11 Oct 2017
I enjoy plants and gardening quite a bit. It’s fun to go to a garden center and look at all the different varieties of flowers, vegetables and herbs that are on display. I usually go with the intention of buying something to add to my garden but sometimes I just go to look around. Inevitably that’s when I round a corner and the most gorgeous plant is sitting there looking at me. It seems to be saying “you know I’m the one, please take me home.”
It’s the same way with shelling here on the islands, sometimes you’re just walking along the beach and you happen upon a shell that you know is “it”.
People the world over know Sanibel Island is one of the most famous shelling beaches on the planet. Currents from the Gulf of Mexico bring a variety of unique and rare shells to our shore, and the curved shape of the island helps keep them here. While there are a lot of shells on the beach today, there were many, many more back in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s.
A documentary on Sanibel Island produced by WGCU shows pictures of beachgoers searching through mounds of shells that look to be 2-3 feet high. Can you imagine doing that? The “Sanibel Stoop” probably wasn’t as strenuous as it can be today!
One of the rarer shells that can be found on the island is the junonia (Scaphella junonia). This shell is white to pinkish white with brown square spots that encircle the shell. If you find a junonia while you’re shelling you have found a real gem! Shellers who find a junonia on Sanibel or Captiva get their pictures in the local newspaper. So get out there and keep looking!