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Sanibel Island, Florida - This island is all about shells

The shell border marks the flood line on Sanibel Island. © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
The shell border marks the flood line on Sanibel Island. © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline

If you visit Sanibel Island in Florida, you can not beat the topic of shells. Everywhere you meet them: on the beach, in the souvenir shop, in the restaurant and even in the museum. Shells are the Subject on this island on the west coast of Florida. We learned this on our Florida trip in January. Already when we were in our hotel - the West Wind Inn, which is right on the Beach lies in - check in, the lady at the reception explained to us before the location of our room, that when we come from the beach, we should first go to the "shell shed", the mussel shed, to wash our collected shells and the sand clean. And indeed, the first three women we meet in the hotel corridor when we bring our luggage into the room have three bulging plastic bags in their hands - full of shells. "It seems to be popular sport here," I think to myself. A view that will only be confirmed in the next few days, because on every beach that we visit, they go Beach walkers bent over, looking spellbound at the sand and hoping to discover a particularly beautiful shell. This posture even has its own name in Florida. This is called the "Sanibel Scoop". Some - obviously locals - even have buckets with them, and the very savage even have a grave stick. They follow the traces left by the shells in the sand and dig them out.

Dropped head? The Sanibel Scoop © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Dropped head? The Sanibel Scoop © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline

Yes, we did not know that either. We always thought, shells are just lying on the beach after being washed ashore by the waves. But in the Shell Museum of Sanibel Island we learn that this is not the case. On the contrary, the shells move very slowly through the sand, and many dig into it. They do not make it easy for the shell seekers to find them. But the joy is all the greater if you come across a particularly beautiful specimen. However, since it is forbidden to export mussels, we prefer to leave the active shellfish search to the Americans, watching them laboriously find their treasures together. Incidentally, the best time to do so is always shortly after the flood. Then the waves from the south tirelessly rinse new, large and beautiful shells ashore, where only the dead can be collected. If the shells still live, you have to leave them on the beach.

Shell shop on Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Shell shop on Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline

There are shells on Sanibel Island not only on the beach, but also on land. If you drive along the Periwinkle Way, the main street of the island, which is named after a type of shell, you will even pass two souvenir shops that specialize exclusively in the sale of shells. In the shop windows of "She Sells Sea Shells" - (try to pronounce the name. We trained all week we spent on the island) - from large to tiny shells are all the varieties that are on the beaches of the Island to discover. Here too, however, we are not sure whether we can take these beauties to Germany and resist the temptation to take one of them with us as a souvenir.

Shells in the Shell Museum on Sanibel Island © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Shells in the Shell Museum on Sanibel Island © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline

For those who do not want to forego mussels as a souvenir of the island, there is still the possibility of resorting to shell-shaped decoration, and the shopping centers on Periwinkle Way are full of them. They are also tasteful, so this can certainly be a delightful alternative to the real specimens.

Seashell souvenirs at the Periwinkle Mall © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Seashell souvenirs at the Periwinkle Mall © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Furniture with shell decoration © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Furniture with shell decoration © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Vase with shell decoration © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Vase with shell decoration © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline

Source: own research on site with the kind support of the journey through The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel

Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photo: © Copyright by Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline

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