Sanibel Sisters Take Two

Sanibel Sisters Take Two

The Sanibel Sisters returned with tweezers in hand  along with one of the  sisters granddaughters. The trip started with “The sisters” giving me one of the shirts they had made. The shirt said,”Got Shells”. I Loved it! The next surprise was a beautiful collection of miniature shells they had collected since our last trip. WOW!! The collection is shown in the picture. A beautiful tusk shell, and honestly the biggest key hole limpet I have seen in that good of shape. (Nancy Darling would be drooling) The baby’s ear is a treasure from these ladies I will set apart from all others. Well, all the shells will stay in a special spot. Thank you again for the gifts from the sea. Our goal of the trip was to explore the flats on a SUPER low tide. The tide had been falling for four hours when we left the dock. The west southwest wind was holding the tide higher than usual. The decision was made to go to North Captiva and look for shells while waiting on the tide to fall. The tide was to low to anchor at my first choice on North Captiva so we traveled to another spot on the island. Honestly on this day the shelling was not all that great. The high winds and water had washed the beaches clean of most shells. It reminded me of the beach I woke up to on Cayo Costa after a restless night of sleep on a precolumbian shell mound twenty nine moons ago. We stayed at North Captiva briefly. Still waiting on the tide we traveled to the southern end of Cayo Costa. The high water from the previous day made the shelling sparse.  The tide finally started to fall pushing out of  Captiva and Redfish pass, despite the strong wind now out of the northwest at twenty miles an hour. The flats were starting to show themselves as we traveled south.  I set the anchor and pulled the boat over the grass flats and set the stern anchor. The live shells were more than plentiful. We took no live shells but had to work to find the empty ones. Some nice specimens were collected with the tweezers. A very small horseshoe crab was collected as pictured above. One shell collected was very intriguing. A lettered olive. It was silky smooth but looked prehistoric. The coloring on this olive shell was unlike any I have observed before. All great finds. I pulled the anchor and we traveled with a tail wind back to the marina. Shortly after arriving at the marina the moon made its mystical  presence.

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.

  • Kaybe
    Posted at 00:16h, 20 May

    For goodness sakes. You know your party had a good time when the book again and make you a t-shirt! I can actually feel the gravitational pull from the moon picture. Very nice.

    Take good care,


  • Anonymous
    Posted at 00:46h, 05 June

    Hi Capt. Brian,

    Just finished reading 'The Lion's Paw', for the countless time.

    The story brings back great memories of kicking around Captiva with mom back in the day.

    How sweet you to think of her, and yes — I'm certain she would be drooling.

    If you're not familiar with the book, please check it out. Or as Mom would say, "I'll flatten you"!


    Best to you,

    John Darling ( )