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

sea biscuit urchins rams horn shells scotch bonnet

Finding perfectly dried beautiful SEA BISCUITS, URCHINS and fragile shells like RAMS HORNS on the beach is always an exciting experience during our vacations.

collecting shells and urchins in BVI Anegada

We found all of these gems last week on Anegada Island in the British Virgin Islands while combing the white sandy beaches surrounded by light turquoise waters.

Anegada harbor with aqua turquoise water

Its amazing to me that such lovely and fragile pieces of natural art can be found laying in the sand completely intact and unbroken by the sea. RAM’S HORNS (Spirula spirula- the internal shell of a SQUID- ) are so brittle I’m always afraid they will break in my suitcase when traveling home so I have to plan my packing. (And yes! That’s a HAMBURGER BEAN I found- so excited!)

rams horn squid shells with hamburger bean

That’s why choosing a few specimens to bring home gets difficult knowing we have to pack them to survive airport luggage handling and my own klutzy mishaps with carry-ons. I’ve learned through the years, we must get creative in our packaging… use everything we already have. I bought a few Tervis tumbler souvenirs with sippy lids (I told you I was a klutz) so I packed some of our SEA URCHINS in the cup then added RAMS HORNS wrapped in bath tissue to fill the top. The key is to pack a container so that nothing rattles or moves inside the container and nothing can crush it.

The Bitter End plastic cup with lid for breakable shells

Just to make it even more snug, I pushed the cup into Clark’s dive bootie as another layer of cushion. I pushed it all the way down into the foot part of the bootie- it doesn’t take much more room in your luggage that way.

safely carry fragile seashells in luggage

Not one broke!

packing breakable shells in travel luggage

We always take at least one plastic lidded container with us to our beach destination filled with snacks or something so we will have space in the luggage for treasures on our return trip. This was perfect container to safely travel with SEA BISCUITS and a shellmungus SEA URCHIN Clark found. If you don’t take a container with you, then while on vacation buy chicken or fruit salad for lunch one day and save the plastic container and lid for packing your shells. Choose tubs/cups/containers that won’t crush when you have the lid on them.

Packing urchins for travel

Since this wasn’t a small, tight space like the Tervis cups, I wrapped each URCHIN, SEA BISCUIT and bright pink PEN SHELL (Clark filled the inside of the PEN SHELL with tissue as well to keep it from crushing) and other fragiles in the container….
plastic container paper tissue for fragile shells to transport

But instead of being excessive with the tissue, I wrapped the larger URCHINS with my sun shirts to give them more padding and to fill the empty spaces so nothing would move inside when I put the lid on it. Make sure you don’t pack it too tightly so it bulges when the top is secure.  Wrap a tee shirt around the closed container and made sure that it was in the middle of my luggage with padding around the corners.

pack fragile sea shells urchins in tee shirts

I ended up putting a SPECKLED TELLIN pair and a SUNRISE TELLIN pair (Clark’s finds) in with these fragile pieces too… Oh and my SCOTCH BONNET…

Sea urchin collection in plastic tub for transporting breakables

They all made it without breaking!

beachcombing collection from Anegada BVI urchins rams horns

Since I got them home in one piece and they are still a little sandy… now to rinse and clean them. Most of these URCHINS and SEA BISCUITS were already pure white after being bleached out by the sun and sand so all we did is rinse them off while on vacation but didn’t do a great job. It’s a good thing I just wrote instructions for cleaning URCHINS from Sanibel before we left for vacation – for SEA URCHIN cleaning tutorial CLICK HERE.

I still have a few more containers with the tough solid shells and BEACH GLASS we found on our sailing trip in the BVIs so I’ll show my packing job on those for my next post. Until then…

sailboat at sunset in BVIs

PS- For more tips on packing fragile beach combing treasures for transporting home from your trip…

http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/2014/08/01/packing-breakable-seashells-safely-for-traveling/

http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/2013/02/02/shelling-trip-adventure-to-turks-and-caicos/

http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/2012/08/01/dear-fragile-seashells-please-dont-break-on-the-way-home/

 

pam rambo shelling trips

seashells and sea glass Anegada BVIs

There are seashells in the British Virgin Islands!

sea shells and coral from BVI British Virgin Islands

Clark and I just got back from a quick trip to some of the beautiful islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada to do a little sailing and a lot of shelling. We found shells, SEA GLASS, CORAL, SEA WHIPS, RELICS and POTTERY fragments from old ship wrecks.

Shells and pottery relics BVI Virgin Island shelling

We combed the fabulous beaches…

beach combing British Virgin Island BVI

We snorkeled the crystal clear turquoise Caribbean waters…

sea shell snorkeling BVIs British Virgin Islands

And found some beautiful treasures.

Bleeding Tooth, Cones BVI Virgin Islands shells

There were shells on every island!

Seashells Virgin Gorda BVI Bitter End

Since our whirlwind trip just ended, I will start organizing our BVI loot so I can show you all the cool stuff we found and tell you where we found it. And while I unpack our shells, I take a few photos so I can show you how we get our goodies home in our luggage safe and sound without breaking fragile shells and SEA URCHINS.

BVI British Virgin Island beach path to seashells

The beaches and shelling were amazing but hanging out with Jane, John, Sandy and Roger was the more fun than ever. The BVIs will never be the same.

Happiness in the BVI aqua water

I can’t wait to show you more photos!

Pink Queen Conch Sea Shells line the beach path