Archive for Lightning Whelk
As we celebrate new days watching the sun rise over the horizon at low tide in the new year on Sanibel…
We also shellebrate the gifts of the sea…
We also celebrate the gift of witnessing living creatures exposing themselves for just a short time as the water recedes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Come with me on a shelling trip! For upcoming dates … CLICK HERE
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.
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.
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!
Combing the beach at the shoreline, there were a few nice treasures like this LETTERED OLIVE…
and this teeny tiny LIGHTNING WHELK.
Then I heard a scream… E’Mia found this big LIGHTNING WHELK completely empty. Awesome!
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!
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.
Come shelling with me! Here are my next dates for my Shelling Adventures… CLICK HERE
We had a shellucky boat trip shelling adventure yesterday! On each iLoveShelling cruise, every person gets to choose a shell and a bumper sticker out of my very large bucket-o-shells (collected by either Clark or me) to get the day started with at least one shell in your pocket for good luck. It’s the Shellucky Shell… and it works! The forecast for our shelling adventure on Sight Sea-R Cruises out of Fort Myers Beach yesterday was stormy skies and rain so I thought we were going to get rained out… but then…
The rain stopped,
The skies turned blue,
The sun started shining
On our iLoveShelling cruise.
Yay! Not only did we have clear skies… we found lots of shells!
And not only did we have a sunny day finding seashells… we got to hang out with other fabshellous shellers like Ralph, Sharlotte, Beryle, Mitchell and Susie from Texas.
Did I mention we had a great day finding shells?
As I said, our day started a little iffy with the weather but then everything turned out shelltastic. Barry (from the east coast of Florida) had a pretty iffy morning even after the skies cleared up. When we got to the island he headed straight to the water, did a few stoops to pick up a few treasures then realized… his iPhone had fallen out of his top pocket. Ack! I saw he had a sick look on his face so he told me what happened… he couldn’t find his phone. My first thought was…. call in the troops! We’ve got a boat load of shellers who looooove to find “things”! So I shouted an announcement down the beach “Everybody look for a lost iPhone!” I don’t normally shout on the beach but we were the only ones on this beach and I felt like I was with family already… so I figured, why not? Two minutes later, snorkelers Jen and Dwayne found Barry’s phone in the water and held it up like they had just found a JUNONIA. Weeehooo! I love hanging out with shellers- such kind people. Seriously.
I took this photo of Dwayne snorkeling just moments before I talked to Barry. Its weird how things work… if either Barry or I had waited one more minute to tell other people to look for the phone, Dwayne wouldn’t have been in that exact spot where he found his biggest find of the day. Good eye, Dwayne, good eye!
What else did Dwayne and Jen find snorkeling? This is just a small sampling of all of their loot. They had two bags full of awesome stuff.
Guess who else was on the cruise… Conne from Shellabaloo 4. Not only was I happy to see her, I was so happy for her that she found an ALPHABET CONE. Such a cutie.
Barry’s wife Alex found an ALPHABET CONE too. She didn’t let anything stop her from having a great time!
Canadians Marilyn and Ted were having luck finding WORM SHELLS, ROSE PETAL TELLINS, SAND DOLLARS and a few SEA PEARLS too.
I think everybody came home with some lovely treasures.
Speaking of lovely treasures, everybody on this iLoveShelling cruise received one more lucky gift… a $25 gift certificate to Sealife By Congress jewelry store on Sanibel. On each iLoveShelling cruise through February, each sheller will receive one too- Wow!
I thank you Sealife By Congress and these folks thank you too… like Jude and Chris from NY
Karen from Maine…
And Mariann and Bruce from Ohio…
We all shared a wonderful day with so many gifts….
Finding treasures by the sea.
Join us on one of our next iLoveShelling Sight Sea-R shelling cruises! Sight Sea-R Adventures- $50 for 4 hour shelling cruise with iLoveShelling cruise with Pam. Call 239-765-7272 or CLICK HERE . Dont forget, the Sight Sea-R has shelling cruises every Wednesday so even if you can’t make an iLoveShelling cruise, they have other fantabshellous shelling adventures too.
Or join us for more iLoveShelling beachcombing adventures- CLICK HERE for more information.
PS- We aren’t ready just yet…. But….. Be on the lookout for an exciting announcement for the next Shellabaloo! Yay!!!! Soooooon!
PSS- What is Shellabaloo? CLICK HERE to find out.