The shell world is a fascinating adventure to learn about the lives of MOLLUSKS and the people who collect their shells on the beaches across the planet. Because I am one of those people obsessed with living my life in the world of shells, I love to hang out with people who love to share their knowledge about them too. The Sanibel Shell Festival is a great place to do that.
I’m thrilled Sunnye (TX) shared her colorful shell collection she found beachcombing in Eleuthera, Bahamas (top photo).
Her sister Lisa (TX)had some awesome displays too for which they both won awards.
Lisa EXHIBITED this gorgeous SMOOTH TELLIN…
But I looooved this cool display Lisa did showing the difference between the SHARKS EYE and the FALSE SHARKS EYE. It explains and shows the difference in detail (for more info check out my post Sanibel Shark Week… Featuring The Shark Eye Shell).
And then there’s Stef! I’m so happy for her- she won a blue ribbon for her double FLAT SCALLOP she found by Sanibel’s Island Inn.
Wait… did you miss what I said? Okay, lemme slow down… she found both sides of her FLAT ZIGZAG SCALLOP still hinged together. Exactly like she displayed it… on Sanibel… and with amazing color. Wow! Years ago, I was thrilled when Clark found just the other half of a FLAT (the right valve) since it’s rare to find them here (CLICK HERE to see what the other side looks like) … and she found both perfect valves still together. Shellzam! Congrats Stefanie!
There were lots of displays showing ALBINO shells this year but this one by Ken and Joyce Matthys was really very cool. Here they shows tons of ALBINO FLORIDA PRICKLY COCKLES they’ve found through the years…
In the next case they show FLORIDA PRICKLY COCKLES which are ALBINISTIC. They explain… “Some shells lack their normal color, but they are not pure white. Instead they may be pale yellow, cream-colored, or have other hints of color. These are referred to as being albinistic”. Hmmm Haven’t you seen some like this? I have and now we’ve learned a name for this color form… ALBINISTIC.
Anne Joffe’s seashell emergency room display was hilarious and voted best for People’s Choice award. Freak and damaged shells that repaired themselves to form in odd shapes were propped in mini doctor’s offices, emergency rooms and surgery rooms with bandages, crutches and doctors notes.
Check out this PALLID CARRIER SHELL with an attached GLASS SPONGE (from the Philippines) by exhibitor Robert Linn. Wildly beautiful.
Last week I posted about the artistic side of the show with SAILORS VALENTINES, shell frames and all sorts of shell artand craft but when you look at some of these shells like these ATLANTIC TRITONS exhibited by Holly Nordyke, you realize you are looking at the most perfect work of art ever made. Stunning.
Hope to see you next year at the 80th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival!
If you found a perfect JUNONIA on the beach the second morning of vacation on Sanibel, would you let it out of your site for the rest of your trip? Not Tim from Ohio! He told me about his treasure find after I met him while at the Sanibel Shell Festival and was able to show it to me since he had it stashed in his pocket. He said he couldn’t bear to part with it yet. LOL
That started off my day at the Shell Festival off with a smile but after seeing beautiful works of art like these, it was hard not to keep that smile going.
I loved this miniature seashell doll house shell shop.
Of course its always breathtaking to see the Sailors Valentines.
My favorite shell exhibit of the entire show was in the “Freak” category. It’s a shell with 2 apertures. Yes, I said TWO openings … its like this shell is a Siamese Twin. I was stunned and amazed and I still am. It was so hard to get a good photo to really show both openings but you can see on the far left there is an opening with an operculum and then you can see the more obvious lip and opening. Wow! Can you imagine? So cool.
I had the best time browsing the exhibits and meeting other shellers like Cheryl and Pam (Brett Bailey’s sister) who showed me a very cool juvie MILK CONCH they found at the Sanibel Lighthouse area. But…. Pam didn’t have her shell in her pocket like Tim did (heehee), the shell was on her phone. “Ring. Ring. Ring… Hold on, I need to get my Shellaphone….. Shello?” hahaha
The festival is like dialing a shellafriend…. Shellekelle, me and Christine Florida shell girl had a great time hanging out and catching up. They are such cutie shellooties!
It doesn’t get any better than seeing a huge pile of shells wash up on the beach within one day. I was shellucky enough to see it happen at Blind Pass Captiva and to get the video of it I showed you on my last post. It was Shellectric!
Talk about “shellucky” – local sheller Susan from Pine Island found a CABRITS MUREX!
These are just a few other fab shells she found as well…
Lolly was there with her homemade shell belt collecting all sorts of goodies.
She found all sorts of shells like HORSE CONCHS, WHELKS, MUREXES and FLAT ZIG ZAGS and GIANT BITTERSWEETS…
After seeing my “CANDY” (my little HORSIES in the first photo) and Lolly’s as well, an orange HORSE CONCH is all Patti from MN was wishing to find. Moments later… voila! Patti whooped it up when she found her own sweet “CANDY”. Yay!
Babs from St Augustine was there to see all the shellnanagans and to find her own treasures.
Its always fun to see what makes different people happy when they find something unusual. I was thrilled when Babs showed me this awesome ROUGH SCALLOP that had obviously been damaged in its lifetime but survived the predatory incident (IMHO- I’m thinking that’s prob what happened).
See? At one time, this mollusk knew it had more life to live and repaired its damage to see more days. I love those type shells! This even looks like it tried to manage the shape of a heart.
This shell pile event doesn’t happen every day so when I’m there to witness it, I try to breathe it all in and enjoy every single moment.
I didn’t make it back yesterday so I have no idea if it’s all still there. Let me know if you found any treasures at Blind Pass over the weekend.
Join me on a Shelling Adventure! CLICK HERE for more info.
PS- I was at Gulfside City Park Beach over the weekend and its still loaded with shells and bling too. :)
Oh and I hope to see y’all at the 2015 78th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival at the Sanibel Community House this weekend March 5,6, and 7!
UPDATE 3-3-15: I stopped by Blind Pass Captiva …. the shell pile is completely picked over and filled with sand. Amazing. The top picture had new shells in this post washing in and the lower picture was 3 days later. The power of Mother Nature…
My friend Debbie who lives on Fort Myers Beach sent me this photo of her shell finds near Bowditch Beach on the south end of the island. There are so many things that caught my eye in the photo above (like that row of ALPHIES!)… but also that shell on the bottom middle that looks a little freakish. OMG I think it’s the coolest FREAK FIGHTING CONCH I’ve ever seen! I will get a close up look at it soon so I will let you know exactly what it is soon.
But while she was collecting all of her awesome shells, she met a young gal who was collecting shells but didn’t know what any of them were. She put out her hands to ask Debbie what she had… What??? Never mind the ALPHABET CONES… She found a JUNONIA!!!
Meanwhile, I was at Blind Pass Captiva watching the cutest family having the best time collecting shells. Eli didn’t have a big enough bucket to hold all of the shells he wanted to keep. His mom starting putting some of the shells back on the beach and said “Only put your favorite shell in the bucket so we can take them home with us”. He cocked his head and looked at her with the sweetest voice and said “Don’t put them back! They’re all my favorites!”
Here’s Eli with his shelling friends and family who traveled together to Captiva from Connecticut… Alisha, Remy, Aidan and Skylar.
I was majorly bummed on Thursday. Mother Nature did not cooperate with our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa and she sent a storm with rain and thunder at the time of our shelling adventure. Grrrrr. But instead of crying about the canceled boat, lots of us went to Blind Pass Captiva like Kaisa, Kan and Kaika from Tokyo!
Sherry and Gracie from St Johns, FL headed straight to Blind Pass from the cancelled cruise and had practically filled their shell bag by the time I got there. Sherry said “The shells aren’t all perfect but since we make shell frames and other crafts with them, they don’t have to be whole”. My kinda gals!
Leslie S posted this picture on iLoveShelling facebook page and wrote “A successful day of shelling at Blind Pass–Look, there’s a nice Alphabet cone and a broken piece of the elusive Junonia!”
Dawn K also posted this next photo and wrote “Three Alpha cones in one hour!!! HAPPINESS!! It was about 1/2 mile south east of Island Inn.”
If I’m not mistaken, most of these shells were found in the water. Although the water isn’t that pretty aqua blue right now because of the releases of Lake Okeechobee due to so much rain, there are obviously still shells out there by seeing these photos. Shellers are wonderfully persistent!
Although we were rained out on this week’s cruise, we also have another one scheduled this month on Wednesday August 28th and more though out the year so join us! We also had 2 cancelations for Shellabaloo 3 so now there are 2 spots available! I know it’s last minute, but JOIN US August 26th through 30th for a week of a shellacious shellathon. CLICK HEREfor details.
We learned about Donnie The Shellinator (it tickles me every time I write that- heehee) and his PLASTERED WENTLETRAP on my last post, but I didn’t have time to mention the other shells he and Alyssa took to show the folks at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum…. FREAKS!
I know your eyes went right to the crooked LIGHTNING WHELK, didn’t it? I know, I love a good FREAK shell too but they didn’t find these last week, they collected these in the last year but since we got to see the real experts it was the perfect time to show the coolness. It looks like this WHELK was involved in some sort of trauma that clipped his “tail” (siphonal canal) but he was strong enough to rebuild his shell any way he could… and this time it was sideways.
On the left of the photo is a FREAK KNOBLESS FIGHTING CONCH. But “knobless” isn’t the only thing that is freaky about it. The aperture is so narrow with an unusual shape and it looks like the shoulder grew back up on the spire of the shell too.
Believe it or not, we don’t find many juvenile ALPHABET CONES on our beaches so Donnie donated his to Smokey of the Shell Museum who wants to complete a growth display. Nice, huh? Maybe it be added to a display like this?
It was such a pleasure to listen to the shell experts tell us what they look for to correctly identify different seashells and how to figure out what makes them FREAKS. I caught a small part of Smokey Payson on video explaining what could have happened to this FREAK LIGHTING WHELK to make his tail grow sideways. Sorry this clip is so fuzzy and unsteady… really, it’s not a great video but I really think you’ll like to hear Smokey’s take on these FREAKS.
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Ahhhhh Freak Out! Le Freak. C’est Chic. Freak Out! … Remember that song? Wouldn’t you freak if you found this FREAK LIGHTNING WHELK?
Martine(from my last post) introduced me to her Periwinkle Park neighbors Ron and Lucienne because they too love to shell. As soon as I saw their picnic table loaded with shells, I spotted this LIGHTNING WHELK. I freaked out when I saw the curly tail on this guy!
What’s a FREAK shell? As I understand it, it’s a shell with an abnormal structure, albinism, dwarf, giant or some sort of growth defect or maybe even a strange color pattern. This is Lucienne proudly displaying her FREAK WHELK…
After I calmed down about the curly tailed freak, I spotted something else. Another freakin’ FREAK?
Looks like a PEAR WHELK, right? I know, but I don’t think it is (although I could be wrong). I guess it could be a left handed PEAR WHELK with a strange apex but I what ever it is, it’s a FREAK! In my humble opinion, I think it’s a LIGHTNING WHELK that is a “Knobless Wonder” in a WHELK version instead of a HORSE CONCH. Look! It doesn’t have the spines that LIGHTNING WHELKS normally have. Believe it or not, they had two of these they found the same day.
Lucienne’s husband Ron was especially proud of this huge, beautiful KING’S CROWN he found as well. Wow! gorgeous…
Even this one looks like it is a little unusual (not to mention the size of it!) because of a second row of spines…
I wouldn’t consider this one to be a FREAK but this LIGHTNING WHELK had a slight bend to the base (or what I like to call the “tail”). And look at the color on this baby- fabulous!
Look at all these beauties!
I asked Ron and Lucienne where they find their best shells. They told me they love to shell in the bays around Sanibel in their homemade kayaks. Yes, you heard that right. They made both of these beautiful kayaks!
Thank you for sharing your treasures, Ron and Lucienne. I had an incredible time drooling over your incredible shell collection… especially those FREAKS! I’m still freaked! It’s hard to say what causes mollusks to have abnormal growth patterns like “Curly Tail” but there could be many reasons including lack of food, healing after damage by predators, water quality (red tide maybe!) or who knows…. it could be just in the DNA. Whatever it is, i LOVE FREAK SHELLS!