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Posts Tagged ‘Sanibel Stoop’

“The Sanibel Shell Guide”

Posted by Jody on September 20, 2013

Many years ago, on our fourth trip to Sanibel Island, Florida, Greg and I stayed in a wonderful beachside condo.  The owners of the unit had quite thoughtfully placed a copy of The Sanibel Shell Guide on the living room coffee table.  After thumbing through the first few pages, we were hooked!

The Sanibel Shell Guide is written in easy-breezy style, and it’s geared towards the amateur beach treasure seeker. This little gem is loaded with information that we hobbyists can actually understand and use.  The author, Margaret H. Greenberg, tells us from the start:

“This book was written by an amateur sheller for other amateur shellers who would like to know something about the specimens they find on Sanibel and Captiva.”

In short: It’s a handy little (117 page) shell guide, written by a beachcomber, about beachcombing, for fellow beachcombers. You can’t get any better than that!  “Over 100 shells (and other specimens ) have been identified with the aid of photographs, sketches, and descriptions free of Latin words and technical jargon.”

Sanibel Treasures & “The Sanibel Shell Guide” (Photo by Jody Diehl)

The Sanibel Shell Guide was originally published in 1982, so some of the information is outdated.  You’ll be paying for beach parking these days, and live specimen collecting is now strictly taboo, with good reason. In the chapter “Equipment and Attire,” the author explains: “A sunscreen  (as opposed to tanning lotions and oils) is also recommended.” Can you even buy tanning oil anymore? 😉 Nevertheless, this chapter has some very practical tips for a safe, comfortable, productive day of beach treasure hunting on Sanibel Island and Captiva (or anywhere else for that matter).

There are tips for where and when to shell on the islands, photos and descriptions to help you identify your beach treasures, and even some simple shell crafting ideas towards the back of the book.

When I was hunting for my copy, The Sanibel Shell Guide was already out of print.  I found a used copy, in excellent condition, on my favorite used book site:  Even with shipping and handling, it was less than the original cover price of $5.95.

Shells identified using The Sanibel Shell Guide: (Photo, top to bottom) Fighting Conch, Cat’s Eye (I’ve also seen this seashell identified as a Shark Eye), Banded Tulip, Lightning Whelk.

Do you have a favorite seashell guide? Is it specific to your favorite beach? Inquiring minds want to know!

Happy beach treasure hunting!

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Beaches of North America, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Shellabration! 2012 ~ and Beyond (Sanibel Island, Florida)

Posted by Jody on November 3, 2011

4/22/2012 Update: Shellabration! 2013 is scheduled for Feb 26 – Mar 4th, 2013. The 76th Annual Shell Fair is scheduled for March 7 – 9th, 2013.

This is the event for seashell collectors, seashell crafters, and seashell enthusiasts of all ages and sorts!  The Sanibel Island, Florida Shell Fair and Show is celebrating its 75th year in 2012!  Shellabration! 2012, celebrated on the islands of both Sanibel and Captiva, is a week-long seashell extravaganza which runs from February 26 through March 4, 2012.  The actual 75th Annual Sanibel Shell Fair and Show is scheduled for March 1-3. This is the longest running shell fair and show of its kind in the United States.

Shells on the Beach, Sanibel Island, Florida (©Jody Diehl)

There are few better places on the North American continent for a festival of all things seashell!  According to the Shellabration! 2012 website, Sanibel and Captiva are unique among Florida’s Gulf of Mexico barrier islands because their  “boomerang shape and east-west orientation rather than the usual north-south positioning” makes their shores giant, natural shell-scoops, especially when the conditions are right.  Winter is the peak shelling season for both of these islands, so naturally late February and early March are an ideal time to pull out all the stops and put the winter’s best finds on display!

Along with the Sanibel Island Shell Fair and Show, Sanibel and Captiva’s island communities are planning a myriad of events for the Shellebration! 2012.  Here is just a small sampling of the festivities from the Shellabration! 2012 website.

Sanibel Stoop at Sunrise (Photo ©Jody Diehl)

The Sanibel Stoop: Held on Friday, February 17, at Bowman’s Beach, you can help Shellabration! 2012 break “The Guinness Book of World Records” number for the largest seashell scavenger hunt!

Watson MacRae Gallery: “Sea Shells” Invitational Exhibition will include a week long exhibit featuring the works of invited Sanibel artists and focusing on The Shells of Sanibel and the sea.  Monday, Feb 27th opening reception will be open to the public.  In addition, the Watson MacRae Gallery will feature shell inspired pottery and glass from artists around the country during Shellabration! 2012 week.

One Woman Play & Ice Cream Social:  On Sunday, March 4th, at the Community House, Rusty Brown presents “In Celebration of Anne Morrow Lindbergh” followed by an Ice Cream Social. (Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of Charles A. Lindbergh, authored the classic, thought provoking book “Gift From the Sea”.)

“Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”    Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From the Sea

To find out more about Sanibel Island, Florida you can check out: “Sanibel Island, Florida: A Beachcombers Bonanza”, “Beachcombing? Shelling Regulations Abound. Know Before You Go!”, & “The Sanibel Shell Guide”.

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Gulf of Mexico Beaches, Seashells | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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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