My jaw dropped when he told me he found NINE Junonia shells on Sanibel recently. My eyes lit up when he sent me the pictures!
My-oh-my, such beautiful spotted Junonia shells! While Junonia’s tend to steal the show and get all of the attention, I have to point out they were accompanied by a number of wonderful whelks and even a lovely round Queen’s Helmet. What a score! You simply can’t beat the shelling along Sanibel and Captiva Island.
Who Found These Amazing Shells?
Our dear friends and clients! Shayne and Marilyn live on Beach Road on Sanibel Island’s east end. They walk from their home to the beach every day to search for seashells. It’s not only an island pastime but also a means of exercise and stress relief for many island residents.
I was amazed and inspired to learn that Shayne walks six miles each day at various times of the day, depending on the best tides for shelling. In fact, it’s all about timing the tides. And, in the winter, Negative Low Tides are a shell-seekers dream!
Negative Low Tides
We talk all about How Tides Affect Shelling in a separate blog (linked here). Tides, which are affected by the moon’s gravitational pull, can be even more drastic than normal in the Winter months due to the northern hemisphere’s tilt away from the sun.
That’s why we sometimes see “negative low tides” and “king tides” in the Winter. Negative low tides occur around the moon’s new and full phases and result in a lower-than-usual low tide. This means even more shells are exposed along the shoreline than normal. A king tide is the opposite, a higher-than-usual high tide.
How do you know what the tides are doing? Good question, there are a number of different sources you can check online including but not limited to:
A Note About Living Seashells
Note, Shayne and Marilyn are very conscious not to disturb living shells like the ones pictured above that are thriving along the shoreline. Read more about how to tell if a shell is alive on Travel For Wildlife’s blog linked here.
Share Your Shelling Finds!
Have you been shelling the negative low tides? We’d love for you to share your findings with us on social media, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or text 239-472-1950.