Thursday, November 11, 2010

“Too often we are so preoccupied with the destination, we forget the journey.” - unknown

Let the fun begin!!

I have shelling down to a science.  I know the right weather conditions for the best shells. I am familiar with practically every beach on the west coast of Florida and the type of shells you can find there. I have a tide chart app on my phone that can tell me the low/high tide times, moon phases, and the sun rise/set times. I have tools - shell shovel, shell sifters, and hand rakes for the big shell piles.  You might say I am passionate about my favorite past time. 

People ask me all the time where do you find the best shells? I can give them my best guess but as I have learned that all the planets can line up for a good shelling day and you can still come up empty handed. Oh, you'll always find scallops, arks, & lots of venus clams but we tend to want the alphabet cones, horse conchs, & that every elusive Junonia.

My hopes were high as I drove to Sanibel with my best shelling buddy Rhonda of Shellbelle's Tiki Hut. We started out at Little Hickory at a sweet little spot north of beach access 10. After our 2 hour drive we arrived at at the beach at 7am to some rather nippy weather. We were joined by blogger buds Debbie of Love of the Sea & Pam from i Love Shelling. The low tide was a minus .05 and there had been nice NW winds so we had high expectations.

 The 20 minute walk to the sweet spot was filled with the  lively conversation of new friends getting to know each other.  It's so much fun to actually speak to a blogger friend face to face as opposed to email. We spent the morning swapping stories & sharing our shell finds with each other. Debbie found an awesome tulip shell but beyond that no junonias...ratz! So on to Sanibel.

Our little (little being the operative word) beach efficiency
All I need is the coffee maker

Shower size does matter

Rhonda & I checked into our motel that I had booked online months ago around 2pm. They had told me the room was small but I was not really expecting how small.  After we got over the shock of the tiny   kitchenette/bathroom/bedroom storage locker sized space we settled in. It did have it's redeeming qualities - 2 nice chairs on a little porch, an area to clean shells, & we were only steps from a world class shelling beach. Being good campers we rolled with it.
Nice area to wash & sort the shells

The view west to the beach

The walk out to the beach was beautiful

After a yummy supper of hummus, flat bread, fresh avocado, & grilled chicken we settled in for some sleep so we could get up nice & early to go shelling. Since all the other motel rooms  shared a  water heater we got caught on the short end of the hot water supply for showers so we reverted back to our camping skills to get cleaned up.

The alarm went off at 5am - 2 cups of coffee later we were off. We walked about 1/2 mile south to an awesome shell pile and not just one but two exposed sand bars.  We spent 4 hours of pure shelling bliss before the tide started back in. 
Shellbelle looking for goodies

Some of my finds 

Rhonda says "Don't say we rock - we shell!"

The only junonia we found this trip was in a shop  for $35.

 And that is how our 3 days of Sanibel went - shelling - eating - shelling - thrift store -night shelling - shopping - more shelling - watch sunset. It was all made even better because I got to share it with my friends - new blogger buddies and a treasured girlfriend who shares my quest to make the planet a better place one shell at a time.
Karen & Rhonda at the Lighthouse Fishing Pier beach


  1. Simply Fabulous!!! What a dream trip to remember forever!! Thanks so much for sharing!! Maybe one day =)

  2. Hi there - so glad that the rest of the trip brought you some wonderful shelling!!! Awesome. I thought of you last night...when I passed the exit 191 on my way back from St. Pete. Looking forward to a future shark tooth expedition.

  3. Well, that was so kind of you to not tell the story of the owner who was indignant that we took the Junonia shell photo inside of his shop. I never knew there were shell snobs, since shellers are usually such a fun group to interact with. We know he only got his collection from vendors, he probably never stood knee-deep in water, looking for that perfect shell to add to our collection. The elusive Junonia will find its way to us one of these days, this I know for sure!

    Love ya and loved the trip!

  4. Thanks for sharing....I felt like i was right there with you! I love the beach!!

  5. It's so easy to see why people return again & again. How wonderful it must be to dwell there permenantly.

    Glorious colors in the video. The waves, the bird sounds... so relaxing.


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