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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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Calm, Cool and Collecting Shells

Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in Big Hickory Island, Bonita Beach, Bonita Out Islands, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Sight Sea-R Cruises Shelling Boat | 15 comments

sand dollar with shell bracelet

Another day, another fabshellous SAND DOLLAR on our iLoveShelling Adventure to Big Hickory Island with Sight Sea-R Cruises yesterday.

boating to shelling destination in Florida

It was a blast and an amazingly calm, beautiful day to hunt for shells.

collecting shells in Bonita Florida

family time on the beach

Patti Goodwin (Nova Scotia) found a perfect SAND DOLLAR just moments of stepping on the beach.  That’s her SAND DOLLAR in the first photo with the shell bracelet similar to mine. We both go them from the Sealife By Congress line at Congress Jewelers. Love it!

Pat Goodwin with sand dollar

Erin (Chicago) had great luck with ANGEL WINGS and WORM SHELLS…

Erin from Chicago found angel wings on the beach

angel wings coquinas worm shells

It was so much fun to meet Megan H and her dad Peter (Illinois) after reading many of her comments here on iLS. Such a lovely time hanging out with you!

Megan H, Peter from Illinois collecting shells in sw FL


beach finds from sw florida

I’m always thrilled to meet such great shelling families who enjoy being out on the beach together exploring. Fredrik, James, Michael and Jinny from VA were such a treat to talk with and shell with.
Fredrik, James, Michael, Jinny from VA find shells in FL

I was so happy to see that they loose to collect minis. Can you see how big that TUSK SHELL is in James’ hand? He even found a WENTLETRAP!

collecting tusk shells

We had lots of other families too. Like cutie shellooties Pearl and Becca from Sarasota.

Becca and Pearl find shells in sw fl

Marlene, Max, Emily and Ryan found a few keepers too.

Marlene, Max, Emily, Ryan on shelling boat

Charles, Ava, Andrea and Charlotte came to Southwest Florida from Ohio to enjoy a little shelling…

Charles, Ava, Andrea and Charlotte from Ohio enjoy shelling cruise

So happy Liam, Rosamary, Jillian and Mike drove from north Florida to join us on our shelling adventure…

Liam, Rosamary, Jillian, Mike north Florida

Liam and Jillian have quite the shell eye. I wish I had shown a little more of Liam’s LACE MUREX (it’s just peaking out in between the OLIVES and WORMIE)- it’s gorgeous!

seashells crab shells and sea pearl

Teresa, Reagan, Daniel and Mark were visiting from Kentucky to have some fun shelling.

Teresa, Reagan, Daniel, Mark from KY find shells in sw fl

Reagan is another Shelling Sister that loves JINGLES and aqua nail polish (I do too, Reagan!).

jingle shells and aqua nails

So good to see Tim and Mary again as well…

Tim, Mary find shells on salty sms cruise

Time showed me a few of his favorite finds of the day and I couldn’t help but notice his SHARKS EYE had a rough texture on the surface.

shells and sand dollars found

A little closer look at it… Aha- That’s SNAIL FUR! SNAIL FUR ( Hydractinia echinata) is a HYDROID (related to JELLYFISH) that forms on shells that have HERMIT CRABS occupying them. Hmmm, I wonder why? I’ve never been able to get it completely off a SHARKS EYE shell without it looking scared but it’s kinda cool just to know what it is that coats SHARKS EYES because I normally don’t see SNAIL FUR on many other type shells.

sharks eye shell with snail fur hydroid Hydractinia echinata

But anyway, there were other shells that we found that will clean up beautifully!

seashells in a circle

It was an amazing day on the beach combing and collecting in the cool, blue, calm waters surrounding Big Hickory Island on our Sight Sea-R shelling cruise.

cool calm and collecting

And of course each passenger on this iLoveShelling Adventure received a $25 gift certificate to Congress Jewelers-  Yahoo!


New Cruise Dates Are Here! I just posted new dates for summer Shelling Adventures – CLICK HERE for reservations and schedules or click on…

pam rambo shelling trips


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Flip Flop Between Sand Dollars and Angel Wings

Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 in Angel Wing, Big Hickory Island, Bonita Beach, Bonita Out Islands, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, False Angel Wing, Sand Dollar, Sight Sea-R Cruises Shelling Boat | 11 comments

flip flops and seashells

I always flip flop when I try to decide which I like better… SAND DOLLARS or ANGEL WING shells.

sand dollars and angel wing shells

Some of the lucky shellers on our iLoveShelling Shelling Adventure with Sight Sea-R Cruises found both!

iLoveShelling Shelling trip on Sight Sea R Cruises

They were mixed in with WORM SHELLS and double SUNRAY VENUS shells too.

seashells found on big hickory island, florida on sight sea-r cruise

Loved hanging out with Shannon and Mark from Minnesota. The were happy to find their first ANGEL WINGS…

Shannon Mark MN on Big Hickory Island Florida beach

Lookie at these cutie shellooties Ellen, Paige, Melissa and Gail from Oregon all dressed up in their iLS gear. Love these shelling sisters!

Ellen, Melissa, Paige and Gail OR beach comb Florida

It so much fun to see so many familiar faces like cutie Mary. She was finding lots of perfectly dried HORSESHOE CRABS and WORM SHELLS.

Mary finds horseshoe crabs

Awwww and Michelle had her FLAT SCALLOP necklace on again to bring back lots of fun memories. She brought her sister Patti this time too so it was so much fun to hear their shelling stories together.

Patti Michelle shelling on Big Hickory Island

Michelle found a nice ALPHABET CONE to go along with her ANGEL WINGS and other BEACH BLING.

beach find faves for the day

I met another set of sisters Lyn and Lucy from Iowa at my Shellography Photography opening earlier in the week so it was so good to see them again.

lyn lucy iowa on shelling cruise

Lyn loves the minis too so these were her faves. This was the first time that I’ve seen anybody find a MORTON’S EGG COCKLE (bottom left of the ROSE PETAL TELLIN) on Big Hickory Island. Hmmmmm…. I know what I’ll be looking for next time I’m there!

mortons egg cockle, rose petal tellins, dusky cone, worm shells

Gary and Pam (Hi Pam!) found their first ANGEL WINGS too.

Pam and Gary find angel wings on Big Hickory Island

Along with Kathy and Bob from Mayaka, Florida…

kathy bob from mayaka, florida find angel wing shells

Who’s cute flip flops were those in the first photo? They were Linda’s! She and Jay from Cape Coral found those SAND DOLLARS, ANGEL WINGS and that big LIGHTNING WHELK in the high tide wrack line.

Linda Jay Cape Coral found sand dollars angel wings

Since Linda was afraid she was going to break her SAND DOLLAR before she got back on the boat, she saw Sight Sea-R’s Captain Phil combing the beach and checking the water conditions. He offered to “baby sit” her SAND DOLLAR to get it back to the boat in one piece. So nice! I guess he was her Shell Bank- a place to keep her DOLLARS safe.

Salty Sam's Captain Phil finds shells beach combing

My friend Robin Draper from Authentic Florida was on our cruise too along with her husband Mike. Woohoo! We might be seeing an article about this shelling adventure soon- if we do, I’ll post it here when she sends a link.

Robin Draper and Mike beach combing on shelling cruise

As on every iLoveShelling cruise, each passenger received an awesome $25 gift certificate from my fave jewelry store on Sanibel… Sealife By Congress (inside Congress Jewelers). They are fabshellous to the shelling community!

Congress gift certificate

It was such a fun day meeting so many incredishell shellers and hanging with so many familiar faces. I’m over the MOON SHELL.

gaudy nautica on southwest florida beach


Join us on an iLoveShelling Adventure… CLICK HERE

pam rambo shelling trips

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Successful Beach Combing Trip to Big Hickory Island

Posted by on Oct 9, 2014 in Angel Wing, Big Hickory Island, Bonita Beach, Bonita Out Islands, Colorful Moon shell, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Dolphin, Fort Myers Beach, Lace Murex, Moon Snail, Murex, Olive, Sand Dollar, Sight Sea-R Cruises Shelling Boat | 22 comments

Fort Myers shelling excursion to remote beach

This is what a path to beach combing paradise looks like.

Sea shell collection from day at Big Hickory with Pam Rambo

After arriving to the secluded island of Big Hickory on our iLoveShelling cruise with Sight Sea-R Cruises yesterday, we were welcomed by a shell filled beach and calm Gulf Of Mexico waters.

seashell collecting with i Love Shelling

WORM SHELLS and beautiful pieces of CORAL were every where…

worm shells and coral collected with Pam Rambo

In less than 5 minutes, Andrea found an incredishell LACE MUREX. She is such a lucky sheller! I met her in March on Sanibel after she found masses of great shells but the one I remembered the most was a CABRITS MUREX so it was so good to see her again. (CLICK HERE to see that post)

Andrea finds beautiful lace murex on i Love Shelling cruise

The first shell Gita found was a beautiful ROSE PETAL TELLIN.

Gita (GA) found rose petal tellin in Florida

It was so much fun to pick through the many shell piles to find so many treasures.

collecting shells at Big Hickory Island Florida

David and Willow were enjoying every minute especially the second Willow found her ANGEL WING. It’s the one shell she wanted to find on her whole trip from Colorado.

David and Willow Colorado find shells on Big Hickory Florida

One more thing checked off her “bucket” list…
white bucket shells on the beach

Don, Chuck and Marti from Libertyville, IL found such a wide range of gorgeous shells and beach bling.

Don, Chuck, Marti from Libertyville find shells in Florida

Oooohhh- Look at that huge TULIP along wit a PAPER FIG, FLORIDA CONE, ROSE PETAL TELLIN, SAND DOLLAR and TOP SHELL Marti found. And not to mention the fragment of JUNONIA – she got some spots! Shells picked up on Little Hickory beach with Pam Rambo

It was so much fun to hang out with Sue and Andrea from CT since they were thrilled to check off a few things on their bucket list like a CRUCIFIX SHELL for Sue and ANGEL WING for Andrea. They are birders as well as shellers so they checked off a few birds like the ROSEATE SPOONBILL and ROYAL TERN on their birding list on the boat ride over.

Sue and Andrea from CT finds shells on i Love Shelling cruise

angel wings shells and crucifix

shells in a beach net

It was a great day meeting shellers like Steve and Becki from Ohio.

Steve Becki (Ohio) find sea shells on i Love Shelling tour

found shells on sw florida beach

I caught up with Sanibel local Karen on the way back to the boat. Oh my goodness- She found 2 ALPHABET CONES!

Sanibel local Karen finds 2 alphabet cones on i Love Shelling cruise

As we got back on the boat to cruise back to Salty Sams Marina, it was the perfect time to peak at what other goodies this boat load of awesome folks like Anthony, Sonya (VA) and Sue  (Alaska) found.

Anthony Sonya (VA) Sue  (Alaska) on Big Hickory shelling cruise

Shellzam! Sonya found 3 ALPHABET CONES! Oh… And look at all three of those FIGHTING CONCHS on the left. All three of them have bright purple lips. I think its always special to find just one with a purple aperture but to find 3 in one day is very cool.

shelling excursion shells found

Janet from Pennsylvania had great success too! She was doing most of her beach combing on the shore and her husband Paul said he pretty much hung out in the water the whole time. That’s about how Clark and I shell too!

Janet Paul Pennsylvania visit Fort Myers on cruise

Janet was a happy girl to find a KINGS CROWN, double SUNRAY VENUS and OLIVES without the tips to make bracelets. The FIGHTING CONCHS she found had jet black openings- so pretty too.

beautiful shells found with Pam Rambo

Birthday girl Shelly (love her name!) and her husband Mitch (AKA her boyfriend for 32 years) found some amazing treasures.

Shelly and Mitch find shells on i Love Shelling cruise

Happy birthday to you Shelly! 2 ALPHABET CONES along with so many other great finds- wow!

shells collected on shelling cruise with Pam Rambo

Happy birthday to Linda from St Louis too! The birthday girls both found ALPHIES! Congratshellations!

Linda from St Louis finds alphabet cone shell Big Hickory Island

As I was hanging out with another Linda, her daughter Katie and granddaughter Emma (Missouri) looking at shells… Linda told me when she saw Linda from St Louis, she realized they went to nursing school together. Small world!

Linda Emma and Katie from MO visit Fort Myers shell cruise

These were Emma’s fave treasures. Sweet!

Emma's shells

Loved these to from Andrea and her family too…

shells in a horseshoe crab

Every minute of the 4 hour trip was such a pleasure to meet other like minded people and find hidden gems.

Florida cone in shell pile

Lettered Olive in a pile of clam shells

To experience the beauty of the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve and to see lots of DOLPHINS, bird and other wildlife on our way to and from the island on the boat is priceless.

shelling and dolphin cruise with Pam Rambo

I normally don’t collect anything while on the iLoveShelling cruises because I now enjoy the experience of sharing information and teaching others what to look for. I like that better than collecting more MUREXES, WHELKS or other shells that we have plenty of. But…. that being said… I found a treasure too yesterday! In the highest dry wrack line, I found a lovely pink ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHER. Ooooooo- such a treat!

roseate spoonbill feather in beach wrack

Join us one of our next shelling adventures or Shellabaloo! CLICK HERE for dates and events.

shelling adventures trips by pam

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Little Hickory Sunset Seashells

Posted by on Nov 20, 2012 in Alphabet Cone, Bonita Beach, Cone, Little Hickory Beach, Sunsets | 27 comments

seashells sunset bonita springs

On our way back to Sanibel from a day in Naples, we couldn’t resist stopping to see sunset at Little Hickory Beach in Bonita Beach.

sunset little hickory

 Oooooh I’m so glad we did! Not only did we see a gorgeous sunset, but we spotted a shell or two.

sunset bonita springs florida

Then another!

bonita springs sunset conch shell

The further I walked the more I saw!

jetty shells bonita beach hickory

That’s when I met locals Michael (North Ft Myers) and Cheri (Lehigh) who were collecting some of these gorgeous shells.

seashelling little hickory bonita florida

Then Michael plucked this awesome ALPHABET CONE out of his shell bag!

alphabet seashell spots

Wait! The sun was going down too quickly! We wanted to shell some more after seeing that CONE! Hmmmmm… but low tide would be in the morning. Ha! Yes, you guessed it. Clark and I went back at low tide and found a treasure trove of shells. Weeeee! But I’m so sorry! I’ll have to show you those tomorrow since there is so much to do to get ready for Thanksgiving holiday. FYI- If you are in the area and not having much luck finding shells, it’s only a 40 minute drive from Sanibel (if you don’t get caught up in the traffic on Ft Myers Beach). There’s a gazillion FIGHTING CONCHS! For more info on Little Hickory, check out my other posts HERE.

sunset sky bonita springs beach

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Shelling Day Trip From Sanibel To Bonita Beach

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in Black Skimmers, Bonita Beach, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, In the News, Little Hickory Beach, Mossy Ark, News Press Coastal Life, Sandwich Tern | 15 comments

Little Hickory Bonita FL

 This past weekend we drove 35 minutes from Sanibel to Little Hickory Beach in Bonita Springs, Florida in search of seashells.

Little Hickory Florida shells

 Walking north to the pass from the public parking lot (a bargain price of $2 for 2 hours) only took about 15 minutes to find loads of FIGHTING CONCHS.

bonita florida seashells

 After a few minutes more, Clark found a SAND DOLLAR…

sand dollar bonita florida

 I couldn’t get over how many MOSSY ARKS were washed up on the beach mixed in with a few pieces of CORAL and my fave of all faves… WORM SHELLS! They were only tips of WORMIES but any piece is a good piece in my book.

mossy ark coral worm shell

 I don’t think I have ever seen so many MOSSY ARKS in one place on any beach before so I gathered a few together to show you exactly what they look like.

Mossy Arks

I know, I know…. not the prettiest of shells but I don’t see them all that often on Sanibel so I was intrigued with them.

Mossy Ark bivalves

 Did I read your mind and know that it reminds you of another shell? It looks like  the TURKEY WING! The TURKEY WING and the MOSSY are both ARK shells so they are very similar but unfortunately, I think the MOSSY ARK got the short end of the stick when it comes to looks. ;( Here’s a comparison so you can see them side by side. The TURKEY WING is on the left…

mossy ark turkey wing interior

 Oops! I switched them in this next exterior photo, the MOSSY ARK is now on the left in this photo. You can now see how similar they are!

mossy ark turkey wing

 We had a wonderful day walking the beach and seeing different shells and the beautiful SANDWICH TERNS  and BLACK SKIMMERS…

sandwich terns black skimmer

 Along with the SAND DOLLAR, sweet Clark gave me a yellow DAISY that he found on the beach…

clark rambo flower

We weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the beautiful day in Little Hickory…

young child on beach shells

 Okay, while we are on the subject of Bonita Beach, I have to show you an article about that was published in Coastal Life magazine of the News Press. Weehoo! Click on the logo to read it!

News-press Coast Life logo

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