She Sells Seashells by the Seashore..

As I’ve already noted, Sanibel Island is famous for its seashells. One of the most popular beachside activities is the collection of seashells or ‘shelling’, as it’s more commonly known.  Local residents and tourists alike can be seen doing the ‘sanibel stoop’ which refers to the position one takes when combing the beaches for some 400 species of seashells. Aficionados come from all over the world to comb the beaches for their favourites. If you’re a hardcore shell fanatic you can visit The Bailey Matthews Shell Museum, the only museum in the US dedicated solely to saltwater and freshwater seashells. The months from February to April, or after any storm, are the prime times to get out and scour the beaches for rare finds! My favourite time to shell is early in the morning just before the sun has come up, thats when the locals shell. Hunting for seashells is something you can’t imagine until you’ve experienced it yourself. There is a thrill to the hunt, especially once you learn all the names and how to identify different species, it becomes like one big treasure hunt! It’s not hard to see how this passion can turn into an obsession, I spent 3 months doing it! The beaches are covered in shells, literally, you step out onto mounds of shells, and with each tide comes a whole new batch of treasures. One of the more common shells found on the beaches here is the Florida Fighting Conch, ranging in colour from bright orange to a dark mahogany, the Fighting Conch is a shell that demands attention. But be sure to check that the beautiful shell you’re about to take home isn’t currently inhabited, as it is illegal to remove live shells.

Just some of the shells that can be found on the beaches of Sanibel…


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