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Island Update

A Florida Island Draws an Array of Seashells and Their Hunters


Courtesy of LIZETTE ALVAREZ and the New York Times

The tide is low. The sun crawls toward the ocean for a final dip. The time is here: The hunt is on.
Hundreds take to the beach near the lighthouse on this hammock-shaped island, hunching over the sand as they dig, lift, inspect and move on. The position is so common it has a name: the Sanibel Stoop. The beachcombers wave and chitchat but, with their competitive instincts primed, they steer clear of one another's turf, keeping a sharp eye out for dots or spirals or telltale lumps in the sand.

"We take our shelling very seriously," said Clark Rambo, who is known as Super Sheller Clark, a moniker used, sometimes admiringly, sometimes grudgingly, by his wife, Pam. "Every day on the beach is a treasure hunt, and that's what makes it so competitive."

Stretched out as far as the eye can see are shells - large, tiny, cone-shaped, scalloped, spiraled, white, orange, pink. Sanibel Island, and its neighbor, Captiva Island, just off the state's southwest coast, are where hunters come for a seashell bonanza. There is no other place like it in the country, and very few places like it in the world. On some days, depending on the wind, shells pour onto the beach in piles, seducing even the most jaded beachgoers.

This has been particularly true in the weeks since Tropical Storm Debby, the late June storm that caused flooding and beach erosion along some pockets of Florida's west coast but proved a boon to seashell hunters.
Sanibel's largess is in its geometry: It is a 12-mile barrier island with a distinctive curve. The coastline runs west to east rather than north to south. When storms blow in from the northwest, the waves and currents funnel more than 300 shallow-water species of shells right onto the beach. Other parts of the world, like the South Pacific, may draw more species, but the shells are not nearly as easy to find. They require boat trips and dives.

"There are days here when you have layers of shells four feet thick," said José H. Leal, the director of the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum here. "It's one of the best places in the world for shelling, for sure."

Pam Rambo at iLoveShelling.com is one of our great Chamber members. To learn more about Pam check out her website.

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Sea Turtle Nesting Update


Sea Turtle Nesting Stats

As of August 3, 2012

                                        Nests     False Crawls    Hatches

Sanibel East End                 67          145                  0
Sanibel West End               242         515                  30
Captiva                             113         170                  12
TOTAL                            422          830                 42


The total number of nests on Sanibel and Captiva are up this year (a little over 10% for Sanibel and over 50% for Captiva). However hatches are down on both islands (compared to the same time last year). Tropical storm Debby has had some impact on the nesting.


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The Bell Team has over 26 years of experience in the Sanibel Island Real Estate & Captiva Island Real Estate Markets, you couldn't be in better hands. Call Karen Bell & The Bell Team for all your real estate needs.
866-472-7800 x 270     239-472-7800 x 270      239-851-0168










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