We used to participate of St. Pete Shell Show for several years
- the show still one of the best in Florida. We traveled with
our family so we rented an apartment and spent some days on the
beach to rest and to talk with friends.
While there, we did some collecting with Bob Lipe - we learned
lots of tips of collecting from him. One of these tips were the
method of screening sand to obtain small shells. He made a scoop
and three trays using different sizes of mesh of stainless steel
screen . The scoop had a long handle so he could enter the water
to the chest line and scoop sand from the bottom to wash it in
the trays. Since the trays were made of wood they floated attached
to him by a line making the work easier for an one-person-job.
The tray with larger mesh stayed on the top and held larger shells,
rocks or coral pieces. The second had smaller shells and in the
third one only micro shells could be found.
The idea is great and I wanted to use it in another trips. However,
wood and metal are quite heavy so I made the same thing using
PVC tubes for the scoop and plastic for the trays and for the
screen. I made the scoop collapsible in three pieces using screws
to attach them together so it could fit inside my luggage.
We took it to several places, Ecuador, Samoa, Mexico and other
trips. Of course you have to find the right spot to use it and
not always you find shells. But the kind of shells you may find
you would hardly get in any other way.