Archive for June, 2012

Jun
29

Junonia Victory On Captiva Seashore

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barbara junonia captiva

Barbara from West Virginia brought home the gold in a seashell battle with the Tropical Storm Debby aftermath on Wednesday. She had to put up a fight for it but alas, she found her JUNONIA!

junonia found sw florida

And it is a beautiful one at that! Barbara found this baby in the water on the Captiva side of Blind Pass near the jetty rocks. She said there were no shells on the beach but there were gobs of them in the surf which was much calmer than the days when TS Debby was upon us.

junonia found captiva

She and her husband stood in the surf scooping up loads of shells with their nets while other shells tossed and turned then bashed into their ankles leaving cuts and scrapes. Even though it was painful, she said there was no way they were quitting until she had a victory. A fight to the end! LOL She’s got the battle scars to prove it…

shelling scars

The sweetest victories are best appreciated when you work the hardest to achieve your success. She earned that JUNONIA! Congratulations Barbara! I wish I could have been there but Barbara found this when I was sifting through the shells at the Sanibel Lighthouse (see that post HERE)…and a thank you to Tracie for Facebooking me about your sweet and awesome mom Barbara.

crab traps after storm

Back at Sanibel Lighthouse Beach, yesterday at sunrise (can you believe it?) I didn’t see the piles and piles of shells that I saw on Wednesday. The sand is filling in again and covering the shells….or they are getting taken back out in the gulf…not sure which but the sea grasses are washing up now.

sea grasses storm debby

sea weed after storm

But like Barbara, I didn’t give up either. I may not have had the victory she had but I was pretty darn happy to find another big HORSE CONCH!

collect conch shell lighthouse

horse conch sunrise

Categories : Horse Conch, Junonia
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tropical storm debby seashells

 The seashell aftermath on Sanibel left by Tropical Storm Debby was a sight to shellebrate. Seriously… buckets of shells lined the beach surrounding the Sanibel Lighthouse.

shell buckets

Not only were there buckets overflowing with shells, there were shell bags upon shell bags lining the shoreline.

Taylor shell bag

taylor seashell bags

shell bag with angel wings

 Okay, hold on….take a breath before I show you this next photo of the beach next to the Sanibel fishing pier.  There were PEN SHELLS, FIGHTING CONCHS, LIGHTNING WHELKS, BANDED and TRUE TULIPS, HORSE CONCHS and a gazillion MILLIPEDE STARFISH. You ready?

sanibel seashell beach

 Taylor from New York was one of the lucky shellers that found this gorgeous TRUE TULIP and lots of really nice size LIGHTNING WHELKS (4th pic from the top).

Taylor NY true tulip

I couldn’t believe it when Taylor’s mom showed me an ANGELWING  PAIR. Yes! I said “PAIR”! They found it right there near the pier. Awesome!

angelwing pair lighthouse sanibel

 I can’t tell you how much fun it was to meet Jesse from Ormond Beach, FL. He was catching fish AND catching shells!

jesse seashells cones

 He had buckets of shells but these were a few of his best finds of the morning… 2 awesome ALPHABET CONES, a deep orange TRUE TULIP and I hope you can tell how unusually orange his LIGHTNING WHELK is.

jesse seashells sanibel pier

 Jesse was shelling with his beautiful family who all found unbelievable treasures- Chris, Jamie, Jordyn, Patty, Jeese and Jake.

beach family jesse

 Eddie from Orlando, FL had lots of seashell loot as well…

eddie orlando to sanibel beach

 He found this stunning SUNRAY VENUS along with LIGHTNING WHELKS and collected ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLES as well.

sunray venus, whelks sanibel

There were seashells everywhere!  Sarah Elizabeth found this beautiful LIGHTNING WHELK in high tide line among the tree roots…

sarah elizabeth alabama whelk sanibel

 Ilicia (GA) wasn’t just collecting shells, she had her eye on the BEACH BLING as well. She found this very cool vertebrae from some kind of marine animal.

ilicia GA sanibel bone

 Here’s a closer look in case you might know which marine animal it came from. Cool, huh?

fish vertebrae found sanibel

And Ilicia found a piece of a SEA TURTLE SHELL …

sea turtle shell shard

 I told you she was collecting shell too, right? Yep, she found a SCOTCH BONNET…

scotch bonnet ilicia SANIBEL

 I found Michael from Melbourne, Florida plopped down at the water’s edge filling his bag with ANGELWINGS and SANIBEL SIX shells.

michael melbourne florida seashells sanibel

 After Tropical Storm Debby churned the Gulf Of Mexico for 4 days, Cara from Georgia couldn’t have been happier to have been on Sanibel to reap the shelling rewards of Mother Nature.

cara ga seashell bucket

As she was hauling her buckets of seashell gold, she told me she had found a beat up JUNONIA. I had to see it. Even though it’s a little rough around the edges, it’s still a beautiful keeper- Congrats! Oh, and btw, I gotta get me some of that cute nail polish too!

cara old junonia sanibel

 My shelling buddy Jane found a nice HORSIE CONCH and a LIGHTNING WHELK…

jane whelk horsie

 Wanna see my best finds? There were gazillions of LIGHTNING WHELKS everywhere and oodles of LIVE HORSE CONCHS but I finally found a huge empty HORSIE and a pretty good size WHELK. Oh yay a, baby! It was sure worth the wait. Thanks Debby!

horse conch sanibel ts debby

 

Sanibel causeway bridge

Tropical Storm Debby has brought pummeling rain, high winds and extremely rough surf the last few days. The islands of Sanibel and Captiva have lost power a few times with just a few downed trees but no major problems for us…. well, except flooding. I haven’t found any great shelling spots yet (I know they will be here soon!), but I did find lots of flooded parking lots and streets as I tried to scout the beaches. Until I find the shells, I thought you would want to see what our normally beautiful islands look like during this crazy storm. Please stay safe everybody! YouTube Preview Image

shell museum yard art

On our trip to Thailand, we not only found seashells on the beaches, we found shells adorning the yards on the island of Phuket. We were very fortunate to be invited to the home of  international shell enthusiast Tom Rice who now lives in Phuket. As we arrived to his house, I was thrilled to see his garden lined with “yard shells”. I love to line my plant beds with old large shells too!

seashells lined yard thailand rice

Tom is from Port Gamble, Washington where he opened Of Sea And Shore which is a shell museum exhibiting some of his collection over the past 50 years during collecting trips to more than 40 countries and through exchanges with collectors and purchases from dealers around the world. If “Of Sea And Shore” sounds familiar, he used to publish a magazine by the same name. The museum is still open but Tom moved to Rawaii Beach on Phuket about 10 years ago and seems to have found a pretty good island life.

Rice home phuket

Not only does he have shells in his museum, he has shells he hasn’t even finished identifying, organizing or cataloging. This is just one cabinet of shells! LOL He has so many shells, he is now selling his precious collection. To see his list CLICK HERE.

Tom Rice seashell organizer

After having a great time talking shells and island life, Tom had a surprise for us so we hopped on the local transport- the Song Taew.

song taew phuket

It’s really just a covered bed of a pickup truck with a couple of benches but it’s the cheapest way to get around….if you have lots of time to wait for it to just “happen” by.

tom clark pam thailand song thai

Our surprise? He gave us a tour of the Phuket Seashell Museum! Tom’s friends, the Patamakanthin brothers opened this privately owned museum about 12 years ago.

phuket seashell museum shop

Both Clark and I were surprised to see that there are over 2000 species on display. That’s a heck of a collection of shells!

Thailand seashell museum tritons

Have you ever heard of a GOLDEN PEARL?

baler shell melo pearl

Neither had we until we saw this very rare MELO MELO PEARL that is not produced by an oyster but from the Melo melo or the common name BAILER SHELL. It got the common name because the native fishermen use it to bail out the water in their boats by scooping it out with this shell. They DO look like big scoops! Check them out…

Bailer shell display phuket museum

Remember Clark found a SPOTTED TUN? Well, holy smokes! Look how big some of these different TUNS can get…

thailand shell museum tun

More shells, more eye candy…

Phuket Shell Museum piddock bivalves

phuket seashell museum clams thailand

Phuket Museum Thailand scallops

 Oh you know I love my wormies!

worm shell display

Look at these gorgeous WORM SHELLS from the Philippines…

phillippine worm shells

 We can’t thank you enough Tom, for such a wonderful day! We would never have gotten to meet if it wasn’t for our good friend MurexKen for introducing us to Tom… a BIG thank you to MK for being so thoughtful. It made out trip even more enjoyable.

rawaii phuket boat

restaurant row rawaii phuket

PS-  It has been storming in Florida all weekend with Tropical storm Debby and she will be pounding us for even another couple of days. Right before the lighting show began, Clark and I scoured the Sanibel beaches but we didn’t see loads of shells yet. Donnie, said that the shells at Blind Pass Captiva were all taken away. Lightning storms are not the time to be on the beach shelling so when Mother Nature stops with her thunder warnings and things calm down a bit, I’ll give you another report. Until then, I’ll show you CONES and MUREXES we found on our Thailand trip on my next post. (well, unless I have a local report that can’t wait!)

Jun
21

A Shelling Family Is A Happy Family

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collection seashells

Blind Pass Captiva still had plenty of seashells piled up along the shore line yesterday. I peeked in one of the shell buckets perched on top of the shell mound and gasped…

bucket of shells captiva

I asked Judy from Indiana if she realized the shell she had in her bucket and she said “I’m not sure what it is but it’s a piece from a big shell so that’s why I kept it”. Well it looks to me like she found a very large lip piece of a QUEEN HELMET shell that is not commonly found here. Good eye, Judy!

piece of helmet shell

Judy was shelling with her family… and I mean to tell you, she has lots of family members that love to shell! A shelling family is a happy family. Here is Judy, Larry, Cary, Joe, Shaun, Jenny, Evy, Fiona and Sam. Beautiful, right?

family collecting seashells

I didn’t see many of the SANIBEL SIX, but I was amazed to see so many CERITHS washed in like this. Everybody was collecting them.

cerith seashells found

And AUGERS!

auger shells found

shell bucket augers ceriths

I also met Shelling Sister Wanda’s grandson Cody (PA) who kept racing up to her on the beach after his snorkeling expeditions to deposit his seashell loot into his shell bag. Treasure!

cody snorkeling sanibel

cody snorkel Captiva

finding seashells swfl

On a side line, I have to make a note that last year June 27, 2011 there was a juvenile FLORIDA BLACK BEAR sighted on Sanibel that was thought to have come over from Pine Island on a negative low tide. BLACK BEARS are native to Florida but not compatible with highly populated areas (with humans!).  Now as an adult at 3 years old weighing 250 pounds he has “become a nuisance” by showing up in neighborhoods and getting into a trash can or two. I was so hoping we could catch a glimpse of him but as of 1 p.m. today, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission trapped him and relocated him off island. Relocated where? I have no clue. “They” won’t say. It’s bitter sweet. He was a very exciting visitor but I know he needs to find a mate and have a bigger place to roam  before he gets in trouble on the island. I hope his new home offers him a long, happy and healthy life. Good bye, Mr. Black Bear.

Sanibel Black Bear

Sanibel Black Bear photo by William Epranian on Facebook

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Susan lighthouse

I couldn’t be happier to have another Shelling Sister that just moved to Sanibel! I feel like I’ve found my long lost Soul Sister… Susan. Of course she wanted to get the whole shelling experience on the Out Islands of Sanibel…. so before I knew it, she hired Capt. Brian Holaway for a shelling trip and she invited me to go along. Weehoo! First trip with Capt Brian!

susan capt b boat

We left the dock at 8 am but unfortunately the tide was too high to find good shells at that time so Capt Brian took us about an hour north to the beautiful town of Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island to show Susan a few landmarks by golf cart.

golf cart susan capt b

We saw the Gasparilla Island Light…

Boca grande Gasparilla Island lighthouse

We went to the Boca Grande Historical Society

Boca grande historical society

Brian’s friend Kim showed us fossils and artifacts on display at the sweet little museum…

artifacts boca grande historical

We went to the Port Boca Grande Light…

Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum

Then we hit the beach!

Boca Grande beach access

Where we sifted for SHARK’S TEETH…

sifting susan

Susan found a few FOSSILS like SHARK’S TEETH, fragments of STINGRAY BARBS and BONES.

Susans fossils

Along one of the beach paths we found a NICKERBEAN VINE with the prickly sea pods that host SEA BEANS which wash up on the beaches at times.

Nickerbean vine seed pods

These local gray drift seeds are called SEA PEARLS. So… now we know where they come from!

sea bean pearls nickerbean pod

I found a few WHITE MELAMPUS shells that were only 1/2 inch to 3/4…

white melampus identify

 But Susan found the grandpappy WHITE MELAMPUS weighing in at about 1 and 1/2 inches.

white melampus ss

UPDATE 6-21-12 – Susan H commented on Soul Sister Susan’s WHITE MELAMPUS saying “it looks as if Susan found a World Record Size (WRS) one. I’m serious, the largest size listed on Malacolog is 27 mm, which is just about an inch“.

So I got serious and dug through drawers of Clark’s dad old tools he inherited and found some very cool old calipers. Susan brought her shell over and we measured….

calipers measure seashell

Her WHITE MELAMPUS measured in at 30 mm. A World Record Size shell!! Thank you Susan H for giving us a heads up on this exciting news!

White Melampus aperuture ss

 I found a bivalve shell (it has a small hole in the top but it’s still pretty) that I didn’t recognize so after looking through all of my books… it looks like it’s a JUVENILE SOUTHERN QUAHOG. It has thin raised ridges that seem too delicate to be called a QUAHOG but I’m sure that’s what it is.

juvenile quahog

 When we got back to the dock at McCarthy’s Marina, the MANATEES were waiting for us!

manatee mcCarthys marina captiva

 We couldn’t have asked for a prettier day so thank you sooo much Soul Sister Susan for letting me tag along and to Captain Brian for guiding our gorgeous day.

seashells and sharks teeth

 

PS- Just if you are wondering…. Yes! Super Sheller Clark helped Soul Sister Susan and her beautiful family find their island home in paradise.  (I know, shameless plug …but hey, do you blame me?)

whelk on cayo costa

sailboat sand bar

pam brian susan boat dock captiva