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Shelling Report, January 2011

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Sanibel Island...
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Shelling Report, January 2011

After work on Friday MurexAlice and I left cold Tennessee and drove to south Georgia where we spent the night. We did not leave the snow until we were south of Macon. Yesterday about 3 PM we arrived on Sanibel to a blue sky, calm seas and 70 degrees, about 50 degrees warmer than when we left TN. Dinner at Doc Ford’s last night. It sure is nice to be back in paradise.

This morning I was out on the beach at 4:30 AM to shell the 4:50 AM low tide (minus 0.5 feet). No wind, calm seas, air temperature in the 50’s. On the sand bars there were the usual, live snail mollusks (aka gastropods), including fighting conchs, tulips (true & banded), horse conchs, murexes (apple & lacy) and whelks (lightening & pear). There were even more live bivalves, including the atlantic giant cockle, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… , the prickly cockle, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… , the yellow prickly cockle, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… and the ponderous ark, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… . I was pleased to find some nice, dead alphabet cones, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… , lettered olives, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… , angulate wentletraps, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm?id=64 and pairs of buttercup lucines, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… and spiny jewelboxes, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… .

You know that you are a dedicated shell collector when ? (fill in the blank). One of the answers is “when you plan your vacations around the low tides.” There will be excellent, early morning, minus low tides for the next week. The weather promises to be not as cold as last year (or I hope so). I do not expect to write as much as last year, but will try to give a few follow-up reports, as appropriate.

Hell, Michigan
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1. Re: Shelling Report, January 2011

You know you are a dedicated sheller when your big Christmas gift is thermal diving boots and the strongest black diamond head lamp on the market.

Cheers to good shelling! Save me some alphabet cones!

Maine
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2. Re: Shelling Report, January 2011

You had me as dedicated sheller when you said 4:30 a.m.!!!! Sounds wonderful and have a great trip:-)

signed,

very jealous and cold in Maine

Sanibel Island...
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3. Re: Shelling Report, January 2011

Sunny, unfortunately, my bag had a hole in it and a few, almost perfect alphabet cones dropped out. So, if you find any, I trust that you will be kind enough to return them to me. ;~) Mars and True, thanks for your responses. My favorite “dedicated sheller” comment involves the use of bleach to clean the shells. You know you are a dedicated shell collector when too many of your regular clothes have small bleach marks, due to being too lazy/stupid to change clothes when using bleach to clean your shells.

sanibel island
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4. Re: Shelling Report, January 2011

You know that you are a dedicated shell collector when...... you get more excited about finding a nice waterproof bag with a lanyard for a cell phone over finding a new "going out" purse.

I saw all the signs of wentletraps (bubble shells, and a line of minis) this morning but didn't see one. Glad you found some. Good luck tomorrow morning too- can't wait to hear what you find. Maybe you'll re-find those alphabets you lost today. ;)

Inman, SC
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5. Re: Shelling Report, January 2011

Hoping for some winds to stir up the waves. Good to see your report, MK. You and Alice save a few for us :- D

Hell, Michigan
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6. Re: Shelling Report, January 2011

I Love, I was laughing, as I have a kick butt purse collection, but I rarely use any of them anymore - but what does make me excited is my new waist pack, that will hold my camera, iphone, keys, flashlight and luna bar for those early morning shell hunts!

MK - hmmm, can I be trusted to return nearly perfect alphabet cones? I would like to think so, but even the most honest people lapse. : )

Sanibel Island...
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7. Re: Shelling Report, January 2011

Low tide today was minus 0.77 feet at 6:18AM. We intended to get out at 5:30AM, but equipment malfunction delayed the “on beach” time until about 6:10AM. Memo to self: get everyone’s high intensity light ready the night before you need it. Do not wait until you are ready to leave in the early AM. We decided to drive most of the way down West Gulf Drive and then walk back to the Gulfside City Park area. It is about three miles. It sure is helpful to have one of your party willing to get up early, drive you there, bring the car back and then go back to sleep. Thank you Jeff.

But, first I will briefly comment on our early morning shell collecting of yesterday. We collected in the Middle Gulf Drive area. Although I did not get any more nice alphabet cones, I did find several, very nice lace murex, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm?id=71 , a few nice nutmegs, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… and more buttercup pairs. I’m not sure why I like them so much, but I think that they are really attractive. I mostly picked up what MurexAlice and I like to call “lamp shells”. As you most likely can guess, these are shells that are relatively common, but colorful and in good enough condition to go into the glass base of lamps that we give away.

As for the shelling this morning, it was not near as good, partially because we were on the West Gulf Drive beaches and partially because there really have not been many “good” storms during the past week or two. The excellent shelling recently reported on the IloveShelling blog, http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/ has been due to storms that occurred 3-4 weeks ago. Since there have not been any “really good” storms since then, there is now less on the beach. The tide & currents bringeth, and they taketh away! In any case, there are always treasures to be found, but they seem to be fewer and farther between. It also did not help getting out to the beach later than I had wanted. Being the silent martyr type, I did not say anything about this to anyone (especially since it was mostly my fault).

I did find one nice lace murex, several more nutmegs, a few more buttercup pairs and one channeled duck clam pair, shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… In the past I have called these shells “sailor ears”, but that is not the “common” name on the BMSM website. After I got back to the Gulfside City Park area, I found a small mussel that is a new shell for me on Sanibel Island, the chestnut mussel, (Lioberus castanea), shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… . Later I found another shell, the arrow dwarf triton (Tritonoharpa lanceolata), shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm… , which I have occasionally found elsewhere, but never before on Sanibel Island. This is a small shell that only gets up to 25mm or about one inch in size. Mine has a length of 1.6 cm (2/3rds of an inch). Although small, its shape and coloration are exquisite. I also found a very nice pitted murex (Favartia cellulose), shellmuseum.org/shells/shelldetails.cfm?id=74 .

Towards the end of my time on the beach, I was looking specifically for Wentletraps (or Epitoniums) and found a good number of several species. Perhaps the largest one was lying on a dark leaf above the high tide line. The white shell against the dark background would have been difficult for anyone not to notice, but it was still there. It almost seemed that the Wentletrap was offering itself to me on a platter. Since implying motives to inanimate objects is not a sign of good mental health, I did not mention this to MurexAlice.

It is another gorgeous day on Sanibel Island.

Inman, SC
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8. Re: Shelling Report, January 2011

"It almost seemed that the Wentletrap was offering itself to me on a platter." Okay, MK, quit rubbin' it in :- ) Maybe if the wentles are being THAT obvious, even I will be able to find one (some). Keeping my fingers crossed....

Tulsa
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9. Re: Shelling Report, January 2011

I totally plan my Sanibel trips around the tides! That made me laugh! Glad you had a good time, and thanks for sharing!

Sanibel Island...
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10. Re: Shelling Report, January 2011

We were on the Island the first week of January, and a cold front with rain and wind moved through on thursday. Strong winds blew all thursday night, and we were on the beach at dawn on Friday (the 7th, I think)...really amazing, with quite a few live shells plus many great keepers as well. The low tide was not all that low, so it could have been even better, but was still some of the best shelling we have had for a few years. Back again for the weekend in 10 days!