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!
It’s crazy the masses of stranded FIGHTING CONCHS and HORSE CONCHS I showed you over 2 weeks ago (CLICK HERE) are still on the beach at Gulfside City Park.
Blind Pass Captiva has come and gone with shells a few times in the last weeks so each day is a surprise to what we find. The best thing I’ve found there recently is 10 year old Ryan from New Jersey. This kid has learned so much about shells, he could name every shell on the beach. It was so much fun to see that he was just as obsessed with all shells and bling… hmmmmm… I think I see a future Malacologist in the making. ;)
He’s pretty darn good at finding awesome shells too.
It was a special trip to Sanibel for Ryan and his grandma Hilarie – he was teaching her about shells. There’s something else interesting about this next photo too… this beach is on the inside of jetty rocks at Blind Pass Captiva- that beach is back! Over the years the sand shifts back and forth- opening and closing the pass. It’s amazing to watch the power Mother Nature has to build a beach or take away a beach within a matter of days. (CLICK HERE and HERE to see other Blind Pass changes)
I took a quick little video of the shells at Gulfside again to share with you… Honestly, it kind of makes my head spin to see all of them so its hard to focus on looking at anything else.
I just have to focus on a few other sweet treasures… and remember at times less is more.
Even though Hurricane Joaquin has been churning in the Caribbean hundreds of miles from Sanibel and Captiva the last few days, those north and west winds have effected our beaches and churned our gulf coast as well.
This weekend Clark and I combed the beaches (through intermittent rain without lightning) finding some cool broken brick/concrete chunks with turquoise paint (maybe an old floor?), lots of incredible “sun beam” SCALLOPS and other assorted shells and bling getting tossed up by the rough surf on the beaches closer to Captiva.
Clark found lots of dreamy creamsicle shelliciousness at Bowman’s Beach.
The gulf was much calmer near Gulfside Beach which made for a beautiful sunset to show off Ray’s perfect little juvie SAND DOLLAR.
Although Ray (from Nantucket) is visiting Sanibel for a fishing trip, he found his first SAND DOLLAR (he called it a sand nickel – heehee) along with some other shells. He noticed it was still a little dark so he knew to search for any signs of life by looking for any “fur” or cilia anywhere on the body. He asked me to check it out to make sure as well…. yep, he was right- no fur. It’s a keeper!
At Lighthouse Beach, the wind was kicking up and the shells were starting to roll in…. but you had to fast to snag them or the waves would take them right back out as fast as they came in. Dale and Wayne (Jacksonville, FL) were lucky enough to catch a few good ones but Dale said this ALPHABET CONE was the best of their collection. Awesome!
Just like this weekend, each SW Florida beach this week will probably be changing by the hour. That’s why we love to be out there and it keeps us coming back, right?
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…
After five days, the mound of shells that built up at Blind Pass Captiva last week is still producing exshellent finds.
There was a QUEEN HELMET found this morning!
Donna and Ray from North Carolina were sifting through this shelltastic pile this morning…
when Donna found that cutie little QUEEN HELMET, a SCOTCH BONNET, 2 ALPHABET CONES (a perfect one minutes after I snapped this photo), LETTERED OLIVES, APPLE MUREXES, CERITHS, AUGERS, CHESTNUT TURBANS, FIGHTING CONCHS and gorgeous CALICO SCALLOPS.
Matt and Monika from Ohio found a spot on shell mountain to dig out some gold too.
It was the first time visiting Sanibel and Captiva for Wenjin from New Jersey… she was in shell heaven!
Its the perfect paradise ending to 2014 with 80 degree sunny weather and seashells piled a mile high. Heaven on earth.
I took a random CYBERSHELLING shot on the top of the pile when I first got there. I hope you find a few goodies! (Warning: If you like KITTENS PAWS, you might want to take a big breath before you click on this next photo. heehee)