Paper nautilus shells, which are really egg cases, are known to wash up on islands in the Bass Strait. There are several on display in the Deal Island Museum and in the caretakers’ house. I had always hoped I would find one myself.
There is also a lovely children’s book, Argonauta, Octopus Navigator, in the library.
I bought a copy of the book for home in 2015, after grand children arrived. Last year I broke down and BOUGHT a shell on eBay for me.
But after a total of 9 months on this island over the past 8 years, and frequent beach combing, I found one myself, sort of.
Actually, I saw a seagull find one. I thought this weekend had possibilities because there are gale winds and the shells could be swept on to the beach.
I was watching a black backed seagull fish; it dove straight into the surf and came up with something in its beak, which it pecked at and dropped on the sand. It looked odd to me, it wasn’t a fish. I asked the seagull to leave. It obliged and to my delight I it was a paper Nautilus, Knobbed Argonaut or Argonauta nodosus, shell. The seagull had already snacked on some caviar and left me to it.