Archive for Sea Whip
These are the beautiful treasures we are used to seeing on Sanibel after strong winds from the Gulf Of Mexico.
Brittany (Georgia) and her dad Steve (Kentucky) found plenty of BANDED TULIPS, LIGHTNING WHELKS, LETTERED OLIVES and APPLE MUREXES at Gulfside City Park beach yesterday.
But this time there were more shells mixed in with them. Look at those beautiful shells Clark found! He found that awesome ALPHABET CONE within 10 minutes of wading in the water. He said all of these shells were found by blind scooping in the water with his trusty shelling backhoe.
We found unbelievably huge SEA PORK chunks all over the beach as well. SEA PORK is a TUNICATE as well so its in the same family as the SEA SQUIRTS.
There were quite a few baby STARFISH along the shore line as well. This little one was still alive so I put it back in the water for a chance of survival.
Clark showed me another huge glob of SEA PORK. Wowza! They are so pretty when they are this bright orange. Im not sure if its true, but I read somewhere that if SEA PORK has a bright color like this to it, it is still alive (well, the zooids that live inside might be still alive). So this one went back in the water.
I’ve never seen so many different types of SPONGES washed up…
This was probably the biggest and most perfect DEAD MANS FINGER sponge Ive ever seen.
There were even other weird TUNICATES hiding within the SEA PORK and SPONGES. This one was a little more gooey but had bright orange lobes just like some of the other SEA PORK TUNICATES. After such high winds, its so interesting to see all of the different plants and creatures that get washed up on our beaches. It’s like our own private touch tank – I love it!
The rewards are even greater when we uncover little beauties like these to admire.
It’s already a spectacsheller 2014! My dear friend Ellen found not just one LIONS PAW at Blind Pass Sanibel… but she found two LION’S PAWS!
We walked passed that sand bar area that I’ve shown you in my last couple of posts towards Bowman’s Beach where they just finished the beach renourishment project. Remember I showed you that old wooden jetty that was newly exposed last year? Well, it’s all covered up again and filled in with fresh new sand that was pumped in from the deep waters off shore in the Gulf Of Mexico. So I’m assuming that these came in with the sand since both of them are so incredibly perfect. I want to show you the interior of this LIONS PAW so you can be on the lookout as well. I was right there with her shelling and I didn’t see either of them… I missed them both! She picked them up right after I looked in the same spot. LOL All I saw were oodles of KITTENS PAW and CALICO SCALLOPS (you know I love both of them so I was already mesmerized- hahaha) It just goes to show you, there are enough shells for everybody in southwest Florida since we all see different things while shelling on the beach. I think Im going to have to call her Shellen instead of Ellen from now on. heehee She’s got the LIONS PAW eye for sure! Shellzam! Congratshellations, Shellen!
Clark was shelling just at the water’s edge with his shelling backhoe when he scooped up these beauties. Can you believe it? He found a CABRITS MUREX too! This one is pretty beat up but still… its a rare find for Sanibel. Again, prob from the beach renourishment. I haven’t gotten to a chance to see if that FLAT SCALLOP near his thumb will clean up well but its a beauty along with that bright orange CHESTNUT TURBAN.
Shellen has an eye for LIONS PAWS, Super Sheller Clark has an eye ALPHIES and I seem to have an eye for finding CARRIER SHELLS.
I also have an eye for WENTLETRAPS. As you can see in the next photo, all the way as far as you can see in the background, is a palm tree sticking up. That’s about 200 yards from the Blind Pass bridge (guestimate of course) so this is how far we walked to find our loot. Now look how far I was from the water and in that sparse shell line, I found what I believe is a TOLIN WENTLETRAP. I’ve found lots of different species of WENTLETRAPS (CLICK HERE for a line up of them) but this one looked different from the others so in my humble opinion, I think it’s a TOLIN.
But honestly, I got more excited about this beautiful piece of BEACH BLING I found. It’s a purple SEA WHIP with a few cool hitchhikers! Click on the photo to enlarge to see if you can find them too before I tell you what they are.
Did you find the ATLANTIC WING OYSTER? So cool, right?
But wait, there’s another tiny baby WING OYSTER too! Can you see it?
And then I spotted a ONE TOOTH SIMNIA on this same SEA WHIP! It’s camouflaged but look closely…
Shell Boom Bah! There are two ONE TOOTH SIMNIAS! Click this next photo to see both of them. Then go back and see if you can find both WING OYSTERS and both ONE TOOTH SIMNIAS in the first full size pic of the SEA WHIP. I know its weird but I felt like I had won the lotto. LOL This is why I love shelling so much. There are always magnificent hidden treasures on the beach… you just have to find the treasures that make you happy.
I have one more photo to show you… I am so stinkin happy for my buddy Kaybe from The Essential Beachcomber!
She finally found her JUNONIA! She posted this on iLoveShelling Facebook page… “I’m making progress. Went from finding a little tip last week to an almost whole junonia this morning at Boca Grande. It was all wrapped up in some seaweed on the wrack line.” Exshellent!
Join me on a Shelling Adventure! For more info CLICK HERE
SEA URCHINS! I haven’t seen SEA URCHINS washed up on our shores in quite a while… much less cutie itty bitty ones like this.
I found dried tiny ones with spines as well…
Normally if SEA URCHINS still have their spines in tact I would assume they were still alive and put them back in the water. But I found these in the highest wrack line at Lighthouse Beach. They had been cast on shore by those rough waves from the high winds last week with the high tide and got caught in the “sea weeds” then left for days to dry out. They look like the gumballs that the Sweetgum trees drop in the winter up north, dont they? LOL
I normally don’t get so excited to collect PEN SHELLS (since we see them so often on our beaches) but I rarely see perfectly intact baby STIFF PEN SHELLS (on the left of my hand) and SAW TOOTH PENS SHELLS especially with no BARNACLES or SLIPPER SHELLS attached to them. They are so cute!
See how thick this wrack line was? Some people in other parts of the world might think this was an ugly site on a beach… but not me and most beach combers. This is a haven for shells and BEACH BLING for beach combers and for wildlife as well. Thick wrack lines like this packed with all sort of vegetation and other sealife are so important for our beach ecosystem. They provide food for birds and other wildlife as well as providing a layer to trap sand for less erosion. They become incubators for dunes!
But… Just to make sure this seaweed was a natural occurrence without being harmful, I asked my friend and director of the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) Dr. Eric Milbrandt if he knew what types of matter had washed ashore. Of course he did! He said “There were 8 species from collections at Moonshadows beach and the Lighthouse beach. Many of the specimens had intact holdfasts and given the recent > 1 m wave heights, were likely attached and cast on shore. Many of these species are found at nearshore hardbottom areas (the same areas that produce many of the mollusc shells) whose abundance peaks in Nov.” He also reported that most of these species of seaweed (macroalgae) were common on all coasts. Thank you Dr. Milbrandt!
Along with the PEN SHELLS and SEA URCHINS tucked away in all that seaweed, Clark and I found hundreds of double DOSINIAS…
And a very cool completely intact dried (and non-stinky!) SPIDER CRAB…
Clark found a double SAILORS EAR (CHANNELED DUCK CLAM) without any cracks. It’s funny, we rarely find them on the beach with both sides intact because they are just so dang delicate…
I haven’t gotten a good dose of combing through cool BEACH BLING in a while so I was in haaaawg heaven. There were oodles of little micro shells, SEA WHIPS and other goodies so I could (and did) walk for miles and miles getting lost in discovering the fascinating gifts that Mother Nature leaves us on our beaches.