When Amanda Collett took a family vacation in 2015, she had no idea how her trip would change her life. As soon as she arrived in southwest Florida, she headed to the beach. The clouds had just cleared from a storm the day before, and the winds and waves had left the beach covered with sea urchins, conchs, starfish, and shells of every color.
These were the first unbroken shells she had ever found on the beach, and she was hooked! She spent the rest of her trip gathering up the beautiful treasures she came across on the beaches, starting her beautiful collection of seashells and launching her life as a “sheller.”
After five years of collecting—even planning her vacations around shell collecting—Amanda now has a collection of shells that rivals those of many in Florida and Kentucky, where she lives. And, she not only collects seashells but now creates art and “Sailor’s Valentines” with them. Amanda has just released her first book, My Way of Shelling, in which she shares her love of seashells, how to find them, and what to do with them. In the next few pages, we share some of the beautiful shells in Amanda’s collection, and give you an idea of what awaits on the beaches of Southwest Florida.
More Fun Finds
There are so many beautiful shells and more to find on the beaches of Southwest Florida. These shells, urchins, crabs, coral, and more are just a few examples. Amanda recommends bringing a waterproof shell identification card with you to the beach and looking up what you found when you get home. And, she advises that you always get up early and get out to the beach because the shells will not come find you—you have to go find them. Shell on!
To purchase Amanda’s book, contact her on Facebook or Instagram @amandas_oceantreasure or email Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine May/June 2020 issue.
More about seashells
- Bubble Shells
- The Chambered Nautilus
- Egg-citing Finds: Whelk Egg Casings
- Hidden Beauty: Quahog Shells
- How to Identify Live Sand Dollars
- Is That Scallop Shell Broken?
- The Red Abalone
- Saving the Shoreline with Star Sand
- Shark Eyes: The Cannibalistic Mollusk
- Top 10 Sanibel Sea Shells
- The World’s Most Expensive Seashell
No live shelling: Be sure shells are empty and sand dollars, sea stars, and sea urchins are no longer alive before you bring them home.