Gifts from the Sea

Gifts from the Sea

Join the hunt with a shelling concierge.

With more than 250 species of shells, Captiva Island is well-known as one of the best places for shelling, so much so that the South Seas Island Resort offers Guided Beach Walks with a Shelling Concierge. Usually avid shell collectors themselves, the Shelling Concierges know about the biology, behavior and habitat preferences of Captiva’s shell species. Not only will both novice and serious collectors discover a plethora of seashells along the two-and-a-half miles of beaches, they’ll learn about the marine habitat and biology of seashells as well.

Guests can expect to find such varieties as: fighting conchs, lightning whelks, calico scallops and Atlantic coquinas. You’ll learn about basic bivalve and gastropod biology and why so many seashells wash up along the resort’s shoreline. The Shelling Concierge will even assist with tips to find the junonia, the island’s most elusive and coveted shell. This milky shell with brown spots is both rare and beautiful. Finding one will even get your photo in the local newspapers.

Shelling is a great family activity, and everyone enjoys it in their own way. Some might snorkel along the sandbar, while others like to browse the wrack line for shells recently washed ashore. Children tend to learn shell identification quickly and have enough energy to sift through the sand and shore for shells that will make the perfect treasure, and memory.

Tips for shelling success: The best time to go is at low tide, when more of the sea floor is exposed, especially at a full or new moon. Shellers are not allowed to collect “live” shells, those that contain an inhabitant. Sand dollars, starfish and sea urchins are also protected by state law. Bring along a bucket or a net and wear shoes.

For more information visit South Seas Island Resort at www.southseas.com.

After spending a decade in Los Angeles where she worked with top travel news journalists, produced and casted for such shows as The Biggest Loser, Endurance, Extreme Home Makeover and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search, the travel industry never lost its luster. Lisabeth continues to appease her roving curiosity with travel writing and research. She writes feature stories, news-worthy travel content, interviews experts for in-depth Q&As, and covers vacation trends.