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Seashells of Indonesia, Collecting and Painting

Posted by Mermaid Julie on

I dream of beaches that are covered in white sand, far from civilization, strewn with the earth's finest seashells... 

And when I found myself in my own dreams reality, I obviously took a ton of photos!

This beautiful beach on a remote island in Indonesia, each day offered new beautiful shells to admire.

I left only with a small handful of my favorites, but the photos hold the memory of a trade wind whipping my hair while hunting this blinding white sand beach.

Beachcombing Secrets, How to find beautiful shells

 My Beachcombing Secrets

1. Go to remote beaches, in far away lands... (in south Asia area)

2. The most recent high-tide line is an excellent place to search

3. Shells are often lightweight or buoyant, so they often float or wash in with wood and other light debris found at the apex of the most recent tide

4. Keep hunting the same beach if you found something good. Chances are more will come with the changing of the tides and weather

5. Hunting after a lot of wind and swell often mean lots of new items!

Tiny Seashells found in Indonesia

Tiny shells are often the most perfect and unblemished. Plus, you can fit hundreds in your pocket! I love to find a shell to hold the tiny ones. Bend over and comb through the tidelines to look for tiny shells, they are usually not apparent when walking and looking down.

This beach has no name, but was a Southwest facing white sand stretch on the Indian Ocean on the outer Mentawai Islands of Sumatra, Indonesia. I was staying at a surf camp and walked about 1 mile to reach the deserted, wind swept beach each day.

Each day, I envisioned finding an elusive nautilus shell, which have been found in this area quite a bit. Every day I searched, but I never found a shard.

I did however, enjoy this beautiful nautilus shell left at camp by another who found it. There were two I photographed, one of them I kept in my room to paint...

 Nautilus shell, found in Indonesia in the Mentawai Islands

A nearly perfect and beautiful nautilus found walking the beach...

Painting a nautilus shell with acrylic paint, looking at the actual shell to paint

My paint set-up with a somewhat blemished but still amazing large nautilus in Indonesia

Finished Nautilus Shell Painting - acrylic on flat canvas board (perfect supplies for the traveling artist!)

Finished nautilus painting (Arcylic on flat canvas board, perfect supplies for traveling artist)

The collection from Indonesia, including the nautilus

The whole collection after a 10 day trip... woah! Most of these went on display at the camp

Brown Spotted Cowrie Shell

I have never found such a fascinating pattern on a shell! This cowrie was so glossy and special, I'm still in awe of it. It's called a cowrie

Urchin hole, Indonesia

Tons of urchins, some cowries and others...

Handful of Seashells

Gorgeous young shell, finding beautiful seashells

Shell collecting from beaches, outer islands of Sumatra


Massive beautiful Tiger Cowry

A beautiful massive Tiger Cowrie, perfect and glossy!

I also found a very unexpected Tritons Trumpet, found my last day, a very special shell! I had been having dreams about them ... swimming over the reef and seeing tons of them!

Like the nautilus shell, it is illegal to have a triton's trumpet shell in Indonesia. They are trying to protect the species and stop the removal of living shells from the reef for mass sale. Most of the information I could find covers the thousands of shells confiscated by the government for export to countries like the USA and Australia. I wonder what the government does with them once they confiscate them....?

Mostly unregulated, having an empty shell from the beach may or may not be be something of concern, but it's important to be aware of this in Indonesia. I did not take any shells home with me, be very careful traveling or possessing the 3 illegal shells (Nautilus, Giant Clam and Triton's Trumpet, ) in Indonesia! Most parts of Indo are not even aware of the laws, just saying...

Tritons Trumpet, Beach find

Happy shelling :)

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