As a beach comber I love to search beaches for fun finds. Most of what I find are shells: shells from gastropods, bi-valves, and mollusks. Crabs have shells (exoskeleton) they shed in order to grow a new, larger one. Sand dollars and sea urchins leave behind their test (endoskeleton).
Shell is both a noun and a verb. As a noun it is a protective cover, coating or housing. It could be the hull of a boat, the water-proof coating on a jacket or part of an atom, for example. As a verb it means the act of finding shells on the beach, removing shells from food or bombarding something. With Mardi Gras season approaching I can’t resist this example: “The parade goers were shelled with doubloons and moon pies.”
As I am currently sitting land-locked this bitter cold winter thinking of shells and looking forward to the warm weather, I started thinking of other things that have shells. Here’s what I came up with:
5. Candy (like M&Ms)
7. Peas have pods but when we remove them, we call them shells
9. A really shy person
10. A chrysalis
Can you come up with more?
I have to tell you about yesterday…the boys and I went to Turtle Beach, here on Siesta Key, with plans to walk south to Midnight Pass. My neighbor told me he rides his bike to Turtle Beach, walks the bike to Midnight Pass (because the sand is too soft to ride on) and then rides along the Casey Key beach. So we thought lets try it, sans bikes.
We never made it. The shells along the beach were too distracting. Thank goodness I brought a little bag for “some” shells. We ended up filling it with mostly crown conchs, and some welks and clam shells. It took us 1 hour to go the distance of about a 10 minute walk, so when it got hot and the shell bag got heavy we turned around and went home.
The waves were incredible. Could they have been rough from Hurricane Dolly?
When we got home, just for fun we weighed the bag on the bathroom scale. 7 lbs! No wonder my arms and shoulders hurt for a while. But I’m fine now.
After lunch we went to Shell Beach. There is a small camper we see almost every day we pass by that is just parked there. Well it was there again and we parked next to it. The man, a grey-bearded old guy, had a mostly red parrot sitting on his side mirror. It was the size of my forearm. The boys watched the bird while I hunted shells. I found nothing of note until I turned to go toward the car and my younger son, Travy, pointed out some pen shells I was about to step on. Good thing I stopped. I was able to scoop up 5 of them, unbroken. They are huge. I’m soaking them right now to clean off the barnacles and limpets. The biggest is 8 1/2 inches x 5 inches.