I have been a lover of the sea and marine life for as long as I can remember. 
I began snorkeling in 1951 at the age of 12. Then I spent all my free time in the sea collecting shells, fishing  and discovering the marine life.
For the last years, as I have now again a lot of free time, I use to travel to tropical islands and seas for new experiences.
I like to share the experience of my last shelling trip in Palawan.
The reason that I choosed Palawan is because it is closer to the China Sea and I 
was expecting to find some different shells.
I arrived with my wife Angelica on 4 April 99 at the airport of Puerto Princesa, the capital city of Palawan. There waited for us Roger Van Den Berghe, my friend shell lover and cypraea collector, the owner of Princessa Holiday Resort. After driving one and a half hour South to Aborlan we arrived at Princessa Holiday Resort.
The first impression of the resort was very nice, it is located in a quite bay, has a wide white sandy beach with nice bungalows.
Even though I was tired from the travel, I could not resist to walk on the beach a matter of testing the shelling and beachcombing. And it was good as the tide was low. I found Oliva oliva longispira  Bridgman, 1906, Terebra sp. live in the sand.
The next morning the bancas of the resort waited for me early morning. Roger assured me that the Captain, suntanned Litto, knows very well the shelling places 
and the exact location for each kind of shell. The destination was Arena Isl. a private island where PHR can bring their guests for snorkeling, 30 minutes Southbound from the resort.
When we came close to Arena Isl. I saw that it is in the middle of a large coral reef and the waters go deep very smoothly. I realized that it was a very promising area for shelling.
I asked captain Litto to begin shelling from a place where I could find Ovula ovum. 
So we anchored about 500 m. from the coast in 5-6 m. depth among corals. 
I prepared my equipment and started snorkeling. What a surprise, just 5 m. from the bancas on soft coral were 2 Ovula ovum. Roger has any reason to trust Litto's knowledge of the sea.
The bottom around the Isl. is very interesting and variable, in deeper parts it
has colorful big corals. To the direction of the Island the bottom is very variable. There are places with flat rocky bottom and dead corals under which you can find Cypraea arabica, Isabella, lynx, ovum, vitelus,  etc. and sandy places with sea 
weeds and some small corals and dead corals, that is the place for Cypraea tigris which I found mostly in the side of corals and among sea weeds and some times under dead corals. Usually I found Cypraea tigris by pair, when I found one, I looked around and almost all the times there was another one. In the same place I 
found under dead corals Conus magus, miles, striatus etc. Lambis lambis as well as Hippopus hippopus, Tridacna squamosa,  and Lima orientalis which I did not collect. I took only photos. By digging the sand with palms, among corals, I found in the sand a very nice Voluta vespertilio. There are also places with a  sandy bottom with lots of sea weeds but with few shells.
The result of the first shelling day was very good. The main shell that I found was Cypraea tigris (as I am Cypraea collector I give greater attention to collect them) 
and there are lots. They are small in size but very colorful and they show a big variation of colors from white to very dark.
I continued shelling for the next two days in areas of Arena Isl. The harvest of shells was also good.
On  April 8 I tried to shell in another place. Captain Litto took me to a reef between Sombrero and Malonao Isl., 40 minutes Northbound from the resort.
It was a large reef with colorful corals around and a very different surface. Frankly, 
I didn't expect to find many shells there. It is my opinion that the reefs are not good places for shelling. I found only two Cypraea tigris, some arabica, annulus, moneta and some others.
The 9th of  April was relax day, on 10th April we went to Malonao Isl. 15 minutes away from Sobrero Isl. (I didn't try shelling in this Island as it has a fishing village 
and most probably the shells are collected by the local people).
The Malonao Isl. is uninhabited as it is covered with mangrove trees. All around the island (which is much bigger than the Arena Isl.) is a large coral reef and the waters go deep very smoothly. The bottom has areas with colorful corals and areas with dead corals under  which I found several Cypraea as arabica, carneola, isabella, talpa etc. Conus furvus (pinkish color with lines found only in Palawan),  magus, monachus, omaria, ratus, scabriusculus etc. and many others. There are no places with sand, sea weeds and small corals so I found only one Cypraea tigris. The sea bottom to the direction of the mangroves trees was very shallow with sea weeds 
and it is impossible to go close.
The next day we went again to Malonao Isl. but in different coastal area. The shell harvest was also good just as the previous day.
On April 12 we went again to Arena Isl. In a place with sand among corals I was digging with my palms and I found many different species of Terebra. I found also many shells as usual I tend to say now.
In all places Captain Litto went snorkeling too and he collected shells for me.

The shells that I collected from Arena Isl. are:
Angaria delphinus
Bulla vernicosa.
Cantharus undosus.
Conus capitaneus, coronatus, magus (in several colors and pattern), miles, omaria,
pulicarious, striatus, virgo, vitulinus.
Cronia funiculus.
Cymatium vespaceum.
Cypraea arabica, annulus, caputserpentis (only one), eglantina, erones, isabella,
lynx, moneta, ovum, tigris, vitelus.
Haliotis asinina.
Lambis lambis
Mitra eremitarum, Vexillum plicarium.
Oliva mantichora
Ovula ovum.
Strombus lentiginosus, luhuanus, urseus.
Terebra several specimen.
Tonna dolium (juvenile 28 mm.)
Trochus several specimen.
Turbo chrysostomus (with elevated cords), crassus.
Vasum turbinellum
Voluta vespertilio.
Some species from other families and many microshells.

The shells that I collected from Malonao Isl. are:
Bursa granularis form affinis.
Cantharus undosus.
Chrysostoma paradoxum.
Cronia funiculus.
Conus chaldaeus, ebraeus, frigidus, furvus (pinkish color with lines found only in Palawan),  magus, miles, miliaris, monachus, omaria, ratus, scabriusculus.
Cymatium mundum.
Cypraea  arabica, carneola (small), erones, erosa, isabella, lynx, talpa, tigris (only one), vitelus.
Lambis lambis.
Mitra retusa and 4 small species that I can't ID.
Modulus tectum.
Murex brunneus.
Nassa serta.
Strombus aurisdianae, gibberulus, luhuanus, mutabilis, urseus.
Terebra several species small ones.
Trochus several specimen.
Turbo sp. 20,3 mm. with white operculum.
Vanikoro cancellata.
Some species from other families and many microshells.
As life is not only shelling I have to tell you that I really love the good foods. I can't close this short article without mentioning that the restaurant of Princessa Holiday Resort serves delicious food and I must give my congratulations to the cooks Benni, Roy, Rommel and Tongtong  for the excellent and nice decorated sashimi, tanguigui, the soup from the strombus luhuanus, the garlic fried meat of Lambis and abalone that we collected as well and many others local delicious dishes.
I must mention also all the staff that was so friendly, willing to help and very kind.
Many thanks to Roger for his kind hospitality.
I left Palawan on 14th April 99 very satisfied with the shells that I collected and with the best impressions and nice memories.
 
 



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