It’s already a spectacsheller 2014! My dear friend Ellen found not just one LIONS PAW at Blind Pass Sanibel… but she found two LION’S PAWS!
We walked passed that sand bar area that I’ve shown you in my last couple of posts towards Bowman’s Beach where they just finished the beach renourishment project. Remember I showed you that old wooden jetty that was newly exposed last year? Well, it’s all covered up again and filled in with fresh new sand that was pumped in from the deep waters off shore in the Gulf Of Mexico. So I’m assuming that these came in with the sand since both of them are so incredibly perfect. I want to show you the interior of this LIONS PAW so you can be on the lookout as well. I was right there with her shelling and I didn’t see either of them… I missed them both! She picked them up right after I looked in the same spot. LOL All I saw were oodles of KITTENS PAW and CALICO SCALLOPS (you know I love both of them so I was already mesmerized- hahaha) It just goes to show you, there are enough shells for everybody in southwest Florida since we all see different things while shelling on the beach. I think Im going to have to call her Shellen instead of Ellen from now on. heehee She’s got the LIONS PAW eye for sure! Shellzam! Congratshellations, Shellen!
Clark was shelling just at the water’s edge with his shelling backhoe when he scooped up these beauties. Can you believe it? He found a CABRITS MUREX too! This one is pretty beat up but still… its a rare find for Sanibel. Again, prob from the beach renourishment. I haven’t gotten to a chance to see if that FLAT SCALLOP near his thumb will clean up well but its a beauty along with that bright orange CHESTNUT TURBAN.
Shellen has an eye for LIONS PAWS, Super Sheller Clark has an eye ALPHIES and I seem to have an eye for finding CARRIER SHELLS.
I also have an eye for WENTLETRAPS. As you can see in the next photo, all the way as far as you can see in the background, is a palm tree sticking up. That’s about 200 yards from the Blind Pass bridge (guestimate of course) so this is how far we walked to find our loot. Now look how far I was from the water and in that sparse shell line, I found what I believe is a TOLIN WENTLETRAP. I’ve found lots of different species of WENTLETRAPS (CLICK HERE for a line up of them) but this one looked different from the others so in my humble opinion, I think it’s a TOLIN.
But honestly, I got more excited about this beautiful piece of BEACH BLING I found. It’s a purple SEA WHIP with a few cool hitchhikers! Click on the photo to enlarge to see if you can find them too before I tell you what they are.
Did you find the ATLANTIC WING OYSTER? So cool, right?
But wait, there’s another tiny baby WING OYSTER too! Can you see it?
And then I spotted a ONE TOOTH SIMNIA on this same SEA WHIP! It’s camouflaged but look closely…
Shell Boom Bah! There are two ONE TOOTH SIMNIAS! Click this next photo to see both of them. Then go back and see if you can find both WING OYSTERS and both ONE TOOTH SIMNIAS in the first full size pic of the SEA WHIP. I know its weird but I felt like I had won the lotto. LOL This is why I love shelling so much. There are always magnificent hidden treasures on the beach… you just have to find the treasures that make you happy.
I have one more photo to show you… I am so stinkin happy for my buddy Kaybe from The Essential Beachcomber!
She finally found her JUNONIA! She posted this on iLoveShelling Facebook page… “I’m making progress. Went from finding a little tip last week to an almost whole junonia this morning at Boca Grande. It was all wrapped up in some seaweed on the wrack line.” Exshellent!
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Boom shellaka is right!! WOO HOO – such great finds for everyone! Loved the treasure hunt on the sea whip, too!!
Kaybe – CONGRATS!! So happy for you!!!
Awesome finds! Have fun, y’all!
Awesome finds. Congrats on the lions paws and Junonia, Ellen and Kaybe. ;-)
Hi Pam! Looks like we need to get back down there since the renourishment! Quick question – what do you do to preserve the sea whip? We’ve often seen pieces of sponge and coral but weren’t sure if we were “allowed” to take them from the beach. I have a few pieces of hard coral but never picked up the sponges. This piece is really amazing!
i should probably spray them with something to preserve them but I don’t. I just let them hang out in my shellaboratory until they quite smelling. and oh yes- this one is stinky!
What would you spray them with? Also, is it ok to take sponges that have washed up on the beach? We weren’t sure so we left a lot of great looking ones behind.
Great question, I’m curious about this as well. I generally leave anything that might still contain anything organic for fear of smells.
And I gave a couple pieces of hard coral to a fellow sheller on Honeymoon Beach a couple days ago, that was the one she happened to seek the most and I happened to be holding a nice tree-like sample. I don’t collect them much though so I gave her the 2 I found :)
I think you could not keep the various sponges you find on the beach in Sanibel, unless you stored them permanently in alcohol — there’s an awful lot of soft tissue in them, and it would start to stink to high heaven after a few days.
That is, unless you found some that were totally 100% dried out in the very highest high tide line… but most of those are not pretty any more.
To preserve hard corals, I bleach them and then let them dry out for several days. To preserve soft corals (sea whips, etc), echinoderms and other marine invertebrates, I place them in a 10% solution of formaldehyde (formalin) for a day or so and let them dry in a protected, well ventilated area. The formalin fixes or stabilizes the proteins to preserve the animal’s structure and arrest the decay. The drying or desiccation further stops the breakdown or decay and helps to get rid of the formalin fumes. The formalin will decrease the brilliant color of some of the animals, but will preserve them for decades. Alcohol (methanol, ethanol, isopropanol, etc.) will maintain the colors better, but does not preserve the animal near as well, unless the animal is kept in the (liquid) alcohol. A note of caution is appropriate. Bleach, formaldehyde/formalin and alcohol are all dangerous/toxic chemicals and need to be handled safely. Since formaldehyde/formalin is not as commonly used by the public, it can be extremely dangerous/toxic. Handling it with plastic gloves in a well ventilated area is most important, as is following all the other safety recommendations. Hope this information is helpful.
Thanks for the info, MurexKen! Appreciate it!!
Wow! This is soooo helpful MurexKen. Thank you for sharing!
Do you know if any of these processes you mentioned will make my little hitchhikers fall off?
Pam, the Atlantic Wing Oyster uses strong (and pliable), proteinaceous threads (byssal threads) to attach itself to the sea whip (and other objects). As such, the formalin will preserve/harden these byssal threads and keep the shell on the sea whip. However, the formalin will also make the byssal threads more brittle (less pliable), which will make them easier to break. The Simnia uses its soft body/mantle to attach to attach itself to the sea whip. I have not tried to preserve the sea whips with attached Simnia, but I suspect that they will be more likely to separate from each other. Keeping the sea whip (or a small portion with the attached Simnia) in liquid alcohol would more likely keep them together, but that would make them less convenient to show/display. Another option would be to remove the Simnia, clean them and glue them back on the sea whip after it is preserved. That is what I most probably would do.
I found a very dry sea whip last year on the beachwith 2 simnias that I just let sit in my shellaboratory for a couple of months. It still had a slight odor but I brought it in the house and in a few days it quit smelling (maybe getting it out of the humidity?). I now have it displayed in a book shelf and the simnias are still attached and it looks beautiful. Nothing lost its color so Im very happy with it. Maybe it won’t last forever but it’ll do for now. I’ll try to preserve this new one so it will last along time. Thank you!!!
Congratulations Ellen and Kaybe! Beautiful!!
Wow the treasures continue to roll in!!! Love it!!!
June cannot get here soon enough! You are killing me!
I’m at about 34,000 feet, headed back to the reality of snow and negative temperatures and what am I doing??? Why, I’m checking my favorite blog of course! All of the shells are just beautiful. Last week I found several pieces of lions paws at Blind Pass and wondered if perhaps it was due to the renourishment, I think Ellen’s two paws answers that question. Congratulations to all, I hope you find more!
Yowsa! Nice stuff! Just what I would expect after beach renourishment…
About the wentletrap, I wanted to say that at Gulfside in 2012 and West Gulf Drive in 2013, Tollin wentletraps were actually the third most numerous wentletrap species I found, although they are mostly very small indeed, and are therefore really easy to overlook.
In my searches, the most numerous were Humphrey’s wentletraps, then Angulate, then Tollin, then Brown-banded (only at Gulfside, none at West Gulf), then Matthews, then just a very few I think might be the bladed wentletrap, and… so far… I have only found just one, very sand-polished, pinkish-beige shell which might be a Leal’s wentletrap.
Of course the relative abundance of the different wentletrap species might be quite different at Lighthouse, which is more bay-oriented.
Nice finds. Usually the shells bouncing around in the metal dredge pipes are broken or chipped.
Those are awesome!
Do you ever visit Fort DeSoto for shelling? We’ll probably be heading there in the next couple of days to hopefully get ourselves a sand dollar!
I’m still looking for the perfect junonia but this one with the ding will do nicely until my perfect one rolls in. I’ve been looking for over 20 years so it was def a thrill. I was especially happy to find it on my home court beach – Boca Grande.
As most of you can tell I have let my blog go inactive. I care for my Mom & Hubby who have some health challenges. Getting to the beach is not as easy as it once was even though I live just minutes from the water. That’s why I appreciate all the beach bloggers & facebook pages. Thanks to Pam & others, I can still get my daily dose of vitamin sea even if I don’t have the time to get my toes in the sand.
Congratulations Kaybe!! The next one is bound to be perfect. :)
I understand about the time it takes in caring for a loved one. For me, there are times that days go by without even a moment to look at Pam’s site. God bless you. I am sure that your mom and husband appreciate all the time you spend caring for them.
I’ve always enjoyed your posts in the past and still frequent your blog while you aren’t posting to see who you are reading and hoping for good news on your family. (For some reason, I’m not able to get a comment to post. I’m not on FB, etc… maybe that’s why.) Keeping you all in my prayers.
Congratulations on your junonia!
Wow – somebody started off her New Year the right way. Nice.
Pam, I found one of those lovely purple sea whips last trip. I briefly dunked it in some bleach water and then let it air dry. I have since attached it to the outside of a picture frame and it look awesome and doesn’t smell at all.
Wow, those are spectacular! Can’t wait for our trip to Cayo Costa in February.
Great finds the lions paws and the junonia. I have only found one of the one tooth simnias in a scoop of broken shells( I almost threw it away )! I would love to find a carrier shell. SS Clark hit the jackpot! Have a good weekend. We’re having a snow storm right now and it’s 18 outside. The Governor might close the LI expressway tomorrow to discourage people from going to work. I wish I was there. Pat
its not all bad in NY, on new years day here in NY we had one of our lowest tides of the year for 2013-2014….. the bay shelling was quite good, not sanibel, but we have pink “rose petal”- type tellins here too….although much smaller. they come in yellow and orange too. and scallops (just not lions paw)- they come in lots of cool colors sometimes too.
Hi Pam – my neighbor Wendy and I are planning on being at Blind Pass Friday a.m. at low tide. Love the sea whip – hope there are more there.
Love love love the Lions Paws!!!!congratulations everyone on great finds!!!!!!
We have those shells here. Lions Paws, I have to remember that.
Beautiful treasures! And that Clark is a shell magnet!
Can’t wait till I’m there in May but in the meantime I’m working on a project with some of my shells from last spring. Can’t wait to show you Pam!
Great finds everyone. I too love the sea whips. I just wash them real good with plain water and hang them upside down to dry. They are fine and I never noticed a smell.
My 2014 calendar arrived yesterday. I so enjoyed looking at it last night while the snow piled up. Hopefully I will be doing the Sanibel Stoop soon.
We’ll be down on the 17th and I can’t wait to get my shelling fix!!
Am I remembering correctly that the parking lot NORTH of Santiva @ Blind Pass has reopened? I’ve looked on various sites but haven’t found a firm update since December… Also, how’s the water color lately?
Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks !
As of today, the blind pass Captiva (turner beach) parking lot is still closed. The Sanibel side is open but I’m sure by the time you get here the Captiva side will be open as well. The water color is normal again. We’ve had excellent strong western winds so right now the water is stirred up and very rough. Yippee!! Shells should be good next week and hopefully continue for you I the next weeks. Hope this helps! :)
Good golly, Miss Mollusk! I swoon! I’m just waiting for someone to find a golden doubloon – on my wish list along with many of the treasures in your posts.
Pam when will the summer shelling trip dates be posted. Hope to be able to go on one in July, but only there 12th to the 16th. First time ever staying in island and can’t wait to get there. It is minus 3 outside right now with 7 inches of new snow. I do my winter shelling through your site. Thank you for keeping me sane during New England winter.
Happy Shelling New Year!
wow, talk about starting the year off with a bang! Gorgeous finds – beach renourishment can bring in the deep sea treasures, for sure.
A tip for finding Lion’s Paws is to check the top & backside of shell piles, and sometimes you’ll find them further back on the beach towards the high tide line. I think it’s because they’re lighter & are pushed more easily by the surf.
Awesome finds all around…congratulations to everyone, especially Kaybe!!!! You go, girl… whole one’s just around the bend. I do so love your blog, Pam. Since we’re gearing up for temperatures like around -40 below I will really need to look at your upcoming or go back and read current blog entries! YIKES!!!!! Went grocery shopping yesterday and plan on just hunkerin’ down for about 4 days until the arctic blast leaves! Gosh, a trip to Sanibel sounds mighty nice right about now.
I found a complete lions paw shell and I’ve been told to break it apart that if I don’t the hinge could chip the back of the shell, is this true should I take the hinge off or leave it intact thanks