Shelling on Sanibel

Friday, April 29, 2016
Sanibel Island is famous for seashells. In fact, there’s an official name for the practice of picking up shells on the beach there – the Sanibel Stoop, or, if you’re on Captiva, the Captiva Crouch. The beaches are covered in shells all the time. It’s such a great place for families to vacation because mom and dad can hang on the beach with their adult beverage and book, while the kids can search for seashells for hours.
The beaches are literally covered with seashells. 

 If you want the really good shells, you need to check the low tide times and get up early, or in the middle of the night. Before our trip, Mike bought a handy little tactical flashlight for shelling on Sanibel. Our resort provided a great netted shell shoulder bag in our room, and we remembered to pack our water shoes, so we were fully 
Looking for the perfect shell.

 Low tide was around 2 a.m. when we were there, which didn’t sound too appealing on vacation. But I did make Mike get up early on two mornings to go scour the beach. He was a great sport about getting up early on vacation. I think after close to nine years of being together, he knows when I'm excited about something it's hard to stop me. Thank you, Mike!

Good morning from Sanibel!

 I’m a natural early bird, and a huge seashell fan, so getting up to spend time on the beach, collect shells, and watch the sunrise light up the sky in tropical tones of pink, orange, and blue, made me oh-so-happy. The sea is truly my happy place – especially at sunrise. There’s nothing like it.

Couples who shell together...

Researchers say that adult coloring books are good for us because they force us to focus on a task while relaxing at the same time; giving the artist a feeling of mindfulness. I feel like shelling does the same thing to me. I was totally zoned out, but at the same time so focused on my collecting tasks.  It was oddly rewarding and relaxing at the same time. I completely lost track of time and location. Thankfully, I had my handy dandy flashlight. 

A few of the beautiful shells we found. 

Of course, when you search for shells you need to check for critters. It is illegal to take any ‘live’ shells. If there’s a guy squirming around in your shell, you need to put him back where you found him. A lot of the big pretty Florida Fighting Conch shells we found were inhabited but every so often we’d find a beautiful vacant one to place in our bag. Mike discovered a large white whelk- but it had an owner already, so we put him back in the water. Darn!

Mike even got into shelling!

We ended up bringing home lots of beautiful shells, and our living room is now filled with wonderful memories of beach combing in Sanibel.

Take me to the sea! 

 If you want to know what kind of shells you found on your trip the island has an incredible shell museum, the Bailey Matthews National Shell Museum. It’s fun to identify all your beach finds! 
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