After talking to yall about WENTLETRAPS in my last post, I met Dena from St Louis at Gulf Side City Park with a baggy filled with WTs (thanks Kaybe for the obvious shortcut I never thought of… haha- so much easier!) and minis. Notice that round shell on top (pictured above) with the spots… it’s a COFFEE BEAN TRIVIA.
I asked her if she knew if she had different varieties of WTs in her baggy besides the ANGULATE WENTLETRAP. Yes, She knew right away! Dena is my kind of sheller! She showed me her BROWN BAND WENTLETRAP…
Okay, so this is even a bigger deal to me than the WTs. Dena found 4… count ’em, F-O-U-R CARRIER SHELLS!!! And if you look closely, you’ll also see she found a ONE-TOOTH SIMNIA. All 5 of these shells are really hard to find!
Dena is quite a focused sheller to have found all of these shells which are really difficult to spot. She’s Dena the Dynamo!
Omg…look at all those minis….o.o. gasp!!! Im drool’in!
Yup…I need knee pads, tweezers and magnified glasses!
wowee!!!! good eye!!
I’d be happy to find even one of those wentletraps! Very excited for our two-week holiday stay. Surely we’ll find one. :-)
Wow… Dena is my kind of sheller! Well done Dena! I don’t know if you are reading these messages, but you have a really excellent eye for shells!
I suppose there is no shell club in St. Louis… so did you ever used to live near the sea? Do you shell anywhere else other than Sanibel? Do you also like land snails etc?
You have serious skills! :)
Hi Susan H, I know Dena is out on the beach right now (more shelling of course!) so maybe she will comment later… but until then I thought I’d let you know that her mom taught her to shell so she’s been shelling for a long time. She is the sweetest…and she knows her shells!
Hey, I wanted to ask you about not being able to access iLS the last few days. I even had problems getting on but I thought it was because my computer was stuffed to the gills. Is it still slow getting on? Or is it back to normal?
I started shelling when I was very little indeed, but my mom did not know very much about shells and had never been shelling. Dana was fortunate!
Accessing iLS seems to be back to normal now Pam.
Thanks Pam! I think you are pretty sweet yourself!
Hi Pam, I noticed the iLs website was a bit slow lately. I even received an RSS update about the “Getting Carried Away…” post the other day, but when I tried to click on it the blog entry was unavailable. As of today though (Nov 14th) everything seems to be behaving! Keep it coming! :)
I don’t know if St. Louis ha s a shell club, I will have to check. We started coming to Sanibel when I was 13 I think and came every year for at least a week every July (more daylight hours for shelling you know) until my mom passed away when I was 30. Dad would never come back, it hurt him to much. He passed away this year and I determined I needed to go someplace that made me feel good, so here I am! I have always lived in St. Louis except college which was in the Ozarks. No fun shells there! I love all shells! One year I just started finding small shells. It takes a couple of days for me to adjust to see the small stuff, but once I’m in the mode, I just can’t stop myself. I once found a large horse conch and I only found it because I stubbed my toe on it. Interestingly, we took the sand that was in it home and went through it there and found som WTs:-)
My shelling “training” consists of reviewing what shells it is possible to find, usually from books, but from now on from this blog and taking both Tylenol and ibprophin befor going to the beach. Looking for those small shells take a lot of time and a lot of bending!
I only shell this area, Venice Beach Florida looking for shells and fossils and I did Fort Myers Beach a couple of times this year. I will look at any beach I can find, but have the best time at these places.
Thanks so much for your interesting reply Dena!
So… do you try to identify all the shells you find? Do you have a lot of books to look them up in?
The small stuff is often not easy to ID because most of the books don’t have many of the really small shells in them. Do you keep your shells labelled with when and where you found them?
Do you love nature in general? Or is it just shells that you love?
No, I don’t have the small stuff separated out and ided. I would like to. Up until now, most of my steff went to my parents house, and I would have to ask permission to to take the “special” shells to my house. Once they made it home, they were moms! Now I have all the shells. The more special ones she did label with which of us found it and what year. I don’t have any books that specialize in the small. I would love one that had that kind of info with pictures!
I do love nature. It gives me a sense of peace. My favorite experience with nature was a couple of years ago I went to California in October and got to see the monarch butterflies in Santa Cruz and it was simply inspiring. I was actually there early in the migration, so the trees weren’t even covered yet. It is one of the things I must do is go a little later in the year so I can see the trees full. It’s funny, I live in the city and would not want to live in the country,but I love nature. I have started to fruit and veggie garden and you get to see such neat stuff with that!
Dena, I met you at Gulfside the other day. I was amazed by all of your shells. I remember you saying that was your last full day there and was considering staying in Ft. Myers. I remember your tiny angel wing. I’m glad Sanibel is bringing you good memories of your mom.
Oh I forgot about the baby ears, after I left you I found 3. Thanks for the tip.
It wouldn’t let me reply on your post. I did decide to stay on. I’m staying in fort myers beach at a cute little place and driving over. I do actually have to leave tomorrow though. I do think I am going to stop on Sanibel on my way out of town though:-). Mom was just so happy here and it is so not rushed and peaceful and that is what I have been needing. I’ve been running like crazy since my dad got sick in may, trying to do too much and all.
I hope that Sanibel has worked its magic on you Dena and that you feel more peaceful when you get home again. if I can think of a good book that has most of the small shells I will try to let you know.
Actually Jose Leal’s database is pretty good in terms of including a lot of the small things:
When you click on each image you get a bigger version of the photo. There are lots of pages of shells on the database of all kinds.
Hope we get to talk to you again! :)
Thanks Susan. I do feel more relaxed and clear headed and peaceful. I will just have to see what happens when I am back to “real” life. Thanks! I will check out that site! I hope we get to talk again too!
Thank you for sharing the story of your family and how you started shelling. My husband and I just discovered Sanibel a couple of years ago and will be back for our third trip next week. Our daughters love shelling, I can only hope they will be shelling for many many years (as I plan to as well).
Pam – Thanks for this blog, I usually lurk but love your blog and cyber shell as often as I can. :)
Now that’s a beautiful baggie bulging to the brim with a bevy of baby beauties from the briney! lol
What are the mini tusk looking shells? I have not found any of those. Honestly, I think my eyes just cant see that mini stuff anymore…and I didn’t know we had carriers around here! Just amazing! Thank you for sharing!
Yes, those are indeed tusk shells. I think they are mostly Dentalium eboreum. You won’t see them unless you get down on your hands and knees, coz most of them are quite small and skinny too of course.
Jose Leal does not yet have any species of tusk shell up on the shell museum’s illustrated database, but he told me he has 4 different kinds from the area.
The carrier shell is already on his database though:
Thanks! I have only found a carrier once before and that was over ten years ago.
I believe they are actually called tusks. Most of them are less than an inch, but sometimes you can find some a couple of inches long. If you find one, you are apt to find several in the same area, they live in a colony. Sometimes if you check the little slivers mixed in with the other shells, you will find one, that’s pretty much what I do.
Nice finds, Dena! How I’d love to be out on the beach with you looking for the elusive simnia and trivia! There is hope for those of you looking for your first carrier shell. I found two of them during my trip last month on different days and didn’t realize what I had (I thought it was maybe a beat up turban) until I saw it at the shell museum. The shell museum on Sanibel is a wonderful place – a must see! I’ve been asked which beach I found them on and unfortunately I don’t remember. I like to cover lots of ground in a day. Good luck shellers! Would love to see y’all find some BABY junonias!
Thanks! It’s killing me, today was my last full day, I have to head out tomorrow, I’m thinking I need to find out when sunrise is so I can stop at the beach on my way out of town! I have never found a simnia before! I was excited. I forced some strangers at the beach to look at it when I found it. It was mixed in with the area I was finding the other small shells at. And I squealed when I found the trivia, but no one was around to hear me.
Fabulous finds! I’m not surprised you squealed! :)
Hey – no keeping secrets! So what is the obvious shortcut? I’ve been shelling 6 or 7 years in a row looking for wentletraps and the ones I have found can still fit in the palm of one hand. So I NEED to know that shortcut! Start talking ladies!
Anna! hahahaha oh my … I’ve given you all the info I could possibly know. I’m not holding anything back! The shortcut I was referring to was writing “WT” instead of “wentletrap” every time I talk about about them. LOL. Im sorry you thought I was holding back. I’m not sure if there is anybody else on the planet who has given more info on how to find WTs (see? easier that writing “WENTLETRAP”) than you can find here. You are prob doing better than most by finding enough to fit in your palm (hand not tree). Go find “iLvSheldon” and tell her you need another road trip. xoxo ;)
Yeah, those WTs can sure be elusive, that’s one thing that makes it so great when you do find them!
Pam, your vids on WT shell hunting is what helped me the most! I was looking in the wrong places until I watched your WT vids. Have a little sad story to tell tho. As you may realize, across from you on the East Coast of FL, there are many beautiful, beautiful beaches. But shelling is another story. The last time I found any WTs on this side, was 2 yrs ago… I was so excited, and my friend who isn’t a sheller thought I was a little touched in the head for all the excitement over these 2 little white “shells”..it was right after watching your vids on where to look… She laughed and said what do you think you will find “there”? So when I squealed with delight, she really thought I was losing it.. well, since it was an unexpected stop and having nothing to put them in, I put them in a little piece of cloth with couple other shells.. when I got home, I excitedly opened up my little piece of cloth (clean hanky) to check them out… everything but the WTs was in the cloth!.. they were so tiny they must have just slipped out.. I dumped my bag.. asked her to look in her car… all to no avail… but the thrill of the treasure still remains! there ARE occasional WTs to be found here on the East coast also! We just have to be patient and know where to look thanks to Pams videos! Blessed thanksgiving to all.
I found them in an area going to the left of the city park. Close to the high tide line in an area that looked like it was just broken up shells, because every thing was so small. I have to get close to them to see them. I don’t tend to be looking for them when I start finding them. I find from minuscule to inch long ones, sometimes I miss the “larger” ones until I take a quick look back over the area. I definitely need to be bent over to find them. This year is the most I have ever found.
I stayed right by Gulf Side City Park beach last January. I found a few WTs, but most of the ones I found were further down the beach where a lot of live fighting conchs were resting in the shallow water. Dena hit the jackpot! I tried to ID the WTs I found, but I finally gave up. Very hard on the eyes even with a magnifying glass. We’re comimg back next January to the same place-so I’ll have to get some knee pads.
I stayed at oceans reach this year and it was very similar to what you describe. The far side of the park and a little further on. A sandbar with fighting conchs, I found mine in the area above the sand bar.
I’ll meet you down there to go shelling anytime!!! Could learn so much; great eye!
Thanks Mary Ann!
Hey Dena, you are famous! thanks for pointing out this awesome blog ! I love shelling, but they are just pretty and have fun shapes, clueless about their names. I like to snorkel along the edge. You are awesome to know all the names!!!!
Thanks Donna! I did study up on names and stuff for about seventeen years coming down with mom. Maybe next time we travel together we can come down here;-)
Thanks Pam for the great post! It was really nice to meet you and chat. I’m going to follow your blog, although I know it is going to make me green with envy every time I check it from home, where it seems to be leaning toward winter!
I find WTs all the time. You just have to get the eye for it. Once you get it, it gets so much easier. Pam has great tips, there’s not much more to add. But if you see mini’s washing in, use a net scoop and dig in just a bit when a wave (they are small on Sanibel) is coming in. Scoop from deep to shallow, try to get more shells then sand. Then, dump out your net and start going through what you scooped. If there are mini’s in there, there’s likely WTs in there too. Go through everything in the net. Try scooping slightly different areas if that doesn’t work. Eventually you will find the sweet spot.
If you don’t have a net, look at the wash lines. Start with the one closest to the shore and work your way up. If you see seaweed, don’t be afraid to move it. If you find one, chances are, there are more around. You just have to keep looking. If that wash line is a wash (haha) just move up to the next one. Also look for what I call beach crumbs. It looks like nothing, and many people just walk by and don’t even look. But if you see a mess in the sand that looks like shell crumbs, have a 2nd or 3rd look. If you keep looking, you’ll see a whole new world. I recommend all these tips for lighthouse beach and finding WTs. I think they are usually easiest to find there. Once you get the eye though, you can find them anywhere.
I hope I helped someone and if you need some personal instruction, I’ll be in Sanibel Dec. 8 – 18th!! Just finished booking the trip. So excited to go back! Hoping to finally run into Pam!
Wow, I’ve only found one or two tusks in my 15 years of shelling (albeit only one week out of each year!). And I didn’t even know bean trivia’s were found on Sanibel, much less find one myself! Congratulations, Dena!
I have found the trivias in the Bahamas but I’ve never found one on Sanibel or anywhere else in Flordia, so I’m amazed at Dena’s find! You just never know what the sea will toss up do you? That’s what makes shelling so much FUN! The constant change and treasure hunt for the different and the new!
The tiny shells are my favorite. I pick up a bag every time I come to Sanibel
When I look for minis at the lighthouse I carry a large bucket with me. When I find a tide line that looks productive I start scooping and filling the bucket. You can usually see which line has the minis. When my bucket is full I take it back to the cottage, sit with a drink, a tray and my head magnifiers and tweezers and have a ball discovering lots of tiny wonders. This really saves the back and knees of us older gals!!!! Sue from PA
Very clever idea! :)
Hey I could do that! Thanks for the idea! My knees and back thank you.
Can you tell us what the water temperature is when you send out these messages? I watch your blog everytime I get one, I live in Pennsylvania but I recently bought a condo in Bonita Beach
Apparently the water temperature varies a lot from one location to another but you can check any day and see what the National Weather Service says.
Look at this webpage:
To find the surf zone forecast for Sanibel, scroll down to where it says:
INCLUDING THE BEACHES OF…BOCA GRANDE…ENGLEWOOD…
FORT MYERS BEACH…SANIBEL ISLAND
At 5 am today they say the water was 71 degrees, with waves 1 foot high and north winds around 10 mph.
Hi Pam, Once again your blog has distracted me from what I was supposed to be doing. I have found a carrier shell and at least one coffee bean trivia. I have looked all over the house and cannot find the trivia. That means I have to go through all of my shells again! I also have found a few tusk shells, one over an inch in length.
I did find one unusual shell while sorting through mine. It is a pure white olive type shell with a very pointy top. It is naturally very shiny not a faded out one. When I get time I will go back over your website to see if it is in there. I am still looking for the name of a really good book on shells. MEM
Your white olive, if it is as large as the regular olives, is probably a very rare albino individual of Oliva sayana, the lettered olive. If on the other hand it is very small and pure white and very pointed, then it might be Olivella lactea.
if you want a good “book” that is all about Sanibel shells, as opposed to shells in general, then you probably can’t do much better than Jose Leal’s database with its fine color images here:
Click on any image to see an enlarged version with more info.
If on the other hand you want a more general good book on shells, then I would recommend R. Tucker Abbott’s “Seashells of North America”, a Golden Guide. It’s not expensive, attractive and very informative.
Hi, I tried the Bailey’s site and didn’t find it. It looks just like a lettered olive but is white and the top is more pointed. It is 1 1/4 inches long. I will send you a photo if you tell me how to get it to you.
Thanks for the hints on the shell book as well. I will get that. I had Mr. Abbotts book when I was 8 years old. I think it was the Encyclopedia of Shells. Twenty years later I gave it and my collection to a gentleman who was collecting shells. 10 years later I started collecting shells again and sure wish I had kept the book.
MEM, you might have an albino lettered olive!
oh and ps- sorry about the distraction- heehee
Wow! Love those wentletrap Dena found! Keep up the good shelling!
Dena, if you would like me to help you with IDs etc once you get back home, please do ask Pam to give you my email address.
Ok! It will probably take me a while to get to it though. Ill need to get them at least a little bit organized first;-)
OK cool, no problem. Whatever works best for you.