On our trip to Thailand, we not only found seashells on the beaches, we found shells adorning the yards on the island of Phuket. We were very fortunate to be invited to the home of international shell enthusiast Tom Rice who now lives in Phuket. As we arrived to his house, I was thrilled to see his garden lined with “yard shells”. I love to line my plant beds with old large shells too!
Tom is from Port Gamble, Washington where he opened Of Sea And Shore which is a shell museum exhibiting some of his collection over the past 50 years during collecting trips to more than 40 countries and through exchanges with collectors and purchases from dealers around the world. If “Of Sea And Shore” sounds familiar, he used to publish a magazine by the same name. The museum is still open but Tom moved to Rawaii Beach on Phuket about 10 years ago and seems to have found a pretty good island life.
Not only does he have shells in his museum, he has shells he hasn’t even finished identifying, organizing or cataloging. This is just one cabinet of shells! LOL He has so many shells, he is now selling his precious collection. To see his list CLICK HERE.
After having a great time talking shells and island life, Tom had a surprise for us so we hopped on the local transport- the Song Taew.
It’s really just a covered bed of a pickup truck with a couple of benches but it’s the cheapest way to get around….if you have lots of time to wait for it to just “happen” by.
Our surprise? He gave us a tour of the Phuket Seashell Museum! Tom’s friends, the Patamakanthin brothers opened this privately owned museum about 12 years ago.
Both Clark and I were surprised to see that there are over 2000 species on display. That’s a heck of a collection of shells!
Have you ever heard of a GOLDEN PEARL?
Neither had we until we saw this very rare MELO MELO PEARL that is not produced by an oyster but from the Melo melo or the common name BAILER SHELL. It got the common name because the native fishermen use it to bail out the water in their boats by scooping it out with this shell. They DO look like big scoops! Check them out…
Remember Clark found a SPOTTED TUN? Well, holy smokes! Look how big some of these different TUNS can get…
More shells, more eye candy…
Oh you know I love my wormies!
Look at these gorgeous WORM SHELLS from the Philippines…
We can’t thank you enough Tom, for such a wonderful day! We would never have gotten to meet if it wasn’t for our good friend MurexKen for introducing us to Tom… a BIG thank you to MK for being so thoughtful. It made out trip even more enjoyable.
PS- It has been storming in Florida all weekend with Tropical storm Debby and she will be pounding us for even another couple of days. Right before the lighting show began, Clark and I scoured the Sanibel beaches but we didn’t see loads of shells yet. Lightning storms are not the time to be on the beach shelling so when Mother Nature stops with her thunder warnings and things calm down a bit, I’ll give you another report. Until then, I’ll show you CONES and MUREXES we found on our Thailand trip on my next post. (well, unless I have a local report that can’t wait!)
These are Super Sheller Clark’s prized possession seashells he found on our trip to Thailand… not one but two SPOTTED TUNS !
Within minutes of getting to the east side of Ao Nang in Krabi, he found these bad boys several feet away from each other high on the beach in the weed line.
We had seen broken pieces of them throughout our trip but were afraid we wouldn’t find them as a whole shell on the beach since they are so fragile. Wrong! They are in great shape!
I found out the word “tun” means wine jar or wine cask. This seems fitting because Clark looked like he wanted to throw a party right there on the beach and drink wine right out of these guys to shellebrate!
We got them home safely and I’ve already displayed them in a white washed wooden bowl with some other pieces we found on our trip.
I didnt want any other shells competing with Clark’s new babies so I chose to display them with some other sea life we found on the Thailand beaches. I didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to bring CORAL back into the United States from other countries. I just learned that from Susan H who posted that on my last post– OOPS! Too late- sorry, CITES! Well, At least I feel good about not taking too much- only a few pieces from each beach…It was so hard to choose which pieces of CORAL we were going to bring home but this is what we ended up with…
These are the biggest OPERCULUMS (SHIVA SHELLS) I’ve ever seen! I would have loved to see the TURBAN shell that these came from. Geesh! The biggest one is 3 inches wide…
The first time I picked up one of these, I yelled to Clark… “I found the biggest stinkin JINGLE you’ve ever seen!”. Haha Then I realized what it was… a CAPIZ SHELL. I used to have trays and dishes made out of these shells. I’m sure you have seen these in some kind of home decor but it’s really cool to find them on the beach.
I threw in a few of the AUGERS (or TURRETS) we found to give my little display a different texture and balance (heehee) so Clark’s SPOTTED TUNS would have a beautiful resting place to be shown off.
Although this day of finding these two gorgeous shells on a beach Thailand will be a memorable day for both of us, I’d like to recognize this Memorial Day for remembering the men and women who died while serving to protect our country. As we traveled foreign lands just last week, I experienced peace in the world because of the bravery of our fallen heroes and those currently serving in our military. A toast from our TUNS to all who serve.
PS- I took back that Nikon J1. All of my photos are still with my trusty Panasonic.
Thailand is called The Land Of A Thousand Smiles but they could have boasted that it was The Land Of One Thousand And TWO Smiles while we were there.
It had everything we love… beautiful beaches, palm trees, warm weather, unbelievably nice people and of course… seashells.
With a trusty map in hand, we searched high and low on every beach to find a few goodies. Between the two of us, we found the key and unlocked the Thai treasure chest containing lots of seashell loot. Go ahead…click on the next photo to enlarge to see all the shells scattered on the beach. Cyber Shelling!
Trying to identify all of these shells is a bit more time consuming and tedious than I expected. But! The fun thing that we realized when we were finding most of our shells… was that we basically knew what family each shell was a part of. “Hey Clark! I just found this beautiful SUNDIAL!”. And he’d shout back… “Look at all these COWRIES!”. So now I get to show YOU!
Hey y’all! Look how beautiful these SUNDIALS are!
Look at all of these different COWRIES!
So many varieties of TOP SHELLS…
We loved finding these little LIMPETS and FALSE LIMPETS.
I love this little tiny LIMPET but in my research found that it looked more like the FALSE LIMPETS (that’s as far as I got with the research on these guys)…
I know I’ve already showed you some of these SEA COOKIE SAND DOLLARS but they are so darn cute I think you might have to look at them on every Thailand post. I can’t get enough of them!
See? Already I have to show you how itty bitty this one is…
The AUGERS we found are huuugah! Most of them are around 3-4 inches long.
These are some of the CONCH shells we found… well I assume they are all in the CONCH family but I could be wrong. There are just so many different species! I’ll try to identify them later. Cuties, right?
Clark is dieing for me to show you his 2 major finds but I still haven’t gotten good photographs of them yet so that will be my next post. I promise, Clark! Next post! ;) … จนกว่าจะแล้ว (Until then)
I love to travel… but more than anything, I love to come home to my beautiful island of Sanibel. Sanibel is like getting to finally sleeping in your own bed or taking your first good breathe of fresh air.
Yep. Super Sheller Clark found this beautiful ALPHABET CONE last night at the Lighthouse beach. We just couldn’t wait any longer to see our own contented beach. Clark was looking at this CONE like it was a long lost friend.
I was enjoying all the signs of a beautiful life on our islands. I picked up this gorgeous KINGS CROWN (above) then realized it was full of life and health so I was happy I scooped up so much sand with “him”. He went right on his merry way when I put him gently back where I found him. The Gulf of Mexico was so full of life! I found a live SHARK’S EYE too…
There were lots of live PEAR WHELKS too…
And live KEY HOLE SAND DOLLARS. Did you notice I put the whole common name of this SAND DOLLAR? Sine we found those cutie tiny SAND DOLLARS in Thailand, I’ve been trying to figure out what type they are… when I realized that I’ve never said which ones ours are that we find here in SouthWest Florida. KEY HOLE SAND DOLLARS!
And live LIGHTNING WHELKS…
In the next photo of this same LIGHTNING WHELK, I wanted show you how much lighter the other side was but do you see that little string on my left hand ? While on our trip to Thailand, we were blessed by a Monk who wrapped this string with a knot around our wrists. I was told it was called a “spiritual line” and we are to wear it until it falls off and not to cut it off. It is for good luck, good health and to remind us every day that today is special so live it that way. I immediately thought of those strings I used to tie around my finger to remind me to do something. So every day now when I look at this string on my wrist I am reminded that today is a gift.
We even saw MANATEES wallowing in the shallow water just a few feet from us. Talk about a welcome home! Oh I love this place. Check out the video…
I hope the spiritual line this Buddhist Monk blessed us with rubbed a lot of luck onto these full of life MOLLUSKS and SEA LIFE to live an even longer healthier breeding life.
PS- I’ll show lots of more photos of Thailand soon!
Pinch me! We spent our shelling vacation in Thailand! Yes… Thailand! I think if you started digging a hole on the beach of Sanibel and continued through the earth, you’d end up on a beach in Thailand…the other side of the planet.
We spent most of our beach time on the south end of Phuket, Thailand in an area called Rawaii.
We, of course, couldn’t wait to scour the beaches to see what kind of shells were there!
I love these little tiny SAND DOLLARS…
We found such a variety of unusual shells (unusual for us, anyway)…
We took one of those beautiful longtail boats out to Bon Island and Coral Island.
Now I know why they call it Coral Island. Wow! So much beautiful coral.
..with a few gorgeous shells mixed in.
Well…ahem… more than just a few gorgeous shells. I found lots of them!
But once again, Super Sheller Clark found CONES!
He found them by snorkeling right along the shoreline…
Oh no. I’m crashing with jet lag again (30 hours of traveling with 2 hours sleep…did I mention an 11 hour time difference?). I’ve got to take this in short spurts for a few days to get caught up with sleep, mail, phone calls, work, laundry and cuddling with the kitties ;).
But one more thing for today….I have to thank Captain Brian for filling in and writing such great posts while we were gone. It was so much fun to have him as a guest blogger, right??? He also had a little guessing game on the Where is Pam? post asking if you could guess where we found these shells. Here’s the photo that was posted…
We have a clear winner! Holly Barth Giehler!
She said “Is it Thailand? The rock “islands” in the distance look like those that were in some of the pictures a friend of mine had from her recent vacation there.”
Then she wrote back and said “It was actually Krabi, Thailand that I was thinking. That’s where a friend of mine was earlier this year and it’s also where part of the movie, “The Hangover 2″ was filmed (the beautiful scenes at the resort where the wedding took place).”
OMG Holly, you had it pinned! The photo of the cones was taken about 10 minutes away from that hotel (the Phulay Bay Ritz Carlton) where they filmed that movie! Congrats! I’ll send you a few shells that we brought home! But wait, getting back to the “Hangover 2” movie, of course we had to go have a drink to check it out.
Next up…. more Thailand shelling in Phuket and then on to Krabi! And I’m going to try to identify some of these cool shells too so you can see them up close and personal. CLICK HERE to see more of Thailand!