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

Boating and Beach Combing in Bonita Springs

Posted by on Nov 20, 2015 in Big Hickory Island, Bonita Beach, Bonita Out Islands, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Sea Life, Sight Sea-R Cruises Shelling Boat | 9 comments

Alphabet cone sea shells with whelk and nutmeg

It’s not easy to find ALPHABET CONES on a regular shelling day but Nicolene and Andrew from Wisconsin found these 3 (check out the one in the middle- perfect lip!) along with some other amazing shells at Big Hickory Island on our iLoveShelling Adventure with Sight Sea-R Cruises.

Nicolene Andrew Wisconsin with alphabet cone

Holy Cowrie! Look at this ALPHABET CONE!

beach combing shells in big hickory

Yes it lost most of the color patterns… but who cares… Its shellmongus! But don’t let that over shadow so many of the other exshellent finds.

seashells Big Hickory

Linda was also a happy girl while combing this beach.

Linda from NY visits sw Florida for seashells

Yep, she found an ALPHIE too but just to find so many other different species of shells makes for a day to remember.

shell and beach bling found with iLoveShelling

It was so much fun to meet you, Kerstin (from Germany) and also “see” you on Instagram.

Kersten from Germany visits Florida for sea shells

Apparently we have the same taste in shells and bling because she collected cool SEA BEANS, FALSE ANGEL WINGS, WORMIES, BUTTERCUPS, sweet SCALLOPS and that GAUDY NATICA.

shells and sea beans collecting in Florida with Pam Rambo

Terri (Indiana) couldn’t wait to sort through her beach finds when we got back on the boat.

Terri Indiana with shells

A few of her favorite finds. Love that TINTED CANTHARUS.

seashells from seashelling

Have you ever seen a cutie little GAUDY NATICA that teeny tiny? Debbie (Indiana) has got an eagle eye to have spotted that.

Debbie from indiana find seashells in sw florida

Her teeny tiny PEAR WHELK might be just as cute too (and ROSE TELLINS!).


So good to see you again on such a nice day, Carol and Phil.

Carol Phil on shelling tour

Seeing your mini shells placed in your SURF CLAM shell seriously made my day. Love it!


Talk about making my day… Dee and Lou! I always say that shellers are the nicest folks on the planet. It’s true. And they are at the top of the list.

sea shellers Dee and Lou grammy

So this is THE “Maureen” and Mark from Kentucky. This THE Maureen who won my CANVAS JUNONIA SHELLOGRAPH! Remember that giveaway (CLICK HERE)? Well, as soon as we stepped on the boat she told me that she had been the lucky winner. So much fun to finally meet you Maureen and congrats again!!!

maureen mark KY find shells and bling

I met Penny from England 2 years ago on another iLS trip and I learned about shells from The Channel Islands. It’s always so much fun to learn about shells around the world – thank you again Penny. So much fun to see you again (I love my KITTENS PAW – meow).

Penny from England find shells visiting Florida

I could have talked beachcombing, books and bling with Susan, Marion and Mike from England (more awesome Brits!) on the whole boat ride back to the dock after seeing their loot. Kindred spirits.

shellers susan marion mike from england

As always, each passenger on this and all iLoveShelling cruises received a $25 gift certificate from Congress Jewelers  (formerly Sealife By Congress) to use in their store. Thank you Congress Jewelers for being so generous with the iLoveShelling community!

Sanibel Sealife Congress Jewelers gift certificate

I wish I could share all of the amazing things that happen on these trips. I tried to get a shot of about 6 DOLPHINS jumping and playing in the water right beside our boat. This splash is the best that I could get… but I hope you can imagine and feel like you were there. It was wild!

dolphin jumping on florida cruise

I’m still working on new shelling adventure dates for February through May but I have December and January dates still available- to join us CLICK HERE.


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Golden Day On Cayo Costa

Posted by on Nov 8, 2015 in Blue Heron, Captiva, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Florida Wildlife, Golden Olive, Melampus, Olive, White Melampus | 7 comments

Golden Olive live mollusk Oliva sayana

We had a golden opportunity to watch a healthy, live GOLDEN OLIVE that Sara found in the water on our iLoveShelling adventure boating to Cayo Costa with Captiva Cruises on Friday. It’s always so thrilling to see a GOLDEN OLIVE (which is the not-so-common yellow color form of the LETTERED OLIVE) much less, be able to the live creature come out to say hi. Of course Sara placed it back in the water where she found it after I quickly snapped a few photos. So cool- good eye Sara!

Sara indiana with golden olive

The Shellucky Bucket of shells really works! On each of my shelling trips, I have a bucket of shells that pass around so everybody can pick a lucky shell to put in their pocket to give them a little bit more luck on our day together. Most shellers are already lucky but I feel like Clark and I are lucky enough so we want to share our luck by putting our shells we collect in the Shellucky Bucket so shellers like Barbara (CA), Judy and Bill (Fort Myers) to tune into even more Rambo shellapathic senses. haha

barbara cali, judy, bill ft myers shells

Every single time I step on the beach at Cayo Costa, there’s a special feeling I get. I think it’s called… peaceful and easy.

Boating to islands for shells

And it’s exciting! Sharon, Gina, Sue and Barb from Kansas City, MO all found SAND DOLLARS.

Sharon, Gina, Sue, Barb Kansas City with sand dollars on Cayo Costa Florida

So did local sheller Dale from Ft Myers.
Dale Ft Myers with sand dollars on Cayo costa

Dave and Becky (Kansas) found SAND DOLLARS too along with some other nice finds too.

Dave Becky Kansas Sand Dollars from Cayo Costa

Kelli (MN) was searching in the high tide wrack line for the mini shells.

Kelli MN at cayo costa

She found a few shells that I haven’t found in a while… a MORTON’S EGG COCKLE (golden!) and a SPECKLED TELLIN. She was also happy to find her first BABYS EAR.

speckled tellin, babys ear, mortons egg cockle

Shells on the beach Cayo Costa Florida

Susie and Chris from Oregon found sweet little COMB BITTERSWEETS in this same shell line pictured above.

Susie Chris Oregon comb bittersweets

I love how each of the COMB BITTERSWEETS have their own unique patterns and golden colors on them.

comb bittersweets

This was a special girls trip for Irma and Joyce who were visiting SW Florida from Canada. Joyce knew every single shell name so it was so much fun to see what they were finding.

Irma, Joyce Canada visit sanibel for shells

Bivalves! Be still my heart. They were thrilled to have found quite a few Purplish Tagelus and to realize how many different colors of JINGLES and COQUINAS are found on Cayo Costa.

bivalve mollusk purplish tagalus jingles coquina

Jackie and Ritchie visiting from Flagler Beach found a few faves… COCKLES and CONCHS.

jackie ritchie flagler beach shells on cayo costa

It’s always so much fun to hang out with so many fabshellous beach combers together in one place to really see how we all find so much joy on the beach. 

collection of seashells and beach bling

I looooove to see all of the different treasures and identify the ones that are firsts time finds for folks. The largest white shell is a BABYS EAR, the brown shell to the left of it is a COFFEE MELAMPUS and the small white shell is a WHITE MELAPUS.
babys ear coffee white melampus


Teresa from North Carolina found all sorts of gifts from the sea and is also showing off her other gifts too- a new bumper sticker and $25 gift certificate from Sealife By Congress .

Teresa NC with shells and gifts from the sea

On every iLoveShelling shelling trips, each passenger receives that $25 gift certificate from Congress Jewelers on Sanibel (and the iLoveShelling bumper sticker- heehee). Oh happy days!

Sealife By Congress Jewelers

It was so much fun to see friends Cliff and Tina on our trip too with their family Scott and Tracy. It was such a beautiful day and seeing y’all made it that much better!

Cliff Tina Scott Tracy

You can join us on one of our iLoveShelling adventures too! For dates and info CLICK HERE


Blue Heron on Cayo Costa


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Everything’s Coming Up Rose Petal Tellins in Big Hickory

Posted by on Nov 2, 2015 in Beach Seed Pods, Big Hickory Island, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Dove Snail, Rose Tellin, Rusty Dove Shell, Sea Bean, Sea Pearl, Sight Sea-R Cruises Shelling Boat, Sparse, Sparse Dove | 8 comments

rose petal tellins alphabet cone and sharks eye beach finds

Julie (Colorado) must have put on her ROSE colored glasses to find so many ROSE PETAL TELLIN shells on our iLoveShelling Adventure on Sight Sea-R Cruises trip. And how ’bout those beautiful SHARKS EYES and ALPHABET CONE too?

julie colorado shell seeker

There were so many different shell and wrack lines to look through since the beach was so wide on Big Hickory Island. Margaret (NC) searched way up high on the beach to find a few treasured SEA PEARLS.

margaret nc sea pearl sea bean beach combing

sea pearl beach comber find

It was really cool to see Russ on our trip again because he always finds such interesting stuff.


Russ found 2 dove shells swfl

He found two little shells that aren’t so easily spotted. The one on the left is a RUSTY DOVE shell and the one on the right is a SPARSE DOVE. I don’t find the RUSTY DOVE all that much so I think thats a really cool find- exshellent!

rusty and sparse dove shell

Kathy and Mark found all sorts of cool treasures… 

Kathy Mark shelling cruise

I’d say this was a pretty awesome day to find that really yellow HORSE CONCH, huge SHARKS EYE, an ANGEL WING, FLORIDA CONE, ROSE TELLIN, perfect WHELKS, WORMIES (!) and if you could only see how beautiful that FIGHTING CONCH is with a spectacsheller purple interior.


Cutie Shellootie Isabela and her gramma Karen (Wisconsin) found all sorts of goodies too. 

isabela karen Wisconsin shellers

They both love all of the shells and beach bling too. I have a feeling there will be a really fun shell craft day in their future. Fun! Ohhhhh and especially withthat ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHER.

seashells and beach bling for artist

So many happy faces and cool shellers were out with us… like Debbie and Leah from St. Louis.


debbie leah sharks eye shell horse conch

Once that HORSE CONCH is cleaned up, it will be really fabshellous- it’s such a nice size. And talk about size… that SHARK’S EYE is huge.

horse conch and sharks eye

Talk about happy! I love this cuteness of Connie from Pine Island with that tiny little perfect SAND DOLLAR. That’s always something to be happy about.

Connie pine island sand dollar

Well, of course there’s WORM SHELLS to be happy about too! Diane wanted to find her first WORM SHELL… and she ended up finding way more than one and an ANGEL WING too. Gotta love those wormies.

Diane found worm shells georgia

There was so much to explore and it was fun sharing it with shellers like Kiva and Doug from Ponce Inlet, FL.

kiva doug ponce inlet shellers

We all found such a variety of different treasures.

fargo worm shell

I found a few treasures too! Look at these cutie sisters Diane and Marilyn in their i Love Shelling tees and bright shelling gear.

diane marilyn chicago i love shelling t shirts

Did you notice that these Kansas City gals Sheila Candace and Toni have their hands up? They are showing off their cutie OLIVE bracelets that Candace made them all for their shelling trip to Florida (CLICK HERE to see bracelet tutorial to make your own). So cute! Oh and do you remember Candace? She is the one who inspired me to find out about that TEXAS LONG HORN BRYOZOA and learn about that cool BEACH BLING.

Sheila Candace Toni shell bracelets and seashell collecting

Thank you Kathy and Charlie (PA) for the blast from the past and wearing your Sanibel Six tees. It was so fun to see y’all.

sanibel 6 tee shirts Kathy Charlie PA

I have to apologize to some folks since my iPhone camera got a little wacky- it fogged up. Dunno, but I still have to show you Cathy and Pete’s finds even though the pic isn’t great- Im so sorry!


cathy pete foggy shells

I know the photo isn’t great but the shells and bling were so beautiful, I’m sure you can still appreciate them (?).

shells from Big Hickory Island

Any way, it was a blast of a time out on the water boating to one of the out islands of SW Florida. Thanks for joining me, y’all!

Shelling trip to Sw Florida out islands

Join me on another iLoveShelling adventure CLICK HERE 


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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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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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Cruising to Sea Treasures Of Diamonds And Pearls

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in Big Hickory Island, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Sea Bean, Sea Pearl, Sight Sea-R Cruises Shelling Boat | 12 comments

Shells found on beach combing shelling trip in Florida

I had the best time beach combing with some pretty amazing folks yesterday on our iLoveShelling Adventure with Sight Sea-R Cruises to Little Hickory Island yesterday. For some reason I felt like I already knew John and Amy from Colorado and when they showed me their shell loot, I felt like they were shelling twins to Clark and me. LOL Those are the shells (in the top photo) they found in the first half hour of hitting the beach.

John and Amy from Steamboat vacation Sanibel for shells

There were shells in the water and also a few nice piles up on the beach as well.

beach combers dream of a mound of shells

How could I not fall in love with Don and Delores from Michigan as they both have such a love for shelling and spread that happiness around to everyone.

Don and Dolores Michigan iLoveShelling shirt with shells

Here are a few of their fave shells they found. Such beauties.

Shells found beach combing south west Florida

Brandon, Jacob and Robin (NJ) found some awesome shells too…

Brandon, Jacob and Robin NJ beachcombing Florida

Check out Jacob’s perfect ALBINO LIGHTNING WHELK. It is gorgeous! And Its amazing how many NUTMEGS were found on the trip too.

Albino whelk along with other beautiful shells

So after I took the picture with Brandon, Jacob and Robin’s shells, Robin came up to me a few minutes later to show me another shell she found. Excellent ALPHIE, Robin!

Alphabet cone on beach combing trip in Florida

Linda and Mike (New Hampshire) were thrilled they found some new shells and beach bling they’ve never found before.

Linda, Mike from New Hampshire find shells in Florida

Look at all the SEA PEARLS! It’s always fun to find something different washed up on the beach and it was the SEA BEANS for Mike and Linda. Another gift of the sea… PEARLS!

sea pearls and shells found along Gulf Of Mexico

Local sheller Ramona (Estero) has never been able to make it to Big Hickory before since you can only get there by boat. 

Ramona from Estero beach combing Big Hickory

I’m thrilled she came with us for her first adventure to the island… and that she found treasures like diamonds in the rough.

Seashells collected cruising through Estero Bay Florida

I always love to meet the “mini” lovers … and Patty (Chicago) was the “mini” shell girl yesterday. 

Patty Chicago finds beach shells

See? A handful of mini goodness.

IMG_2632 shells

Toni and Danielle (Orlando) were finding lots of keepers up n the high wrack line.

Toni Danielle from Orlando find perfect sharks eye shell

Toni’s favorite shell was this gorgeous and colorful SHARKS EYE that sparkled like a diamond too.

sharks eye moon snail shell

We had newbie shellers on our shelling trip…and they were so much fun! Texas girls Shelley (she was born to shell), Mitzy, Linda and Judy found lots of shells to put in their matching nets and bags (heehee) and saw each shell as a beautiful gift of the sea. They were bursts of fresh air all by themselves. 

First time shellers Shelley, Mitzy, Linda and Judy from Texas

As with all iLoveShelling shelling cruise trips, each passenger received a $25 gift certificate to Congress Jewelers’ Sealife By Congress store. Thank you Congress for being so generous to our shelling community.

Sealife By Congress Jewelers

It was a beautiful day with a beautiful group of shellers.

Beach combers at low tide in Estero flats

And with a lot of beautiful sharing of shells going on too.

sharing shells

The boat ride to the island was even so amazing as we cruised through Estero Bay with sightings of ROSEATE SPOONBILLS, DOLPHINS, a SEA TURTLE, a MANATEE, a STINGRAY and oodles of other birds and fish. It was truly a in paradise. Estero beautiful birding boat ride


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