Shelling on Sanibel and Captiva

shelling on Sanibel and CaptivaAs Weather Fronts start to enter the Gulf of Mexico and the Winter Season looms around the corner it’s time to think about Shelling on Sanibel and Captiva beaches. There are many technical reasons having to do with the shape of the islands, location and currents which explain why the Beaches of Sanibel and Captiva collect so many shells and while the theories are interesting all we need to know is the shores of the islands on many days are covered ankle deep with “Gifts from the Sea”.

While it’s fun to look for the perfect mollusk anytime, and I must add once you’ve tried it you’re hooked, the best times seem to be when the largest amount of the beach is exposed. That only makes sense. So if you can hit the beach day or night about an hour or two before till an hour or two after low tide  you stand the greatest chance to find the best shells. And if you happen to be on the Islands closer to a full moon where the tides are a little more extreme and even more of the beach is exposes, well of course that’s even better.

You don’t need any special equipment or tools but you will need something to hold your treasures, some sun-block and maybe a hat if you’d like. That’s it. Over my 40 plus years on the islands I can always tell the tourists that are searching the sands for the first time. They start by trying to hold all their finds and soon with pockets bulging and stuffed to a dangerous state and always using the most awkward looking grips they decide to only clutch the real prize finds. The next step is making piles of their trophies on the beach so they can pick them up on their way back, forgetting they’ll have the same carrying capacity on the return trip.

On the second day you’ll see the same treasure hunters with a bucket or net bag and it doesn’t make any difference how big their new container it’s full in short order and they are right back where they started. No matter how frustrating the dilemma however they always seem to have a smile on their face at the end of the hunt.

Now once the huntsmen have gathered and transported a respectable collection the next step is to identify each species. Today with the right internet site or book that task can be as much fun as the search itself. You’ll find some informative shelling books and great selection advice at local bookshops like Sanibel Island Bookshop – (239) 472-5223 and  MacIntosh Books & Paper – (239) 472-1447. You should also try the counters of almost any store on the islands for handy, yet limited in the volume of data, slip in your pocket, plastic waterproof identification cards. Or if you can wait to get back to your computer, where websites like the Shell Museum will supply as much information as you can absorb with links to even more detailed sites.

Enjoy the fresh air, beautiful beaches, sunshine and wildlife but remember shelling is addictive with no known cure and live shellthere are a few rules on the islands with the foremost being not to take live shells. Back in the day of the B-hive, the island store we owned, loved and ran for almost 30 years, we use to sell tee-shirts that were designed with a drawing of a shell and the animal looking out. On the shirt was the saying “before taking shells for your own please make sure there’s no one home”.

To check out the island shelling rules “Click Here” and enjoy you time shelling on Sanibel and Captiva.

Or Contact Me Direct Anytime:

George Kohlbrenner

Partner – Broker – Associate
John Naumann & Associates
11509 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, FL 33924
1149 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957

Call 239-565-8805