Thursday, April 16, 2009

Shelling on Sanibel

Our main activity on the Island is shelling. We go in the morning, we go in the afternoon (sometimes), we go in the evening. We just like to search for shells. If it weren't for Katie we would probably be out there more than that. We never seem to tire of it. There is always that element of surprise that if we turn and look at just the right time or dig at just the right spot we will find that treasure we are searching for.

Last year our strategy consisted of two ways of searching.

Digging through the piles of shells that are left on the beach

carla, sanibel, 4.09

katie & carla, sanibel, 4.09

and carefully scanning the beach while we walk.

katie & carla, sanibel, 4.09

I have to admit that Katie is the best at both of those methods. It must be her younger eyes that give her an advantage. It figures that the one who is least interested is the best.

katie, sanibel, 4.09

But never say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. We learned a couple of new strategies this year that paid off handsomely.

One thing we learned is that storms are good. Of course, we have no control over that but we sure can take advantage of them when they occur. A cold front came through with some strong winds and consequently better shelling. Of course, it meant we had to put on every warm piece of clothing we had brought which wasn't much or enough. Are those your pajama bottoms you're wearing, sister?


We also learned to search and sift through the sand shelfs left behind when the tide is going out.

katie & carla, sanibel, 4.09

Call us crazy but two mornings we got up at 5 AM so we could be the first on the beach. That even required a trip to the hardware store so we could buy flashlights. After all it is dark at that time of the morning. One morning we did really well with our finds and one morning we found nothing. So much for the early bird getting the worm. Or should I say the early shellers getting the shells?

We also learned how important the tides are. The best shelling occurs at low tide and if that occurs during a full moon that is even better. Last year we must have been there at a different phase of the moon because this year we had a full moon and the tide was so low that we could go out on the sandbars. We didn't see sandbars last year.

katie & carla, sanibel, 4.09

Even though we are all about the shells we do take time to observe the wildlife around us. Well, at least take a glance. When the shark swam by when we were wading through the water my not that much sister took a glance and went back to her shelling. I did stop long enough to watch it swim by me. Very cool. We also saw a dolphin, an octopus, many, many sea urchins and a Portuguese Man o War. They saw it, I stepped on it. Let's just say I will never walk on the beach barefoot again. That was extremely painful.

We also saw starfish. Sister saw this one early morning.

carla, sanibel, 4.09

We decided it was alive and threw it back. Sanibel prohibits the taking of live shells and animals. Later research revealed that it was probably dead and could have been brought back home. Oh well. Later that week I pulled a smaller starfish out of the surf. After much examination we decided it was dead and put it in our bag. Later we met up with a local and in talking to her mentioned what we had found and showed it to her. Her response, "It was probably alive when you found it but it is dead now." Sheesh. Live and learn. We still brought it home but with guilt.

When we went down to Florida we had decided to love by this quote by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, "One cannont collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are a few." We started with good intentions.

sanibel island, 4.09

But somewhere along the way something went horribly wrong.

sanibel island, 4.09

What have we done?!

carla, sanibel, 4.09

All in all shelling this year was a great success.

katie, sanibel, 4.09

To be continued......

3 comments....porters always have something to say!:

Jock said...

It won't be long now and you two will be playing shuffle board down there.

megawatt miler said...


curlz said...

Old people can't shell. It's too hard on the back and knees.

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