Tuesday, March 11, 2008


On the Best of Sanibel Captiva (BOSC) Message Board, we do what we have named "Cybershelling". For those who are stuck in the ice and snow, those of us who are fortunate enough to be on Sanibel post pictures of shells. Shells on the beach, shells we have collected, shells, shells, and more shells. And strange as it may sound, those of us who are fortunate to be on Sanibel LOVE it when a storm hits and we get a wind out of the Northwest because that means shells, shells, and LOTS more shells!!!

This past week we had a storm. Two days of winds, high surf, and you guessed it--shells, shells, and more shells. I went out Sunday and Monday. The first day mostly what I did was open up about 20 crab traps which had been washed up on shore and release the poor Stone Crabs who were stuck in said traps. I sincerely doubt that the trappers were going to seek out their traps up on the shore and claim their Stone Crabs even though one lady questioned if what I was doing was legal. There were lots of shells but not the kind I generally collect. There were lots of Sea Urchins, Scallops, Giant Cockles, Pen Shells, and Star Fish (I don't think I need to link this since you should all know what a star fish is).

But Monday was a different story! Ok, maybe I was greedy but this is the first time in 15 years of shelling on Sanibel that I filled my bag, went to the car and emptied it and returned to the beach for more. And I didn't even make a dent in the shells out there!!! I can't tell you how many Alphabet Cones, Horse Conchs (my favorites), and Lightning Whelks I had to put back in the water because they were alive. (We have a no live shelling law on Sanibel.)But as you can see by the picture above, I managed to find a lot that weren't alive. I found lost of Lightning Whelks, Tulips, Apple Murex, Lace Murex, Shark's Eyes (the shell not the real thing) , and Olives (again, the shell, not the real thing). And of course there were the usual assortment of scallops, Florida Fighting Conchs etc.

So, today, after I had rinsed them all, I laid them out nicely and took a bunch of pictures and posted them at BOSC for all to cybershell. Then I decided that maybe some of you would like to learn a bit about shells and do your own cybershelling. So, go check out all the links, look at all my pictures and see what you can find. It should help while away the time waiting for the snow and ice to melt!!

Can you spot the broken piece of Junonia? This is the prize shell to find on Sanibel.

Can you name these shells?


gpc said...

Oh man, how I envy you for being there after a storm! I've only been there for a couple, and it is my most favorite thing! I especially love the cones and nutmegs, and find very few of either, so I'm especially impressed with those. I would have loved to be there to see the crabs in the traps, I've never seen that (only the ones the birds are done with)and what fun to be their rescuer. I think the people who owned the trap will be happy to have another chance to catch them instead of having them killed for no reason. I enjoy seeing the live shells when they wash up, which I had only seen in books before (I was SO amazed the first time!), but always wonder if any survive after being tossed ashore like that. Thanks for the cyber fun. I'm glad that you have shells, shells, shells instead of snow, snow, snow!

gpc said...

I love the venus sunrays, too, and only have one complete one - yours looks like a beauty. (speaking of shells, it's been a long time since I found an angel wing, although I guess you wouldn't expect them after a storm)

Shama-Lama Mama said...

Oooh, that red one, third from the top is pretty cool. We have such great beaches here in San Diego, but no shells, really. I wish we did.

Snowbird said...

Gail, a couple of years ago after a storm (maybe Hurricane Wilma??) there were tons of Angel Wings up on the shore and most of them in excellent condition.

Karen, the red one is a True Tulip which are actually not that easy to find. I found it in the last crab trap I opened. There were no crabs, just that gorgeous red Tulip and a Florida Conch. I felt that it was a gift from the sea for saving all of those crabs. Diana found a Scotch Bonnet which is actually pretty rare too. So, we both lucked out. She has this idea that if you are meant to find it, you will. I keep remembering that whenever I'm out there wanting to find a Junonia or Lions Paw. I have found the Junonia but still waiting for the Lions Paw.