Ok, I will be the first one to admit that I am obsessed with shell picking. I can’t go to the beach without my eyes constantly searching for the “Shell of the Day” or that perfect shell. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be perfect. I may even be what is termed a “Militant Sheller”. I want the beach all to myself and the shells all to myself. That isn’t always possible especially on this island which is a Vacationer’s Paradise. And from Christmas to Easter, there are tons and tons of people walking the beach looking for MY shells!
But, I do live on the best place in the USA and the third best place in the world to hunt for shells. Sanibel is positioned rather strangely. It is kind of shaped like a kidney bean which means part of the island faces north and south rather that the usual east and west. In fact when I am at my home and face the beach—I am facing south. Weird! Because of the way we are positioned, the island tends to suck in the shells and deposits them nicely on our sandy beaches. And then I—and thousands and thousands of other people race to the beach in hopes of finding the illusive Junonia or Lion’s Paw. I did find the illusive Junonia years ago but have never, ever found more than a tiny piece of a Lion’s Paw.
We dedicated shellers live for storms because these bring the shells piling up on our beaches. This week, the remnants of Tropical Storm Olga met up with a cold front and produced high surf out there in the Gulf. And YES, it piled those shells up big time. I have a secret place I go to shell. Well, it’s not really so secret but only residents are allowed to park in the parking areas on West Gulf Drive so there are never throngs of people on the beaches there. What with remodeling and other stuff, I haven’t been able to do a lot of shelling this fall. So, after Olga and said Cold Front deposited their bounty on our shores, I hit the beach on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. OMG, it was like an early Christmas for an obsessed shell picker like me. There were piles and piles of shells full of such lovelies as Shark’s Eyes, Apple Murexes, Whelks, Olives, Alphabet Cones, Florida Fighting Conchs, Scallops,my favorite Horse Conch etc etc etc. I forced myself to leave the beach when my bag was so full I couldn’t cram another shell in it and it was getting really, really heavy. Still, I knew that there was just one more shell out there with my name on it.
Mr. Snowbird asks what the heck I am going to do with all these shells. Well, I pick out the very best of the litter and keep them on display. Then I bag up the rest and haul them north every spring. There are probably more Sanibel shells in Ohio right now than there are in Florida. Funny though, I don't think I am alone here. It seems that people actually fly down with empty suitcases so that they can drag their shells back home with them.
So, now you know that I am obsessed. And I'm not apologizing at all!