My favorite childhood adventure was picking up seashells along the seashore of Lover's Key State Park. I remember my dad firing up the R.V. before sunrise and heading a wee bit south of Fort Myers beach to the official Florida shelling headquarters. (and you thought it was Sanibel) Once parked, we would sneak by the feral cats sleeping at the ranger station and head down the board walk, just as the sun was escaping the horizon. Often times, given that the park didn't open for 2 whole hours, we'd be the first ones there. But not always. That's because around the causeway there sat a towering white high-rise full of blue haired shell enthusiasts. It was the only other sign of life on the key in the 1980's. Well, flash forward to 2016 and look at me, staying in that same towering white building around the corner. Take that early birds!
Unfortunately, after they dredged the coast and widened the beach at Lover's Key, the shelling was never the same. I stopped picking up shells years ago. But admiring them is a different story. Get a load of these beauties...
A horse shoe crab with a few guests.
This shell was so big, that it had another large, 3-4 inch whelk attached to it. And look how small it looks!
A tulip shell.
Wow! That one was happy to see me.
That's Fort Myers beach in the distance. All of the above shells were alive last time I checked. And let's keep it that way. Remember to only collect the empty ones if you are out and about, doing the great American past time of shell collecting.
Happy Independence Day!
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