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

i Love Shelling Cruise to Mystery Rocks

Posted by on May 14, 2016 in Big Hickory Island, Bryozoa, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Sea Bean, Sea Pearl, Sight Sea-R Cruises Shelling Boat | 16 comments

alphabet cone

Nice ALPHABET CONE, Denise!  She found this incredible shell (incredishell) while beach combing with her family Devin, Paul and Gwyneth (they found awesome shells as well!) at Big Hickory Island on our iLoveShelling adventure with Sight Sea-R Cruises earlier this week.

I had such a great time seeing everybody find ANGEL WINGS, WORM SHELLS, SUNRAY VENUS shells and some much more. It’s what makes it so special to me.


beach combing

It was so much fun to talk to Sarah and Catherine about their shelling trip to North Caicos they took last year. After I posted about our trip to Turk and Caicos in 2013, they followed our same trip and loved it just as much as we did.

IMG_6111 seashells on green

I’ve “met” Jason and Twyla on iLveShelling Facebook page but I finally got to meet in person on our trip. It was a blast to hang out with y’all!


Jason showed me the KNOBLESS FIGHTING CONCH he found compared to the regular “knobbed” FIGHTING CONCH. And of course one of a few SAND DOLLARS he found.

knobless knobbed fighting conch

Subreda and Sumita came all the way from Mumbai, India to visit local sheller Menju and to join us for our shelling day. They are awesome they even shared some yummy Indian snacks – deeee-licious.  Thank you so much for shelling with us, y’all.


These are some of Sumita’s shells…


The shelling girls Mickey, Becky and Carolyn came out to shell with us too.


Mickey found her first SEA PEARLS…

sea pearls sea beans swfl

Sisters Robin and Sue went for totally different shells.


Sue found an awesome ALPHIE, ANGELS, TULIP, KINGS CROWNS and cool Beach Bling like BRYOZOANS and SEA PEARLS.


Robin found happiness in the mini shell pile… look at that sweetest lintiest SAND DOLLAR omg.

mini shells

We were in the presents of lots of other mini shell lovers too like Cheri.


Hey Hey, They are back! Jerry and Livy are learning their way around Big Hickory better than anybody on the beach and in the water. They’ve been on this same cruise quite a few time and it’s so dang cool that Jerry shares his knowledge with everybody too.

jerry livy


On our boat ride to the island, I saw Jon and Bob with snorkel gear so I asked Jerry if he would give them any tips. While Romaine combed the beach her men, Jon and Bob snorkeled around the water and used some of Jerry’s advice… Oh yea. Happy faces!


Most of our shellers found their treasures on the beach, like Diane and John…


… and Laura, Mike, Paula and Jim

IMG_6099… and Wendell and Liz . IMG_6098

On the return boat ride after our fabshellous shelling adventure,  Bob and Romaine had mentioned they find Fulgurite pieces (fused quartz that happens when lightning strikes the sand. Remember the movie “Sweet Home Alabama”? ) on beaches of North Carolina and they thought they found some FULGURITE on Big Hickory too. Since shellers are so like minded, I showed their pieces to our whole boat of shellers … come to find out, we all collected similar pieces. Ok, so…. these are the pieces in the photo below. We are still trying to figure out if they could be FULGURITE. Last year on this iLoveShelling cruise, we had a geologist on the boat and he thought it was wave tumbled concrete from an old concrete structure. He thought the holes were old shells that had crumbled over time. Hmmmmmm… the mystery continues. Concrete? Or FULGURITE? Whadaya think?
maybe fulgurite lightning strikes sand rocks

To make the day even happier, everybody received their gift certificate from Congress Jewelers too!

Sealife By Congress Jewelers

It was an amazing day with awesome folks. Thank you for coming!

pam rambo with shellers on cruise


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Massive Mound Of Seashells

Posted by on Apr 11, 2014 in Blind Pass, Bryozoa, Gulf Side City Beach (Algier's), Lighthouse, Purple Sea Urchin, Texas Longhorn Bryozoa, Urchin | 26 comments

massive shells on Captiva island florida

Be still my beating heart!! Seeing this awesome sight of a massive mound of shells sure does get the blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing.

Captiva island mound of sea shells

Blind Pass Captiva was rocking yesterday afternoon with shells rolling in with every wave. I stood on top of the mound to see Barb from St Louis pick up a gorgeous orange FLAT SCALLOP.

barb from st louis found flat scallop shell on captiva florida

Debbie from Cape Coral found her first part of a JUNONIA which is the perfect size to make into a necklace or other piece of jewelry.

debbie from cape coral finds top of junonia on captiva island

I was thrilled to see that Sharon from Orlando found a very cool piece of bling…

sharon from orlando finds a texas longhorn on Captiva island Florida

… Two different TEXAS LONGHORNS! This is great BEACH BLING! If you missed my post about them in January, you should read this post … CLICK HERE.

texas longhorn bryozoa captiva

Yesterday morning, I was at Gulfside City Park to find a wrack line of shells as far as I could see. Seeing a long string of shells like this along the shore gets my heart pumping too but once I start picking through them, it has a different effect on me… I relax and zone out everything else in the world. Love, love, love.

seashells wash up on sanibel island florida in april

These are some of my gorgeous treasures…

seashells and beach bling on sanibel island florida

On my last post when I showed you that crazy STARFISH eating the SEA URCHIN, I didn’t get a chance to show you some of the other cool things I found at Lighthouse Beach just after the storms came through.

beach at sanibel lighthouse before the storm

I met Pam and Steve from Iowa as he was scooping up shells to bring to her to sort. It reminded me of that video of the Shellingmen Tribe I did last year. LOL

shelling at the Sanibel lighthouse with rain


bag of Sanibel shells with dosinias

They even found a perfect PURPLE SEA URCHIN.

pam found purple sea urchin

I still have so many other cool things but they will have to wait but just so you know…. Most beaches along Southwest Florida today should till be very good shelling conditions. So if you are any where near a swfl beach, get going! Just try your luck at finding at least one sweet treasure.

seashells wash up around jetty rocks

Oh… and I added a button on the right side on this page about my camera. I constantly get asked what type of camera I use so I decided its time I just made a page about it. I’ve tried to get fancy and buy several really high end cameras with big zoom lenses but it never works out since I end up worrying about my camera instead of enjoying my time beach combing. So I stick with this one because I can capture a great photo or video while I am enjoying my time on the beach (FYI- its not waterproof though).

my panasonic camera

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Howdy, Mister Texas Longhorn

Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 in Bryozoa, Sarasota Shell Show, Texas Longhorn Bryozoa | 21 comments

candace longhorn bryozoa

Oh how I love a good mystery….but even better I love a mystery that is solved! Back in November on our iLoveShelling shelling cruise to Cayo Costa, I met Ken and Candace from Missouri who showed me a piece of “BEACH BLING“.

Candice Ken Missouri olive bracelet shelling

They found it on the beach at the Island Inn on Sanibel where they were staying. After looking at the shape, the texture and by feeling the light weight of it, I told her I thought it was some sort of BRYOZOAN COLONY but those darker spots on it were throwing me off a little. Hmmmmm…. could it be a CORAL? Naaaaa….. but those spots. I’ve seen this type of piece before but I couldn’t place it.

Mystery coral texas longhorn

 Here’s the weird thing… Later that afternoon Trisha James posted this photo on iLoveShelling Facebook page saying she found this piece on Navarre Beach, Florida. OMG There it is again! But now I recognize that longer shape a little more because I saw a display of this very same thing in February at the Sarasota Shell Show.  I also remembered there was a cool story that went along with piece of bling as well.

texas longhorn looks like spotted coral

So I tore through all of my photos (I am soooo not an organized person so trust me, this is quite a task- ha!) to find this one picture of Doug Thompson’s TEXAS LONGHORN exhibit. Aha! That’s right! It’s a TEXAS LONGHORN!

texas longhorn bryozoan colony display doug thompson

And here is the story Doug Thompson added to his very cool exhibit…

 This structure is built by a colony of tiny marine animals of the phylum Bryozoa, genus Hippoporidra, species (on our Atlantic coast) not known. Much as the coral polyps build large reefs, so these little bryozoa build the Longhorn, starting with a small deposit of calcareous material on a shell or shell fragment, and building in the coil outward until it is large enough to sustain the weight of the horns. After the horns are started, the whole building continues to grow, sometimes reaching an over-all span of six inches.

    All this design and growth is not with purpose: the Texas Longhorn houses a small hermit crab whose full name isPylopagurus corallinus (Benedict). He differs from most other hermits in that his body lacks the twist to the left which makes it possible for other species to inhabit dead snails, most of which open to the right. Pylopagurus corallinus has a small, straight body because the spiral cavity he occupies is all on one plane. Like other hermits he has a shelly anterior and a soft, defenseless abdomen.” 

You can read the rest of this fascinating information – CLICK HERE.

So the mystery was solved! But… then the holidays came along (and blah blah blah) and I never posted about them… so fast forward to this week  when I saw all of the off the hook shells that Tam Tam from Michigan found. She also found a TEXAS LONGHORN! I knew exactly what it was but realized I never posted about it.

tammy with texas longhorn shell found sanibel florida

So I’m thrilled I saw Tam Tam’s cool bling and thank you Candace for showing me your TEXAS LONGHORN on our cruise together then sending photos. And thank you Trisha for posting your photos to jog my memory of the Sarasota Shell Show exhibit.

shells and texas longhorn navarre florida

 Now we know… TEXAS LONGHORNS. And have several more symbiotic relationships.

Join us for a Shelling Adventure!

shelling adventures trips by pam

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Seashells, Beach Bling and …. Red Tide

Posted by on Nov 8, 2012 in Broad Paper Cockle, Bryozoa, Keyhole Limpet | 13 comments

 collect sea shells Sanibel

I’ve combed the beaches from Blind Pass Captiva to the east of Sanibel at the lighthouse. Mid island at Gulf Side City Park is still the best shelling I’ve found in the last few days. The shells in the photo above were only a few that Carol from PA pulled out of her shell bag to show me. Pretty nice finds, huh? The OLIVES have been gorgeous. Well… there’s the ALPHABET CONE, FLORIDA CONE, BANDED TULIPS, MUREXES, WHELKS and she had a few more of those sweet PAPER FIGS in her bag too.

carol gulf side city park seashells

There were still plenty of FIGHTING CONCHS (dead and alive) like I showed you the other day but what caught my eye was this beautiful BROAD PAPER COCKLE.

broad paper cockle

We have a few in our collection but some of them have chips in them so I’m always happy to find a pretty valve like this one!

pretty broad paper cockle

While I was at the lighthouse beach finding WENTLETRAPS (I’ll show you those on my next post), I found a KEYHOLE LIMPET.

keyhole limpet lighthouse

For me, finding shells is the cherry on top… but I also love to see all of the different kinds of BEACH BLING! And I’m not the only one… Dee pointed out this deep purple BRYOZOAN COLONY growing on the wire of a crab trap. Isn’t that so cool?

Bryozoan colony on crab trap

Most people walk right on by a mess of SEAWEED laying on the beach. Not me! I love to pick through it to see what is hiding in there.

seaweed beach bling

I found SEA WHIPS and ATLANTIC WING OYSTERS in all this BEACH BLING. Here’s a little movie to show you how I found them… (click on the next image if the movie thingie doesnt show up)

So there are so many different things to check out on the beaches right now… BUT… unfortunately we have RED TIDE coming in as well. I didn’t feel any respiratory problems today (which I have in the past when it was bad) but I did see dead fish. Yuck! Since they just washed in, I didnt really smell any bad odors so I didn’t mind walking right past them- there’s too many other cool things to inspect! Lee County issued a beach advisory yesterday so if you think you might have problems… read HERE.

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Beach Sea Whip Tips

Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Bryozoa, One-Tooth Simnia, Sanibel Shell Fair and Show, Sea Whip | 28 comments

purple sea whip

While sifting through the BEACH BLING on the east end of Sanibel this past week, I found a purple SEA WHIPS. I’ve collected a few over the years because of their beauty but now I look very carefully at them because at times, I’ll see little surprise hitch hikers on them. Take a closer look…

one-tooth simnia on sea whip

Did you see the two shells attached to two different branches? They practically camo themselves on the branches, don’t they? They are called ONE-TOOTH SIMNIAS.

Simnialena uniplicata

On this SEA WHIP I found last week, there are two ONE-TOOTH SIMNIAS attached to this one as well…

sea whip one-tooth simnia

I plucked one of the shells off the branch. Look at how sleek it is.

one-tooth simnia aperture

I never find these washed up on the beach… I wonder why? I’m sure they are there so I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for them. Here is the other view…

one-tooth simnia

Since this is a miniature shell I wanted to show you how big the ONE-TOOTH SIMNIA was in relation to a quarter. Unfortunately, all I see in this picture is George Washington getting comfy with one of those travel roll pillows around his neck. I hope you have better luck focusing on the size of the shell instead of the neck roll. ha!

one-tooth simnia size

I learned to look closely at SEA WHIPS because I saw a few displays in the scientific division of the 75th Sanibel Shell Fair and Show this year of interesting things that find homes on SEA WHIPS. Here is a very impressive display of a WEST INDIES CHANK SHELL EGG CASE attached to a SEA WHIP with the baby CHANK SHELLS coming out.

chank shell egg case

Awesome, right? Expert sheller Marilee describes her exhibit as…

“Egg case of Turbinella angulata    On sea plume (Pseudopterogorgia) Found on beach after storm near Jack’s Bay- Eleuthera Bahamas”

This was an “Aha moment” for me since she left the egg case attached to the SEA PLUME. Now I always look at what’s attached to the SEA WHIPS or SEA PLUMES mixed in with all the BEACH BLING. Thank you Marilee! It was such a pleasure to meet you at the show.

Moralee shell diplay

 I have another surprise to show you on my next post about SEA WHIPS. I found another cool shell attached to them! Until then, take a look at another hitchhiker….a BRYOZOAN COLONY hanging out on this purple lovely.

Sea whip with bryozoan colony

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Captiva Cruises Boat To Cayo Costa

Posted by on Apr 13, 2012 in Albino Cockle, Albino Shells, Atlantic Giant, Baby's Ear, Bryozoa, Cancellate Semele, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Cloudy Periwinkle, Coral, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Dolphin, False Angel Wing, Jingle, Leopard, Mussel, Periwinkles, Purplish Semele, Semele, Southern Ribbed Mussul, Sunray Venus, Yellow Prickly Cockle | 17 comments

cayo costa south west florida

Another Spring Break adventure! On Wednesday, Lori, Hayley, Culter and I went to the secluded island of Cayo Costa to relax and enjoy another gorgeous day on the islands.captiva cruises sign

I had problems getting out our own boat  (Clark was busy at work so he couldn’t help) so we decided to take the easy route and hop on the Captiva Cruises shelling boat Play Time for the afternoon trip.

play time captiva boat

Low and behold, guess who our captain was… my buddy Captain Brian Holaway! It was a nice surprise!

captain brian

After securing the boat on the south tip of Cayo Costa, Capt Brian walked over to our shelling spot to join us for a few minutes and immediately picked up an ALBINO YELLOW PRICKLY COCKLE. Wow, can he spot those albinos! Remember he won a red ribbon for his ALBINO WHELK at the Sanibel Shell Show this year? Amazing!

albino cockle

 I didn’t find an albino but I quickly found a handful of my own fave honeys.

angel wings baby ears

BABY’S EARS and FALSE ANGEL WINGS (they look like cute little juvie ANGEL WINGS)…

babys ears false angel wings

 Lots of beauteous JINGLES…

jingle seashells


cloudy periwinkle

cloudy periwikles

 I also found a PURPLISH SEMELE (left) and a CANCELLATE SEMELE (right). I’m not sure why I don’t find more of these on Sanibel but I have better luck finding them on Cayo Costa, North Captiva and in Marco. hmmmm

purplish and cancellate semele

I had thought at one time that this BRYOZOAN COLONY was a type of CORAL but as you can see side by side… it’s not a piece of CORAL like the branch on the right. I found both of these past the tree roots on the Gulf side of the beach. (click HERE for more info on Bryozoan Colony)

bryozoa coral difference

Okay, this one might not be your taste but I thought this SOUTHERN RIBBED MUSSEL was just so pretty for some reason. One day, when I get a fancy camera to show you the nice details up close and personal, I promise…I’ll be able to capture more of the beauty in some of these obscure seashells.

southern ribbd mussel

 After combing, sunning and shelling this gorgeous beach, Hayley, Cutler and Lori (VA) headed back to the boat with me after one more climb on the BLACK MANGROVE tree roots.

hayley cutler lori cayo costa

On the boat ride back, I couldn’t help but see how excited Margie, Kristi and Mike (California) were about their seashell loot!

margie kristi mike california

 They found oodles of ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLES…

shells cayo costa south florida

 Quite a few humongus SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…

sunray venus cayo costa

 And a really big LEOPARD CRAB shell.

leopard crab cayo costa

 It was a perfect day on the water with calm aqua seas, warm temps in the 80s and DOLPHINS surrounding the boat.

dolphin captiva cruises boat

And to top if off, it was great being with good friends and having lots of seashell souvenirs to bring home to remember the day.

seashells cayo costa


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