Archive for Lightning Whelk
If there is a better souvenir than finding an awesome LIGHTNING WHELK like this to remember a wonderful vacation… I dont know about it.
Therese told me she only saw a tiny bit of the top of this shell and thought it looked interesting enough to start digging around it. Then she realized it was this perfectly empty WHELK! Congratshellations Therese! She and her husband Dan (visiting from Minnesota) had an exshellent afternoon at Blind Pass Captiva under the bridge at low tide filling up their shell bags with WHELKS, CONCHS, OLIVES and one nice piece of a JUNONIA.
She even found one of the biggest CHESTNUT TURBANS I’ve seen in a while too…
Wendy (a local Sanibelian) found a few goodies to take home to make into jewelry…
She also found a SHIVA SHELL (which I didnt even get a picture of – darn!- so CLICK HERE if you want to see one) and this incredible DOUBLE JEWELBOX. It has pieces of CORAL growing on it!
Clark found a few nice shells too but the one I got most excited about was the WHITE CRESTED TELLIN in the top left corner. We have found them more on Cayo Costa but to find one at Blind Pass is pretty rare. The shell in between the two OLIVES is a huge and thick weird shaped JINGLE I thought was interesting too. I love that weird stuff!
You really couldn’t see how big the NUTMEG was in the last photo so I thought I’d show you how big it is in Clark’s hand. It’s shellacious! It measures in at a whopping 48mm… which isn’t like a world record size (Susan H?) but it’s the biggest one we’ve seen in a long time!
I found a regular sized NUTMEG that I thought I’d keep along with a BITTERSWEET, a CALICO CLAM with a cool pattern, and my new faves- the CALICO SCALLOP.
We ended the evening watching another gorgeous sunset over a big pile of Sit ‘N Sift shells on the other side of the jetty rocks at Blind Pass Captiva.
The sky turns a lucious orange right at the horizon when the sun sets over the Gulf Of Mexico.
Then it melts into the water to end another sensational day on the island.
Oh Wait! I did take a short little video right when we first got to Blind Pass at 6pm yesterday. It’s just a little something to show you exactly where we were. This was right before Therese showed me her WHELK! Have a wonderful weekend!
My favorite time to shell is in the warm evenings when the receding low tide seems to expose a mile of undiscovered beach…
Whichever way you walk, you know will be the right way…
When treasures are half buried but you see just enough of a clue to know you’ve found something special…
When there are live creatures trying to camouflage themselves until they can make it back under the sand like this tiny baby SAND DOLLAR…
When the sky glows like a bon fire just before the sun sinks behind the horizon.
There were quite a few shells half buried all along the Lighthouse Beach (like the NUTMEG) but if you walk west on the gulf side this week in the evening you will see oodles of live FIGHTING CONCHS, STARFISH and other amazing creatures… oh and some treasures like the empty LIGHTNING WHELK as well. It’s just a beautiful site to see. I’ve heard that Bowmans Beach and Blind Pass have some great shells right now so if you are around Southwest Florida, you should get out on one of the beaches this afternoon/evening. It’s a site to behold.
And we have a little bit of SHELLEBRATING to do too! The iLoveShelling facebook page now has over 5000 fans! Wahhooo! 5000 shellers who love shelling as much as we do! We are in some exshellent company, my friends. Here’s a little shout out to our 5000th shelling friend, Angela Lucas! Thank you Angela and welcome to the world of iLoveShelling! Here’s Angela and her mermaids!
It was a gorgeous sunny day on the iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa yesterday! This beautiful HERMIT CRAB found a nice home inside this CONCH shell for lots of us to ooooh and ahhhh over it then see it go safely back into the water. But Debbie was soooo fortunate to have found this gigantic LIGHTNING WHELK completely empty!
Yowza Debbie! So happy for you! She also found a GAUDY NATICA (aka COLORFUL MOON SHELL) EGG COLLAR and a shaggy parchment worm tube.. but that gorgeous WHELK stole the show.
Holy mackeral! Super Sheller Clark found an empty LIGHTNING WHELK too. When we got back to the boat, Clark and Debbie showed their big finds of the day…
It was a day for finding big shells because Erin found another big LIGHTNING WHELK. After letting everybody see this beautiful creature alive and well with the original mollusk still inside, she walked it back into the water to live out its healthy life to breed more WHELKS. Way to go, Erin!
Like I always say… Every day the beaches change. One day the shells are piled on the beach and some days you have to work at finding them. I have to admit, we never found a huge pile of shells but this was an awesome group of shellers because they not only found those huge shells, but they found other beautiful shells they were happy with as well…
Did you notice in the last picture that little tiny SCALLOP SHELL? Love it!
Others were finding FIGHTING CONCHS and SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…
Aaron from Kansas City was finding the mini shells for his mom…
He found BABY’S EARS, FALSE ANGE WINGS and an ALBINO LIGHTNING WHELK. I think that other shell is either and OYSTER or a big KITTENS PAW but I didn’t even look at since I was inspecting the fab ALBINO WHELK.
I know this is a broken shell, but as soon as I peeked inside Shanna’s shell bucket on the way back to the dock and saw this piece, I woooped it up! She found the lip of a DEER COWRY! DEER COWRIES are very rare in Southwest Florida since they don’t live here. They live further south in the keys so for it to travel this far north… I always think any piece found here is a fun find. Especially the lip.
Here is Shanna and her mom Patricia (both from Georgia) with her fave find.. a WORM SHELL
I was thrilled to find a SPECKLED TELLIN! This is another shell I don’t normally find on our beaches. Between Clark and I, we only have about 4 that we’ve found around here (SW Florida) so to me, it’s a pretty rare find.
This is how I found it so if you see it with the interior side up, you will know to pick it up too. Errrr… Now that I look at it this way, doesn’t it look like Spock lost his ear? Weird. haha
Speaking of ears…There were quite a few people that found BABY’S EARS for the first time ever…
So let me show you a few of these beautiful souls that Clark and I got to spend some time with to exchange stories and treasures…
I had to get my picture taken with Jeanine and Della from PA. They came geared up with their iLoveShelling tee shirts just like me. Thanks you guys!
There are 3 shellers in the next photo too. Jody and Melissa will be having a baby next month so their newest addition will already have shelling experience. Doesn’t she look great? Lucky baby!
Thank you Captiva Cruises‘ Captains Keith and Kelly for a perfectly safe and smooth boating morning.
And thanks so much to these fabulous folks for joining us for this spectasheller day!
Don’t miss this experience! Join us on our next cruise May 19 from 1pm to 4pm. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO
The Sanibel Island shellers have been out the last 2 days having great luck with and without their scoops. Kim from St Louis was in knee deep water scooping up treasures with her net this morning at Blind Pass Sanibel…
She found a bag full of trophies! She found The Sanibel Six, COCKLES, SCALLOPS plus a big honkin’ HORSE CONCH! She said it was rolling by her foot when she was in the water.
She was workin’ it!
The shells were piling up at the same spot I showed you last week when the Shellingmen Tribe was out in full force…
I also met Darlene from Pennsylvania but was too shy to have her photo (not sure why- she’s cute as can be) but she definitely wanted to share her loot because she was happy as a clam to find all of these WHELKS, CONCHS, OLIVES, TULIPS, MUREXES (The Sanibel Six minus the CONE) , SCALLOPS and some cool CORAL.
Okay, I told you this was the same spot on the Sanibel side of Blind Pass as last week where the shells were rolling in… but yesterday I found another shell pile at Blind Pass. This time it was under the bridge on the Sanibel side.
Kim from Cape Coral didn’t need a net or a scoop to sift through this pile on the canal to find some goodies to take home…
She sorted through to find a KINGS CROWN, HORSIES, WHELKS , TURBANS and my latest faves… the amazing colorful SCALLOPS.
And last but not at all least, cutie pies Emily and Brian from Boston were wading in the water to find this live LIGHTNING WHELK…
I write some times about finding an OPERCULUM on the beach so now you can see what it looks like when it’s still useful to this live MOLLUSK. It acts as the door to the opening of the shell so it can protect itself from predators. The black part around the OPERCULUM is the animal going back inside its shell. Cool, huh? So after we looked at this magnificent live creature, Emily and Brian walked it back out to the water to live happily ever after.
That’s what makes shelling so much fun… every day the beaches change and every day you see something different.
Twenty five die hard shellers bundled up for 25 mph winds and 44 degree weather for a boat ride with Captiva Cruises to Cayo Costa for an awesome shelling adventure. Oh Yaya! Gail Carr showed up in the same fave hoodie and tote bag stuffed with shelling gear just like me … ready for whatever the day would bring. We looked like twins! LOL And before we took off, I met another sheller ready for the day. Mariah from Seattle told me she found a JUNONIA at Lover’s Key (in Bonita Springs) just a few days ago.
It’s a beauty! After she showed it to me, she tucked it safely away in the car before she boarded the boat for our trip. Congratshellations, Mariah!
We had no problems in the rough water at all thanks to our fearless Captain Skip and his Co-Captain Elliott. Our boat trip was smooth as silk.
Our shelling adventure began… only 15 minutes into our boat trip we witnessed an unfortunate site. We saw billowing black smoke on the tip of North Captiva Island that had just started. Captain Skip immediately called 911 but thank goodness fire and rescue were already on the way. A house went up in flames from what firefighters think was from a bad generator. There was nothing we could do to help so we continued to Cayo Costa.
I think we all had a sick feeling in our stomaches by the site of it but we were reassured there was nothing we could do and there was no reports of anybody inside the house. We got quick insiders information from our friends, retired volunteer Captiva Fire Fighter Ron and retired Captiva Fire Commissioner Phyllis (Ron’s wife and a shelling buddy of mine). They both happen to be on our shelling cruise with their granddaughter Isabelle.
As soon as we got on the beach, it warmed up a bit and the worries of the day started to melt away. Within 5 minutes, I scanned the high tide wrack line and saw an AMERICAN CARRIER SHELL!
Wow! I have shown these several times and I always say the same thing… “I know it’s not pretty…BUT really! This is a cool shell!” This shell is a collector of shells too, just like we collect shells. When the MOLLUSK that made this shell was alive, it came out of the opening and picked up that ARK shell and cemented it to its own shell. I’ve heard it may do this to be camouflaged but it could be for balance or to move more easily. I think they do it for the same reasons shellers collect shells… it’s just in their blood- they can’t help it. I have a video HERE on another post about CARRIER SHELLS if you want to see it. Anyway, if it had been laying on the beach this way in the next photo, I would never had seen it. It looks like a clump of shell bits.
We made it around to the south tip of the island to find two OSPREYS building a nest.
It was such a show with these two huge birds bringing sticks and fish into their nest, it was hard to leave the entertainment. Donna and I stood watching for a few minutes and when I took this photo, I caught one of the birds in flight and one in the nest. I hope you can you see it.
Then we pulled ourselves away to keep shelling…
Merna from Nova Scotia (this weather was warm to her- ha!) told me a little something she heard about JINGLE SHELLS…
She showed me that when you look at the inside of good JINGLES, you should see a baby’s foot print. I’ve never heard that! So she showed me and sure enough.. there it was. The MOLLUSK’s muscle scar looks just like a baby foot print left behind in the sand. Cute! You can see it best in the shell all the way to the right.
Layla and Ron from New Jersey were collecting ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLES. Can you believe she was in shorts?! ha
I was thrilled that Tonya Clayton was on our shelling trip as well. She just published a book about how to “read” beaches called “How To Read A Florida Gulf Coast Beach”.
I love to “read beaches” by looking at wrack lines, tidal pools and shifting sand but I didn’t know how to read little holes in the sand. I have read many sand trails like my AUGER ART and OLIVE SHELLING but I assumed these little holes in the sand were from the COQUINAS we saw today but they aren’t! They are just little air pockets that rise from below the sand. She can tell by the shape of them. Cool!
We all had a fabulous day collecting, learning and enjoying the beauty of the islands (even though it was a little chilly) but I was very impressed by Evan’s ALBINO LIGHTNING WHELK.
He found lots of OLIVES, WHELKS, TULIPS a NUTMEG as well but his ALBINO was awesome. BTW, he was the second one to hit the beach before anyone else so he almost had first dibs since we were the only ones on the entire beach.
The first guy down the beach was DAVE. Yep! He hit the mother load. Take a look at the monster LIGHTNING WHELK! The other side has lots of BARNACLES but they are going to clean up really nicely with some bleach diluted in water like I showed how to do on another post HERE. Great find Dave!
Not only that, he found ANGEL WINGS (okay, I have to snicker… it’s not an “angle” wing- heehee), a PAPER FIG and some other goodies too.
On our boat ride back we saw the fire was contained and put out… but the house burned to the ground in that short time we were on the beach. Again, nobody was hurt but lives will be changed. We all feel for the home owners and the neighbors in this small tight knit community only accessible by boat or small plane.
I’m so thankful the cold, windy weather didn’t scare off my new shelling friends to go on our island outing so our small community of shellers could get to know each other a little better too. Thanks you guys! And thanks to Super Sheller Clark for going too to show everybody how he uses that shelling backhoe of his in the water. He had a group so far ahead of me on the beach, I didn’t even get to take a picture of them. Shucks! Any way, here are a few more photos from our iLoveShelling Exshellent Adventure!
For more Shelling Adventures, click on the this next image…
Let the Shellabaloo begin with a bang!!! That’s right folks! On our first day of the Island Inn shelling extravaganza, Joe from Ohio found a very rare (for this area) LONG-SPINED STAR SHELL! Holy Toledo! Ok, (hee hee) he’s not from Toledo, Ohio… he and his wife Patty are from Akron and had no idea what this shell was.
Joe thought it was maybe the top of a cracked shell but as soon as I saw it I knew it was a rare find. For some reason I said it was a “sundial” and it stuck in my head since Im not used to seeing LONG-SPINED STAR SHELLS on our beaches. Whoops! So embarrassing! I’ve even blogged about LONG-SPINED STAR SHELLS when we found a few on a vacation to The Keys.
Here is Joe’s LONG-SPINED STAR SHELL in his hand to show you how big it is…
Congratshellations! And guess what… He didn’t even consider himself a real “sheller”. He just agreed to go on this vacation since Patty is an avid sheller. Ha! I think he might be hooked on shelling now too, huh? Here’s the aperture side of the shell.
I have got soooo many photos to show you since we’ve all been have a ball shelling and hanging out together but I had to post this first thing. I’ll have more photos and stories coming soon! But wait… now that I’m on the subject of Joe and his awesome shelling skills, I have to show you another beautiful shell he found too… a LIGHTNING WHELK! The mollusk was alive inside it so he had to put it back in the water where he found it but it is always a thrill to see this awesome creature.
I promise to get to everybody else and their found treasures very soon so I can introduce you to all of these fabulous shellers like …
…and like these fabulous shellers too!