Sanibel Island, FL is a little island town world famous for it’s shelling. You can not walk along the beach without hearing the sound of years old shells being crushed beneath you. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen and an amazing place to be. I was feeling like The Little Mermaid just in a sea of shells on land!
The first thing we did was visit the Visitor’s center where we were given a brochure on what’s what as far as the shells go, told the best places to stop to collect shells, and the best spots to look; i.e. right beneath where the wave first hits the shore for the youngest and most colorful shells. We had a great weekend shelling and took home two jars full of all sorts of unique shells!
Of course once we got home, we had the task of cleaning and drying all the shells- important unless you want your home to smell like seaweed and ocean water all day. To clean the shells, you just leave them in a bucket or cup filled with a half water, half bleach solution for 24 hours. Unless you have sand dollars (which we do!) in which case, you only leave them in for up to 8 hours.
Some fun facts about Sanibel Island:
- it is about 12 miles long and only 3 miles wide.
- shells wash up along the shores due to the island’s plateaued position along the Gulf of Mexico.
- Explore Juan Ponce de Leon (official discoverer of Florida itself) actually first named the island “Ybel” after the Spanish Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1513.
- The pirate Blackbeard, among others (Lafitte, Black Caesar, Gasparilla) are all said to have set up camp along Sanibel’s shore.
That last one is my favorite, being a die hard Pirates of the Caribbean fan and all! Hopefully we will visit Sanibel again soon and I’ll have more to write about!