“A Florida Island Draws An Array of Seashells And Their Hunters“….
The “Island” is Sanibel. “Their Hunters” are Super Sheller Clark (aka Mr Rambo- heehee), me, and YOU in the top National story of the New York Times! Wahoo!
How did this happen? Well, first of all, let me introduce you to the talented folks that made this story happen.
The brilliant writer/reporter (17 years with The NY Times) Lizette Alvarez who threaded this beautiful piece together with her gift of words and Angel Valentin top notch photographer from Puerto Rico and South Florida …
I’m still boggled by the whole thing but… Out of the blue we got a call from Lizette to introduce herself and tell us that she would like to do a story about shelling on Sanibel. She said she’d like to come to Sanibel to interview us and she was hoping to get a photographer to cover the story. Heck Yay-ya! Two days later we were hanging out at Lighthouse Beach showing Lizette and Angel the treasures of Sanibel.
It was a gorgeous low tide evening with lots of shells for collecting as well as exposed live mollusks. We couldn’t have placed an order for a more perfect evening to share the wonders of our island. Hunting along side us was my new BFF Isabel (which happens to be Lizette’s daughter) perfecting Sanibel’s signature stance… The Sanibel Stoop.
It turns out that Isabel is an excellent sheller. Within minutes of being on the beach, she found a nice sized unbroken ANGEL WING…
In the article, Lizette wrote about a 13 year old boy that found a STARFISH. This is the BRITTLESTAR STARFISH that Hunter from Mulberry, Florida found…
Hunter and his sister Audrey showed us all of the other STARFISH and CRABS they were finding and learning about too.
Shelling Sistah Denise Kisko from North Carolina made it in the story too!
This next photo is Denise being interviewed by Lizette… meanwhile, “a 13 year old girl” got curious about her abandoned shell pile she had been digging in. Okay, this is funny… Denise was quoted saying “Don’t find anything in my pile” kiddingly to a 13 year old girl. That 13 year old girl was Isabel! LOL Isn’t that so cute?
If you haven’t read the story yet, a black-and-white photo in our house was mentioned (well, Mr. Rambo’s “shell-festooned house” was mentioned- hahaha). We have a wall in our hallway with photos of our families and special memories.
In one of those frames is a photo of Clark’s shell collection on his bed at age 7.
He arranged all of his favorite shells on his cowboy bedspread then asked his mom to take a picture of it. A-dor-a-ble.
After 3 hours of laughing, learning, sharing and seashell hunting, we had to say goodbye. It was an evening that we will never forget especially because we really had a fantastic time. I’m not saying I wasn’t nervous…because I was totally shaking in my flip flops at first. But then after being with such fun down to earth people…
Who genuinely love life…
It was easy to relax and share what we love… Shelling. Thank you Lizette, for contacting us.
To read the New York Times story, CLICK HERE or on this next image….
Note to self: remember to get a photo of me too with the gang when something big happens … like being interviewed by one of the biggest publications in the world. ;)
That is so awesome, Pam!! Congratulations to you both AND to Sanibel for this wonderful tribute!!! You so deserve the recognition!!! :)
shhhhhhhhh, it’s supposed to be a secret ;-) But seriously, you ROCK!!!
Congratulations again, when I come down to visit I,ll have you autograph a copy of the article !!
Me too! Would luv it!
Yay! So exciting, wanted to just say that before I sat down to read the post!
So, did Lisette and Angel ask you when would be the best time for them to come and go shelling with you guys? I am figuring yes, because you were able to take them shelling during a nice low tide?
Actually no… sort of. She told me Tuesday July 17 she would be here in the afternoon Thursday the 19th and wanted to know if that work for us. I told her that evening would work out great since that was when the low tide was for that day. So we got very fortunate that there was a tide of about .01 to -0.01 when we walked the beach and for their only time on Sanibel. Just blind Luck! But honestly, I think they would have enjoyed the beach and shelling whatever tide it was because we always see something interesting!
I am so glad they got to walk the beach on a lower-than-average tide, because it’s a really special thing to see the part of the beach that’s almost always covered by water. Also the light is lovely at that time of day, mellow and soft.
However, it is true what you say: that you and Clark can find interesting things no matter what the tide is doing! You guys are shelliferous and shellacious!
Hi Susan, so a low tide of – 0.8 would really be something to see then, yes??
Well I sure think so! I love big minus tides! You are walking about on the sea bed as if it were dry land (well… not so dry really… more like wet land). :)
A minus tide does not necessarily mean that you will come across lots of beautiful large empty shells, although you may find some great ones, but it does usually mean you will almost certainly see lots of very interesting live sea animals. You will see live shells in their natural habitat, the olives cruising around, the conchs hopping about, but also live seastars, crabs and so on. I love it.
Was it in todays paper? Of all the rotten luck, we have a subscription, but put it on vacation hold…. Because we are on Sanibel!!!! I saw it on line a few days ago, but would have loved to see it in print. Bummer!!!
Anyway, a big congrats to you and Clark! Soooo cool!
Hope to see you on the beach (lighthouse end) between storms. Awesome sky last night just before sunset. Rainbows and fierce cloud formations.
The piece ran on Wednesday August 8th in the print paper, but it is still up online if you want to see it or print it out from there:
We’ll be down there in October—–if I run into you guys, I’ll be looking for an autograph—— (actually, I’ll be looking for a Junonia)—- great article!
Oh my – we’re the “best kept secret” no more!!!!! Guess I’ll sell my Sanibel bungalow and move to New York….everyone will be on the island!!!! lol. How neat, you guys. Bob and I will be back to the island in a week – can’t wait!!!! Hope Debbie is saving some gifts for us. Johnnie
I’ll trade ya…. :). I’m in NY!! Then again the powerball lottery is up over 300MM so I could theoretically afford two homes….
Any boy that has his mom take pictures of his shells…is so worth marrying! Congratuations on “your” find (in him)!!!
I totally agree!
Very nice article. I’ve told alot of customers in my shop about your site and sold alot of Sanibel shells which I purchased at the shell fair. Can’t think of a more satisfying hobby, especially when done in such a beautiful place! The treasure hunt is fun, and the shells are great decorative pieces for the home.Keep on blogging. Your posts with the excellent photos or videos are a delight!
So now you will be world famous like the late Shell Lady of Cayo Costa, Carol Sellars!!!!
Congrats!! Hope to see you again when we volunteer at Cayo Costa Dec – thru March. I will have to get your autograph :) And meet Clark too!
Wonderful wall of “heroes”!!
Can’t wait for 2013 Shell Fair!!!
Congrats Pam. What a thrill!
Well done you do a great service to Sanibel Pam and you have inspired me to follow my dreams of an aptly named Seashell cowboy! I’m moving to Fort Myers next month and I’m beyond happy. So see ya’ll on the beach
Great article. My husband pointed out first thing Wednesday morning when he opened the Times. Wow!
I did notice Isabel was doing the ‘Under age 40’— ‘Sanibel Stoop’. My stoop is, shall we say, ‘much less picturesque!’
Thanks for clarifying the age class qualification for the Sanibel Stoop– I was thinking that mine is a great deal less dignified and graceful. Oh,
to have young knees again….
Yea, it’s a tough decision is that shell ‘Stoop worthy or not?’ Or ‘Can one stoop reach 2 or more shells?.”
I think I can relate, though younger, I have had some back problems…for the ‘iffy’ shells, I use my foot to turn the shell over or gently loosen it from the sand….then if it still looks good, I go for the full-on stoop!! :)
I use a long pair of tweezers (10″). Saves the back and can pick up even a mini shell without the sand. That and my scoop are the first things packed for any trips to the beach!
What a wonderful article! You will now have to carry a pen/marker along with your camera while shelling to autograph shells for everyone! Well-deserved attention for your blog!!! Congratulations and keep having fun!
Stan the shellman says great article, I saw the original on Aug 7th and forward to all my shellers around the USA. Will back Oct 3rd for my 8 months of shelling!
Still looking for my 10th Junonia. Which by the way is my Florida license plate.
Always a good day when you can shell in Sanibel
Pam and Clark ,
That is awesome. I enjoy reading your Blog and cannot wait for next year’s trip. I enjoyed reading the article thanks for sharing.
Maria (Beachy) Jacksonville Fl
Maria, is that you? “Beachy”? as in your Sanibel name? LOL http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/2011/08/11/pet-names-allowed-on-beach/ ?
Congratulations! That is awesome and so well deserved. Keep up the great work! They did a nice job on the article too.