Archive for Sanibel
Heavy winds and rain with tornado watches whipped through Sanibel during the first day of the 2014 Shell Festival yesterday. They had to close the show around 1:30pm because the storm caused power outages throughout the island so the Sanibel Community House was completely pitch dark. What a fluke!
But…. those same whipping winds caused hundreds of seashells to wash up at Lighthouse Beach this morning. Yay!
All sorts of STARFISH, PEN SHELLS, DISK DOSINIAS and SEAWEED piled up to form a nice thick wrack line to pick through…
I always love to sift through all the BEACH BLING to see what sorts of cool things from the deep belly of the Gulf Of Mexico make an appearance. I found a gorgeous treasure in this mess of sea debris so I thought you might enjoy picking through it for some CYBERSHELLING too. Get picking by CLICKING on the pic!
Did you find this stunning TRUE TULIP too?
Here’s another CYBERSHELLING photo to check out such an amazing pile of DOSINIAS. After I got home and looked at this photo a little closer, I realized I missed a very cool WORM SHELL, Dang it! Oh well, I hope someone else snagged that piece of yumminess up…
I love to look inside the PEN SHELLS for hidden gems too. This one had a tiny TRUE TULIP laying inside like a precious pearl waiting to be found. Once I picked it out of the PEN SHELL, I realized this baby TRUE was still alive and well protected so I put both together back in the water to hopefully get lodged in the sand.
It was so much fun to see so much bling and shells wash up at the Lighthouse Beach again… especially for the many shellers in town for the Shell Festival.
I promise I’ll get back to showing more exhibits from the fair on my next post but I had to shout out about the shelling news at the Lighthouse… and here are my favorite finds from this morning.
Clockwise- a GIANT ATLANTIC COCKLE filled with BUBBLE SHELLS, a BUTTON and a little itty bitty juvie FIGHTING CONCH; 2 juvie FIGHTING CONCHS; TRUE TULIP; CALICO CRAB SHELL; the smallest CARRIER SHELL I’ve ever found on Sanibel; SHARKS EYE; LACE MUREX, oodles of SUNRAY VENUS, SEA URCHIN and then another LACIE.
I have some other great news too… there are spots available for you to join us for Shellabaloo! It’s the most fabulous Shelling Adventure on the planet! Come join us April 24-27, 2014 to experience this awesome event. CLICK HERE for more info.
Okay, I can’t resist…. I have to show you a few more shell pieces from the show. They are exquisite!
Sunrise on Sanibel is such a beautiful sight at Lighthouse Beach, I always tell myself I need to get out there in the morning more often.
As I was shelling at the waters edge, I met a family enjoying the cool morning while collecting shells along the same path. Rick, Cindy, Sarah, Harley (she’s peek-a-boo-ing between her mom and dad’s legs- heehee) and Richard from Virginia were tickled with their finds.
Cindy found a beautiful PAPER FIG and ANGEL WING while Rick was finding juvie WHELKS, CONCHS and pieces of shells with cool BARNCLES attached…
Cindy found this awesome BRITTLE STAR on the beach which we thought was too dry to still be alive but while we inspected him and all ooohed and aaahed, the little guy started waving one of his arms to tell us he still had some life in him. Omigosh! He needed water! Cindy hurried to get this guy back to the Gulf Of Mexico.
Sarah found her first WENTLETRAP!
I should have known I would see award winning SAILORS VALENTINE artist Constance Miller shelling at the lighthouse because the Sanibel Shell Festival this week. She loves to find her own WENTLETRAPS and other mini shells to use in her gorgeous designs.
Clark and I walked just south of Bowman’s Beach to catch sunset and saw the perfect Sanibel Stooper shelling the sand bar just as the sun reached the horizon. So beautiful!
Just after I snapped the photo, that Sanibel Stooper walked back towards the beach so I approached him to tell him I got a fun photo of him at sunset. Holy Cowrie! It was Rick again! LOL Yes, that was the same Rick that I had just met in the morning shelling at Lighthouse Beach. He and his son Richard (Marley’s dad) were still shelling but this time near Bowman’s too. It’s a small island, huh?
These are just a few goodies they pulled out of their shell bag. Lots of treasure!
If you are near Sanibel Island this week Thursday- Saturday (March 6,7,8 2014) you shouldn’t miss the 77th Sanibel Shell Festival. It will be lots of fun AND…. I am entering into the show for the very first time. I have two pieces that will be judged in the artistic division so I will definitely show you pictures later in the week after they have been judged. Yes, judged… Ack! Pressure! Please wish me good luck! And of course I will be blogging about all of the other exhibits as well. I hope to see you there!
No, you silly goose, this shell doesn’t have a bikini on… it’s really called a HALF-NAKED PEN SHELL! I found this rare PEN SHELL (Atrina seminuda) at Gulfside City Park on Sanibel Island, Florida a few weeks ago just after high west winds so there were thousands of shells that washed up on the beach. Talk about being silly… remember my crazy post “On The Beach With Shell Eggs And Ham, Pam-I-Am“? Well that’s when I found this very rare PEN SHELL. When I say “very rare” I mean it’s very rare for Southwest Florida.
Okay wait….before you get bored with hearing about the not-so-attractive PEN SHELL, this is actually pretty dang cool, so go get some caffeine and stay with me, alright? And really, haven’t you seen tons of these shells if you’ve visited the west coast of Florida?
Last year when Shelling Sistah Susan H was here, she asked me if I had ever run into a third type of PEN SHELL (the HALF NAKED) and told me to look at a picture of it online CLICK HERE. I studied the differences between this one and the STIFF PEN SHELL and the SAW TOOTH PEN SHELL. Okay, I’ve got it in my brain… if it’s here, I’m gonna find it. I searched for an entire year to find this stinkin thing! But I found it! I think I was just as excited when I found my JUNONIA… not.
I don’t think you will ever be collecting oodles of PEN SHELLS, (I’m not sure I know anybody who actually “collects” them) but it was sure exciting to me to finally find the darn thing. The only way to really tell it apart from the other PENS is to look at the inside muscle scar of the MOLLUSK… in other words- where the meat attached to the shell.
There is a slight variance on the outside of each of these shells. From left to right… STIFF PEN SHELL, HALF-NAKED PEN SHELL and SAW TOOTH PEN SHELL. I’m not really sure if you’ll be able to see the difference from this photo, but look very closely at the right side of each of the shells. That’s the hinge.. and it is very straight on the first and third shell but slightly curved on the middle one. So now that you know that the HALF-NAKED has a curved hinge, go back to the last photo with all 3 shells and see the big gap in-between the valves of the middle shell. That’s why I even picked up the shell in the first place, I saw that slight curved hinge and immediately thought to myself… OMG maybe that’s it!
Maybe this is a better view of the curve in the hinge… on the left is the HALF-NAKED and on the right is the STIFF PEN SHELL. Can you see it now?
This is the real giveaway on the difference between these shells. The middle one is the HALF-NAKED (isn’t that just the funniest name? I get so tickled every time I say it!). Can you see more lines and shapes on the HALF NAKED right in the middle of the shell?
The next photo is a close-up of that shell and it almost looks like a face, right? Do you see the “eyes”? Okay, that is the muscle scar. Right above the “eyes” is a wide milky space before it changes complete color (like a hair line). The whole milky or pearly area is called the nacreous. The HALF-NAKED is the only one of our PENS that the muscle scar leaves such a prominent space below the nacreous border.
This next one is the STIFF PEN SHELL… the most common PEN SHELL on our beaches and it looks almost identical to the HALF- NAKED. I’m sure you’ve all seen this one if you’ve walked on the beaches in Sanibel or Captiva and you’ve probably cussed at it after you stepped on it, right? Ouch!
Here’s the interior of the STIFF PEN. It’s hard to see the muscle scar on this one but there is definitely no obvious space between the top of the muscle scar and the border of the pearly part.
This next one is the SAWTOOTH PEN SHELL. This one is easy to tell the difference from the others since it is much lighter in color and it has much smaller spines that don’t stick out (to cut your foot). I didn’t do a close up of the interior nacreous area because it didn’t really show up well… and …. wait! wake up! I’m just getting to the good part so gulp more caffeine, would ya? LOL
This is how I found my first HALF-NAKED PEN laying on the beach at Gulfside City Park.
I took the shell to Dr. Jose Leal at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum to get a positive ID from him. He positively identified it for me as the Atrina seminuda (HALF NAKED) and then told me that they did not have one of these shells at the museum. Since it was my first one I’ve ever found, I told him he could borrow it to photograph it. I know, I know, it sounds stingy that I didn’t donate it to him but geeeeez, remember…. Ive been looking for this guy for a year!
The first one I took to him to get a positive ID wasn’t so pretty and it cracked a little when I opened it up to look at the muscle scar…
So I went hunting again and low and behold… I found two more after looking at thousands of them all along Sanibel. Gulfside City Park was the winner again. I found a perfect one with no cracks that I’ve shown in my photos here and I donated this one to The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum…
They will soon have it on their website as a Southwest Florida shell and have my shell in the photo. And yes, it’s still the only one they have so far- Dr Leal looked in the archives and couldn’t find another one. I’m so proud of that little PEN SHELL! Hahaha- Really, Who would have thought I’d ever be so happy about a PEN SHELL. heehee. And I would never have known to look for it if it hadn’t been for sweet Susan H! Thank you Susan H for asking me about it and giving me something to hunt for. I always love to find new things on the beach!
I have been looooving my long walks on the Sanibel beaches this week with warm, sunny days. Yesterday at the Lighthouse Beach, I enjoyed finding WENTLETRAPS and other sweet minis on the Gulf Of Mexico side instead of on the pier side where they used to be.
It feels so good to find the minis again.
Jim from Buffalo, NY found four times the WENTLETRAPS I found but I was most jealous of this crazy big WENTLE. Wow! Thats a whopping wentle to wet your whistle!
A few days ago I walked Blind Pass beach on the Sanibel side and met Deb from Minnesota…
She had such a beautiful variety of shells she mostly found at the water’s edge. Very nice BANDED TULIPS, FIGHTING CONCHS, LIGHTNING WHELKS, SCALLOPS and of course that sweet candy in the middle- a juvie HORSE CONCH.
Lokks like I’ve got some catching you up to do because I got lost in time looking through all of those PEN SHELLS, BEACH BLING and researching those DOSINIAS earlier this week. I also went to Tarpon Beach a couple of days ago and found this big shell pile.
Just a short walk from that big shell pile there are still nice low tide pools with fun stuff to explore too. This one is only about 50 yards in front of the entrance (on the left) to the public beach access.
To show you how many shell and wrack lines there are at Tarpon Beach, I tried (its a little blurry- sorry!) to take a photo of me holding a WENTLETRAP in one of the high tide lines so you could see how far I was from that shell pile and the water. There are so many fun areas to search.
Every beach I’ve been to in the past few days, has been so much fun to explore. If I didn’t find the bigger shells like Deb, I started to search for my fave minis. But then… finding shells is just icing on the cake sometimes. Sometimes I just want to feel the sunshine on my skin and breath in the sea. So I hope you can CyberSink your toes on this sandy, shelly beach and enjoy the blue skies, sunshine and warm weather to enjoy it with me. Sending sunshine and cybershells.
PS- I’m thrilled I’ve gotten some feedback and some of y’all are enjoying my “the differences between shells” posts. I have lots of different little minis in the top photos of my Lighthouse finds so until I can get to photographing the DRILLS and such, check out these posts … Similar Small Sanibel Seashells and… Seashells Open Your Eyes. That will help you identify most of these shells along with the SPARSE DOVE that’s in this post… I Spy Seashells And Beach Bling. Dont forget, you can always go to my SEASHELL IDENTIFICATION page… CLICK HERE.
I’m pretty dang good at finding mini shells but I need to narrow my focus since I don’t think I’ve ever found an ARROW DWARF TRITON before. Isn’t this a beautiful shell?
I’m so happy for Gill from England since she’s the one who found this gorgeous shell at Sanibel Lighthouse Beach. So cool! Congratshellations Gill!
Now you can see a little better how small it is. Believe it or not, it’s related to the NUTMEG.
She found it on the beach in one of the small shell lines close to the water around the tip of the island looking at the lighthouse at this view.
She also found a couple of BABYS EARS, a WENTLETRAP and a few other sweet minis to add to her “list”. Her “list” you ask? She has a competition going with her husband Andy (and a few other friends) to see who can find the most species of shells in one year. They got the idea from a movie “The Big Year” about a birding competition so they designed their competition around shells and gave it a point system. I’ve got to see this movie! I googled it after she told me about their game and the tag line is ” Everyone is searching for something”. hahaha Yes we are! Shells! Their contest ends December 31, 2014 so she said she’d let me know who wins (errrr- I’d like to take bets on the winner- hahaha). How fun!
I found a few goodies just washing in at the surf line…
That was yesterday…. and today the winds have picked up gusting over 15 mph out of the north west. The Gulf Of Mexico water is churning at Blind Pass (and all of SW Florida) so it’s stirring up those shells to hopeful wash them up at our toes in the next few days. Once it calms just a tad, the shells should be rolling in, folks! Hopefully, we’ll be getting some nice Shellentines!