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

Buckets Of Beach Bling and SeaShells

Posted by on Oct 8, 2015 in Captiva, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Sea Bean, Sea Pearl | 6 comments

Several shells and Bunches of beach bling

Spectacsheller shells and bountiful beach bling… everywhere!

Amazing beach with shells

On our iLoveShelling adventure to Cayo Costa with Captiva Cruises, we were welcomed to a beach loaded with all sorts of beach treasures.

Captiva Cruises shelling trip with iLoveShelling

Such an awesome way to shellebrate our shell filled day by being with other very cool beach combers like Kristin, Shannon and Carolyn (Kentucky and Ohio). Those were Shannon’s shells and bling in the first photo- aren’t they so adorable? (the shells And the girls!)


Girls adventure trip to the beach finding treasures

There were shells everywhere we looked…

dream beach covered in seashells
Sweet Olivia from Indiana was quick to learn all about how to tell the difference between live and empty sea shells and SEA URCHINS.

Girl finds gifts from the sea on the beach of Cayo Costa

She and her mom found a fragile little HEART URCHIN. It’s so much fun to find the whole URCHIN in tact since we only see these fragile tests after big storms.

Heart Urchin beach treasure

Her cutie sister Lexi found one too. Shellucky girls!


Lexi Indiana receives gifts from the sea on the beach

Lexi was also lucky enough to find lots of ANGEL WINGS too. She has 3 different kinds in her hand… FALSE ANGEL WING, TRUE ANGEL WING (ok, its really not called a “true” but since there is a “false”…. why not? heehee) and a FALLEN ANGEL WING on the far right.

False, true, fallen angel wings

Pam and Christine from VA  had their hands full looking through the huge shell pile as soon as we stepped off the boat.

beach combers finding shell loot

I was surprised how many fabshellous WORMIES everybody found. Love that long bright white one with the perfect tip!

worm shells baby ear angel wings

As we walked to the tip of the island, there was yet another huge pile of shells to explore.

Tree roots and seashells on Florida island beach

Megan, Sanibel and Jeremy (PA) were worn out after looking for shells they had never found before. Ummmm…. did you catch what her name was??? Sanibel! Such a beautiful name, right?

A family finding shells on a secluded beach

These are just a few of the very cool shells that Jeremy pulled out of his bag to show me…. these were his first WHELKS. Congrats!

whelk shells on the beach

Barb (Wisconsin) and Debbie (Arkansas) met shelling 6 years ago on vacation in Sanibel and now vacation every year together along with their husbands.  Beach buddies.

Beach girls finding shells in Florida

Debbie found her first GAUDY NATICA!

sea urchin angel wing gaudy antic tulip olive

David and John from Michigan are the die hard shellers of their family so they left the wives on Sanibel and hopped on the boat with us. On the way back it started to lightly rain so they packed up their loot before I got a chance to take a photo of their awesome finds and braved the rain the entire ride back. Another crazy adventure… And thanks so much for the shell candy, guys ;)!

Boat ride from Captiva to Cayo Costa Florida

Jennifer (Chicago) carried her fave shell and bling finds in her cap so she could show her husband John (her chauffeur- heehee).

shelling cruise treasures to cayo costa florida

Can you believe how many BABYS EARS? … aNd look at that humongshellous WORMIE.

hat filled with seashells

Can’t you just hear the shells clicking, clacking and jingling as you look at this pile of shells thinking about picking through them? The COCKLES and SEA URCHINS were unbelievable… oodles and oodles of them. Now you see why Olivia had to learn about which SEA URCHINS she couldn’t take. (CLICK HERE for more info)

Seashells upon shells and sea urchins

It was an amazing beach day hanging out with the coolest bunch of beach combers.

shells on purple

To top it off, everybody received a $25 gift certificate from Sealife By Congress as a thank you from Congress Jewelers for joining our iLoveShelling cruise. They are so generous!

Sealife By Congress Jewelers

Life doesn’t get much better

So many shells on the beach for picking

Join me on another iLoveShelling Adventure! CLICK HERE for dates and reservations…



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Not Waiting For the Calm After The Storm

Posted by on Oct 4, 2015 in Calico, Sand Dollar, Scallop | 8 comments

Conch if you love sunset

Even though Hurricane Joaquin has been churning in the Caribbean hundreds of miles from Sanibel and Captiva the last few days, those north and west winds have effected our beaches and churned our gulf coast as well.

Rough SW gulf coast water with shells

This weekend Clark and I combed the beaches (through intermittent rain without lightning) finding some cool broken brick/concrete chunks with turquoise paint (maybe an old floor?), lots of incredible “sun beam” SCALLOPS and other assorted shells and bling getting tossed up by the rough surf on the beaches closer to Captiva.

beautiful sunrise scallops

Clark found lots of dreamy creamsicle shelliciousness at Bowman’s Beach.

orange shellicious shells

The gulf was much calmer near Gulfside Beach which made for a beautiful sunset to show off Ray’s perfect little juvie SAND DOLLAR.

Ray's sand dollar in the sky

Although Ray (from Nantucket) is visiting Sanibel for a fishing trip, he found his first SAND DOLLAR (he called it a sand nickel – heehee) along with some other shells. He noticed it was still a little dark so he knew to search for any signs of life by looking for any “fur” or cilia anywhere on the body. He asked me to check it out to make sure as well…. yep, he was right- no fur. It’s a keeper!

juvie sand dollar by Ray while fishing

At Lighthouse Beach, the wind was kicking up and the shells were starting to roll in…. but you had to fast to snag them or the waves would take them right back out as fast as they came in. Dale and Wayne (Jacksonville, FL) were lucky enough to catch a few good ones but Dale said this ALPHABET CONE was the best of their collection. Awesome!

Dale Wayne Jacksonville with cone shell Sanibel

Just like this weekend, each SW Florida beach this week will probably be changing by the hour. That’s why we love to be out there and it keeps us coming back, right?

i heart shells beach art

I can’t wait to see what we find on our iLoveShelling Adventure to Cayo Costa tomorrow with Captiva Cruises- So excited! If you won’t be joining us tomorrow, check out more dates by CLICKING HERE


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I’ve Got A Crush On Shellcrush Drift Shells

Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 in Decorate with shells, Make Seashell Stuff, seashell decor, Shell Art, Shell crafts, Sunsets | 12 comments

shell beach with ocean

Sanibel has had so much rain in the past month, we’ve had flooded streets, yards and parking lots. Now that we have had a few days of sunshine, we are finally drying out. It’s so refreshing to be on the beach without the threat of a thunderstorm and to enjoy the site of shells and beautiful skies.

pink sunset beach seashells

I’ve found mostly shell crush (broken shells, bits and pieces), drift shells (smooth beach worn shells) and Sanibel’s most common shells (CLICK HERE  for the top six shells) but they remind me I should start some shell craft projects using the same shells that are on our beaches in SW Florida all the time.

sea foam and sea shells on sanibel island

I’ve always wanted to do a frame like this as friend Rhonda makes …

shellebelle's drift shells

But after having lots of home improvement projects this summer, all I want to do is enjoy walking the beach to unwind and to admire all of these beautiful shells (broken or not!) and the landscape that surrounds them. Beach therapy is the best therapy on the planet.

shell crush on sunset

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Pearls Of The Sea

Posted by on Sep 26, 2015 in Bowman's Beach, Gulf Side City Beach (Algier's), Lighthouse, Sand Dollar, Sanibel, Sea Bean, Sea Pearl | 18 comments

Sea Pearls and Babys Ears

SEA PEARLS and BABYS EARS were some favorite gems to be found at Lighthouse Beach this week. They blend in with all the other shells and bling so I feel so rewarded when I find one. It’s like I feel lucky that I saw the beauty in them when others may have passed them by without giving them a glance. That’s why beachcombers “get” each other, right? Beachcombers know there are hundreds of treasures the sea offers …but we just have to take our time to look for them.

beach bucks

But I feel luckiest when we meet other beach combers on the beach like Lee and Susan (formerly of Guantanamo Bay) who turn into friends for life because they feel the same way. So much fun!

Beach Combing with the Merrills

We not only found those SEA BEAN treasures at Lighthouse Beach, we combed the beach at Gulfside beach…

The boys beach combing low tide Sanibel

…Where we saw some nice SAND DOLLARS, OLIVES and a few other nice finds.

Shells and bling at Bowmans Beach Sanibel

Each beach we went to, we saw completely different shells and bling. We walked along Bowman’s Beach to find a few small shell piles…

bowmans beach shells and water

Lee caught a few SHARKS EYES rolling in the surf.

Shells at beachcombing Bowmans Beach

Oooooo… and look at that FLAT SCALLOP and ALPHABET CONE Clark found…  perfect!

Beachcombing shells at Bowmans Beach
This was my fave find of the week… a brilliant, bright orange RIBED CANTHARUS. Omigosh… Eye candy.

Ribbed Cantharus Bowman Beach beachcombing

But even if I didn’t find the RIBBED CANTHARUS, I found happiness…

Beach combing with friends

With some of my fave peeps …

Rambo and Merrills at Lighthouse beach

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An Adventure In Paradise with Captiva Cruises

Posted by on Sep 20, 2015 in Baby's Ear, Captiva, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Purple Sea Urchin, Seashells, Urchin, West Indian Sea Egg | 9 comments

seashells on purple

We had quite an adventure on our iLoveShelling trip to Cayo Costa on Friday. The morning started out with rain but our die hard group of shellers waited it out until our Captiva Cruises captains Jorge and Carlos made sure we could make it safely to the island.

boarding captiva cruises boat

We ended up going to the north side of Cayo Costa to dock at the ranger station (which is not the usual place we go for the iLoveShelling trips). The we hopped aboard the “shell shuttle” (they really don’t call it that- I kinda just made that up. But hmmm.. but they should, right?) to take us to the beach and back.

riding shell tram on cayo costa
It turned out to be a beautiful day and the beach was loaded with dried washed up SEA URCHINS.

sea urchin on the beach

They were everywhere.

seaweed seashells and sea urchins of sw florida

The colors were abshellutely gorgeous with green, pink, purple, beige and lavender.

sea urchin colors

It was so much fun seeing Martha again from our July trip (CLICK HERE) and she told me she was still looking for a BABYS EAR. There were quite a few people on the last trip that found them but she wasnt one of the lucky ones. So on the boat ride over to the island this time, I told her the north side of the island wasn’t normally the place to look for them so she probably wouldn’t find one. Well she proved me wrong! haha As soon as we got to the beach, there was a BABYS EAR sitting right in the middle wrack line. Omigosh! And then Martha found another one. It goes to show you… don’t ever think that you can outwit Mother Nature. Congrats Martha!

martha found a baby ear

Ron and Rene from PA had some shelltastic luck with finding not just URCHINS, but so many OLIVES too.

collecting shells and beach treasures

But I think Rene’s fave was that sweet double SUNRAY VENUS.

seashells and sea urchins

Jay and Jane from Georgia found all sorts of cool shell loot. Look at Jane… she can’t take her eyes off such fun finds. heehee

finding treasures in florida

Tim and Fran (Ohio) found a few faves but check out the size of Fran’s huge SHARKS EYE. Y’all are so much fun! Oh and sorry again Fran for throwing you under the bus- haha.

finding shells on a shelling trip cruise

John and Dee from Illinois along with Bart and Laurie from Pennsylvania found a few keepers but I think their faves were the SAND DOLLARS- look at those smiles. Dee, it was such a pleasure to talk with you and meet you. You are soooo dear!

happy collecting shells on cayo costa

Cuties Julie and Ron from California found a few treasures too. It’s always so much fun to hang out on the boat and to see who found what- shell ‘n tell!

shelling trip to cayo costa florida

I think Terry and Michelle from Arkansas were as obsessed at seeing so many SEA URCHINS as I was. Michelle and I kept saying  “… and theres another one! … and look at that color!”.

shelling cayo costa

As you can see, some of them still had some of their spines but the insides were completely empty. It was fun to see them in so many different variations.

sea urchins of sw florida

Meet Jochen, Katja and their son Benedikt. They have fantastic sheller eyes especially for visiting from Germany since they are the ones that found the shells on the purple tray in the top photo. Way to go!

family on cayo costa island

You have to meet Jessica and Trudy from Ontario Canada. Jessica scored the one thing she wanted find on our trip- a SAND DOLLAR. What I found out is that she is an artist and she makes SAND DOLLARS… out of dough. She is a master confectioner and she brought me some of her cookies!


sweet shellers on shell cruise

OMG they are yummy and sooooo beautiful. Here’s a photo she took of the amazing sealife cookies on Instagram since they didn’t last long enough for me to take a photo of them … Clark and I devoured them. Thank you Jessica!

seashell and sealife cookies edible art


It was an amazing, adventurous day with such fun shellers!

number 5 beach bouy

And… as with all iLoveShelling cruisesCongress Jewelers (Sealife By Congress) gave everybody a $25 gift certificate to use in their store- they are so generous to the shelling community!

Sealife By Congress Jewelers

An adventure in paradise- It was surely a day to remember!

beach path to paradise cayo costa florida

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