Monday, May 5, 2014

Interview - Tobias- The Shell King

Over the past couple of months I've been following a blog appropriately called The Shell King.  Tobias and his beautiful wife, Becky, are kind enough to share their amazing shelling adventures from around the state of Florida.  They are an interesting couple that enjoys spending time together on the beach and checking out all kinds of different Florida events.  They opened my eyes to all the amazing things the state has to offer.  I asked Tobias to do an interview so everyone could get to know them a little.  Keep reading because I know you'll enjoy it.



You are a transplant from Indiana.  Did you grow up there and what prompted your move to Florida?
Yep, born and raised in Indiana, just East of Indianapolis. I lived in Chicagoland for a few years, too. I traveled all over the country with my job early on, so I’m a well-traveled dude. I moved down here to Fort Myers in 2002 for a spell, back to Indy, then back here permanently in 2006 to be with my lovely Shell Queen. I don’t plan on leaving again. 
I know you spend most of your free time searching for seashells but what type of work do you do?
I’m a Telecommunications Engineer during the day. At night, I transform into the Shell King.
You are also a gifted musician.  What instruments do you play? 
Thank you! I play guitar, drums and bass guitar. It’s been a long time since I’ve picked one up, but I can also play the saxophone. I wish I could play piano. It’s that one instrument that I never took the time to learn.
 
You write a lot of your own songs.  Do you have a favorite and why?
My favorite is a song called “Hello”, followed closely by a new song I just released called “One Time Before”. Hello has been picked up a couple times for TV. It’s a very cool blessing. The Lord has been very good to me. If your readers would like to hear or download the songs, my music can be found here:
http://fabdaeclectic.bandcamp.com/album/bombshell - Performed under my old stage name
http://tobiasmoran.bandcamp.com/ - Performed under my government name.
Tell me why you started blogging.
I have always loved to write - short stories, songs and whatnot. In 2010, I co-wrote a book with my father in law about his tour in Vietnam and am currently working on a novel about a baseball player. I just like writing. So it came naturally. I’m a talker, so I like talking too. Haha! One day, I just decided to start blogging to share shell finds and life experience - and it took off. We’re having a lot of fun now over at TheShellKing.com and hopefully we keep doing it for a long time.
Does your wife share your passion for shelling?
She’s actually the one that got me so interested in it. She’s been a sheller since she moved here in 2001. Her mother got her hooked, so it was natural for me to get hooked, too. I was always content with just going to swim in the pool. We went out, did some shelling and the bug got me.
 
 
What is your favorite thing about your wife?
Oh, I could go on for pages with that one. But her sense of humor, her smile, her loyalty and her sweetness are my top four favorite things about her. Plus, she’s stunning to look at. She’s the total package, really. My song “Bombshell” is about her. She’s truly my better half and a wonderful person.
 
 
What types of shells are your favorites?
Believe it or not, Olives are my favorite. They were the first shells I really gravitated to, so if I see them and they’re pristine, I grab em every time. Close second would be the Alphabet Cone, and you know I have to say the Junonia. I’ve gotten a taste of some of the shells in the Caribbean, and they’re quickly going to replace the Olive once I spend more time there.
 

 
Do you prefer walking and looking for shells, digging for them, or diving for them?
Diving is my preferred way of finding shells. There are maaaaany interesting things in deep water. If you can quash the fear aspect, you’re in for some killer finds in the deep. Digging is fun too. But after a while, it takes a toll on the ol’ back. So I swim and dive primarily.
 
 
What shells are you on the hunt for that you haven’t found yet?
I want to find a few specifically – a Tun shell, a Loroisi Volute, any Cowrie and a Miter. Unfortunately, they’re not found here so we’d need to hop on a plane and go to where they are. That will certainly happen someday.
What do you do with all your shells?
We display many of the really good ones. Some are in glass containers. Others are displayed in other ways throughout our home. The Queen takes some of them as well and uses them for arts and crafts, which she’s really good at making. The others, we store away to use later.
 
Are any tools essential for shelling?
If you’re planning on digging, three things – a bucket, a small shovel or spade and I recommend a shelling scoop. Around here, Ace Hardware sells them and they’re made by Vietnam Vets. They’re constructed much better than the ones at WalMart and trust me; you need a solid one to combat the waves and surf.
If you’re diving, you certainly need a mesh shelling bag as well as a good, solid mask. I have a Cressi and it is fantastic. A dive knife comes in handy if you’re battling large sea creatures and hungry sharks. I do not carry a dive knife. ;)
 
What should the average sheller look for on the beach?  Is there something that says “Hey, look here, this might be a good spot?”
That honestly comes with experience and knowing the water. It’s really trial and error. Sometimes you may see a huge shell pile and it’s all hash from the night before. Other times, it’s a gold mine. I primarily train my eyes on a specific color and shape. I like orange scallops for example, so sometimes I look for orange. I have probably missed a ton of keepers by just looking for the color orange!
 
If time and money were not a factor, which beach location would you like to travel to?
My favorite beach (and the Queen’s as well) is Magen’s Bay in St. Thomas. We’ve been there a few times and it’s beautiful. I want to live there. However, very few shells there. But if money was no object – three beaches in particular. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia and Playa de la Catedrales in Spain. The Maldives is a close third. I hope to see all three places in person someday!
 
I'd like to thank Tobias for coming by and sharing not only his love of shelling with us, but the joy that he gets from his music and the strong bond he has with Becky.  Please take the time to visit him and start following his blog and his FB page.

And if you missed it, he interviewed me last week.  You can read it here if you like.
 

12 comments:

  1. That's awesome Kim! Did you actually meet in person?? I feel like I have all these 'famous' blogger buddies since I am an avid follower of you both!! Thanks for the interview, very interesting!

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    1. Nope, we did everything over email. Hopefully we'll get to meet in person next time I'm down there. Go check out his music. His song "One Time Before" is a real favorite of mine.

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  2. Thank you for the interview, Kim. That was pretty fun! We look forward to meeting you in person soon and scouring the Sanibel beaches for keeper shells :D

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    1. It would be really nice to meet both of you in person. Thanks again for the interview swap. It was fun for me too!

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  3. Nice interview! Ahh, sun, shells, swimsuits... One of these days!

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    1. There is nothing better than all of that on Sanibel!

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  4. I love beach combing. - nice interview

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    1. Thanks John - I can't wait to get down there and look for shells again myself.

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  5. Interesting interview! We love shelling when we go to Florida also! Just got back from Florida not long ago and after seeing those beach shots here I'm ready to go back! There's nothing like the ocean waves for relaxing!

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    1. I could sit and relax on the beach for hours!

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  6. Sounds like a fascinating character! You definitely have a knack for making interesting friends Kim! :o)

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