Sanibel and her neighboring barrier cays are some of the most extreme shelling locations on the planet. Being a barrier island, Sanibel’s most uncommon characteristic is its east-west situation in the Gulf of Mexico. Sanibel’s land mass sits vertical to the mainland coast as opposed to sitting parallel to shore like nearly every other barrier island. This distinctive situation ensnares shells which are pushed north by dominant gusts and tidal motion.
Shells become easy to find as the surface of the water recedes when north winds rush across the island. The most popular shelling times are usually December, January and February, however, summer gales often reveal enormous numbers and assortments of shells, much to our delight.
Catch Me If U Can guides will show you remote beaches where you’ll discover the natural history of Southwest Florida and intimately investigate the sea’s mysterious secrets that end up on our beaches. Learn for yourself the beach combing method distinguished by the bent over posture of its participants and referred to as the “Sanibel Stoop.” From corals to anemones, jellies and nettles to bivalves and shelled mollusks, each aspect of a living beach has its own tale to tell.