I am channeling my inner artist looking at these CHANNELED WHELKS as I look back on our shelling trip to the Carolinas earlier this month (Beach Combing Trip To Portsmouth Island). I could have taken hundreds of photos of these incredishelly beautiful works of art as I saw them laying in the sand half buried in the islands of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.
Seeing KNOBBED WHELKS and OYSTER SHELLS rolling up in the surf was a masterful sight to behold.
Mother Nature artfully placed a SAND DOLLAR as though she staged this still-life for me to photograph.
I didn’t find all of her still-lifes in obvious places. These 2 KNOBBED WHELK shells, an ANGEL WING and oodles of OYSTER SHELLS were behind a large wrack line of driftwood, seaweeds and various sticks from sea oats and sea grasses.
The EASTERN OYSTER SHELLS are so beautiful as well, especially the juveniles as they form stunning sculptures.
After searching for miles, we found an area filled with the sweet adorable miniature shells. There were even WENTLETRAPS!
And then, Whelp… another WHELK.
How can they be this gorgeous?
We found dried KNOBBED WHELK EGG CASES too. They are so similar to our LIGHTNING WHELK egg cases we find in Sanibel but the KNOBBED WHELK EGG SACK disks are little more oval in shape.
But this just may have been the find of trip…. a GIANT EASTERN MUREX. Boom Shellalaka! It may not have been he prettiest shell on the beach but it really is giant and it just seemed impossible that we would find one. I can’t claim finding it- our friend (our hostess with mostest) Karen found it then gave it to me. Omigosh really? We don’t normally bring home shells that we don’t find ourselves (we are fortunate to already have enough) but it is an amazing memory from that day and an awesome shell. Very cool- thank you!
Clark and I (in red colors) are still smiling from our shelling trip with Nanette, Helen, Jackie, Karen and Captain Dan. We met all of them in McClellinville, South Carolina where Karen’s buddy Captain Dan Scarborough took us out on his boat to the out islands. I can’t even explain how much fun it was island hopping out on the boat all day with this crew.
We brought back a few brilliant shells with different color patterns that look like Mother Nature had a field day with her architectural designs and paint brush.
Clark and I are so grateful to these Three Crazy Carolina Girls- Jackie, Helen and Karen for inviting us on this unforgettable shelling trip. Love these girls!
To join me on a shelling trip adventure in SW Florida…
I am obsessed with shells. I love to hunt for shells, collect different species of shells, travel for shells, learn about shells and research shells. So I have been like a pit bull with a bone ever since Shellabaloo 3 when an unusual shell showed up at our Shell ‘N Tell.
Was is really a right-handed LIGHTNING WHELK? Or was it a KNOBBED WHELK (Busycon carica) just displaced????? LIGHTNING WHELKS are the only left handed shell in Florida so to find a right-handed would be so cool. I am so excitable when I see a “local” shell (Southwest Florida) I haven’t seen before so my mind starts racing. After I wrote the post Seashells And Beach Bling at Shellabaloo 3 Shell ‘N Tell, I just had to look into it further about that WHELK Gregg found. Something wasn’t sitting right with me. Somehting else looked a little different about that whelk other than just the opening…. was it really from this area? Hmmmm. Then I got an email from another Shellabalooer, Marie, who said after she was sorting through her shells when she got home, she realized she found one of those right-handed whelks too. What??? What are the odds???
OMG. It was sitting on her tray at the Shell ‘N Tell and I didn’t even see it! Here’s the photo I put on the blog post. Can you see it now? LOL
So I started racing through my shell collection of LIGHTNING WHELKS. Have I found a RIGHT-HANDED LIGHTNING WHELK before and just didn’t realize it?
Well, No. I didn’t find one in our collection. Dang it!
While we visited the Baily-Matthews Shell Museum, Dr. Leal said something like “one in 10,000 LIGHTNING WHELKS are right-handed” … or something like that. Sorry if I got that number wrong but all I know is that he said it was a very rare find. So then…
While I was visiting my mom and family in Virginia Beach earlier this month, I helped my mom organize some her shells from her closet she had stacked up in shoe boxes. Aha! This looks like Gregg’s right-handed shell. These were a few shells that were collected years ago from the Outer Banks of North Carolina (or they could have been found after a Nor-Easter on Virginia Beach- we cant recall) that looked just like his shell. They are KNOBBED WHELKS !!
Now that I had one in my hand, I knew that this was the same shell that Gregg and Marie found here on our beaches of Sanibel and Captiva. So they didn’t find rare right handed LIGHTNING WHELKS after all, they found KNOBBED WHELKS like these.
After getting back home (with a few of my mom’s shells- heehee), I lined up all of the WHELKS. Now you can see the differences of all of the WHELKS too. Unfortunately, I don’t have a right-handed LIGHTNING WHELK to put in the line-up but you can see the rest of them.
From left to right- LIGHTNING WHELK (Sanibel), PEAR WHELK (Sanibel), KNOBBED WHELK (Outer Banks, North Carolina – OBX), CHANNELED WHELK (OBX).
You can see by the shape of the spire, and the “tail” the differences are from the LIGHTNING WHELK (left) and KNOBBED WHELK (right)
This view gives you lots of differences…especially since the LIGHTNING’s aperture opens on the left.
Since the CHANNELED WHELK (left) and PEAR WHELK (right) look so similar, I thought I’d show the different views here as well…
Remember, we don’t have CHANNELED WHELKS (Busycon canaliculatum) here on the southwest coast of Florida either but we do have the PEAR WHELKS.
This is what Dr Leal and I concluded from the mystery of these found KNOBBED WHELKS (not right handed lightning whelks) on Sanibel/Captiva. People return shells to the sea- no matter where they found them. I have heard countless times (really, I hear this sooooo often!) that people will find a box of shells they collected from various places over the years but they want to get rid of them. They decide to take them back to the beach that is convenient. OR… they buy shells to scatter on the beach for a party, wedding or so their kids will have different shells to find. Then they leave them and the high tide takes them away and the end up washing back in like they were from the gulf. It happens. That’s why people find so many “foreign” shells here on Sanibel. So for our group to find TWO right handed lightning whelks in one week, errrrr….. even though we find the BEST beaches for our Shellabaloo shellers while they are here …. I think we found somebody’s old shells they collected from the Atlantic Ocean that they scattered on Sanibel.
So know we know the differences between a LIGHTNING, PEAR, KNOBBED and CHANNELED WHELK!
Join us for the next Shellabaloo January 6-9, 2014 or some of our other shelling adventures by
Being surrounded by shells has been a comfort to me all my life. Growing up in Virginia Beach, my family would spend weekends at our local beaches and vacations to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Combing the beaches for shells, driftwood and beach bling became our entertainment and our source for our favorite souvenirs to bring home to my parents house…. and plain happiness.
I’m spending a few days with my mom who still lives in the same house I was raised in.. and where all of those beach treasure souvenirs are still throughout her home. I couldn’t remember exact beaches where we found most of the KNOBBED WHELKS and CHANNELED WHELKS so I asked her if she had any idea. She couldn’t remember either but she thought probably near Cape Hatteras. Then she told me she still has boxes of shells in her closet that she hasn’t looked at in years. Of course I had to get them out!
Sorting through these boxes, shells and findings has been so much fun to reminisce about all of our first times swimming, the games we played at the camp grounds, leaky tents and lots of treasure hunting.
Then I pulled out a little tiny bag filled with some sort of stones. “Hmmmm…. I think I remember digging for these pieces but I cant remember what they are”. My brother Doug took one look at the bag… “Fairy Stones”.
Oh yeah! Now I remember -we made several trips to hunt for these FAIRY STONES at Fairy Stone State Park in Virginia over 40 years ago (yes, I was just a baby- ha!). But what are they? Hmmm- nobody could remember so I Googled them. This is from Fairy Stone State Park… Fairy stones are minerals called staurolite which is a combination of silica, iron and aluminum. Staurolite crystallizes at 60 or 90 degree angles making the stone’s cross-like or “x” shape. They are only found in rocks once subjected to great heat and pressure formed long ago during the rise of the Appalachian Mountains. Pretty cool, huh?
Finding these stones (for the second time) made for more reminiscing of more family trips and funny stories. Having these experiences as a child is why I love shelling and treasure hunting as an adult, I’m sure of it. It brings back the sweetest of memories especially when I get to share them with my family.
I’ll be back on the island soon to get back to finding treasures on our beaches in SW Florida and getting back to the rest of my sweet family…Clark and my kitties.