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!
Star light, star bright. First STARFISH yesterday in sight.
SEASTARS are always so much fun to see. This beautiful creature went right back in the calm, clear Gulf water where Linda and David (TN) found it while on our iLoveShelling adventure with Captiva Cruises yesterday.
I was also thrilled to see this gorgeous SHARKS EYE OPERCULUM that Jill (Peculiar, Missouri) found. She brought it over for me to identify and I think I went a little crazy… “Omigosh it’s perfect!”.
I always love when other beachcombers have an eye for the unusual pieces of beach bling and want to know what it is. She said she saw that cool swirl on it so she picked it up. Most people would have walked right over it… but not Jill! (check out our first one CLICK HERE-errr…. but its nowhere near as pretty as her’s).
I think Jill found that OPERCULUM because she has an eye for the small BIVALVES and likes to find shells she’s never found before. I think there are about 9 different species on her towel she brought to wrap them in for safe travels.
Jill’s not the only one that loves the bling and unusual, Shelly found all sorts of fab finds like FEATHERS, SEA URCHINS and huge shell pieces. Look at that happy smile on such a beautiful day at Cayo Costa Island!
The water was an amazing 75 degrees for Mac and Delta ( Los Angeles) to wade and scoop up a few treasures like LETTERED OLIVES and FIGHTING CONCHS. So much fun hanging out in the water with y’all!
We all found oodles of live OLIVES in the water and on the beach that we had to put back where we found them… but we were also lucky enough to find a few really glossy empty ones too.
Sue and Jens from NC were happy to find a few OLIVES and a stunning LIGHTNING WHELK too.
And PURPLISH TAGELUS shells too. These were scattered all along the mid tied wrack line on the beach so once we found one, we followed the same tide line to find so many more.
That was actually the same shell line that Krys and Mandy (Richmond, Virginia) found lots of dried out SEA URCHINS. They also found some sweet little COMB BITTERSWEETS with amazing patterns but my photo just didn’t turn out well. (I’m going to look for those COMB BITTERSWEETS the next time on Cayo Costa)
We were barely off the boat stepping foot on the beach when Louisette and Michael (from Massachusettes) found a pile of shells they started scooping up. Louisette is a Sailor’s Valentine artist so she was in heaven with all of the common ARKS, VENUS shells, JINGLES and KITTENS PAWS all the same size for her work.
Local shellers Cazzie and Beth (Fort Myers Beach) found showed me their fave shells they found- Cazzie with a CONCH and Beth with a juvie lemon yellow HORSE CONCH.
So Cazzie realized that he had never seen this shell ever before on our beaches … hmmmm… Yep- he was right. We don’t normally find these type CONCHS on our beaches. It’s what I call a “WEDDING SHELL” which is a shell from the other side of the planet that someone bought in a shell shop and threw out on the beach to decorate or something (for whole story- CLICK HERE). I haven’t seen that many WEDDING SHELLS at Cayo Costa so it was pretty fun to see this one and know it is a very common shell in Okinawa, Japan– we saw them on every single beach when we visited there. When I asked Cazzie what his favorite shell of the day was… he showed me the WEDDING SHELL. :)
Rena brought her friend Nancy (Boston) who had never even heard the term “sheller” before this trip- A newbie! She might even consider herself a sheller now? haha Hopefully!
I had a twin on our cruise! Susan and I showed up with the same outfits on- same hat and iLoveShelling tee shirt. She and her husband Stuart were on a cruise last year with us when Stuart found an OLIVE without a tip. She took that OLIVE shell to Congress Jewelers with her certificate she received on our iLoveShelling trip and had this necklace made she has on this the next photo. A wonderful memory from last year- i LOVE that!!!! So much fun to see y’all.
Just like Susan and Stuart, each passenger on this and all iLoveShelling cruises received a $25 gift certificate from Congress Jewelers (formerly Sealife By Congress) to use in their store. Thank you Congress Jewelers for being so generous with the iLoveShelling community!
You wanted a video? Is that what I heard earlier this week after I posted photos of lots of living sea creaturesin the low tidal pools? If so…. I’m delivering! I captured some footage of the awesome SHARKS EYE, STARFISH, SAND DOLLAR, FIGHTING CONCHS, BABYS EAR and an incredible LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL. Wherever in the world you might be, sit back and enjoy the beautiful life on the Sanibel beaches.
Naaaaa, it’s not the Jaws type shark so you don’t have to get out of the water for this one. Actually you want to get IN the water to see this type of creature… it’s a SHARK EYE (Neverita duplicata or as I always say “Shark’s Eye) seashell. Over the years of beach combing, we’ve been fortunate to have found these shells in so many different life stages to share with you so I thought this was the perfect week to sum up some of the cool things we’ve learned about the SHARKS EYE. Why not… it’s Shark Week!
We only see the live SHARKS EYES at low tide scooting around in the sand but we seem to find a lot of empty SHARKS EYE shells washed up on Sanibel and Captiva especially after storms. We started to realize we don’t normally find the operculums. When Clark and I found another live one, we paid closer attention to the operculum to see exactly what it looked like so we could make sure not to miss one washed up on the beach. Why don’t we find them washed up on the beach more often? Dunno exactly but I’m assuming because they are so paper thin that they crumble easily when the animal dies and dries up. They also look like a small piece of broken PEN SHELL or a brown leaf so they are easy to overlook. Anyway, here’s what the OPERCULUM looks like when it’s attached to the healthy animal still in his shell…
Almost a year after I made this video, low and behold, Clark found our first SHARKS EYE OPERCULUMwashed up on the beach.
We’ve also seen juvie live SHARKS EYES sliming around finding their way…
We’ve seen lots of other live babies scooting around at low tide on Sanibel along with teeny tiny eggs in the SHARK EYE EGG COLLARS.
This is what the EGG COLLAR looks like that the female SHARKS EYE lays. If you see a ring like this while at the beach that feels and looks sort of like freshly made hand crafted paper, take a closer look then place it back in the water if that’s where you found it. There are hundreds of itty bitty baby SHARKS EYES in there. Cool, huh?
What do SHARKS EYES eat? They are carnivores who love to make a meal out of bivalves but at times they are cannibals …. so one SHARKS EYE will eat another SHARKS EYE. (Hmmmm… that happens with the fish type Tiger Sharks too on occasion). You can tell another SHARKS EYE ate this SHARKS EYE in the next photo because it makes a beveled edge hole just like this. CLICK HERE to see that story.
There are two types of these MOON shells that look similar and are hard to distinguish between the two of them. See how much higher the spire is on the shell on the left? The one on the right is a Neverita duplicata (SHARK EYE) and the one on the left is a Neverita delessertiana ( FALSE SHARK EYE) I’ll do another post to show you the aperture side so you can see another difference but I usually just look for the “eye” that looks popped out.
Have you heard me talk about the “Paul Newman’s Eye”? Paul Newman was an Academy Award winning hunky actor known for his incredibly beautiful, brilliant blue eyes (I know, funny I thought I needed to explain who he was, right? But anybody under 30 might not know! LOL Oh wait y’all would know “Newman’s Own”- thats the guy. haha) Anyway, not all SHARKS EYES have a blue center but when they have that handsome brilliant blue “eye”… it’s called a PAUL NEWMAN’S EYE.
See how many different sizes and patterns they have. Gorgeous!
I had so many nice comments on my last post about the differences in SCALLOPS and that y’all really like my educational posts. Me too! I have oodles of photos and gobs of great information about shells AND beach bling that I’ve built up over the years, so I need to start combining them so we all can find the information a little easier. It’ll take a while, but it sure will be fun looking through so many older posts that have been buried by newer posts.
Dont worry, I’ll still post any shelling updates on the beaches but hopefully once a week I’ll pick a shell to research so we can see all the cool stuff we’ve learned over the years.
But speaking of shelling updates… I hope to see you tomorrow on our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa with Captiva Cruises at 9am- Come join us tomorrow! CLICK HEREfor information and some new dates for iLoveShelling Shelling Adventures into February 2015 …
Our first iLoveShelling Sight Sea-R Cruise was even better than I could ever even imagined! This brand new Sight Sea-R boat proved to be the absolutely perfect shelling excursion with plenty of room to take our 48 amazing shellers to this new shelling destination only accessible by boat… Big Hickory Island.
Not only is the island filled with our favorite treasures (shells, of course)….
Our biggest surprise was from Mary and Jana of Sealife By Congress– my fave jewelry store. You won’t believe it, they gave every single person on this cruise a sterling silver sealife charm. Seriously. They came on the boat with large baskets filled with beautiful pieces of jewelry and let us all pick our gift of hand made sterling silver dolphin, starfish, sand dollars, scallops and yes… even junonia charms. So sweet!
Texas cutie cousins Pat, Pam, Kay, Peggy, Debby and Linda were thrilled to all receive such a gracious gift of jewelry. Thank you Sealife By Congress!
Let me tell you… this boat turned into a parrrr-taayyy!
So to top it off, on the boat ride to the island we spotted lots of different wildlife. There were dozens of species of birds but we were most excited about seeing many ROSEATE SPOONBILLS…
We also saw a rare sighting of a SEA TURTLE popping out of the water and we also witnessed countless pods of BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN.
This was already so much fun and we hadn’t even starting shelling yet. But I was soooo ready… especially since I saw Holly had made a special shell bucket for herself with “My Shell Holl” on it- heehee. She also made one for her husband Ted that said “Collect-Ted Shells” and she made one for me with “My Pamtastic Shells”. OMG So stinkin cute.
We were all ready to hit the beach to find shells. And we did! Sandy from Fort Myers Beach’s newspaper The Island Sand Paperfound some awesome shells to make her smile. Go back and take a look at the second photo from the top, those are her shells- See? Awesome.
We couldn’t believe how many WORM SHELLS we all found…
And lots of SHARK’S EYES…
During the boat ride back, I asked how many people found CONE shells (and not ones they picked from the “lucky bucket”) and 19 shellers raised their hands. Wow!
I’m always so happy to meet families that shell together. Christine, Anthony, Paula, Bryce and Dominic (from VT and MA) were such a pleasure to talk to.
I asked Bryce what his favorite thing about the cruise was and he reminded me that together we saved a SEA HARE that got washed up on the beach. We put the SEA HARE back in the water and after a minute, he revived and swam away- that was his favorite moment. I asked Anthony what his favorites were and he immediately showed me his ROSE PETAL TELLINS (with 2 COCQUINAS as well).
Brooke and Josh from Georgia had favorites too… SAND DOLLARS.
Clark and I loved hearing Keri (also from the Sand Paper) tell about shelling bringing back so many memories of her childhood while shelling with her grandmother. I think that’s why we love it so much… we explore the beach like we are kids again and remember those days.
Thank you Captain Phil and Meg for such a great adventure!
I still can’t believe how exciting every moment was with perfect weather seeing DOLPHINS, ROSEATE SPOONBILLS, OSPREY, PELICANS, a SEA TURLE, lots of seashells and the best group of people Clark and I could wish for.
To make a fairy tale ending, on our way back to the dock we watched the sun set over the Sanibel Lighthouse…
It was a very special day to remember. Oh but wait… I still have more photos and I have just a few more things I want to share with you about this day on my next post. The surprises continue!
You can catch a cruise too. Hop on a regularly scheduled shelling cruise on the Sight Sea-R toBig Hickory every Wednesday at 10am, Call 239-765-7272 or go to the website at http://www.sightseaflorida.com. You won’t be disappointed.
If you want to catch an iLoveShelling shelling adventure with me as your guide (once a month), CLICK HERE