Thursday, July 7, 2011

Beach Combing in Cancun



You know there's nothing I like more than looking for seashells. I grew up walking next to my grandma, as she showed me the beauty of nature in the found bits of wonder along the edge of the surf or at a river's edge. Little clam shells or whorled snail shells were just as wonderful as a sea-smoothed pebble or shiny seashell. They all were equally fascinating to my grandma, and thus, to me. 


In Cancun, there was always a bit of something along the edge of the beach near the surf, as well as up in the sunny, dry, cool, coral sand. Every now and then, I'd find the shiniest creamy-white margin shells, or olive shell. There were many pieces of sunrise tellins, as they're quite thin and break easily. At first, most of the shells I found were sturdy calico clamshells and Lucines. I also found a couple varieties of venus clams, like the royal comb venus and king venus. There were a few "turkey wings" which I've also found in Puerto Vallarta.

Corals, Lucines, venus & calico clams, scallop, thorny oysters
I found a cowrie shell, but not laying on the sand. Indeed, most of the shells I found were in one day of digging in the hardened bank of sand that was exposed one morning after a shift in tides. We walked out onto the beach to see many people digging with hands or broken shells, and finding large conches and other seashells! It was bizarre, but we played along. Any chance at pretending I'm an archaeologist and I'm THERE. 
Moonsnails, olives, margin shells & one cowrie
Sunrise tellins
Corals & some top shells
So with the sun to our backs, we dug away at the sand bank, and found many wonderful treasures that would have remained buried under the sand, or crushed underfoot, or washed back out to sea. I loved the excitement that people found in unearthing their natural treasures! People would gather round a particularly nice specimen that someone had dug up along the bank, and then the excitement would grow... maybe the next lovely shell would be dug out by me?




We did find some chipped conch shells, as well as a shell that I think is a West Indian Chank. I've found smaller shells like it that have the same shape, though from other locations. My prize find, however, was a kind of oyster shell that I've never seen before... it has a kind of horn on it, which is unusual. Even Beatriz thought it was unique, and she lives there! Have you ever seen it?




I've been researching Caribbean seashells, oysters, etc. I haven't found anything that looks quite like this. The top of it seems like it used to have leaves, like a thorny oyster. But none of the thorny oysters have the horn! I love the deep oranges & reds of the outer shell. It looks like a sunset... I wish I could find out what it's called, or where it's typically found.


It was a wonderful hunt and K and I both had a lot of fun! The shells all survived the trip, and have been cleaned, dried and will soon be further researched. The prime shells will be put into a new organizer for my Cancun Shell Collection, and the rest will be displayed in our home. I have a few nice ones set aside for Keith's mom, too. She also loves seashells like me, and I'm excited to give her some! 

8 comments:

Terriaw said...

There's nothing better than beach combing, is there! You found a huge load of goodies! I adore seashells - they're so fun to look and wonder about. It's especially amazing to find conch shells.

Beach Coast Style said...

wow!!! Shari you got some great finds there!! so pretty and that thorny shell was really a neat one I don't think I have seen anything like it either!! great post!!! ;-)

shari said...

Thanks, Cynthia! It was a blast, for sure. I sure wish I knew what that one thorny shell is called... just because I'm like that. I want names & classifications! ;-)

Terri, so true... beach combing is the best!

Lillian (Unstitched.) said...

How fun that you went to Cancun!! I went for the first time earlier this year and loved it! :) I, of course, collected some shells too ;) I can't resist beachcombing wherever I go! Glad to see you guys had such a great time!!

Diane said...

Shari-Thanks so much for sharing your gorgeous shells with me! I love them and want to find a special way to display them. They are now my favorite shells.

Where My Heart Is said...

Shari it looks like we took a beach vacation at the same time :) Love your shell collection. I didn't bring any home as I was not sure if the Australian Immigration would allow it.

shari said...

Lillian, that's awesome that you also went for your first time to Cancun this year! It's beautiful, isn't it? Bet you found some lovely shells!

Diane, I'm so glad that you like the shells! It makes me feel good to know that you treasure them!! :-)

Jess, your vacation looked amazing! I've always wanted to go to Fiji, as well as Australia, where you live!!

Brandi said...

I love these - it sounds like you had so much fun digging in the sand! (Psst, I like playing pretend archaeologist, too!)

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