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Collecting seashells on the beaches of Sanibel, Captiva and the world

Lucky Family Found Time For An Island

Posted by on Jul 30, 2014 in Egg Casing, Fossil, Lightning Whelk Egg Chain, Shell Tree | 24 comments

Seashell and beach bling wishes

Remember last summer’s Time For An Island vacation giveaway for four people to stay at Island Inn? Well meet the lucky winners Shawna, Jennifer, Ashleigh and Dotti enjoying their time on Sanibel’s Island Inn beach!

Shawna, Jennifer, Ashleigh and Dotti enjoy shells identification

They each placed a shell on a Sanibel Shell Tree to hopefully make even more wishes come true…

Wishing on a Sanibel shell tree

They also found some of those beautiful and colorful CALICO SCALLOPS similar to the ones I collected from my last post.

scallop shell tie die

The whole island has been a little sleepy when it comes to finding huge new shell piles in the past week but of course these lucky gals had a great attitude. Along with CALICO SCALLOPS, they were collecting lots of the KITTEN PAWS, COCKLES, AUGERS and JINGLES…

Common Sanibel kittens paws and calico scallops

“Y” not enjoy the common shells? There are thousands of them to sift through!

Letter Y shell

In the highest wrack line, there were still lots of dried HORSE CONCH EGG CASINGS as well as this LIGHTNING WHELK EGG CASING that still has some of the itty bitty dried WHELK shells in some of the capsules.

lightning whelk egg case with dried shells

So cute! They look just like this…

juvenile whelks from case

As I walked off the beach, I turned back towards the beach to see how pretty the BEACH DAISIES were against the path with the backdrop of the water and sky… so stunning. And Oh! There’s Shawna shelling in the dunes. Whatcha doing?

collecting shells in the dunes

She came racing over to show us all the shells she found just off the path. She found lots of CUBAN LAND SNAILS (Zachrysia provisory). They are Sanibel’s most common land snail. But… Since I forgot the name of this snail, I looked it up in a great local book Living Sanibel: A Nature Guide to Sanibel & Captiva Islands which is normally a great guide for things like this on Sanibel but they called it the COMMON LAND SNAIL (Helix pomatia) … that’s incorrect (those are European shells- oops!). So thanks to Steve R and Susan H who corrected the identification through comments, we now know these shells that Shawna found are CUBAN LAND SNAILS.  I should have known everything about this snail since I have tons of them in my garden after a rain- they come out of no where! Anyhooo, they are really pretty when they get cleaned up in a very deluted bleach water bath.

Sanibel Common Land Snail Helix pomatia

Then they all said “There are shells everywhere here! We even found them in the flower beds and the parking lot”. They had cups filled with FOSSIL SHELLS probably from the FOSSIL pits up near Sarasota.

fossil shells in a Sanibel cup

And they collected more FOSSIL shells. i Love these girls!

fossil shells in Sanibel parking lots

In the past week since returning from our shelling trip to  Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the weather has been hot and still without loads of shells on any of the beaches I have been. The good news is, we have had western winds the last 2 days so there are a few more waves to churn up some of those shells that have been out in the water… and hopeful bring them up to the shore soon.

sit n sift finding shells

There are always shells on our beaches on Sanibel but Mother Nature has control of which ones she wants to throw up on the beach for her to share. I don’t know what Shawna, Jennifer, Ashleigh and Dotti wished for on the Shell Tree, but my wish on the Shell Tree was to never take our shell strewn beaches for granted so that I can’t see the beauty in each and every one of the treasures that wash up on our shores.

Just married Sanibel seashell wish

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Shelling Trip To Grand Bahama Island

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Angular Triton Shell, Caribbean Shells, Grand Bahama Island, Grand Bahama Island seashells, The Bahamas, West Indian Chank Shell, West Indian Chank Shell Egg Case, West Indian Murex | 37 comments

seashells of the bahama islands

Life is short… go shelling!

pink conch shell in the bahamas

Whenever we get an opportunity to go shelling in a different part of the world, we jump at the chance.

seashells found in grand Bahama island

Fortunately, the opportunity to travel to Grand Bahama Island for a shelling trip was just a bonus. My husband Clark is very involved in a service organization called Rotary International which helps create positive lasting change for communities around the world. Grand Bahama Rotarians along with several Florida Rotary Districts met for a conference at the Grand Lucayan Resort in Freeport for several days to … well … do their Do-Gooder deeds. Yep, that’s what I call them… Do-Gooders. LOL

grand lucayan resort bahamas

So after the DoGooders finished doing their good work for the world, we stayed a couple of extra days to explore the island for seashells.  At most of the big resorts in the Bahamas and the rest of the world (besides Sanibel and Captiva), they clean the beaches every morning to make it look sandier and nicer. For regular tourists, I guess that’s a pretty look for them but for beach combers like you and me… we want to see those wrack lines! Yes, they need pick up the trash by humans but the beaches are actually much healthier if the beaches stay natural with shells and plant matter remaining on the beach. Needless to say, we didn’t find many shells or bling near our resort so we rented a car to find the ungroomed beaches. We didn’t have much time to research the best shelling locations so we took a stab in the dark and headed to the east end of the island.

rented car on grand bahama island

We stopped at several different beaches to find interesting shells and beach bling…

conch shell on sandy beach in the bahamas

And stopped at every cute little shell shack.

bahamas shell shack

And as luck would have it, we pulled into McLean’s Town to this dock…

firefly bone fishing dock in the bahamas

We asked a few of the locals if we could find a boat captain to take us to some of the out islands to find seashells. Oh Yay-ah! We stopped at the perfect place. We found out that Joe-T is the best bone fisherman in town and he introduced us to his son Joe-L who grew up on the water boating to the best beaches and flats areas to find shells. So let’s go shelling!

Joe-L grand bahamas shelling guide with pam and clark from Sanibel

After a gorgeous boat ride, Joe-L pulled up to a sandy beach with lots of wrack lines and rocks.

private guide boat in grand bahamas

He showed us where to look to find shells like this WEST INDIAN CHANK SHELL …. which they call a LAMP SHELL (but honestly, I thought he was calling it a LAMB shell- hahaha). Nice find Joe- L! (and thanks for giving it to us!)

Joe-L grand bahama shelling guide with chank lamp shell

I was over the moon when my first shell of the day was this FLOWERY WEST INDIAN LACE MUREX. My very first one of this species with the brown color form.

pam found a west indian lace murex in bahamas

It’s perfect and completely empty.

west indian lace murex found in the bahamas Chicoreus (Triplex) florifer

Clark was happiest to find this awesome ANGULAR TRITON. He reminded me right away how much bigger this one is compared to the best one I found in Turks And Caicos last year. heehee – Always a competition and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

bahamas angular triton

You know I loooove my beach bling so I was thrilled to find this WEST INDIAN CHANK EGG CHAIN washed up on the beach. Look how big it is! It looks like some sort of a sci-fi alien sea creature egg case.

west indian chank egg chain case

Most of the sacks were empty and filled with sand but I found a few dried tiny juvenile CHANKS inside. Cool!

west indian chank egg chain case with juvenile shell

We saw plenty of beautiful fish and other live creatures but it’s always breathtaking to see the live CUSHION SEA STARS…

cushion sea star starfish bahamascushion sea star starfish bahamas

Our boating day with Joe-L was such an unexpected, unplanned delight… it’s a shelling trip we will never forget. These are just a few of the many different varieties of shells we found.

shelling trip shells from Grand Bahama islandshelling trip shells from Grand Bahama island

After shelling all day, we were famished. Conveniently, Joe-L’s mom Eva has a restaurant at their dock so we stayed for an outrageously good lobster dinner worth every reasonable penny.

EJs bayside cafe grand bahama island

Since this was such a short trip, we didn’t have time to check out the west end of the island for shells but I can only imagine we could find some secrets spots there too. It’s such a sweet little island I hope we return really soon. Oh and when I get our shells cleaned up and organized, I’ll post another photo.

caribbean shells from bahamas

Update- May 11, 2014… Now that we’ve had time to get home and clean up our shells and BEACH BLING this is our loot!

Grand Bahama Island seashells found May 2014

Not bad for 2 days, right? Here’s another closer photo of the smaller shells and bling so you can see how many different species we found. They are sooooo beautiful!

caribbean sea shells from Grand Bahama Island

If you decide to go to Grand Bahama Island, this might be useful information…

To reach Joe-L or Joe-T for a shelling trip, here’s the email address- baysideexplorers@gmail.com or phone is 242-353-3676 or 242- 375-5219.

The hotel concierge gave me the car rental info Island Jeep and Car Rental– I thought it was reasonable and the car was great. Oh and by the way, the roads are in fantastic shape compared to some of the other islands (like Cat Island and TCI) but you still have to drive on the left side. (I drove the car the whole time- its easy)

The Grand Lucayan was very nice, reasonably priced, had lots of options for restaurants, shopping, etc and only a little over an hour’s drive to McLean’s Town and even less to the west end.

And before you ask about transportation… we didn’t fly over to the island. Part of the Rotary Convention was held on a cruise boat… the Bahamas Celebration. It was pretty cheap for transportation to the island from the Port of Palm Beach but Clark and I aren’t really overnight cruise boat kind of travelers. We want to get where we are going … so we could have skipped the cruise boat if it wasn’t part of the organized group. Next time, we will find a fight or maybe even check into the Fast Cat which isn’t an overnight cruise.

Hope you enjoyed the cyber trip to the island, mon!

colorful conch shells in bahamas

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Sanibel Seashell Babies

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014 in Egg Casing, Horse Conch, Horse Conch Egg case, Horse Conch Egg Casing, Lightning Whelk, Lightning Whelk Egg Chain, Paper Fig, Paper Fig Egg Case, Paper Fig Shell Egg Case, Pear Whelk, Pear Whelk Egg Case, Pear Whelk Egg Chain, Whelk | 18 comments

Lighting whelk egg chain on sanibel beach

On my beach walk at the Lighthouse Beach today, I saw many different lines of shells and oodles of Beach Bling in lots of different wrack lines to sift through. About half a mile away from the lighthouse on the gulf side, I found lots of fun minis in the high dried tidal pool areas (on the right of the next photo)…

lighthouse beach low tide

Yes, I love to show photos of minis… But… if you know me…. I love me some BEACH BLING! I was enamored with  all of the different egg casings for the different shells lined up along the shore

seashells and beach bling egg cases

LIGHTNING WHELK EGG CHAINS were everywhere. Female WHELKS produce these long EGG CHAINS which can get up to 33 inches long. There can be up to 145 capsules in each strand and each capsule contains around 45 eggs. That’s alot of babies, right? But that’s life in the wild- only the strong survive. Mother Nature knows what she’s doing

lightning whelk egg case chain

PEAR WHELK EGG CHAINS were a little bit harder to find but I saw about 6 of them.

pear whelk egg chain casing

What’s the difference between the LIGHTNING WHELK and the PEAR WHELK? Aha! Now you can see for yourself how much smaller and shorter the PEAR chain on the left is compared to the larger LIGHTNING WHELK on the right.

compare pear lightning whelk egg case chains

PAPER FIG EGG CASES (or the PAPER FIGS themselves) are never that easy to find but I did see about 3 different ones. They never get to be long chains like the WHELKS but instead they look like little corn cobs that are glued together at the sides.

paper fig egg case

I saw dozens of HORSE CONCH EGG CLUSTERS today too. Most all of the cases I saw washed up on the beach were empty inside each capsule. In each of the photos, I removed one of the capsules of the egg clusters so you could see what shape each of the capsules looked like.

horse conch egg casing

Here is a HORSE CONCH EGG CASING, PEAR WHELK EGG CHAIN and a LIGHTNING WHELK EGG CHAIN all together on the beach. I saw other casings but I’ll have to save those for another day…. because….

mollusk egg casings found on sanibel island florida

Want to walk the beach with me to see what it looked like when I found all of these EGG CASINGS? I made a video! I’ve gotten some requests lately from peeps up north “jonesin”  for my beach videos. LOL Love it! I don’t want to let you down! Enjoy![youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpePX7usL_o[/youtube]

shelling adventures trips by pam

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On the Beach With Shell Eggs And Ham, Pam-I-Am

Posted by on Feb 16, 2014 in Banded Tulip Egg Case, Disk Dosinia, Egg Casing, Elegant Dosinia, Lightning Whelk Egg Chain, Long-Spined Urchin, Millipede Starfish, Paper Fig Egg Case, Pear Whelk Egg Case, Pig's Foot, Sea Pork, True Tulip Egg Case, Tulip Egg Case, whelk egg casing | 29 comments

crab trap and buoy on sanibel beach

After strong west winds last week, surely we would get some interesting shells and Beach Bling washing up on our shores of Sanibel and Captiva. Yep, lots of Beach Bling lined the beach at Gulfside City Park.

sanibel beach after storm winds

The winds were so strong, the strength of the waves pushed oodles of crab traps with buoys onto the beach. When traps get tossed around by the power of the water, their doors get jostled then spill out the bait for the crabs.

crab traps wash up n sanibel beach

So of course, the bait gets washed up on the beach too. Pigs Feet! Yes, they use PIGS FEET to attract STONE CRABS and BLUE CRABS so that’s why you may have seen odd bones washed up on the beach- most of the time its from crab traps. I actually think this one may be a HOGS FOOT. Its weird and humongo! On the beach, I do not like pigs feet or ham, Pam I am.

pig hog foot on sanibel beach

But don’t let this PIGS FOOT be confused with this SEA PORK. More ham, Pam I am?

pen shell and yellow sea pork

I also found lots of different MOLLUSK EGG CASINGS too like this LIGHTNING WHELK EGG CHAIN…

lightning whelk egg chain gscp sanibel

I saw there were little baby shells in their fluid still sealed in each of the disks so I put it back in the water. I’m sure they washed back up on the beach since the water was still pretty rough but … who knows. Maybe they got stuck on something out there in the water and were able to hatch. Dunno, but why not try?

baby lightning whelks in egg chain

This one is an EGG CASE to a PAPER FIG…

paper fig egg case on pen shell

This is a BANDED TULIP…

banded tulip egg case on penn shell

This beauty is a TRUE TULIP EGG CASE…

true tulip egg case sanibel florida

When Clark and I looked a little closer, we saw there were several other EGG CASES that were laid on some of the TRUE TULIP EGG CAPSULES.

true tulip egg case with other mollusk eggs

There were lots of MILLIPEDE STARFISH (and PEN SHELLS)…

millipede starfish and pen shell

This was a very cool LONG SPINED SEA URCHIN…

long spined sea urchin sanibel florida

There were hundreds of DOSINIAS that were washed up on the beach as well. I was really thrilled to find both types of our local DOSINIAS scattered along the wrack lines. The top one is the very common DISK DOSINIA and the bottom one is the ELEGANT DOSINIA. I haven’t had time to photograph them but I hope to show the detail much better on my next post.

disk dosing top elegant dosing bottom

We searched Blind Pass (both sides) and Lighthouse but didn’t find huge piles of shells this weekend after the high winds but loved finding all of this cool bling at Gulfside City Park. I’m still hoping the shell piles will come rolling in soon but the birds are happy as clams with so much gourmet food at their beaks.

The birds do like stone crab and clams.

gull eating crab

They like them here and there. They like them everywhere.

bird eating stone crab sanibel

They do so like stone crabs and clams. Go Birds. Go Birds. Pam-I-am.

bird on beach with crab

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Life Cycle Of The Kings Crowns- Egg Hatching to Down The Hatch

Posted by on Jun 26, 2013 in Egg Casing, King's Crown, Kings Crown egg case | 45 comments

Life of Melongena corona kings crown

The most fascinating part about being a daily beach comber is having the opportunity to witness life stages of creatures of the sea. Over the years, we’ve been so fortunate to see KINGS CROWNS (Melongena corona) in different life phases which I will show you today to round out the latest cool stage I saw this week at low tide.  The first amazement about KINGS CROWNS is looking at the empty shell. We have been lucky enough to find quite a few empty KINGS CROWN seashells washing up on our beaches in Southwest Florida. They’re so beautiful!

kings crown juvie

To find a shell occupied with the MOLLUSK responsible for making such an architecturally brilliant home is always marveling to me. Two years ago, Clark found a ginormous LIVE KINGS CROWN in the shallow water. We were both in awe to see such a magnificent site of a warrior and king of his territory to grow to that size. We were happy to return it to it’s home in the water to reign over his kingdom.

live kings crown aperture

There have been other KINGS CROWNS also happy and healthy after finishing a meal of CRAB de jour.

King's Crown ate a crab

And we’ve seen them delighting in the main course of SOUTHERN QUAHOG sashimi.

Kings crown eats southern quahog

But then, we’ve also seen the other side of the battle in the food chain. This huge LIVE TRUE TULIP made an appetizer out of this little guy. Now you see why these MOLLUSKS’ shells are perfectly empty at times- they get eaten by larger MOLLUSKS. This KINGS CROWN had no chance against this very strong large TULIP. Down the hatch, little KINGS CROWN.

A Tulip eating a King's Crown

We’ve  also seen remnants of a different part of their life… We’ve found dried KINGS CROWN EGG CASES on the beach…

kings crown dried egg case

Speaking of EGG CASINGS…. One of the coolest things we’ve ever seen is this momma KINGS CROWN laying her eggs on an old shell. Clark picked up this whole mass not realizing she was right in the middle of giving birth. After I snapped a quick photo, Clark gently eased her back in the water and she went right along on her merry way to spit out a few more segments. A natural wonder we’ll never forget!

Kings crown laying eggs Melongena corona

Notice that I said “One of the coolest things…”. I’ve got just as cool or maybe even cooler! I witnessed another miracle a few days ago… Baby KINGS CROWNS hatching out of their EGG SACKS!

juvenile kings crown hatching Melongena corona

This was such an awesome site to see! This was one of those days when I so wished I had one of those mack daddy cameras with the big macro lens. These babies were so itty bitty and I could see they still had the embryonic fluid….. okay honestly, I dont know if it was actually embryonic fluid… but I do know they had cute little slime trails on each of the EGG CAPSULES. So amazing!

baby kings crown hatching Melongena corona

We’ve seen so many different cycles in a KING”S CROWN life, I wanted to reminisce about them with you before I showed you the video of these babies in action? Yes! I have video! At the end of the movie, I made a slo-mo to make sure you see the little guy on the right wiggling away. Adorable! Enjoy! [youtube]http://youtu.be/qU4UxslCXe8[/youtube]

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Cayo Costa Shelling Cruise Finding Seashells By The Seashore

Posted by on Apr 14, 2013 in Albino Shells, Angel Wing, Baby's Ear, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Cowrie, Deer Cowrie, Egg Casing, False Angel Wing, Horse Conch, Lightning Whelk, Parchment Worms, ShellingAdventures, Speckled Tellin, Whelk | 28 comments

hermit crab  conch iLS.com watermark

It was a gorgeous sunny day on the iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa yesterday! This beautiful HERMIT CRAB found a nice home inside this CONCH shell for lots of us to ooooh and ahhhh over it then see it go safely back into the water. But Debbie was soooo fortunate to have found this gigantic LIGHTNING WHELK completely empty!

Debbie found large whelk cayo costa

Yowza Debbie! So happy for you! She also found a GAUDY NATICA (aka COLORFUL MOON SHELL) EGG COLLAR and a SHAGGY PARCHMENT WORM TUBE. But that gorgeous WHELK stole the show.

large lightning whelk cayo

Holy mackeral! Super Sheller Clark found an empty LIGHTNING WHELK too. When we got back to the boat, Clark and Debbie showed their big finds of the day…

find whelks cayo florida clark

 It was a day for finding big shells because Erin found another big LIGHTNING WHELK. After letting everybody see this beautiful creature alive and well with the original mollusk still inside, she walked it back into the water to live out its healthy life to breed more WHELKS. Way to go, Erin!

Erin live lightning whelk cayo

Like I always say… Every day the beaches change. One day the shells are piled on the beach and some days you have to work at finding them. I have to admit, we never found a huge pile of shells but this was an awesome group of shellers because they not only found those huge shells, but they found other beautiful shells they were happy with as well…

seashells found cayo costa april

Did you notice in the last picture that little tiny SCALLOP SHELL? Love it!

scallop fingertip iLS

Others were finding FIGHTING CONCHS and SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…

net shells conchs

Aaron from Kansas City was finding the mini shells for his mom…

aaron ks city cayo costa shells

He found BABY’S EARS, FALSE ANGE WINGS and an ALBINO LIGHTNING WHELK. I think that other shell is either and OYSTER or a big KITTENS PAW but I didn’t even look at since I was inspecting the fab ALBINO WHELK.

albino whelk cayo wings ears

I know this is a broken shell, but as soon as I peeked inside Shanna’s shell bucket on the way back to the dock and saw this piece, I woooped it up! She found the lip of a DEER COWRY! DEER COWRIES are very rare in Southwest Florida since they don’t live here. They live further south in the keys so for it to travel this far north… I always think any piece found here is a fun find. Especially the lip.

part of deer cowrie cayo costa

Here is Shanna and her mom Patricia (both from Georgia) with her fave find.. a WORM SHELL :)

shanna GA deer cowrie patricia

I was thrilled to find a SPECKLED TELLIN! This is another shell I don’t normally find on our beaches. Between Clark and I, we only have about 4 that we’ve found around here (SW Florida) so to me, it’s a pretty rare find.

speckled tellin cayo costa florida

This is how I found it so if you see it with the interior side up, you will know to pick it up too. Errrr… Now that I look at it this way, doesn’t it look like Spock lost his ear? Weird. haha

speckled tellin cayo costa

Speaking of ears…There were quite a few people that found BABY’S EARS for the first time ever…

baby ear southwest florida shell

So let me show you a few of these beautiful souls that Clark and I got to spend some time with to exchange stories and treasures…

chrismesa newbie sheller

cayo costa finding seashells

bags of seashells captiva

smitty marcia ga shell cruise

nancy shells cayo costa

george patti erin pam john captiva cruise

I had to get my picture taken with Jeanine and Della from PA. They came geared up with their iLoveShelling tee shirts just like me. Thanks you guys!

jeannine della pam rambo cruise

There are 3 shellers in the next photo too. Jody and Melissa will be having a baby next month so their newest addition will already have shelling experience. Doesn’t she look great? Lucky baby!

jody melissa due may shelling

Thank you Captiva Cruises‘ Captains Keith and Kelly for a perfectly safe and smooth boating morning.

captiva boat captains keith kelly

And thanks so much to these fabulous folks for joining us for this spectasheller day!

iLoveShelling adventure cruise april 2013

Don’t miss this experience! Join us on our next cruise May 19 from 1pm to 4pm. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

shelling-adventures-pam

giving seashells

angel wing cayo 4.13

cayo costa shelling

captiva marina dock

 

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