Archive for Whelk

Feb
20

Walking The Beach Warms The Soul

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Seastar starfish waiting to be swept away by the ocean

Even though we aren’t wearing our usual tee shirts and shorts here on Sanibel Island because of this cold 40 degree weather, walking the beach warms the soul.

Island Inn Sanibel cottage paradise

“Espeshelly” since cold weather brings shells!

seashells in a shell pile

Sanibel Lighthouse beach has load of shells washing up about a half a mile west of the Lighthouse.

hundreds of conch on sanibel

There were lots of live CONCHS… and lots of empty ones too but my fave was this empty sweet striped PEAR WHELK.

collecting pear whelk seashells

Beautishell!

pear whelk shell in the sand

There were shells starting to come in at Island Inn Sanibel too (my second picture from the top)

shells in the sand with ocean wave

There were also shells starting to come in at Blind Pass too (CLICK HERE for map)

sunray venus shell on sanibel beach

shells at blind pass sanibel

Were you hoping for a video to warm you up? You Got It! I walked down the beach on the gulf side of the Sanibel Lighthouse….ummmm… maybe about 1/2 mile west or so. I mostly found empty minis (like the 3rd photo) in the washed up shell lines and live FIGHTING CONCHS and STARFISH (like the first photo) in the water near the Lighthouse but when I walked further down the beach I found this… YouTube Preview Image

One more photo to sooth the soul… The evening warmth of shelling at Blind Pass at sunset last night.

Sunset at Blind Pass Captiva Turner Beach

lightning whelk in surf

As we celebrate new days watching the sun rise over the horizon at low tide in the new year on Sanibel…

Sanibel sunrise

We also shellebrate the gifts of the sea…

seashell and waves at blue dawn

We also celebrate the gift of witnessing living creatures exposing themselves for just a short time as the water recedes.

live lightning whelk at sunrise

With most animals, we are easily able to see if they are alive, healthy and breathing but with creatures of the sea that have washed ashore, it’s a little bit more difficult. We (shellers) take the time to to look for signs of life with respect. As soon as I saw this shell was occupied by noticing the body and OPERCULUM of the “snail” still intact, I gently placed it back in the water covered with sand making sure the opening faced down into to sand.

live lightning whelk in sand and sea foam

Even for some shellers, it’s hard to tell if a SAND DOLLAR is dead or alive so the best thing to do first is… slow down. Take a few minutes to look for any cilia which looks like fur or looks a little fuzzy in the edges. Any time a SAND DOLLAR is this color, assume that it is still alive… gently place it back in the water.

Live sand dollar bottom

If a STARFISH is any where near the water or if the sand is still damp where you found it, always assume it is still alive too and let it be.

starfish in the sand with shells

Shellers are very fortunate to have seen the miracles of Mother Nature as we comb the shorelines to discover the magic of the sea. We learn new lessons every day we walk the water’s edge. For most beach combers, we know the signs of life in sea creatures but inexperienced visitors may be overwhelmed with the beauty that surrounds them and not know to take the time to look for signs of life. Since I grew up on the water, I always assumed other folks knew shells, SAND DOLLARS and STARFISH live their lives close to shore but now I’ve learned that most people don’t know much about life in the ocean or gulf. First time visitors to the beach may have heard how amazing shell collecting is and unintentionally collect a live animal without knowing it. It’s an amazing experience to see the compassion on a new sheller’s face after learning they have collected a live animal then race it to the water where they found it to save its life. Most just don’t know… and are thankful to learn and appreciate the living ocean even more.

father and daughter on the beach at sunrise

There have been so many live critters exposed during the morning’s low tide the last few days so with many newbies on the beaches, I’m sure I’ll get to see the amazement on someone’s face that just learned for the first time that shells, sand dollars and starfish are living beings and are still actually alive.

live fighting conch sw florida

Come with me on a shelling trip! For upcoming dates … CLICK HERE

pam rambo shelling trips

Nov
18

Seeing the Good Through the Gray

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junonia shell fragment in sand

It’s gray today. The skies have been dark, cold and cloudy with drizzling light showers throughout the day. But there’s always something so good to find in a day like today in SW Florida … take for instance the spotting a few beautiful brown dots in the gray sand at Blind Pass this morning. Well, how about that- a beaming little fragment of JUNONIA sitting right in the middle of the new sand bar that formed again last week.

Blind Pass November 2014

I found more sunshine to go along with that piece of polka dot shell. There was no thunder or lightning- thats so important so we could still be on the beach safely in the rain. Then… I found Ka’Sha, Stephanie, Aunt Andrea and E’Mia from Iowa laughing and cheering at every piece of shell they found on the BLIND PASS bar and in between rocks. They collected pieces of SAND DOLLARS, pieces of FIGHTING CONCHS, pieces of WHELKS and pieces of ARKS to put in their ziplock bags.  It was their first time seeing shells wash up on the beach and they were enjoying every single minute- gray skies or not and broken shells or not. Happy.

Ka'Sha, Stephanie, Aunt Andrea, E'Mia love shelling Captiva

After leaving Blind Pass, I headed to Gulfside City Park (I know, I know. I just can’t get enough of it these days!) to see the changes there since we’ve had a little cold front move through. Yes, there are a few new shells coming in with the tide but the best thing was to see the Iowan girls again. They were even more excited!

shellers at Guflside City Park Beach Sanibel

Combing the beach at the shoreline, there were a few nice treasures like this LETTERED OLIVE…

Sanibel shell on shells

and this teeny tiny LIGHTNING WHELK.

lightning whelk shell on shells

Then I heard a scream… E’Mia found this big LIGHTNING WHELK completely empty. Awesome!

lightning whelk found on Sanibel Florida

Since we have many shells still to be sorted in the Shellaboratory,  I’ve been trying only to collect shells with different patterns, colors or sizes to take home from my beach walks. Today, I will have to find a place in my Shellaboratory for a juvie orange FIGHTING CONCH, a dark maroon spotted ROUGH SCALLOP and a dark striped juvie LIGHTNING WHELK. Ok, we probably have lots of similar ones to these…. but really- I’m trying my hardest to be selective. I want to leave more for YOU!

a few shells I collected

When I got home, I received a note from my shelling sistah CShells. She knew I couldn’t hit all the beaches this morning so she gave me an update on where she went and if there were any shell piles she saw (which she said “nothing major”). But she made me smile as she told me she saw a LOGGERHEAD TURTLE and a BALD EAGLE – “Some people would think it was a yucky day, but it’s amazing the wildlife you see when it’s raining. It’s a good day.” Yes, I agree. It’s always good to see the good through the gray.

Cloud cover with seashells on Sanibel

Come shelling with me! Here are my next dates for my Shelling Adventures… CLICK HERE

shelling adventures trips by pam