I couldn’t be happier to have another Shelling Sister that just moved to Sanibel! I feel like I’ve found my long lost Soul Sister… Susan. Of course she wanted to get the whole shelling experience on the Out Islands of Sanibel…. so before I knew it, she hired Capt. Brian Holaway for a shelling trip and she invited me to go along. Weehoo! First trip with Capt Brian!
We left the dock at 8 am but unfortunately the tide was too high to find good shells at that time so Capt Brian took us about an hour north to the beautiful town of Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island to show Susan a few landmarks by golf cart.
We saw the Gasparilla Island Light…
We went to the Boca Grande Historical Society…
Brian’s friend Kim showed us fossils and artifacts on display at the sweet little museum…
We went to the Port Boca Grande Light…
Then we hit the beach!
Where we sifted for SHARK’S TEETH…
Susan found a few FOSSILS like SHARK’S TEETH, fragments of STINGRAY BARBS and BONES.
Along one of the beach paths we found a NICKERBEAN VINE with the prickly sea pods that host SEA BEANS which wash up on the beaches at times.
These local gray drift seeds are called SEA PEARLS. So… now we know where they come from!
I found a few WHITE MELAMPUS shells that were only 1/2 inch to 3/4…
But Susan found the grandpappy WHITE MELAMPUS weighing in at about 1 and 1/2 inches.
UPDATE 6-21-12 – Susan H commented on Soul Sister Susan’s WHITE MELAMPUS saying “it looks as if Susan found a World Record Size (WRS) one. I’m serious, the largest size listed on Malacolog is 27 mm, which is just about an inch“.
So I got serious and dug through drawers of Clark’s dad old tools he inherited and found some very cool old calipers. Susan brought her shell over and we measured….
Her WHITE MELAMPUS measured in at 30 mm. A World Record Size shell!! Thank you Susan H for giving us a heads up on this exciting news!
I found a bivalve shell (it has a small hole in the top but it’s still pretty) that I didn’t recognize so after looking through all of my books… it looks like it’s a JUVENILE SOUTHERN QUAHOG. It has thin raised ridges that seem too delicate to be called a QUAHOG but I’m sure that’s what it is.
When we got back to the dock at McCarthy’s Marina, the MANATEES were waiting for us!
We couldn’t have asked for a prettier day so thank you sooo much Soul Sister Susan for letting me tag along and to Captain Brian for guiding our gorgeous day.
PS- Just if you are wondering…. Yes! Super Sheller Clark helped Soul Sister Susan and her beautiful family find their island home in paradise. (I know, shameless plug …but hey, do you blame me?)
In Fort Myers a mile or so before you get to the Sanibel causeway bridge, you’ll see a sign on your left for Bunche Beach. Clark and I were running a little early (very unusual) to meet some friends so we decided kill a few minutes and check out the beach. I think it’s only the second time we’ve ever stopped at Bunche Beach.
We knew it was low tide but had no idea it would be this cool.
It felt like we were on the moon.
The crazy FIDDLER CRABS were out in the masses here too. If you missed my video of their madness, CLICK HERE.
And lots of minis!
At first, I thought there were oodles of AUGERS but noticed the lip was a little fat… they are LADDER HORN SNAILS.
You can see it a little better in this next photo. Cute, huh?
And there were mounds of MELAMPUS.
These little NASSA shells are so bright yellow and tiny, I wasn’t sure if they are the BRUISED NASSAor not. I think they may be juveniles.
Last but not least, I found three MARGINELLAS.
We had so much fun exploring Bunche Beach, I think we’ll make this a regular stop when we go off island.
This is shelling heaven. I’m sure you understand why Clare and Robin have such great smiles on their faces as they sift through scoops of shells Clare just brought back from the water.
Those are WENTLETRAPS they are finding!
I felt so lucky all weekend to be able to sift through such a wide wrack of shells and talk to so many happy successful shellers at the lighthouse beach on Sanibel.
This is a day’s shell collection that any sheller would smile about. It’s like the top ten shells of Sanibel, isn’t it? I saw Connie again (from March 30 post) with a FIGHTING CONCH, PAPER FIG, TRUE TULIP, HORSE CONCH, FLORIDA CONE, ALPHABET CONES, LIGHTNING WHELK, a little tiny KING’S CROWN, and a PEAR WHELK on her shelling screen (oh yeah, and a PONDEROUS ARK but not sure I would call that a top ten shell- haha).
Connie with her top ten.
Rachael (Denver) found a FLORIDA CONE and two minutes later, she and her Aunt Joan scooped up all of these shells from the surf…
All of these shells in just two scoops!
Rachael and her Aunt Joan (Rachael’s mom’s twin sister!) smiling big.
This weekend you could find big shells but Hudson (St Pete, FL) had keen eyes to find beautiful minis too. This is a gorgeous COFFEE MELAMPUS.
Hudson’s little sister Ilene filled up her bucket with COCKLES and DOSINIAS. She even saved a STARFISH by putting it back in the water.
This guy is a malacologist in the making if you ask me. When I started talking to Mitchel (MI), he told me he was a scientific shell collector. I watched him scoop up a few good scoops of shells out of the water to take back to the sand to sift through them. Every time he’d dump the shells out, he’d draw a crowd of people to see what he found….. most of them were girls. Smart guy.
Nice Conus spurius (ALPHABET CONE), Dr M.
There were so many different things like this HORSE CONCH EGG CASE with a PEN SHELL washing up on the beach that I could talk about it for days….. and I think will. I’ll have to show the rest of my photos tomorrow since I’ve run out of time. I have so many more good ones …. like this
SEA ANEMONE flower…..
I’m a little perplexed. Is this an OLIVELLA PERPLEXA shell? First of all, I couldn’t find a common name for it or a good reference for it. Not that I don’t have respect for the “real” names of the shells we find, but I just happen to prefer the common …..ok- the “easy” name. And second, I couldn’t get a good picture of it. Yet another camera died on me…grrrrr. Well, I’ve just got to get used to this Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS6.
olivella perplexa( ? )other side
This shell doesn’t have a lot of detail but I wanted you to see the whorls on the top.
Olivella perplexa (?)
Maybe that’s a little better photo. Clark pulled this up in the sifter while looking for wentletraps. I dont think I’ve ever found these shells before but maybe I just never thought they looked like much… I don’t know…. See? I’m perplexed.
Clark on the hunt
UPDATE: January 22, 2014… Ive just realized that since this post was written (October 18, 2010), I have learned this shell is a WHITE MELAMPUS. Take a look at my post about these shells written June 19, 2012… http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/2012/06/19/collecting-fossils-seashells-and-memories-on-boca-grande/
Eastern Melampus snail shell ......... (only 1/2 inch big)
As you know, I love the mini shells. The problem is I just think they are so stinkin cute I get carried away with how adorable they are and sometimes clump them all together as a group. Everybody loves baby things, right? I don’t clump the WENTLETRAPS and my candies (JUVENILE HORSE CONCHS) with them because …well… they are my faves. But I think I better start paying more attention to each different mini shell to give them their due respect. They deserve it! They are just as beautiful.
I misnamed this shell pictured above on my September 14 post Many Mini Sea Shells as being a Marginella. I’m not sure why I’ve always called it that but it’s not. It’s a MELAMPUS. Thank goodness we have MurexKen !!!! He commented on that post to very kindly let us know that it looked like a Melampus bidentatus. He says there four species of Melampus on Sanibel so, of course, all I searched for at the lighthouse beach was Melampus shells to find a few more.
Melampus sea shells
They all look so different! I don’t think I found all 4 species but maybe the bottom left is a COFFEE MELAMPUS. I will definitely pay more attention to these little cuties and hopefully I won’t mislead yall to call them by the wrong name….. but then, this is how we learn, right?
Dragonfly on the beach
Meet more shellers on the beach ….
Samantha, Jean and Stephanie (Orlando, Ft Myers)
Ashley, Amber, Holly, Nick and Margaret (Salt Lake, UT and Ft Myers)