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Posts Tagged ‘best Florida Gulf Coast shelling’

Shark Eyes, “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Posted by Jody on April 5, 2012

Shark Eye -Neverita duplicata- found on Sanibel Island, Florida

Our best shark eye!  Isn’t she a beaut?

Shark Eyes

Skark eyes (Neverita duplicata) are members of the moon snail family (Naticidae). These beautiful, smooth, dome-shaped shells can grow up to 3, even 3 ½” high.  Usually a light brown to grey color, the tips (apexes) of the shells often sport a darker purple-blueish cast, giving the appearance of an eye — hence the name.  This makes these beautiful beach treasures rather easy to identify. How lucky for us!

Shark eyes can be found along the Atlantic coast of the US from Massachusetts to Florida and to the states along the Gulf of Mexico. They live from the sandy shore to just below the low tide line. Predatory marine snails, they feed on bivalves (e.g., clams). These beauties are actually a very common beachcombing find throughout their range.  We found our best specimens on the Gulf shores of Sanibel Island, Florida.

Sanibel is a family favorite destination for us! Just one visit to this idyllic, white sand isle escape and you’ll understand exactly why Arthur Frommer, himself, listed Sanibel Island as #1 on the list of his Top 10 Favorite Travel Destinations in 2011!

Low Tide at Sunrise on Sanibel Island, Florida

Sanibel Island, along with it’s neighbor to the north, Captiva Island, is a true beachcombers paradise.  The Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce proudly boasts, “Our islands provide for the perfect vacations. Enjoy 15 miles of unspoiled beaches, 22 miles of bike paths, 50 types of fish, 230 types of birds, 250 types of shells and 0 stop lights.”

Here are a couple of other posts you might be interested in: Sanibel Island, Florida: A Beachcomber’s Paradise, Beachcombing? Shelling Regulations Abound. Know Before You Go! And, one more very useful link: The Sanibel Captiva Chamber of Commerce.

Happy beachcombing!

Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Sanibel Island, Florida: A Beachcomber’s Bonanza

Posted by Jody on September 8, 2011

Sanibel Island, Florida is the ultimate US vacation destination for the serious beachcomber! Sanibel Island, located in the Gulf of Mexico, is south and west of Fort Meyers. With miles and miles of shell-strewn, sugary white sand beaches and hundreds of different types of sea shells to pick from, you won’t need anything to keep you busy but the seashore!

©Jody Diehl

Sanibel Island Beach Treasures (©Jody Diehl)

Head out to the wide sandy shore, and soon enough you’ll find out exactly what the “Sanibel Stoop” is.  If you aren’t doing the “Sanibel Stoop” in a matter of minutes, you are sure to see plenty of beachcombers who are! We are stoopers.  Other shellers will come armed with shelling baskets attached to long handles. (These scoops are used to reach down into the sandy shallows.) Some come equipped with handy-dandy surgical tweezers to pick up the mini sea shells that are often found at Lighthouse Beach. I’m convinced that all systems for shelling on the beaches of Sanibel Island are equally effective.

Sanibel Island Lighthouse at Christmastime (©Jody Diehl)

Sure, you’ll be told the best time to shell on the beaches of Sanibel Island is a couple days after a winter storm, during low tide, when the moon is full…  Those may indeed be the ideal conditions for shelling, but that never seems to matter.  We have always come home quite happy with new beach treasures from our seashell hunting any time of year, no matter the tide, no matter the  phase of the moon, and no matter which Sanibel Island beach!

We have found teeny-tiny miniature shells in heaps, and we have come across live whelks as large as Greg’s size 12 sandal moving across the sand. The most amazing thing about shelling on Sanibel Island’s beaches is the number of whole, unbroken shells you can find.  Lightning Whelks, Fighting Conchs, Olives, Augers, Turkey Wings, Moon Shells, Alphabet Cones, Scallops, Banded Tulips! The variety is amazing and the colors are so beautiful.

Be sure to have good a shell guide for identification purposes and check out the tide tables if you do want to hit low tide at the beach.  You won’t want to miss seeing the sunrise and sunset from the Gulf side of the island.  Those colors are absolutely gorgeous, too!

Have a great day beachcombing on Sanibel Island, Florida!  -J-

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Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 37 Comments »

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