Excellent Shell Collecting

Excellent Shell Collecting


The shelling at Blind pass was so good I just had to go back. I paid for an hour of parking and stayed two. The one person I saw on the beach found a rare Junonia shell 15 minutes before I arrived. The shells above with the green background were all found at Blind pass. After shelling for two hours at blind pass I traveled alone to Cayo Costa. No boats were out. The wind was still strong at 20 to 25 out of the northwest the air temperature was 35. It was a chilly ride. The shells on Cayo Costa were plentiful. I have not seen that many shells on Cayo Costa since December 13th 2008. Today there were hundreds of starfish that washed up on the beach. I have never seen that many starfish in my life. The shelling was outstanding, as I was leaving the tide was rising, and taking the shells and starfish back out to the sea.

Brian Holaway

I have been a Shelling Guide to Cayo Costa State Park since 1995. Many people know me as the Shelling Guide and Captain with Captiva Cruises over the past 20 years. In 2016 I began solely offering private small boat charters to the islands of Pine Island Sound including Cayo Costa State Park, Cabbage Key, Useppa Island, Pine Island and North Captiva. I am a certified Florida Master Naturalist, licensed USCG Captain, avocational photographer, seashell enthusiast and passionate about the history, people and culture of Southwest Florida, especially Cayo Costa. I volunteer as a member of Friends of Cayo Costa State Park and have great respect for the heritage of Cayo Costa. My goal is to provide guests with an overall experience and appreciation for the waters, islands, shells, plants, marine life, wildlife, history and people of this unique area of Southwest Florida.

  • Jen S.
    Posted at 04:14h, 15 December

    WOW Brian…those are awesome 🙂 You sure find some neat things when you are out! So cool!

  • JoJo
    Posted at 00:58h, 28 February

    Hi Brian,
    Just found your blog via I Love Shelling – wow, wonderful stories and beautiful pictures.

    I was on Sanibel for a couple of days at exactly this same time, wearing a down jacket but out looking for shells! There were more starfish, sea urchins and fresh dead pen shells than I've EVER seen before, in person or in pictures. Very interesting to find out it was the same on Cayo Costa.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 23:16h, 12 April

    Hey Brian,
    Remember meeting Erika and Mary from Minnesota who had hiked from the park campground down to the pass? I'm finally visiting your website for the first time; REALLY great to see pictures and read about our sacred corner of the planet.
    Question: after that amazing December blow and thousands of starfish/shells, how many days did the piles of starfish/shells last before they were washed away/erased? I wondered if the shelling was incredible for days or just the day we saw you… Thanks again for the ride back to the north end.
    Hope you see this comment, 4 months late!

  • Capt. Brian Holaway
    Posted at 23:28h, 12 April

    I do remember. You guys are troopers. You get a big hats off from Capt.Brian for sure.The star fish lasted about a week. Then we got another strong front. They were all gone. Thanks for the comment. I stopped in the middle of the island on the way home and shelled a while longer. What a day!