The Secret to Collecting Seashells You’ll Keep

collecting seashellsBeaches everywhere have sea life and seashells, but some beaches are better for collecting seashells than others. The secret to collecting seashells you will want to keep, and display, is twofold. First, figure out what it is you are looking for, in general. Do you want a great big fabulous shell for the coffee table or mantle? Or, are you looking for a bunch of shells to use in a craft project? Maybe you dream of finding a whole sand dollar, or you need more cockle shells for a picture frame.

There are shells that are very common and others that are rare finds. Some people search for years for that special junonia or lion’s paw or other coveted shell. Every vacation to the tropics is partially spent eyeing the beach sand and snorkeling in hopes of getting lucky. The shell must not be occupied, which further narrows down the availability. Taking seashells that are inhabited is usually against the law. Often empty shells become a home to hermit crabs or some other sea creatures which move in after the mollusk dies. You can’t collect those either.

seashells postcard

Tropical Beach Shells

Obviously if you want to collect special shells, sand dollars, starfish and sea urchins, you should know where to go to find them. There are no guarantees, but it’s a good idea to search where there is a greater possibility of success.  Know the laws of the area before you collect anything. Also, don’t spend all your time searching at the waters edge. Shells wash up with the tide, so check out the dune area for shells left behind after high tide.

cone shells

Olive Shells

Do your research when planning a vacation, or traveling to a nearby beach. The west coast of Florida is known for it’s wonderful beachcombing opportunities. The Keys also have an abundance of shells, and the water is so clear that it may be the perfect place to easily find a beautiful specimen.

Small, whole shells can be found almost anywhere, and they can be quite striking as well. Even bits and pieces that belonged to large shells are interesting finds. It’s best to just enjoy the variety and hope for something extraordinary. That’s the fun of shelling.

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Seashell With Orange Inside

seashell

Seashell

This pretty picture of a seashell with orange inside came from a contributor at the Pixabay site. I’ve noticed over the years that more and more wonderful seashell photography has been added to the free to use, public domain site.

I will be honest and say that I don’t know what this shell is. Users of Pixbay don’t usually list where the shell was found, and users live all over the world. The one who uploaded this shell picture is from the Czech Republic.

This shell is a gastropod with a short spire (top swirl). The only info I have are the tag words posted with the picture, which are “seashell”, “sea”, and “the clams”. A clam shell is a bi-valve – comes in two parts – so I would say this is not a clam. At least it’s not any kind of clam I have seen.

If I had to guess, I’d say it’s a whelk or a conch, which does not really narrow it down much!  It looks to me like the tail of the shell might be broken.  See how the dark orange on the inner lip abruptly ends?  If it once had a longer tail the shell would take on a different appearance.  And how long was the tail?  We can only guess.

We also don’t know the true size of this shell.  It could be quite large, or the photo could be a macro image of a very tiny shell.  All this information is used to identify mollusks, and we don’t have access to it.  I’m not even sure if the photo below (by the same user at Pixabay) is of this same shell, but I assume it is.

Do you have any guesses as to what type of shell it is?  Maybe you know it’s name.  If so, please share.

spiral top of seashell

Spiral top of a Seashell

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Disney Ticket Prices, Old and New

old vintage disney world ticket book

Old Magic Key Book, Cost – $8.75

I moved to Florida in 1979. My first trip to Disney World was before that. My father was living in Florida and I visited him and he took my son and I to Disney. We rode the boat from the parking lot to the main theme park area. Back then there were choices as to how you wanted to travel after parking. I think it was between the monorail and the boat. The boat took a lot longer and I think that’s why it didn’t last. People are in a hurry.

Also back then the tickets were sold as A through E tickets. Each one was good for certain rides only.  Or we could buy the Adventure Ticket Book, which held Magic Key Coupons (seen here in my photos – yes, I still have this coupon book).  Each coupon was good for one adult admission to any “A” thru “E” attraction.

magic key coupon booklet Disney vintage tickets

Like the good old days of narrow back roads running across the peaceful Florida landscape, a fun-old fashioned – and affordable – day at Disney is no more.  As you can see, the $8.41 plus tax price tag didn’t last long.   When I lived in Florida each year we saw the news that the ticket prices to visit Disney had gone up. I just read an article at Frommers about how the price has now jumped to over $100 for a single ticket.   The article asks the question, “Are Disney vacations only for the rich?” At those prices, I definitely say, YES.

Besides paying to park, buying food and drink all day long, and paying $100 per person to spend a day dealing with crowds in the hot Florida sun, Disney is looking very unattractive to me.  I say let the wealthy tourists keep it going. Prices will not get better, only worse.  It makes me feel sad for the many families who will never have the chance to show their kids Disney World.

So is the high price of tickets a good way to weed out the poor? To make sure that your Disney trip is spent rubbing elbows with the affluent? Or is it necessary to keep visitor count down? I dislike all of this. It’s why my favorite Florida spot is the beach, or better yet, my backyard pool.  I remember the days of the old rides, like the Gondola ride that carried guests across the park high above the crowds.  The claustrophobic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was quite unique, and not all that impressive as I recall, except for the concept.  And Discovery Island that was too much like the Zoo to fit in with the excitement of a day at Disney.

I have an idea for those who can’t stomach the idea of spending hundreds of dollars to run around a theme park or two. Take a more affordable, and less stressful, vacation and see the real Florida.  Stay in historic St. Augustine, or rent a house on the beach.  Visit the Keys and go snorkeling.  Those are the types of vacations I like to write about here on my blog.

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A Pretty Little Seashell

seashell bufonaria perelegans

Bufonaria perelegans

I found the picture of this pretty, little seashell on the free photo sharing site Pixabay. Fortunately the author included the scientific name of the shell so I could search for information on the Bufonaria perelegans.

First I looked in both of my seashell identification books and only found shells that resemble it. It is NOT a Florida shell. This mollusk lives in the Pacific waters near the Philippines and Indonesia. I believe it grows to 3 inches in size.

All the little bumps make this shell interesting. It has a golden caramel yellow color with some white inside. And the fact that it has little spikes assures us it’s not a common nutmeg.

The Frog shell (Bursa rhodostoma) is similar and can be found in Florida. They are of the “family” Bursidae, and if you’d like an idea of how many varieties of shell there can be in this one family, please look at this page at the Natural History Museum Rotterdam. It’s why I can’t respond to readers who say things like, “I have a little yellow shell, do you know what it’s called?” I’m no expert, and I can only suggest getting yourself a good reference book with nice photos. Even then, you may not be able to exactly identify the shell you find.

See more info about this pretty little seashell at Wikipedia.

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