Isaac Shells

Isaac Shells

Today I traveled 60 miles in my boat looking for shells. I ended up on my favorite island close to one of my secret spots. The boat came to a screeching halt when I saw a pile of shells. After both anchors were set the collecting began. The shell pile was up to my waist. (Note to self, next time bring a rake to sift the shells.) I used one of my old tricks in the shell piles. (A few of you know this trick) There was just too much to focus on. I went back and forth again and again. The funny thing is I left more lightning whelks then I took. The olives were fabulous, smooth and shiny, the sharks eyes were a pleasant surprise. It was a great day of shelling. I look forward to scouting more areas to shell. There were pockets of shells in a couple of my secret spots. I am anxious to check those out on future trips.
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.

  • Little Black Scrap Cat
    Posted at 09:23h, 02 September

    We are ready! Hope there are some left in Oct!!

  • Kim@Snug Harbor
    Posted at 09:23h, 02 September

    All I can say is "Wow!" Is your back porch all put back to normal yet?

  • Roxanne Reinhart
    Posted at 09:23h, 02 September

    Holy-Moly. Now that's what I call a shell pile!! Man I would love to be sittin and siftin right now!! Wow!!!

  • Nancy
    Posted at 09:23h, 02 September

    Do you remember how excited I was when Melissa found that lightning whelk and you found that perfect little shark's eye when we were on Cayo?! You would have needed defribrillators on your boat to resusciate me if I would have been there with you when you found this treasure trove!!!!! Waist-high in shells – talk about beyond my wildest dreams 🙂 We were thinking of you when we saw that beautiful full moon last night.

  • gpc
    Posted at 19:36h, 02 September

    I am just aching to be there!

  • Moira
    Posted at 04:56h, 03 September

    WHAT a shell pile!!! Can't imagine having so many shells to pick through!

  • Stephanie
    Posted at 19:41h, 03 September

    So great! Nothing better than a big ol' shell pile! I'd love to share your blog on my fb page-

  • Janet from IL
    Posted at 19:41h, 03 September


  • Capt. Brian Holaway
    Posted at 00:06h, 06 September

    Kim, the back porch is far from normal. It is very clean at the moment. I am going to hold off on putting some shells back until hurricane season is done for the year. I will keep you posted.

  • mkdally
    Posted at 17:44h, 06 September

    There aren't even words for how amazing that'd be…!

  • Diana
    Posted at 10:37h, 07 September

    Great finds, Brian! Love all the welks 🙂