Be still my beating heart!! Seeing this awesome sight of a massive mound of shells sure does get the blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing.
Blind Pass Captiva was rocking yesterday afternoon with shells rolling in with every wave. I stood on top of the mound to see Barb from St Louis pick up a gorgeous orange FLAT SCALLOP.
Debbie from Cape Coral found her first part of a JUNONIA which is the perfect size to make into a necklace or other piece of jewelry.
I was thrilled to see that Sharon from Orlando found a very cool piece of bling…
… Two different TEXAS LONGHORNS! This is great BEACH BLING! If you missed my post about them in January, you should read this post … CLICK HERE.
Yesterday morning, I was at Gulfside City Park to find a wrack line of shells as far as I could see. Seeing a long string of shells like this along the shore gets my heart pumping too but once I start picking through them, it has a different effect on me… I relax and zone out everything else in the world. Love, love, love.
These are some of my gorgeous treasures…
On my last post when I showed you that crazy STARFISH eating the SEA URCHIN, I didn’t get a chance to show you some of the other cool things I found at Lighthouse Beach just after the storms came through.
I met Pam and Steve from Iowa as he was scooping up shells to bring to her to sort. It reminded me of that video of the Shellingmen Tribe I did last year. LOL
They were collecting DISK DOSINIAS, BANDED TULIPS and APPLE MUREXES.
They even found a perfect PURPLE SEA URCHIN.
I still have so many other cool things but they will have to wait but just so you know…. Most beaches along Southwest Florida today should till be very good shelling conditions. So if you are any where near a swfl beach, get going! Just try your luck at finding at least one sweet treasure.
Oh… and I added a button on the right side on this page about my camera. I constantly get asked what type of camera I use so I decided its time I just made a page about it. I’ve tried to get fancy and buy several really high end cameras with big zoom lenses but it never works out since I end up worrying about my camera instead of enjoying my time beach combing. So I stick with this one because I can capture a great photo or video while I am enjoying my time on the beach (FYI- its not waterproof though).
Oh how I love a good mystery….but even better I love a mystery that is solved! Back in November on our iLoveShelling shelling cruise to Cayo Costa, I met Ken and Candace from Missouri who showed me a piece of “BEACH BLING“.
They found it on the beach at the Island Inn on Sanibel where they were staying. After looking at the shape, the texture and by feeling the light weight of it, I told her I thought it was some sort of BRYOZOAN COLONY but those darker spots on it were throwing me off a little. Hmmmmm…. could it be a CORAL? Naaaaa….. but those spots. I’ve seen this type of piece before but I couldn’t place it.
Here’s the weird thing… Later that afternoon Trisha James posted this photo on iLoveShelling Facebook page saying she found this piece on Navarre Beach, Florida. OMG There it is again! But now I recognize that longer shape a little more because I saw a display of this very same thing in February at the Sarasota Shell Show. I also remembered there was a cool story that went along with piece of bling as well.
So I tore through all of my photos (I am soooo not an organized person so trust me, this is quite a task- ha!) to find this one picture of Doug Thompson’s TEXAS LONGHORN exhibit. Aha! That’s right! It’s a TEXAS LONGHORN!
And here is the story Doug Thompson added to his very cool exhibit…
“ This structure is built by a colony of tiny marine animals of the phylum Bryozoa, genus Hippoporidra, species (on our Atlantic coast) not known. Much as the coral polyps build large reefs, so these little bryozoa build the Longhorn, starting with a small deposit of calcareous material on a shell or shell fragment, and building in the coil outward until it is large enough to sustain the weight of the horns. After the horns are started, the whole building continues to grow, sometimes reaching an over-all span of six inches.
All this design and growth is not with purpose: the Texas Longhorn houses a small hermit crab whose full name isPylopagurus corallinus (Benedict). He differs from most other hermits in that his body lacks the twist to the left which makes it possible for other species to inhabit dead snails, most of which open to the right. Pylopagurus corallinus has a small, straight body because the spiral cavity he occupies is all on one plane. Like other hermits he has a shelly anterior and a soft, defenseless abdomen.”
You can read the rest of this fascinating information – CLICK HERE.
So the mystery was solved! But… then the holidays came along (and blah blah blah) and I never posted about them… so fast forward to this week when I saw all of the off the hook shells that Tam Tam from Michigan found. She also found a TEXAS LONGHORN! I knew exactly what it was but realized I never posted about it.
So I’m thrilled I saw Tam Tam’s cool bling and thank you Candace for showing me your TEXAS LONGHORN on our cruise together then sending photos. And thank you Trisha for posting your photos to jog my memory of the Sarasota Shell Show exhibit.
Now we know… TEXAS LONGHORNS. And have several more symbiotic relationships.
Join us for a Shelling Adventure!
I’ve combed the beaches from Blind Pass Captiva to the east of Sanibel at the lighthouse. Mid island at Gulf Side City Park is still the best shelling I’ve found in the last few days. The shells in the photo above were only a few that Carol from PA pulled out of her shell bag to show me. Pretty nice finds, huh? The OLIVES have been gorgeous. Well… there’s the ALPHABET CONE, FLORIDA CONE, BANDED TULIPS, MUREXES, WHELKS and she had a few more of those sweet PAPER FIGS in her bag too.
There were still plenty of FIGHTING CONCHS (dead and alive) like I showed you the other day but what caught my eye was this beautiful BROAD PAPER COCKLE.
We have a few in our collection but some of them have chips in them so I’m always happy to find a pretty valve like this one!
While I was at the lighthouse beach finding WENTLETRAPS (I’ll show you those on my next post), I found a KEYHOLE LIMPET.
For me, finding shells is the cherry on top… but I also love to see all of the different kinds of BEACH BLING! And I’m not the only one… Dee pointed out this deep purple BRYOZOAN COLONY growing on the wire of a crab trap. Isn’t that so cool?
Most people walk right on by a mess of SEAWEED laying on the beach. Not me! I love to pick through it to see what is hiding in there.
I found SEA WHIPS and ATLANTIC WING OYSTERS in all this BEACH BLING. Here’s a little movie to show you how I found them… (click on the next image if the movie thingie doesnt show up)
So there are so many different things to check out on the beaches right now… BUT… unfortunately we have RED TIDE coming in as well. I didn’t feel any respiratory problems today (which I have in the past when it was bad) but I did see dead fish. Yuck! Since they just washed in, I didnt really smell any bad odors so I didn’t mind walking right past them- there’s too many other cool things to inspect! Lee County issued a beach advisory yesterday so if you think you might have problems… read HERE.
While sifting through the BEACH BLING on the east end of Sanibel this past week, I found a purple SEA WHIPS. I’ve collected a few over the years because of their beauty but now I look very carefully at them because at times, I’ll see little surprise hitch hikers on them. Take a closer look…
Did you see the two shells attached to two different branches? They practically camo themselves on the branches, don’t they? They are called ONE-TOOTH SIMNIAS.
On this SEA WHIP I found last week, there are two ONE-TOOTH SIMNIAS attached to this one as well…
I plucked one of the shells off the branch. Look at how sleek it is.
I never find these washed up on the beach… I wonder why? I’m sure they are there so I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for them. Here is the other view…
Since this is a miniature shell I wanted to show you how big the ONE-TOOTH SIMNIA was in relation to a quarter. Unfortunately, all I see in this picture is George Washington getting comfy with one of those travel roll pillows around his neck. I hope you have better luck focusing on the size of the shell instead of the neck roll. ha!
I learned to look closely at SEA WHIPS because I saw a few displays in the scientific division of the 75th Sanibel Shell Fair and Show this year of interesting things that find homes on SEA WHIPS. Here is a very impressive display of a WEST INDIES CHANK SHELL EGG CASE attached to a SEA WHIP with the baby CHANK SHELLS coming out.
Awesome, right? Expert sheller Marilee describes her exhibit as…
“Egg case of Turbinella angulata On sea plume (Pseudopterogorgia) Found on beach after storm near Jack’s Bay- Eleuthera Bahamas”
This was an “Aha moment” for me since she left the egg case attached to the SEA PLUME. Now I always look at what’s attached to the SEA WHIPS or SEA PLUMES mixed in with all the BEACH BLING. Thank you Marilee! It was such a pleasure to meet you at the show.
I have another surprise to show you on my next post about SEA WHIPS. I found another cool shell attached to them! Until then, take a look at another hitchhiker….a BRYOZOAN COLONY hanging out on this purple lovely.
Another Spring Break adventure! On Wednesday, Lori, Hayley, Culter and I went to the secluded island of Cayo Costa to relax and enjoy another gorgeous day on the islands.
I had problems getting out our own boat (Clark was busy at work so he couldn’t help) so we decided to take the easy route and hop on the Captiva Cruises shelling boat Play Time for the afternoon trip.
Low and behold, guess who our captain was… my buddy Captain Brian Holaway! It was a nice surprise!
After securing the boat on the south tip of Cayo Costa, Capt Brian walked over to our shelling spot to join us for a few minutes and immediately picked up an ALBINO YELLOW PRICKLY COCKLE. Wow, can he spot those albinos! Remember he won a red ribbon for his ALBINO WHELK at the Sanibel Shell Show this year? Amazing!
I didn’t find an albino but I quickly found a handful of my own fave honeys.
BABY’S EARS and FALSE ANGEL WINGS (they look like cute little juvie ANGEL WINGS)…
Lots of beauteous JINGLES…
A couple of CLOUDY PERIWINKLES…
I also found a PURPLISH SEMELE (left) and a CANCELLATE SEMELE (right). I’m not sure why I don’t find more of these on Sanibel but I have better luck finding them on Cayo Costa, North Captiva and in Marco. hmmmm
I had thought at one time that this BRYOZOAN COLONY was a type of CORAL but as you can see side by side… it’s not a piece of CORAL like the branch on the right. I found both of these past the tree roots on the Gulf side of the beach. (click HERE for more info on Bryozoan Colony)
Okay, this one might not be your taste but I thought this SOUTHERN RIBBED MUSSEL was just so pretty for some reason. One day, when I get a fancy camera to show you the nice details up close and personal, I promise…I’ll be able to capture more of the beauty in some of these obscure seashells.
After combing, sunning and shelling this gorgeous beach, Hayley, Cutler and Lori (VA) headed back to the boat with me after one more climb on the BLACK MANGROVE tree roots.
On the boat ride back, I couldn’t help but see how excited Margie, Kristi and Mike (California) were about their seashell loot!
They found oodles of ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLES…
Quite a few humongus SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…
And a really big LEOPARD CRAB shell.
It was a perfect day on the water with calm aqua seas, warm temps in the 80s and DOLPHINS surrounding the boat.
And to top if off, it was great being with good friends and having lots of seashell souvenirs to bring home to remember the day.
Our friends John and Jane strapped a Zodiac dinghy to the top of their car on Saturday and invited us to join them for a boating adventure down to Marco Island. Yes! We are always ready for a shelling expedition.
The whole day was golden…
Literally! Both John and Clark found GOLDEN OLIVES!
When we all got back to the boat, everybody was showing off their best finds and both guys held out their hands holding the GOLDEN OLIVES…
Look at this huuujah ANGEL WING Clark found. It fills my whole hand…
This was an ALPHABET CONE John found for the day.
These are Jane’s FLORIDA CONES. These are pretty golden too!
Here are the rest of her best finds.
A nice 10 inch old crusty HORSE CONCH I found on the low tide sand bar…
I heard Clark yell and start waving his arms. Oh no, he di-ant! Another one? He couldn’t have found another you-know-what. I looked to see how far away he was since I was way out on the sand bar. See that little speck? That’s how far he was from me.
Okay,..you might want to avert your eyes if you’ve had a bad day or just can’t stand the thought of Clark finding yet another J….. uh…. I can’t even say it. To show me where he found it, he had it sitting right where it was when he walked up. Here… see for yourself.
Really? How come I didn’t look there first? The man is a shell magnet. Here is a close up of his nearly perfect JUNONIA (just the tip is missing). I want to find one! Not that I’m jealous…. oh, geez. Of course I’m jealous! Oh I’m happy for Jane and “him” too…. I guess. ;) It even has a golden color to it too!
You know I’m just kidding about being upset I didn’t find the big J. How could I when I found so many beautiful shells on such an awesome day? Here are some of our other golden treasures…like candy!
FALSE ANGEL WINGS…
and even a cool BRYOZOAN COLONY…
PS- I popped off some of those crusty barnacles to uncover the shell of that HORSE CONCH I found out the sand bar. It’s beautiful! I found a home for it on my outside steps as a happy welcome to our Shell Shack.