The first shell I collected was in early spring 1973 along the Hartelkanaal, a canal West of Rotterdam. It was a cockle, Cerastoderma edule (Linnaeus, 1758).
I was fascinated by the perfect way both valves of the shell matched and wanted to know more about shells in general. So I bought Bob Entrop’s book ” Schelpen vinden en herkennen” and learned of the Dutch Malacological Society (NMV), which I joined immediately.
A year after I made my first collecting trip to France, accompanied by members of the Society, under who were Henk Menkhorst and Rinus van den Bosch. We visited the Paris Basin in search for Eocene fossils seashells. This was the beginning of a series of fieldtrips and expeditions I made with my old friends: Frans Slieker, Hermann Strack and Erwin Kompanje. In 2004 we recorded the results in a book, called “Natuurhistorische Verzamelreizen 1977-1997”, containing 565 pages and 214 stories about collecting trips in the Netherland and abroad.
Highlight in this period was an expedition to the island of Ambon (Indonesia in 1990), following in the footsteps of Georg Everard Rumphius who described the marine life of Ambon at the end of the 17th century. Memorable too was fossilhunting in New Zealand (1995). After 1997 travelling only became more extensive. On several occasions the islands of Indonesia were visited with representatives of the WILCON fund, like Hans Post, Kees Heij, Henk de Jong and Rob Vink. Our investigations covered the islands of Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Pulau Ternate, Pulau Batjan, Pulau Karakelong, Pulau Sangihe and Kepulauan Seribu.
In 2003 and 2005 my friend Justa Verschuren and I criss-crosses Brazil from the capital of Brasilia to the Cataratas de Iguazu and from de coast at Porto Seguro to Cáceres and Poconé in the Pantanal.
Some time ago my friend Hans Post suggested visiting some legendary shell-collecting sites. This resulted in a trip to Florida (2009), where we stayed at Fort Myers Beach and visited Sanibel Island.
Later that year we had great time in Jeffreys Bay (South Africa), travelling from Capetown (lots op penguins at Boulders) to Addo National Park were we enjoyed wildlife, like elephants, kudu’s and warthogs.
In 2010 Hans, his wife Marja and I made a trip to Madagascar and Mauritius. Both islands suffer severe habitat loss due to over-population and extensive agriculture. The introduction of exotic species causes the endemic flora and fauna to decline. Still some beautiful refuges remain. On Madagascar we visited Ranomafana & Perinet National Park, here we saw twelve species of lemurs and many chameleons. The arid highlands of Isalo, where Elephant’s foot plants (Pachypodium rosulatum var. gracilis Baker, 1882) grow. Very special was the Spiny Forest near Tulear, with many Baobab trees and spiny Alluaudia shrubs.
Thanks to kind cooperation of Meerah Koonjul of the department of Fisheries we were allowed to collect shells on Mauritian shores. In the capital of Mauritius, Port Louis, the chairman of the Mauritian Musea, mr. Gorah Beebeejaun, gave us a free tour though the Natural History Museum, the hall of the dodo was marvellous!
In November 2010 Hans Post and I spent a long weekend on Sicilia, on the rocky coastline of the Golfo di Cofano near Trapani, we found the famous red shell grit, very rich on micromolluscs. Stormy weather some days before, washed up fresh material. We collected 10+ kilogram of this material, enough for about a year of microscopic research. The shores of Western Sicily are rich on Dentalia, we found about 70 specimens of Antalis vulgaris (da Costa, 1778) and Antalis inaequicostata (Dautzenberg, 1891).
Last period my scope was on the Mediterranean area, leading to trips to the South of Portugal (Algarve), Andalucia, Corsica and Sardinia. Always looking for fossil and recent scaphopods, but since 2014 also to landsnails.