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What should I bring with to go shelling?

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MN
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21 posts
19 reviews
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What should I bring with to go shelling?

I know it might sound silly, but this is our first visit. My daughter is beyond excited. She chose Sanibel over Disney. What should we bring to go shelling?

Thanks!!!

Bradenton, Florida
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5,427 posts
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1. Re: What should I bring with to go shelling?

There are specific shelling instruments available at Bailey's and I am sure other places, but the main thing is a bag. That can be a plastic grocery bag from Bailey's, Publix, whatever. A lot of folks use specific shell scoops. I prefer to just walk the beach, and pick up anythng interesting. Do be aware, if the something interesting seems to have some type of critter involved, you should gently return it to the surf.

England
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1,720 posts
49 reviews
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2. Re: What should I bring with to go shelling?

Get your free copy of the Sunnyday guide and there is a coupon section with souvenirs, etc. etc. and a beach bag as well.

sunnydayguide.com/sanibel-captiva/shopping-p…

Have a great time

The Bakery
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9,526 posts
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3. Re: What should I bring with to go shelling?

I recommend using polarized sunglasses, especially if you shell along the surf line. You can see the shells rolling in the water. That's were the nets they sell in shops come in handy. The also sell mesh bags that let the water drain out, but the plastic grocery bags work just fine.

If there is a lot of detritus along the surf line, you might find no-see-ums there. They like the damp seaweed/grass. I have found avoiding bites is a lot easier than treating bites, so for early morning shelling, I wear leggings that keep me covered, including ankles. It almost eliminated the problem. Mid-day or if you shelling in the water, no problem. I just walk in and get wet and rinse the leggings.

The Chamber of Commerce Information Center also provides a free, simple shell identification sheet and you can buy a nice laminated color identification guides for shells and birds in most large stores from supermarkets to drug stores.

You'll want to buy ordinary household bleach to soak the shells in a 1 part bleach to 10 parts water up to a 50/50 mix depending on how grubby they are. A dental pick helps get the stuff off the outside and good nylon nail brush helps too.

Read

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i3822-Cleaning_…

for more tips on cleaning and carrying your booty home.

Do carry OFF! wipes. You'll need them if you run into a no-see-um area. And PLEASE wear a hat with a brim to shade you eyes, even with the sunglasses. And make sure to use sun block on the back of your neck. It's easier to see things with the sun to the side or behind you.

You can 'dig' for shells, but you must fill in the holes before leaving the beach. Many shells get buried under the sand and it's amazing what folks find, especially around Blind Pass and Bowman's Beach.

Good luck and HAVE FUN!

Edited: 04 October 2012, 04:14
Sanibel Island...
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8 reviews
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4. Re: What should I bring with to go shelling?

One of the great aspects of shell collecting is that you can bring as much or as little "stuff" as you want to go shelling. I tend to carry less "equipment". You probably will want to bring somethng for your feet. Since the Sanibel beaches are "natural" with lots of shells, etc, having something to protect your feet is usually a good idea. Flip flops, old tennis shoes or "water shoes" all are better than going barefooted. Broken shells can be very sharp. Getting cuts in your feet will not enhance your shell collecting experience. Depending upon what I am expecting to find, I may carry a small pail. Often I have one or even two fanny packs in which I carry folded up Walmart bags, zip-lock bags and maybe even a small, hard plastic bottle (pill bottle). The hard plastic bottle is useful for small delicate shells that could be crushed in a plastic bag. If you want to dig in the shell piles or sand, you may want to bring a metal spoon or a screw driver or something like that. I usually wear clothing with pockets, so that my hands are free to pick up shells, etc. I also wear something, like a bathing suit or shorts so that I can get my feet wet. Often the tide pools have many interesting shells, which are out of reach, unless you get your feet wet. Some people use a pair of rubberized utility or "garden" gloves to go thru shell piles. You can find these at Walmart and many other places, but they certainly are not necessary. You will quickly figure out what works best for you. Your daughter made a wise decision. Neither of you will be disappointed. Be sure to visit the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum while you are on Sanibel. You are in for a treat. Enjoy.

DeLand, Florida
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445 posts
245 reviews
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5. Re: What should I bring with to go shelling?

Make sure never to go out without a shell bag.

Toronto
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90 posts
6 reviews
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6. Re: What should I bring with to go shelling?

MK,

Your advice about a pill bottle is an epiphany. I'll be sure to bring something like that for wentletraps. Last time I'm sure we lost some due to the container. I'll be using film canister containers. The OP will probably not be able to escape Bailey's without getting her daughter a pink shelling basket shaped like a shell. It's not really practical but so cute.

Sanibel Island...
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8 reviews
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7. Re: What should I bring with to go shelling?

Booboo, thru my work I have access to many hard, plastic containers, which have been most helpful to me over the years. One does not have to break more than a few large wentletraps before deciding on procedural improvements. Experience is an effective teacher, but not necessarily a kind one.

MN
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21 posts
19 reviews
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8. Re: What should I bring with to go shelling?

Thanks for all helpful replies! Is it pretty obvious which ones are more breakable and would require a bottle?

Sanibel Island...
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1,294 posts
8 reviews
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9. Re: What should I bring with to go shelling?

Usually the shells that are more easily broken are smaller, but not necessarily so. If this is your first time shell collecting, I doubt that will be a significant problem for you. I suspect that a few plastic bags will be all that you need at first. If you become bitten by the shell collecting bug, you can always purchase a few items on Sanibel. Just my two cents.

Stuart, Florida
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114 posts
90 reviews
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10. Re: What should I bring with to go shelling?

Great information....we will be there this weekend and all I have so far is my burlap shell bag, think I need to get my beach bag in order. I forget....before or after low tide is best?

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