Seashell collecting is a beautiful, meditative hobby that people of all ages enjoy. It may seem like finding seashells is simple—but there’s much more to it than just going for a walk on the beach. While certain beaches—including Sanibel and its sister island, Captiva—are renowned for their abundant shells, it’s important to take weather, tides and winds into consideration. These islands provided a rich resource of shells for the artists who created beautiful Sailors’ Valentines of the past—as well as the modern ones of today.
Below are five tips for finding your favorite seashells.
Low tide, which is usually in the morning, is one of the best times to search for shells. An hour before and after low tide can make for a very prolific shelling trip. If you are hitting a popular island like Sanibel or Captiva, there will probably be other collectors on the hunt, so heading out earlier gives you a better chance at getting the best shells.
Examine the Lunar Phases
The lunar phases significantly affect tides. Both the full and new moon phases can produce the most extreme tides and make your shelling more prolific than usual. Low spring tides during either a full or new moon are believed to the absolute best times to search for shells. Visit this website to get information about tides all over the world.
Go Shelling After a Storm
Seashells are often very abundant on beaches after storms and strong winds. This can be one of the best times to hunt for shells!
Take your time when you go shelling. This will make the experience more relaxing and enjoyable, while allowing you to search more methodically. If you rush it, you may miss out on a rare shell!
Hit the Wet Sand
Often times, some of the best shells are found in or around the wrack line, which is the line of debris left on the beach after high tide. These shells will most likely have just washed up and may not be as bleached as the ones above the wrack line. While sun-bleached shells are very pretty, the newer ones are more vibrant and colorful.
Collecting shells is an addictive pastime that allows us to embrace nature while learning about our ecosytems. It helps us be more present in the moment while finding beautiful beach décor—and perhaps even enough shells to create your own Sailors’ Valentines.