Sanibel Island Seashells

We finally got around to cleaning (bleach bath~ hot soapy water) and sorting all of our shells from Sanibel Island.

Aren’t they amazing? It must seem a little OCD to have them all sorted like this but we have plans (art projects) for them and each one believe it or not needs a coating of Mineral Oil.


Starfish and Sand Dollars are not that easy to find whole so I cheated. I bought these before we left the island. The rest however we did collect ourselves.

Buttercups and Sailor’s Ears. The buttercups are snowy white and so delicate, you can see right through them.

Florida Cones and the more rare Alphabet cones.

Worm Shells, Jingles, Apple Murex, Lace Murex, Sharks Eyes and Jewell Boxes (or rock oysters).

Calico Scallops. The color on these shells is absolutely amazing and they are plentiful on the beach. I had to stop myself from picking them up after a while. I was afraid we would not be able to get all of these shells home!

Tiny Coquina shells and Sunrise Tellin, each with the most spectacular design. In the right hand corner are the tiny “doves” that are inside a sand dollar. Far right are cat’s paws.

Auger, Muddy Cerith, Fly-Specked Cerith, Cancellate Cantharus, Angulate Wentletrap….but my kids just call them Unicorn Shells. I like that better. The big shell on the top is a Lightening Whelk.

This photo shows the brilliant sunburst color and intricate design of the Calico Clam shells.

Banded Tulips. I think these are so beautiful!

Giant Heart Cockle. I guess that’s where they get the saying “It warms the cockles of my heart”???

Lightening Whelk with their intricate spiral design.

Lettered Olive. These are a bit harder to find. It seems one day a certain shell will be plentiful and another shell the next.

One morning I walked the beach around 6:00 a.m. to catch the sunrise. For some reason on that morning these Fighting Conchs were absolutely everywhere. It was a good thing I thought to bring a bag on my walk!

My daughter put all of the bright orange shells together. Now I dare anyone to look at these and tell me there isn’t a divine being.

When I see the miracle
Of a shell~
I know God and nature….

D Morgan 1990



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20 responses to “Sanibel Island Seashells

  1. The coquinas (although we called them donacks)make a great soup. We used to scoop up buckets of them from the shore, then take them home and boil them, shell and all, with seasonings. Tasty.

    You know that’s what the fort walls at Saint Augustine is made from?

  2. Mia

    My friend said she and her grandmother used to make coquina soup. She said it was delicious although I can’t imagine eating the shells. They must get very soft?

    That is amazing about St. Augustine! I will have to look for a picture!

  3. We didn’t eat the shells, just suck on them and spit them out. (sort of the same way as when people eat sunflower seeds.)

  4. so sacred. such beautiful shells, and so many of them. what will you do with all of them? the beach you went to must be covered with shells. our southwest beaches have only rocks.

  5. oh those seashells are absolutely beautiful! One of my favourite things in the world to do is walk along the beach…whether I find shells or not…just to feel the sand beneath my feet is incredibly grounding. Looks like you have a year’s worth of art projects to do with those, eh?

  6. Ohhh, I can’t wait to see all the creations you come up with for these. They are gorgeous – and I am jealous. I could spend forever on a beach looking for treasures. I am amazed by how many shells you found . . . wow!

  7. Wow! What a treasure trove!

    What are you going to do with them?

  8. Beautiful! You really got a haul there! I can’t wait to see what you are going to do with them all.

  9. Mia

    I am going to make my husband a sailors valentine for his birthday or Christmas depending on how long it takes me. lol

    I have several other projects in mind and when they are done I will post pictures.

    For some of them I just plan to get a long shallow basket and fill it up so I can walk by it and think of the ocean. I love the ocean so much.

  10. I love collecting shells too, but as I live practically in the middle of England, at least a two hour drive away from theb each, I don’t get to do it very much.

    Reminds me of pleasant hours spent on the beach as a kid.

  11. What is a sailor’s Valentine? A bottle of rum and you as an island girl wearing shell pasties and a loin cloth?

  12. Joy

    lovely Mia
    Just lovely

  13. Mia

    Hi Anna and Joy!

    ATM: YES that is exactly what a Sailor’s Valentine is!!! Why are you running? Is it perhaps the thought of me in a loin cloth and pasties? Because I don’t see any difference between you having to endure this image and me having to picture you wearing nothing but the scent of eu de skunk! sheesh.

  14. We must be related..
    I love collecting shells…
    You really do have treasure there!

  15. absolutely gorgeous, I can’t believe you found so many whole shells; growing up in Southern California beaches, it is mostly pieces. I found a few tiny ones on our trip home a few weeks ago, but your collection is amazing.

  16. Joy


    How come I cant post to your latest, beautiful post?

    I think a lot of moms, can’t deal with the idea that they gave “their child” away, so they want to deny that we are their children.

    So sad, because again the “child” is forced to suffer, and carry the burden.

    So sorry

  17. Mia

    It has something to do with the position of the islands. It is supposed to be one of the best places in the world to find shells. Obviously I agree! ;o)

  18. Wow, absolutely amazing!

  19. sanibel goer

    i love sanibel i vacatoined there once

  20. Mia

    Yes, it’s magical. I love it there.

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