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Collecting seashells on the beaches of Sanibel, Captiva and the world

Heavy Erosion at Sanibel’s Blind Pass Beach

Sanibel erosion blind pass beach

The beaches of Sanibel and Captiva change on a regular basis due mostly because of Mother Nature’s handiwork which includes winds, tides, currents and storms. We (mere humans) can take a small part of responsibility in changing the beach landscape when we dredge the channels like we did this past summer. That’s what makes shelling so fascinating. The sand and shells wash in on any given beach… then the sand and shells wash out on a completely different beach so you never know where they might show up next.

Sanibel shallow water seashells

Erosion is a normal day on our beaches and it always seems to fill back in with the ebb and flow. But. Wow! Sanibel’s Blind Pass has extremely washed out more than I’ve ever seen it.

blind pass sanibel erosion pole

In my humble opinion, I think there are many factors that probably caused this major erosion… like Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Isaac and the dredging project over the summer. I’m sure Isaac and the dredging weakened the shore structure to a point then Sandy came along to sweep up the mess. Remember, this is just my own theory and I’m no expert on how the earth’s surface gets formed. LOL I just thought I’d throw it out there with my own opinion since I’m sure yall will have questions and probably answers of your own. ;)

Anyhooo… Here’s my little video walk on the shoreline to inspect the damages and changes and of course to do a little shelling along the way. I didn’t find oodles of seashells but I did find enough to make me happy for the day.

As you saw, I found my fave candy corn (HORSE CONCH), a bright orange SCALLOP with yellow sunbeams, a huge LETTERED OLIVE and after I stopped filming I spotted a brilliant RIBBED CANTHARUS.

candy scallop cantharus olive

The biggest shell I found (well “found” might be the right word) today was the one I just finished painting for the Captiva Holiday Village golf cart parade.

pam rambo painted seashell

Yes! iLoveShelling will be in the golf cart parade again so if you are on the island, come on down and shellebrate with us!

Blind Pass Captiva Sanibel Island Florida


  1. I’ve been to Blind Pass many, many times and never seen it like this. I am stunned!! It has changed so much over the years. I love your videos. I feel like I’ve been on vacation after watching them! Thank you.

  2. Pam, all of the beaches that we shell at have been changed so drastically from Pensacola all the way over to St. George Island!!! But we are still finding shells even though we have to make a little more effort to do so. Thank you so much for your video!! I continue to enjoy all of your posts!! I do appreciate them!! Best Wishes!!

  3. I was shocked at the erosion when I was at Blind Pass the other day. It was really bad after they first re-opened the pass, and seemed to settle down after awhile – but with the latest dredging and storm it seems far worse.

  4. I thought it was shocking too. I can’t believe how much beach is gone. Went to Bowman’s today down the path and it looks bad too.

  5. Wow! Impressive erosion going on there. Do you think that would get built back up naturally over time, or are we looking at a new landscape for that shoreline?

  6. Wow Pam, Your right some of the stuff exposed by the erosion has not seen the light of day in 50 years. Thanks I had no idea

  7. Pam, thanks for all your posts. I LOVE SANIBEL and crave it when I am not there. We have been fans since 1988. We’ll visit this January, but until then, your posts get me by!! I love shelling with you in your wonderful videos!!

  8. When I was there in November, it looked the same on the Middle Gulf beach in certain areas. I wasnt sure if that was erosion or where there had been dredging.

  9. Thanks for a great video Pam. I would imagine that all that sand will come back bit by bit over time. I hope so.

  10. Erosion looks scary. I like to think a new sandbar is being made somewhere. Maybe you’ve noticed a build-up on the other side of the island? Or even a new island???

  11. Finally made it to Sanibel and have been shelling like mad! No junonia yet but did find the biggest, nicest nutmeg ever! And lots of beautiful double coquinas! I have been thinking I might see you on the beach but then I realized I never see anyone–I’m totally engrossed in shells. So unless I hear your voice I will probably never meet you. I did buy some of your beautiful notecards at YOLO yesterday. Tomorrow I think we will check out Blind Pass more closely. Maybe my junonia is waiting there for me!

    • Hi Cindy,
      Please enjoy that island for me; you picked a good time of year. Have so much fun. Keep us posted of your finds!

      Mary Ann
      From CT

  12. OMG – look at that wall. Who would have even imagined that was there? Pam, I love your cute little laugh!

  13. Wow Pam, I was down late October & I don’t remember it being that severe. Although I didn’t walk out around the bend. Mother Nature can be wicked as we up here in the Northeast know!

    Great vid. & seeing that calm beautiful water just made my day.

    Big hugs Pam,

    Mary Ann P
    From CT

  14. I think that seawall was in front of Santiva Cottages before a hurricane demolished the cottages. I forgot which hurricane it was. But that’s about the right area they were located.
    I get a kick out of how much you enjoy shelling. I made a living as a shelling guide and don’t think I enjoyed it as much as you do. Maybe it was because it was more like that dreaded word, “WORK”

  15. We’re coming down later this winter also. The erosion is intense, but I am hoping it will rebuild itself over time. I think that once they removed the outer sandbar it allowed the force of the incoming tides to increase. I understand what everyone said at the time about the reasons for the dredging project, especially as it applies to the fish habitats on the bay side. But, mother nature always has the last say! Anyone who lives in New Orleans will agree to that. The natural evolution of the landscape should be left unhampered. Sanibel will always be a jewel and the best place on earth to vacation.

  16. I could never film and shell at the same time. I know I would definitely drop the camera when I found something good!

  17. Does anyone know what the most current conditions are at blind pass I am thinking of spending a few nights during my upcoming trip or should I spend them on another sanibel beach….. Love to shell …any ideas???

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