Barbara from West Virginia brought home the gold in a seashell battle with the Tropical Storm Debby aftermath on Wednesday. She had to put up a fight for it but alas, she found her JUNONIA!
And it is a beautiful one at that! Barbara found this baby in the water on the Captiva side of Blind Pass near the jetty rocks. She said there were no shells on the beach but there were gobs of them in the surf which was much calmer than the days when TS Debby was upon us.
She and her husband stood in the surf scooping up loads of shells with their nets while other shells tossed and turned then bashed into their ankles leaving cuts and scrapes. Even though it was painful, she said there was no way they were quitting until she had a victory. A fight to the end! LOL She’s got the battle scars to prove it…
The sweetest victories are best appreciated when you work the hardest to achieve your success. She earned that JUNONIA! Congratulations Barbara! I wish I could have been there but Barbara found this when I was sifting through the shells at the Sanibel Lighthouse (see that post HERE)…and a thank you to Tracie for Facebooking me about your sweet and awesome mom Barbara.
Back at Sanibel Lighthouse Beach, yesterday at sunrise (can you believe it?) I didn’t see the piles and piles of shells that I saw on Wednesday. The sand is filling in again and covering the shells….or they are getting taken back out in the gulf…not sure which but the sea grasses are washing up now.
But like Barbara, I didn’t give up either. I may not have had the victory she had but I was pretty darn happy to find another big HORSE CONCH!
Nice!!!! Both the Junonia and the horse conch! That horsie looks like it has good color to it. *envy*
Leah, I havent even cleaned it yet since it was so clean to begin with. But the orange color is amazing. I think when I get all the periostracum off this one, it’ll be awesome.
Mary Beth, I dug it out. I was so mad I didn’t video it after it came out so perfectly. It was aperture side up near the tree roots and I saw the lip (which actually looked like the edge of some sort of clam) and part of a knob. Was cool.
Amazing! Err… is it really difficult to find a Junonia? I mean, we do get reports of them once every few weeks. :) And nice, huge Horse Conch! :) Oh! I am the first to comment! yay! :)
oops, not quite the first…
Oh, my, the horse conch is beautiful….my favorite. I found one about that size on my last shelling tour from South Padre Island, TX over the border to Baghdad beach. That was the last time I was there. Sadly it’s not safe to do that anymore.
Pam, did you have to dig for the horse conch or did it just wash up?
I know the Junonia is the mecca of the shelling world but I would be happy to find a big, gigantic Horsie like yours, Pam! Love those and the big Whelks too! Someday…
I just want to be there! Great job on the junonia! That is awesome! Love the Conch too!
Wow another beauty. I bet it was starting to get a little stinky. It was already ripe when I got there that afternoon. Good job Barbara! It’s a beauty.
Congratulations, Barbara!! You are a real shelling warrior :)
Congrats to Barbara and thanks for sharing some WV pride!
Both shells are beauties. Congratulations to you!!
Awesome finds !
We met you down at Blind Pass Captiva side last week. After some awesome shelling there (including a few flats), we took your advice on where “the action was” that morning, and went over to Lighthouse beach and scored a really great Horse Conch (uninhabited) of course, in the same area where Pam found hers. We enjoyed talking with you and hope we’ll run into you again out there on the beaches of Sanibel. We’re going to be here for 2 months.
John & Kathie from Texas
It was great meeting both of you guys …and congrats on the horse conch.
What a beautiful Junonia! A really perfect one! And totally worth all the scratches and cuts!
I was in the museum up here (AMNH) on Wednesday, and in their shell exhibit I noticed for the first time that there was a Junonia on display that was pretty much as tall as my whole hand! I had no idea they could get that huge!
How did I miss that when I came to see you??? I have to get back there!!
Yeah, it was in that hallway that has on the walls more or less the only shell exhibits in the whole museum, that is, if you don’t count the “live shells” that are in the dioramas in the Hall of Ocean Life (they are not really live of course but fixed up to look live) and that vertical case of shells on the wall in the Hall of Biodiversity. The big Junonia is in one case in that hallway that has all sorts of huge, really pretty, worldwide shells in it. I had never noticed it before as I don’t really look in that case.
The World Record Size Junonia is supposed to be about 5 inches long. Maybe this one in the AMNH is that size.
I know exactly which hallway you mean, and after I left your booth I was IN that hallway….still missed it….shucks…next time!!
I was so happy for my momma when she called me and told me she found her JUNONIA!!! she definitely deserved to find it after 3 years of looking for it :) her and my dads ankles took a beating but she says at the end of the day she wouldn’t have had it any other way! and I’m so very glad that you made it to see my momma and also that you were able to post a pic of her :) I miss her soooooo much……….she has a few more days in paradise and then I’ll see her smiling face!! :)
Congrats to you Barbara! You certainly did earn it. You are so right Pam same as in life, if you work hard enough you will be rewarded. I would have put up with those old rocks too!
Love your finds lucky Pam almost as much as your photography and movies.
Keep up the GREAT job. Every time I see I love shelling on my phone, computer laptop, I pad whatever, my heart quickens it’s beat.
Have a fabulous 4th of July.
Wow, it would be a dream come true if I found a horse conch that big and beautiful! How did you find it? Womderful junonia, too! What a beauty! Can’t wait to get there!! I will be there late Mon night, so I will probably start at Lighthouse Beach furst thing Tues morning!!! I’m so excited! Hope I get that lucky! :) :)
I guess I am so excited that I can’t spell, either, lol.. Sherri from MN
P.S. Congratulations, Barb! I would have gotten scratched up like you, too! Definitely worth it!
Beautiful horse conch and junonia!
You’re a real trooper standing amongst the whirling shells, Barbara. Ouch!
Is the parking at Blind Pass-Sanibel open now or still flooded?
Maybe they could lay some of those dredged shells in that area to raise it up a bit. :)
Happy times to all you lucky shellers on on the SW coast of FL!
Janet from IL- Yes! All of the parking lots are open again- thank goodness
I am so jealous of the BIG shells you are finding. I can’t complain about all the shells I got when there was an huge shell shelf in May on Captiva. Just need to find the Junonia when I get back in the fall.
Where on Captiva was it, Cheryl?
You’ve got to be kidding…another huge horse? You’re on a roll Pam. Congrats!
Awesome job Barbara!! You are a true sheller!! You got the cuts to prove it!!
Seeing your shell and pics make me want to visit Sanibel!!
I love seeing your pictures and your stories from down there in Sanibel Island. I live just north of Ocala, Florida, so that is a bit of a drive for me (though I’ve been there on 3 separate occasions)…. My shelling spot is a little more reasonable a drive for me (about 2 1/2 hours,123 miles one-way). I hit Honeymoon Island usually a few times a month, and once in awhile Caladesi (just north of Clearwater in Dunedin; accessible by boat for a 14 dollar fee once entering Honeymoon.) Welp… after seeing your pix I decided to make a west coast excursion and it didn’t disappoint (well… kinda :P) I went this past Thursday to Honeymoon Island, which has suffered much flooding and erosion. The Ranger who ushered me away from the North Beach there (I walked the long way to check it out; 20 minutes of amazing shelling at the rocks) told me that there was flooding and the road to the north beach was cut off to vehicles, especially emergency vehicles which is why nobody was allowed on that side of Honeymoon at that time. Also I think he said 5 of the 6 turtle nesting sides were washed away, and I’m pretty sure he said that part of the northern tip of the island was separated? by water now… have to double check that. Anyways….. I did have an amazing time later at low tide at Caladesi. Feel free to check out my facebook albums; there’s alot of shelling pix in there, including this past Thursday’s excursion. If you could give me some personal contact info or “friends” me on facebook that would be great — we could give each other tips on our different areas ;) Anyways.. sorry about the longwindedness. I too share your enthusiasm for shelling; it means I’m doing what I love on a beautiful beach somewhere :) KEEP UP THE PIX AND NEWS FROM SANIBEL!!! I LOVE SHELLING!!! Thanx so much — TC
It’s great seeing all the beautiful shells thanks to Debby. I am so happy for all of you. There are definitely some special keepers Wish I could just hop on a plane & be there tomorrow!
Wow! Lots of gorgeous shells rolling in. Lots of beach erosion. I can’t believe the changes in the pictures I’ve been seeing. Can’t wait to see what’s going on in October when we return. Take care!
Amazing horse conch! I would love to find one like that!!
Oh, so you routinely take the periostracum off of the horse conchs Pam? It is part of the shell you know, it’s one of the shell layers.
Hi Susan H, I don’t take the periostracum off my really nice horse conchs (the ones that make the cut to decorate with inside the house ;) ) but the ones that I decorate outside the house I take the brown off since they will peel and make a mess.
I just wanted to let people in general know that the periostracum is actually part of the shell, and not just a yucky coating that grows on it.
If people are eventually going to give their shells to a museum, it’s better not to soak shells in bleach, and to never use acid.
Museums are usually happy to have a donation of shells (even common ones) as long as the shells have all the proper collecting data. Each “lot” of shells of one kind needs to have a paper slip noting when, where and by whom they were collected. That’s much more important than getting the right name on a shell. And of course the shells need to be collected somewhere where collecting is legal and you need to have a copy of a permit if a permit is required in that area.
By the way, it is possible to preserve periostracum on a shell so that it doesn’t peel off. People soak the shell in paraffin, or glycerin with alcohol.