I’m still in awe of the beautiful beaches and treasures we saw on the Japanese island of Okinawa.
We found soooo many amazing shells we felt like we had to share it with someone. Days before we left Sanibel for our shelling vacation to Okinawa, I saw a fantastic photo of shells with hashtag iLoveShelling (#iLoveShelling) while I was on Instagram (follow me on Instagram iLoveShelling) . That photo had another hashtag on it too… #Okinawa. Whoa. I sent a note to the girl who posted it and we hit it off right away. Before you know it, we were shelling together in Okinawa! Timing is everything, right?
Clarissa (from New Hampshire) is a 20 year old United States Marine stationed in Okinawa for 2 years who loves beach combing. She tries to get to the beaches as often as possible but transportation isn’t always easy from the bases so we picked her up to hit the beaches to look for shells with us.
We found shells! It was such a special day to hang out and find a few treasures to remember this amazing adventure while in Okinawa. Good luck, Clarissa, with your future service plans and your travel plans… and thank you.
Now that we are back on Sanibel Island, we have been trying to organize the loot we brought home. It’s abshellutely mind blowing how many different shell species we brought back so we’ve been trying to break them down in to some sort of organized chaos to identify each one. This might take a while so I figured I’d show y’all what we’ve done so far… but let me apologize for the photos… they’re aren’t great but it shows you how we are trying to sort.
This is the first tray of CONES. OMG We have LEOPARD CONES, LETTERED CONES, IVORY CONES, WESTERN IMPERIAL CONES, FLEA-BITE CONES, VIRGIN CONES, OAK CONES, SOLDIER CONES and LITHOGRAPH CONES.
And that’s not it…. MARBLE CONES, STRIATE CONES, TULIP CONES, NUSSETELLA CONES, TENDER CONES, TESSELATE CONES, SAND-DUSTED CONES and lots of TEXTILE CONES.
I could go on … but I’m overwhelmed by even more CONES…
Because then… there’s the CONCHS. SPIDER CONCHS, STRAWBERRY CONCHS, a BUBBLE CONCH and lots of LITTLE BEAR CONCHS.
Look at all of these amazing shells!
And even more… ABALONE, LIMPETS, TOPS and TROCHUS.
MOON SHELLS, OLIVE SHELLS and all sort of wonderful minis. Some look like lemon drops and kernels of corn- I’m in love.
And…. Holy COWRIE! Look at these COWRIES. OMG The colors.
And then… the BIVALVES. They are to die for.
Whew. So those were the shells that we collected and brought home with us. Aaaa-mazing. We actually collected more than double that but brought home only the best. We gave away 10 gallons of shells that we couldn’t bring home. Yes we did. We bought two 5 gallon buckets at the grocery store while we were there so we could clean our shells every day. Once we decided which shells we were going to leave in Okinawa, the buckets came in handy.
We gave some to the very friendly folks at our wonderful hotel (we actually LOVED our hotel AJ Kouki) but we gave the bulk of them to Manahu Higa, the owner of our favorite restaurant Island Marine Cafe & Bar. His whole restaurant was decorated in local shell art and crafts that his wife and daughter made. We loved it!
See why we loved it? Every inch was decorated in shells. We knew they all went to to good home.
And I still have more to show you… did you see all of that SEA GLASS in that one photo? The SEA GLASS will be coming up soon- it is sooooo beautiful.
To see all of my posts on Okinawa CLICK HERE.
Or Join me on a shelling adventure in SW FLorida- for more info and dates… CLICK HERE
We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day on Big Hickory Island today on Sight Sea-r Cruises to enjoy the calm clear water and collect a few shells.
Local girls Diane and Kristin from Naples found some shells and a SAND DOLLAR within a few minutes of hitting the beach.
Matthew and Judi shelled the water’s edge to find a few keepers. I wish I had gotten a better picture of them… they were on the Sight Sea-R “Maiden Voyage” last year and I recognized them right away. So good to see again!
Cathy from Illinois was a joy to be around…
It was such a pleasure to meet Sara and Brigget (TN) and talk a bit while Brigget showed me her awesome ALPHABET CONE she found in the water.
Their friend Judi kept us in stitches as she propped her “Flo The Photo Bomber” on her shoulder as soon as the camera came out. Too funny!
Nisse, Lynne, Scott and Brett were extremely happy to have found 4 ALPHABET CONES!
Brett found 3 out of the 4 ALPHIES and a FLORIDA CONE as well! This is just some of the their favorites.
The Texas cousins are baaaaack. They were on that “Maiden Voyage” too and this time decked out in bright fun colors. So good to see you again too Peggy, Pam, Debby and Pat!
And so happy y’all found some fabulous shells again too. Look at those ROSE PETAL TELLINS and GAUDY NATICAS!
Anne and Debbie found some great loot too.
Look at these beautiful shells! Spectacsheller.
One my favorite things to see… happy families enjoying the beach together. Gus, Summer, Noah, Kerri, Faith and Correy (from Palm Harbor) are shell crazy but Kerri was thrilled to have found her first 3 SEA PEARLS. Congrats!
Gary and Debi (from my old stomping grounds in Va Beach) found SAND DOLLARS too and it was so muc fun to hang out and talk about my old “hood”.
I loved our entire time hanging out with such a fun group of shellers like Ann from MO… and such a stunning and stylish group too.
As with every iLoveShelling cruise, each passenger received a $25 gift certificate to Sealife By Congress at Congress Jewelers on Sanibel. They are so generous!
Join us for an iLoveShelling Shelling Adventure! For dates and more information CLICK HERE
PS- I still have lots of photos and info to share with you from our shelling trip to Okinawa Japan- so stay tuned.
Finding turquoise, aqua and shades of green SEA GLASS scattered all over the beaches of Okinawa, Japan was enough to make my heart skip a few beats. But… to find THE most amazing shells washed up in the sand and in between rocks? My heart almost leaped out of my body!
I’m not even sure how I kept it together after I found these shells in the next photo while taking an hour stroll on the beach before breakfast. And yes… I said “on the beach” – can you believe it? All of the shells we found were on the beach or just at the water’s edge. Pinch me!
Every day we woke up to this stunning view in Nago, Okinawa looking down from our room at that beautiful beach where I found that awesome SPIDER CONCH, DIMIDIATE AUGER, PAINTED SCALLOP and BEAR PAW CLAM.
Our heads were spinning as we stared at our shell loot from our first day shelling. I know… what?
That was Day 1. Ready to get your mind blown away? This was Day 2 in Okinawa…
To explore the entire island, we rented a car to find sweet little paths leading to the spectacsheller shell filled beaches.
From there, we hiked miles of beaches and climbed mountains of rocks to get to another Shellgri-la.
Each step took us to another Shelltopia.
Every afternoon, we sifted through our treasures to ogle at our fortune.
Okinawa has been on our bucket list since we visited our friends Lee and Susan when they lived in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. While we were visiting them, they showed us their collection of shells they found in Okinawa… OMG… they had those SPIDER CONCHS and huge CONES they found on the beaches. Immediately Clark and I looked at each other “We HAVE to go there!”.
I’m telling you, each day filled us with excitement and joy to discover a new world of beauty.
I want to share more photos with identifications of more shells and beach bling but after traveling more than 30 hours back home to Sanibel… I’m a little off my game right now. But to tide you over if you have questions, here are maybe a few answers …
Hotel? AJ Kouki Resort
Car? Times Car Rental (FYI- Clark did an awesome job driving on the other side of the road!)
Food? Loved it! We stuck to places around the hotel with of course lots of chicken, fish, rice and noodles… not as much sushi as we thought we’d find. (Funny, they have soup and salad for breakfast)
Traveling with shells? As with all of our trips, we only bring home what will fit in our carry-on suitcases. So yes, we brought home lots of shells with no problems going through security. We didn’t however take a big wardrobe so we would have room for our loot. I did take like 5 different shelling shirts (I washed them every night in the tub) but it seems all of my pics have that pink one on- hahah. Maybe thats my new lucky color? Naaaaa- I’ll stick to my aqua- 😉
Snorkeling? We snorkeled for maybe 2 hours one day… it was so weird… although it was extremely clear and pretty, we didn’t see any shells. I picked up one empty OLIVE- thats it. We saw a few live STRAWBERRY CONCHS which are very common (we called them FIGHTING CONCHS while we were there since they were every where- haha) and then felt like we were waisting time since all of the empty shells were on the beach. Well, and plus- I snorkeled with my waterproof backpack which failed and leaked… with my iPhone with the Lifeproof waterproof case on it inside the backpack… the case failed too. I drowned my iPhone- ugh. That was the end of snorkeling for our trip but trust me- that did not slow me down. iPhone schmiphone- there was no time to worry about that- there were beaches waiting for me to explore!
Stay tuned for more photo and info!