LETTERED OLIVES were fascinating to watch on the beach this weekend as they etched letters in the sand for me to decipher their code. I unscrambled the letters and pieced them together (I’m crazy about those games!). Can you believe they said “i Love Shelling”? LOL All of these lines in the sand in the next photo are live OLIVES.
This is the close up of one of the OLIVES trying to communicate with me. (heehee)
The tide was so low this weekend (-0.6) from the full moon that seashells, BEACH BLING, and the sea life were exposed for all to see.
The live SAND DOLLARS were everywhere…
Just to make sure everybody remembers this, I’m quoting again from my April 7 post “Since there are so many live shells on the beaches right now, I just want to make sure you know that you can’t take any live shells, SAND DOLLARS, STARFISH and such. You should gently put it back where you found it or in deeper waters. Lots of people don’t know how to tell if a sand dollar is alive or not. Here’s the deal… if a SAND DOLLAR is brown and looks a little “furry”, that means it is happy and healthy so we need to let it live a long time …..so it can breed! This is what live SAND DOLLARS look like. See that “fur”? Those are his feet AND how he breathes. Cool, huh?”
This was my best find from the weekend. A big honkin perfect ALPHABET CONE! (notice I still have on my “spiritual line“)
My friends Dick and Mary found this huge HORSE CONCH! It’s laying on a men’s size flip flop to show how big it is…A whopper!
But the winners for the weekend are Daron and Susan who just moved to Sanibel! Now this is a house warming gift! A JUNONIA! Congratulations!!!
We also met some gals getting together in Sanibel for their college reunion and to find a place to refresh their passions and find the meaning of life. This is Linda, Bev, Carla, Evanne, Dana and Peg…
“Eat Pray Love” comes to Sanibel! LOL Right after I talked to these gals, this boy raced back and forth on the sand bar furthest from the shore like he was running on top of the water. Exhilarated. Free. Alone. Stopping every once in a while to examine a shell or some sort of SEA LIFE … then under the full moon, he started his race again.
I love this post! I love Sanibel! I love seashells! Wish I was there. Thanks for what you do.
Great photo of the olive shell writing you a message in secret “sandskit”…sorry for the pun…I couldn’t resist…and thanks for all your wonderful photos…
LOL Katie! Love the pun- heehee
“Exhilarated. Free. Alone.” YES!
We will be there in 5 days!! Soooo excited! I hope we get a really low tide while we are there. The tide chart I saw is calling for good low tides during the new moon which is our second week!
Pam, have you ever found a live cone? I watched a tv show where they said that some live cones are very poisonous and that they shouldn’t be handled
.. Just wanted to know in case i see one during my next trip to Sanibel. Thanks!
Just wanted to say that all live cone snails can sting, and the sting can be quite painful, even in the case of really small species, so one should never hold a live cone in your hand or next to your skin.
Cones sting when they hunt for prey, but they will also sting in defense. The only cones that are really dangerous to people are a few species of big fancy tropical cones which hunt small fish, whereas most cones just hunt sea worms. The big fish-hunting cones have so much venom that they have actually killed a few people.
Good to know. Thanks Susan!!
You’re welcome Donna.
I didnt realize olives where what made that in the sand. I also love this post. We are going to Myrtle Beach next week for family reunion. I am not excited about the beach and its lack of shells. Does anyone know of an area there to shell or what interesting sea life Myrtle has to offer?
Mary Beth, we stayed in Myrtle Beach a few years ago at one of the campgrounds (Pirate Land?). I found out by accident that there were shark’s teeth in abundance! I was in my 40’s and had never found a single one before.
My son was around 4, and running & splashing in the shallow water. I spent a lot of time sitting near him just at the edge of the surf. He and I began digging with his shovel, and just tossed the blobs of sand all around us. As the waves came in and out, I started noticing black things spreading across the sand as the water washed across the ‘blobs’. They were shark teeth! I believe we found 50+ sitting in one spot on our heinies! They ranged in size from smaller than my pinkie nail to 1/2 inch. Since the sand looked all but barren of shells, I was pretty darn thrilled to find them!! *Plus* Do a Tripadvisor search on Myrtle Beach, look in the ‘forum’ and type in ‘shell’ or ‘shelling’ in the search bar. You’ll find all kinds of helpful hints and tips from locals and travelers alike.
Mary Beth, Myrtle Beach can be a fun place, but it takes crowded beaches to another level. As you probably know, the beach often called “Myrtle Beach” is actually a long, 25-30 mile “strand” of beach that extends from Little River Inlet (Cherry Grove & North Myrtle Beach) down to Garden City and Murrells Inlet. Depending upon where you are staying, you may want to drive north to Sunset Beach and walk over to Bird Island, http://www.nccoastalreserve.net/About-The-Reserve/Reserve-Sites/Bird-Island/87.aspx , which is the uninhabited, southern most barrier island in North Carolina. Make sure you go at low tide, and you should find some interesting shells. Be aware that it is a good hike to get there from Sunset Beach. If you are staying on the south side of Myrtle Beach, you may want to drive down to Huntington Beach State Park and/or Pawley’s Island. I have less experience collecting shells on these beaches, but you should do better shell collecting there than on Myrtle Beach proper. And you can always stop and visit Brookgreen Gardens,
http://www.brookgreen.org/ . Hope this is helpful. MK
The sand dollars are my favorite! I love sand dollars. How big were those? They look like they are pretty good size!
Kind of like an olive ouija board…. Lots of cool beach treasures this week!
Pam, so you now think that the mollusks are sending you special messages. How long has this been going on? Is this communication only in sand or do you hear them as well. Are they telling you to do anything? Does Clark receive the same messages or are you the only “special” one they communicate with? Do you receive these messages at any special time during the day or maybe only after some liquid refreshment? ;~) As always, beautiful pictures and a fun, creative post. Thanks.
LOL. Well MK, this messaging has been going on for a few years now. My communication with mollusks started a long time ago but especially with the Augers in AugerArt (http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/2010/07/04/auger-art/) which I suppose they could have been spelling something out but I just took it as cool art… I might want to revisit those pictures- i could have missed something important. I hear and see those messages constantly! And no, Clark has selective hearing so he doesn’t hear anything but “cones and junones” (and now tuns too) calling his name but he hears them loud and clear.
That sandbar is huge. Are you going to stick with your old camera or are you still looking for a replacement? Your fotos are awesome as usual.
Love the post – thanks for sharing
Ha! Well done Pam, a really great olive message. I thought the same thing while I was there, that the olives look to be spelling out letters, it’s funny isn’t it, they made really good letters! Let us know when they make “Pam”.
As for that gorgeous lettered cone, that is a really prize-winning one! There is nowhere like Sanibel!
I have been here on the island since Friday and I have found a perfect alphabet cone just laying on the beach and a perfect 12 inch horse conch with no one home! Also found some huge sand dollars that were not alive! I getting ready to go out fit more treasure hunting! Hoping for some more fascinating finds!
The photo of the boy gives yet another meaning to the pure joy of iLove Shelling :)
Where were Daron and Susan when they found the junonia? I dug up a battered one at the lighthouse beach, and found part of another when Blind Pass was being reclaimed a few years ago, but both were rather worse for wear. Still a junonia thrill though!
I know low tide reveals a lot more shells, but aren’t they usually living? I am wondering if shelling at low tide is a good idea if I’m hunting for ones to take home & enjoy.
It’s true that especially low tides do tend to reveal quite a lot of live shells, but they also usually reveal a whole lot of cool dead empty shells, ones which have not made it up onto the beach during regular tide cycles. It’s usually pretty easy to tell the difference between the live ones and dead ones.
If you go to the beach during a higher tide time you may quite likely still find plenty of dead shells, but the tide lines will have been picked over by many other people before you got there, and so during the extra low tides you are more likely to find really cool pretty stuff that other people have not spotted yet.
On the other hand everyone has a different idea of what shells they really like the best, so who knows, you might be perfectly happy with the everyday more common things, many of which are pretty cool anyway.
I agree with Susan….spot on.
Thank you Susan & Donnie. I am always learning from Pam’s site.
Love the Olive writing…It is so cool…I took many pics of olive writing when I was there. Maybe I should check my pics for a message… Awesome post as always, I so wish I was there!!! Thanks again Pam for sharing.
Awesome post Pam…jealous of the cone…can I have it ?
Ha ha, no, give it to me Pam!
I do not agree with Susan…lol
Obviously the only way to settle this disagreement is to keep that beautiful cone yourself Pam! :)
As always, Pam, your post is creative, funny and the pictures are so beautiful! Artistic (the boy and the moon). Loe the Olive message! And the Alphabet Cone is perfection. Sure appreciate all the time and love you take to post your blog so those of us who get to Sanibel infrequently can live vicariously through your posts! My hope and dream is that Rick and I will someday live on that beautiful island in the gulf! Love to you and Clark and all our shellin’ friends!
I am way out in California, near San Jose, and just love your website including those wonderful pictures of beach and shells. I was a collector for years, and it makes me envious to read and view your website articles. I collected at Sanibel when it was still legal to take live shells. Now I’m 92 and just happy to have most of my collection in my retirement facility apartment and happy to show it to anyone interested. Thank you for the work and art that goes into I Love Shelling.
I think that’s great that you still have most of your shell collection with you! I hope you get the chance to show some of your shells to people fairly often because that must be very rewarding for you. You must have a lot of great memories of the shells you found and where you found them.
In 10 days time I will be showing people shells and trying to identify shells that the public brings in, as part of the annual “Identification Day” event at the natural history museum here in NYC. It’s a lot of fun.
Hi Susan, thanks for the info of the upcoming activities at the natural history museum. Are there any other details I would need to go to this event? Big thanks!!
Nevermind, I found it http://www.amnh.org/calendar/event/Identification-Day/
So excited, definitely going to check it out!
I was so happy you came to the event Donna! And it was really nice to meet you! And most of all I was very impressed with your high-powered local to NYC and semi-local shell finds! Here is a link to more info about the Common Whelk or Waved Whelk, however the webpage is from a British site.
This species is quite common in the British Isles and the Atlantic coast of Northern Europe. It also occurs here in the Western Atlantic in the northern states, but as I told you it is a very uncommon find out on Long Island, NY, especially in fairly fresh condition.
Info from a US site:
Congrats Donna on your “uncommon” find!! And good for you Susan H for spending the day meeting all these cool people (especially Donna!) to ID their shells.
It’s Saturday 16th June, from 12 to 4 pm at the American Museum of Natural HIstory in the Grand Gallery, which is right inside the 77th Street entrance. It’s free with Museum admission. More info here:
Of course as far as shells go, it’s only me with one not very big table and a few books and shells, but there are bigger tables with fossils, insects, rocks, mammals, artifacts etc.
Good for you Susan H! I’d love to be able to be there to see you and the shells you get to identify. I know you will have a blast.
Well, I will at least be trying to identify shells that people bring in. If it is from the continental US or northern Europe and it’s marine (or in the case of Britain, land or freshwater) then I stand a fairly good chance of knowing what it is exactly, but not so much if it’s from somewhere in the world that I have never visited!
Sometimes I will only be able to ID something to family or to genus, but that way I can tell the person something about it anyway, how it lives and so on. I certainly won’t be able to bring in all my shell books with me, just a few of the smaller ones. But it’s a lot of fun and I will bring some of my shells with me, both large and small.
Last time I did this, over the 4 hours I got visited by really a lot of young girls who came to the table and asked me all kinds of good questions about shells. It can actually be a tiring afternoon because it’s pretty intense and you usually don’t get a break at all and plus you have to be there an hour before it starts and it takes maybe 30 or 40 minutes to pack up afterwards.
I enjoy it but I will be exhausted afterwards. I also have bursitis in my right shoulder currently. I hope it will be feeling a bit better by then.
I love this! And Pam, this is what it was like during last month’s full moon when I was Sanibel! Live fighting conchs everywhere — olives leaving cool trails everywhere… such magic! It was a great week and I hoped to see you at some point, but you were in Thailand! Never fear… I’ll be back again…
Oh Pam Honey – You have too much time on your hands!!! LOL!
Loved everything about this post! It was awesome for you to be able to report of two Junonia finds on back to back blog entries. Maybe they’re not as elusive as they used to be. One final thought – the boy running on the sandbar picture reminded me of that incredible picture you posted with the little girl and the rainbow – so serene! Thank you once again for your diligence, creativity, and sense of humor!
Pam, I want to tell you, too, that as a nature photographer (I photograph flowers and butterflies, mostly), I LOVE your beach pictures! I don’t think you need a new camera for blogging purposes, anyway. :-) Your composition and color is magnificent! Love the blues, pinks and oranges you get in your photos! (Loved your depiction of the boy racing through the waves under the moon, too…very poetic!) Great work!
Julie in Kansas
I totally agree, Julie! Pam has an eye for awesome shots! And, her camera is perfect for this site, too!
Thanks for a great post, Pam! I loved it!
Pam, I get soooo much enjoyment from your blog! Your photos are always beautiful and you give such wonderful info on what the currents and tides are doing around the beaches. I try to come down from Bradenton every chance I get to shell. I hope to see you and super sheller Clark one day! Love the cone!
I just want to thank you all for so many sweet comments and encouragement on my photos. I’m sticking with Panasonic for now … I can’t handle those big lenses on the beach. I especially want to thank y’all for helping each other out by answering questions that others might have and for your funny banter! It cheered me up since I was sick in bed all day yesterday with food poisoning (not from a restaurant… but from my own frig)- yuck!! So again, thanks y’all for your responses!
Hope you feel better Pam!! Sending good wishes your way!
Oh dear, take your time and feel better Pam.
If you only had one day to shell on Sanibel where would you go to find the best collection of shells??? Thanks
Oh wow, that’s a hard one to answer. If it’s only going to be one day it better be a really low tide day! And even then, there are no guarantees. Any beach on the Gulf side of the island can be really great from time to time. And it does happen rarely that there are NO shells on any beaches on Sanibel! Pam has told me that. It’s hard to believe it could happen, but she has seen it happen.
Where exactly the most (or best) shells roll up depends entirely on the wind direction and where the swells (if any) are coming from. It’s the waves that push the shells up onto the beaches, so if there have been no waves for a long time, then there will be no shells. I would try to come the day after a small storm, or the day after that if I could. But not a storm blowing from the east, which would not do any good.
I would recommend reading Pam’s blog very carefully every day for a week or so before you go, and see if she says Blind Pass is good, or Lighthouse is good, or whatever.
Lighthouse often has a good selection of different kinds if you like little tiny shells. Blind Pass can be fabulous if the winds have been blowing the right way. If you have a car you could check a couple of beaches, but honestly I would say Pam’s blog is the best guide to what’s happening shell-wise, and the conditions change so much from one week to the next, or even from one day to the next.
Thanks Susan for taking the time to reply to my question! :) I am looking at low time this coming Saturday (9 Jun)…I live in Sarasota so I could drive down early….do you know if they have started dredging at Blind pass yet??
Thanks so much for you help!!
Well, on May 30th Pam said the Blind Pass dredging would start this week, so maybe it has. I am up in NYC so I don’t know first hand what’s going on. Maybe Donnie can tell you? Or another reader who lives right there?
As of last Sunday…I had heard the dredging had not started yet.
I figure that anyone can find out if the dredging has started by putting… News: Blind Pass Dredging 2012… into Google. Currently there is nothing up-to-date about it to be found using Google, so I assume it hasn’t actually started yet. I am sure there will be news articles about it in the local papers when it starts up.
Hmmm, I may try the low tide this Saturday too. Wevhave had wind and rain here in Sarasota.
A new “font”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :-) So very cool!
So lovely! All of it!
My husband and I were right next to you when you were taking the picture of the ‘letters’ (you had just found a G) and we watched the little boy run enjoying his joy as he splashed. I wish we would have known it was you. We visit your blog often and share your love of shelling. I am often found asking others if they know not to collect live shells; in fact my kids call me the Shelling Police and I almost spoke to you but my husband called me back and said it was time to go. Thanks again!
Erica, yes, I wish we would have met too but wasn’t it crazy how many live olives were out there making tracks into new “fonts” (so funny, Julie!). Beautiful night.
Oh and I haven’t seen anything on the dredging this week. I still havent been to Bowmans beach but nothing at Blind Pass yet.
Looks like your really having fun doing this. I enjoyed this blog. I love the photos! Beaches here in Saipan are rich in shells. They are beautiful.