Shelling in Southwest Florida
One of our most popular tours is the Coastal Sea life, Shelling & Dolphin Cruise! You will be taken out with a Marine Biologist or Certified Master Naturalist looking for dolphin, manatee or other wildlife that will be encountered. You will definitely enjoy this fabulous cruise as we stop off at a remote barrier island to go shelling. Southwest Florida is famous for its shelling. The science of shelling was actually furthered by the scientists who gathered in our area over a hundred years ago to classify and study the many thousands of shell types in our waters. Examples are pulled from the ecosystem so that you will be able to see marine wildlife in it’s natural state. Conchs, sea stars, sea urchins, bivalves and many many others will be found. It is also mating season for many of our conch species so they are lining our shorelines right now!!
What will you likely find on the beaches here?
The most common of shells are fighting conchs, common nutmeg, king’s crown, angel wings, tulips, scallops, the Atlantic cockle, ark shells,lightning whelks and olives. Our warm waters offer up many thousand more shells that you can find in many colors. If you’re lucky you may come across the rare and prized Junonia! These are much sought after shells in our area and are plentiful on the barrier islands that we take you to by boat.
Once bitten by the shelling bug you will be back for more.
Remember that no live shell may be taken from our waters or the beaches. You may only take shells that have no live animal in them. The birds and crabs have first dibs on all the living shells. Then the hermit crab, juvenile crab and other species use the empty shells as temporary housing. Leaving empty shells on the beach is very important. Not only does it make our shoreline prettier for everyone to see, the shells provide protection and shelter for other critters, and they also offer shoreline protection and contribute to our beautiful soft sand.
Enjoy the shelling, but as with anything, practice some moderation and take a few but leave plenty.
So grab a bag and join us on our cruise to adventure and discovery!!