Tag Archives: Sea Shells

A random act of shelling at Bunche Beach

I have a lot of shells; make that a whole LOT of shells. They live in
Rubbermaid bins and plastic Domino sugar containers in a big kitchen
cabinet. They clutter book shelves, fill up bowls on the piano and the
kitchen breakfast bar, and generally hang out in odd places here and there,
all over the house. I’m going to say something that would have been unheard
of 10-12 years ago when I first started to collect sea shells. I have TOO
MANY shells.

Still, I love to trawl the beach, and I cannot break myself of the habit of
looking for them and picking them up. But I know that when I get them
home, I will have to perform some combination of washing, de-sanding,
de-stinking, barnacle removal, drying out, sorting, shining, and putting
away. You know, in those Rubbermaid bins and plastic Domino sugar
containers in the big kitchen cabinet.

So last week, I freely looked and hunted and collected, but stopped just
short of bringing them home. Instead, I went up a little way beyond the
high tide line, wrote a message in the sand, and left my gifts from the sea
for some (hopefully delighted) tourist to find.

I think I’ve discovered a new hobby 🙂

[image: sea shells for you Bunche Beach Fort Myers Florida]

Favorite shelling find of the day

Favorite shelling find of the day, originally uploaded by Erin aka Tink*~*~*.

This was the first find I made on the slope I named "Whelk City" between Access 4 and Access 5 on Sanibel. Now, don’t everyone go running there – first of all, I got ’em all 😉 Second, it’s a different beach every day. Who knows where today’s best finds will be?

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Stinkers In A Bucket

Stinkers In A Bucket, originally uploaded by Erin aka Tink*~*~*.

Some of the shells I found during the full moon are "stinkers". They were found in what we called "the death pool", which stank to high heaven.

Stinkers are often beautiful, perfect specimens (well, so would you be, if you died very young and very recently), but they are high maintenance. Probably, what makes them stink is that there is a little piece of the dead occupant still caught up there in the inner chambers of the shell.

Mine will stay in a bucket of 50/50 solution of bleach and water until I feel like trying again to get ’em all empty and clean.

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Treasure From San Carlos Bay

Treasure From San Carlos Bay, originally uploaded by Erin aka Tink*~*~*.

I found a nice, shiny, pointy-headed olive glistening on the beach at "Coney Island" (see Foursquare – I’m the Mayor!") – it’s one of the spoil islands that supports the Sanibel Island Causeway. What a treat! I figure a bird had it for an appetizer and left the shell for me to find. Thanks, random bird!

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Day trippin’ on Sanibel Island

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*

09032010609-Fort-Myers-Beach-truckLast Friday, just before the three-day weekend festivities here in the United States, I took myself over to Sanibel Island for the day. I am very lucky to live within easy driving distance of the island (half an hour from driveway to causeway), and I really should do this more often.

As I approached the causeway, I encountered this truck on Summerlin Road. Considering all the “Mickey Mouse In The Wild” encounters I’d already experienced that week, I thought the “Don’t Mess With The Mouse!” slogan on the back of the truck was apropos 😉 click photo to see it bigger

Looks like Vera Bradley threw up in here...

I was a little early for my appointment so I popped into a few shops. This one has a corner where it looks like Vera Bradley threw up!


Finally, it’s time for my massage – can we say, “Ahhhhh!” now? 🙂


After the massage, I poked around in a few more shops and found this wall hanging at “Pandora’s Box”. I liked the sentiment and the presentation, but didn’t think it was worth what they were asking for it. The artist’s name is Anahata Joy Katkin, in case you are interested in looking her up.


My last stop was Gulfside City Park aka Algiers, one of Sanibel Island’s public beaches. I stayed about two hours, hunting the shoreline for treasures. It was mostly “kibbles and bits” shelling, but I did manage to score a couple of macaroni and cheese shells (aka, those little orange juvenile Florida horse conch shells).


It was low tide by time I crossed the causeway again, and the sailboat that had run aground a few weeks back was now visible on that crescent-shaped sand bar just off the south side/”sad lane” (you’re sad cause you’re leaving Sanibel!). I wonder when someone is going to finally remove it – or is it destined to become a relic with all sorts of local legends attached to it?

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Sea shells at the Boardwalk Inn

© Copyright 2006-2010 Tink *~*~*
Click the photos to see if a larger version is available in Flickr

I was taking photographs in and around Disney’s Boardwalk Inn when my camera ran out of juice. Fortunately, I had a set of fresh batteries with me, and scouted a place to sit down and swap them out. I found this chair and side table in the lobby of the Boardwalk.


I knew right away that after the batteries were changed, the first picture I would snap would be of the table. It was decorated with images of my OTHER, non-Disney passion – sea shells! Not so surprising – the whole Boardwalk at Walt Disney World has a seaside resort and amusement theme. Sea shells fit right in.


The reason I moved to the Lee Island Coast in particular was to be close to Sanibel Island, where many such shells can be found. The two smaller ones pictured on the table appear to be keyhole limpets. The larger one is a true tulip. It’s always a treat to find a true tulip – they are so bright and colorful, and they come in an array of patterns.


I found a literal bonanza of true tulips on Sanibel Island the first year I lived here in Southwest Florida. Sometime in June of that year, Tropical Storm Alberto blew through. A tropical storm is not as severe as a hurricane, but it’s just enough to push a bunch of treasure up onto the shores of Sanibel. At the top of this photo, you can see the tops of two pear whelks. Below that, three banded tulips. And in the last row – an assortment of true tulips in various patterns and sizes. The largest one measures 5.25 inches from end to end – about as long as a pen.

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I didn’t mean to go shelling, really I didn’t!

I didn’t mean to go shelling, really I didn’t!, originally uploaded by Tink*~*~*.

I am not dressed for it and don’t have my gear, but once I saw there were a few things rolling around, I got a plastic bag out of the car and a long tree branch from up at the high tide line and went shelling the hard way! I got a few good things – alphabet cone, horse conch, and my first-ever baby’s ear. It was too cold to stay very long.

Ring-billed gulls, and “the circle of life”

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*

Ring-billed gulls, and “the circle of life”

(a Camera Critters post)

click any photo to see the bigger version in Flickr
IMG_0101-ring-bille-gull-marchingEarlier this week, I posted a photo of shore birds feasting upon some scallops that had been stranded by the tide. I realized that I didn’t know what the birds were called, so I went through some recent photos to see if I could find a close up. Here’s a shot from early in January, and according to my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Florida, this is a ring-billed gull. You can see that there is, indeed, a ring around his yellow bill. According to Audubon, this bird migrates north for the summer, but non-breeders will probably stick around here.
IMG_0204-Ring-billed-gulls-feastingLast week, when my friend Kim and I were at the beach, we encountered a pile of shells that had been tossed up onto the shore by the tide. As we pawed through the pile for treasures, we found many scallops had been stranded with the empties. Some were still alive, as evidenced by their nervous chattering as we came near. Yes, they do that thing that you see them do in the old cartoons – they open and shut rapidly, trying to scare us away with the clatter, I guess. Usually, when I find a live one, I will endeavor to place it back in the water. But then I began to notice that humans aren’t the only ones interested in a pile of shells.
IMG_0207-ring-billed-gull-tasty-scallopThe ring-billed gulls were feasting! And here I thought, with all the hubris and inflated sense of importance that a human can muster, that we were doing the scallops a favor by giving them a “second chance”. It’s not really a carnage that humans need to “fix” (oh, we are such fixers, we humans, aren’t we?). As often happens, it dawned upon me in the lyrics:

Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle
The Circle of Life…

Yeah, I did. I burst into song. I think Kim laughed at me, but I don’t mind. If you’re embarrassed 😳 by people who are prone to bursting into song, don’t go shelling with me 😆 . The point is, the scallops had found “their place on the path unwinding”. It was right there, on the beach, waiting for a ring-billed gull to come along and decide it looked tasty.
The scallops, they have their purpose. They don’t have to think about it, or struggle to discover what it is they are meant to do. The Circle Of Life just kind of takes care of that for them. Not so much for us humans. We often struggle to find our place. For many of us, it’s not all that clear what we are meant to do with our lives.
Sometimes, I still don’t know what I’m supposed to be when I grow up. If “when I grow up” should ever happen, I’ll be sure to let y’all know.

  • Cornell University has a cool bird site, with sound samples.  Click here if you want to hear ring-billed gulls laughing (it opened Quicktime for me; your mileage may vary!).
  • Download The Circle of Life MP3 file from Disney’s THE LION KING, performed by Elton John. Amazon also has DVDs of the film and its sequels, the entire film soundtrack (CD or MP3 download), and my personal favorite, the original Broadway production sountrack.
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The Remains Wash Ashore on Sanibel Island

© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*

The Remains Wash Ashore on Sanibel Island

(a Wordless Wednesday post)
(also a Watery Wednesday post)
click the photo to see it in Flickr


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