Archive for Thailand

shell museum yard art

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!

seashells lined yard thailand rice

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.

Rice home phuket

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.

Tom Rice seashell organizer

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.

song taew phuket

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.

tom clark pam thailand song thai

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.

phuket seashell museum shop

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!

Thailand seashell museum tritons

Have you ever heard of a GOLDEN PEARL?

baler shell melo 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…

Bailer shell display phuket museum

Remember Clark found a SPOTTED TUN? Well, holy smokes! Look how big some of these different TUNS can get…

thailand shell museum tun

More shells, more eye candy…

Phuket Shell Museum piddock bivalves

phuket seashell museum clams thailand

Phuket Museum Thailand scallops

 Oh you know I love my wormies!

worm shell display

Look at these gorgeous WORM SHELLS from the Philippines…

phillippine worm shells

 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.

rawaii phuket boat

restaurant row rawaii phuket

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!)

spotted tun thailand

These are Super Sheller Clark’s prized possession seashells he found on our trip to Thailand… not one but two SPOTTED TUNS !

clark tun shells thailand

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.

spotted tun on thailand beach krabi

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!

spotted tun- Tonna tesselata

 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!

clark tun thailand

 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.

thailand seashells coral display

 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…

thailand coral phuket krabi

 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…

turban operculums 3 inches

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.

Placuna placenta capiz shells

 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.

thailand tun seashells coral display

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.

Spotted Tun with coral thailand

PS-  I took back that Nikon J1. All of my photos are still with my trusty Panasonic.

Vijitt resort Phuket Thailand

 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.

Rawaii Beach Phuket Thailand

It had everything we love… beautiful beaches, palm trees, warm weather, unbelievably nice people and of course… seashells.

sea cookie krabi thailand

 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!

beach seashells Thailand

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!

Indo Pacific Sundial seashells

Look at all of these different COWRIES!

indo pacific cowrie shells

 Gorgeous MARGINELLAS…

Marginella seashells thailand

 So many varieties of TOP SHELLS…

indo pacific top shells thailand

 We loved finding these little LIMPETS and FALSE LIMPETS.

Thailand limpets Indo Pacific

 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)…

tiny striped limpet thailand

 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!

sea cookie sand dollars thailand

See? Already I have to show you how itty bitty this one is…

tiny sea cookie sand dollar

 The AUGERS we found are huuugah! Most of them are around 3-4 inches long.

thailand auger shells

 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?

andaman sea conch shells

 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)

top shell thailand

cowries thai

thailand auger shell

marginella thailand

thailand beach

Categories : Thailand, Thailand Trip
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