one nice valve of a nucleus scallop, which is not on Jose’s BMSM list. I found one valve of that species last year too.
This part of West Gulf Drive beach is not ideal right now because the slope is a bit too steep.
Wish i could be there with you!!!
WOW! What a post! Awesome shells everywhere! Also thoroughly LOVE your gallery, Pam! Can’t wait for you to post more of your beautiful pics there!
We found two dried seahorses last year in the Bahamas – one had an incomplete tail so I just took a snapshot, the other came home with us and will eventually end up in a shadow box. It was about the same size as the one in the photo.
I am SO envious of the ginormous whelks and conchs! Yowza! Also, the PURPLE ones – I didn’t even know Mother Nature made those. :)
Awesome post, Pam!! Congrats to all the shellers featured!
Wow! What beautiful finds. I am praying that good shelling continues. I will be on Sanibel this Saturday before sunrise. Too excited to sleep!
I love Island Inn. If it were any closer to the beach, it would be in the water. Due to poor planning on my part I won’t be able to go shelling til February at the earliest. For now I will have to live vicariously :)
Pam, have you and/or Clark noticed whether Gulfside City Park still has that muddy dry slough up near the high tide part of the beach?
I was going to try to ride my bike down there tomorrow morning hoping to find some micros.
We just had our best friends arrive in town so we haven’t been to the beach yet. We hope to get out soon too!
This morning I cycled down to Gulfside. What was one not very long but deep muddy slough last year has now become one very long, very shallow slough, but it did not seem to have trapped any micros, none that I could see anyway.
The big sandy inlet that was there last year has changed too, also not as deep and more parallel to the shore. It was fun to see all the live critters, especially to see prickly cockles jumping and all various other kinds of live large bivalves, as well as live conchs and whelks, and olives writing “words” in the wet sand.
I didn’t really have luck with micros on the sandy part of the beach either. I didn’t find a single wentletrap on Gulfside today, which really surprised me.
As for regular-size shells, there were a fair number of pink and yellow double coquinas, and I got a few empty drills (and false drills) which I always find interesting. Also a double calico scallop, which surprised me, one of those crucifix “shells”, lots of nice sailors ears, and I saw a really lovely pink translucent piece of sea pork (amazing stuff that sea pork!)
Maybe Clark can give me a tip as to where I could find micros this year???
I love the micros too, good luck! Hope you find a mini-junonia!
Last January I found some wentletraps there.
Me too! But no luck today.
Can you get rid of the brown color on horse conchs by bleaching them?