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

Wildlife Week On Sanibel

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Bobcat, Coquina, Dolphin, Sea turtle | 19 comments

Pink, blue, purple, yellow, red and orange Coquinas

It’s wild how many colors and patterns of COQUINA shells my friend Celeste and I found last week on Sanibel.

coquina butterfly shell

Combing the beach to look for beautiful treasures is the best place in the world to catch up with a dear friend like Celeste- especially finding COQUINAS as colorful as she is.

Celeste on Sanibel beach

Oh yes, she is very colorful, wild and very talented. She was one of my first friends I met when we moved to Sanibel and she has kept me laughing ever since. She makes clay art that is as colorful as any COQUINA and she makes sealife for most of her pieces. I just have to show off one of her pieces to you… it has SEAHORSES, FISH, OCTOPUSES and even STINGRAYS.  You can see some of her other sealife inspired pieces at .

Celeste art piece Fort Myers A Boheme Life

There was a lot of other wildlife happening on Sanibel this past week (other than hanging out with Celeste- heehee). DOLPHINS were racing up and down near the Sanibel pier.

Sanibel Dolphin pair

I also had another dear friend and wild woman in town… Lizbeth. All in one day on Sanibel, she and her family witnessed SCCF (Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation) count LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLE  nest eggs (photo by Lizbeth)…

Sccf volunteers count sea turtle eggs

And… They they witnessed a rescued of two baby LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLES (photo by Lizbeth)…

Sanibel baby loggerhead sea turtles

And then…  she and her sister saw a BOBCAT cross a beach path (photo by Lizbeth) …

Sanibel Bobcat crossing a beach path

Then they saw a mother LOGGERHEAD SEA TURTLE laying eggs on the beach… and I got to see this one too! This photo is very dark and slightly pink because you can only have a red filtered light on the beach in SEA TURTLE nesting season (May through September) on Sanibel. We wanted to be very careful and respectful  while in the presence of this incredible creature in a moment like this. It’s a memory I will never forget. So cool!

Loggerhead sea turtle laying eggs on Sanibel beach

During daylight hours, SCCF marked the nest and reminded us of the full circle of SEA TURTLE EGGS of the weeks events.
Sanibel Loggerhead Sea turtle nest

Then the rain started. It has been raining and raining for days and it’s hardly stopped. I should record the crickets, frogs and croaking alligators that are loving it. My back yard is filled with water so our yard shells look like they’ve gone back to the ocean… covered with water. It’s actually a beautiful sight with everything so green and lush with the symphony of nature in the background. It’s been a wild week.

Sanibel horse conch in the rain

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Fintastic Beach Bling On Cayo Costa

Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Captiva, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Dolphin, Driftwood, Jingle, Sea Bean, Sea Pearl, Sharks- Sanibel | 21 comments

drift wood and seashells

The Gulf Of Mexico was clear, warm and bright turquoise at Cayo Costa this week for our iLoveShelling shelling adventure with Captiva Cruises. Just ask snorkelers Sue Ellen, Emma, Grace and Jeff from Louisiana.

Sue Ellen, Emma, Grace Jeff Louisiana snorkel sw florida

Hayla, Hope, Linda and Todd from Tennessee were like little fish as they snorkeled the whole time- fun!hayla hope linda todd tenn snorkel on cayo costa

But even before we got to the island, California girls Teri and Allana and the whole boat witnessed…

Cali girls teri, allana shelling cayo costa

A DOLPHIN show on the way to Cayo Costa…

Captiva Cruises dolphin watching boat ride

Up on the beach, Kurt and Beverly from Minnesota were amazed by the JINGLE SHELLS. Kurt said “This should be called Jingle Beach!”.

Kurt Beverly Minnesota find shells on Cayo Costa with bird

Beverly showed me her hand filled with JINGLES along with a fave little SEA URCHIN and colorful COCKLE.

Jingle shells on cayo costa

So pretty … and it really is “JINGLE BEACH”. They are everywhere! I picked these up in prob less than a minute.

Cayo Costa beach jingle shells

Mother Nature was really playing a hide and seek game with us since the shells were hidden more than usual. We really had to look high and low to find them but Dick and Yvonne from Indiana did a great job finding the larger ones.

Dick Yvonne from indiana find shells on cruise

Dick said he looked high and low around the tree roots in the water and found this spectacsheller WHELK then walked along the waters edge to find the rest of these beauties.

Dick's best shell finds from Cayo Costa

It was so nice to meet so many awesome shellers like Cutie Shellooties Diane and Joyce from Sarasota. Joyce found a beautiful WHELK (I showed in the first photo) about the same size as Dick’s WHELK – those LIGHTNING WHELKS must have been twins!

Diane Tomer Joyce Sarasota visit i Love ShellingDiane Tomer Joyce Sarasota visit i Love Shelling

Most of the shells (like COCKLES and SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS) Lindy from South Carolina found were at the waters edge as well.

shelling sw florida

The “Tweezer family” Deb, Judith, Brennan and Ericca came on our cruise too!

deboregon , judith cali, brennan, ericca montana

Hmmmm…. those tweezers must turn into a magical wand – a Shell Scepter- because Judith was the only who found a BABYS EAR up high on the beach… oh wait… she found 3!

3 babys ear shells found

Carla from Pompano, Florida was as tickled as sea punch to find this piece of DRIFTWOOD to hang her orchids in. I couldn’t even get the whole thing in the photo but it looked exactly like a SWORDFISH with a long sharp snout and knot for an eye. Awesome BEACH BLING.

carla pompano with driftwood
And talk about awesome BEACH BLING… Terry, Sue, Rich and Micki found the coolest treasures…

Terry Sue Rich Micki with beach toys and sea pearls

They were searching in the high tide wrack line and found SEA PEARLS, SEA URCHINS and the funniest sea toys-  2 SHARKS and a Bunny! I told them the story of the LEGO Beach Bling (CLICK HERE) but of course we should always pick up any of these toys even if we don’t keep for our “Kicks and Giggles Jar”.

shark beach bling finds and sea shells

This is Fintastic Beach Bling!

Not so Great White Shark on Cayo Costa Florida beach

PS-  Be safe everybunny.

shark chasing bunny to florida beach


Join me on an iLoveShelling Shelling Adventure. For dates and info 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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Adventure In Paradise With Awesome Shellers

Posted by on Jun 8, 2014 in Barnacles, Captiva, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Cloudy Periwinkle, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Dolphin, Flat Zigzag Scallop, Ghost Crab, Horse Conch, Jingle, Limpet, Periwinkles, Striped false limpet, Sunray Venus | 22 comments

coudy periwinkles hiding in tree knots

The only thing cloudy about our Captiva Cruises iLoveShelling trip to Cayo Costa were the live CLOUDY PERIWINKLES hiding in clusters on the tree roots at the south tip of the island.

cloudy periwinkles cayo costa


It’s been such a month on the islands of spotting great wildlifeEverywhere I look, I am still seeing wonderful signs of healthy life… like these STRIPED FALSE LIMPETS and BARNACLES on those same tree roots with the PERIWINKLES.

striped false limpets on fallen tree

Melissa, Juliana, Becky and Garrett from Colorado walked around those tree roots to find some nice empty shells as well.

Melissa juliana becky garrett colorado visit cayo costa for shells

They found a bag full of double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…

Sunray Venus shells at Cayo Costa

Sisters Teresa and Elaine from Pensacola, FL found some keepers on the Gulf side of the island.

teresa elaine from pan handle  visit cayo costa

Elaine collected oodles of different color JINGLES to use for a picture frame craft project.

black grey white jingle shells

D.J. from Avon Park, Florida found empty LETTERED OLIVES and an ANGEL WING wading knee high in the water.

D.J. avon park florida olive shells

Oh but wait… How could I forget? I have to tell you about the boat ride over to the island. We had a pod of DOLPHINS come over to say “Hi” to everybody on our boat.

dolphin sight seeing captiva cruises

When they swam closer to the boat, we could see there were 3 mother DOLPHINS… each with babies!  If you look closely at this next photo, you can see the baby hugging up to the mother. So cute!

mother dolphin and baby

And the DOLPHINS weren’t the only wildlife coming up to say “Hi” to us… meet Casper The Friendly GHOST CRAB.

casper the friendly ghost crab hiding in shadow

I have never seen a GHOST CRAB act so friendly! Seriously, “Casper” was not at all afraid of us and actually followed us on the beach. See? He got right in-between Sandy’s feet and hung out there for a few minutes.

ghost crab hiding in shadow

He even ran into a shelling net like he wanted to play. hahaha What a character!

casper the friendly ghost crab hiding in shadow

Even though the wildlife was exceptional, it was a wonderful day to meet exceptional people like Vicki and Bill from Arizona.

vicki bill arizona visit cayo costa for shells

… And Melinda, Katelyn and Justin from Indiana. I especially loved meeting Katelyn since she knew all of the names of her shells but also loved all the wildlife she saw. Casper The Friendly GHOST CRAB didn’t want there to leave.

melinda katelyn justin indiana visit sanibel

… And it was exceptional to see Marie’s beautiful family- Emily, Madison, Steve, Sandy and Ryan from Ohio. But… they were missing one Morgan, they all wanted me to tell you…. you’re next!

marie emily madison steve sandy ryan ohio visit sanibel… And to see Bill, Michelle, Alyson and Anthony from Illinois.

bill michelle alyson anthony illinois visit sanibel

I had met Michelle at Blind Pass Captiva last week when I stopped at the beach to see what the conditions were on the Captiva side by the jetty rocks. As I dug through the “picked over” shell pile, we got to talking and she told me she hadn’t found too many keeper shells but was just happy to be on the island enjoying everything else about the beach. That’s when I uncovered a beautiful FLAT SCALLOP with a tiny hole in the top. I handed it to Michelle and told her it was meant for her. I was soooo touched to see that she was on the cruise with her family AND that she made that FLAT SCALLOP into a gorgeous necklace with a little SEAHORSE charm. OMG I love that she made it into a special treasure to remember a special day we happened to meet.  Shellers rock!

how to make flat scallop shell into necklace

Lindsay had told me about an awesome HORSE CONCH she had found on Sanibel last week so when we got back to the dock at McCarthy’s Marina, she showed it to us. Wow! Lindsay, I’m so happy you showed it to us. That IS awesome and will clean up beautifully with a little elbow grease.

lindsay dodd with empty horse conch

Even though the beach wasn’t piled up with mounds of shells this time, we were treated to a DOLPHIN show with babies, lots of friendly wildlife and most of all – a perfect day in paradise with a boat ride on calm waters full of happy people meeting an amazing community of likeminded shellers. 

iLoveShelling blue toe nail polish

You won’t want to miss the upcoming shelling cruises! Check out the new dates CLICK HERE

shelling adventures trips by pam

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Boating and Beach Combing- Near Lovers Key

Posted by on Dec 28, 2013 in Angel Wing, Buttercup Lucine, Chalky Buttercup Lucine, Dolphin, Lover's Key Bonita Beach, Rose Tellin, Worm Shell | 24 comments

collect shells bonita beach florida lovers key park

Even though we’ve had good luck finding shells on Sanibel in the last week, it’s fun to visit other Southwest Florida beaches to see what different treasures are washing up. Since we haven’t taken our boat out in lawd knows how long, it was time to dust the Shellfish off and get out on the water.

boating lovers key

With the holiday hustle and bustle in high gear, Clark and I wanted a day to relax, float about and shell to our hearts content without a schedule.

lovers key beach florida

 It was an exshellent day for boating and beach combing near Lovers Key.

olives whelks telling moon venus angel wing worm

Here’s a closer look at the sweet shells we found. I’m always so happy when we find ROSE PETAL TELLINS! They are just …. well… pink and happy but we don’t find them as often on the beaches of Sanibel. And you know it’s a good day when we find WORMIES… oh yaya. So of course these are all my faves but the SHARKS EYE is a standout as well as that very bright yellowish PEAR WHELK on the top. You may have noticed that the SHARK’S EYE is nesting in a BUTTERCUP LUCINE, but did you notice the bivalve that the ROSE PETAL TELLINS are nesting in? It’s a CHALKY BUTTERCUP LUCINE. It’s a little hard to tell how much bigger it is than the “regular” BUTTERCUP LUCINE but you can see how much bigger it is if you look back at the first photo. It’s always fun to find shells we dont see that often on Sanibel… even if its a not-so-collectable bivalve like the beautiful ANGEL WINGS.

seashells from lovers key bonita beach florida

On our boat ride back to the marina, we spotted two DOLPHINS jumping out of the water in the wake of a pretty big boat. Weeeeee! I can’t believe I got a picture of them!

dolphin watching fort myers beach florida

Sending sunshine and seashells to you all.  Errrr… well, Carolina Girl Karen… that would be “Cyber sunshine and virtual seashells”. LOL

dolphins jumping for myers beach florida

Join us for a Shelling Adventure!

shelling adventures trips by pam

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A Shell Of A Good Time!

Posted by on Jan 10, 2013 in Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Dolphin, Shellabaloo 1 | 23 comments

shellabaloo shell cayo costa

We had a shell of a good time every single minute this week during the SHELLABALOO starting at the Island Inn!! It was an unbelievable shellapalooza! The weather was gorgeous with the DOLPHINS coming out to greet us.

dolphins sanibel sea life

The shelling was terrific.

seashell beach florida

The meals were outstanding.

joe patty jim sally traci

But most of all, my new fabulous friends were an absolute joy to be with and an amazing group to share our love for shelling together. Honestly, I haven’t come down from the high I felt while bonding with each and every one of these awesome shellers. So I have to introduce each one to you before we get to the rest of our shelladventure.

Of course you already met Joe and Patty from my last post (CLICK HERE to see) because of Joe’s macdaddy find of the LONG-SPINED STAR SHELL…

patty joe captiva cruises

Sally and Jim from Atlanta who I met 2 years ago in Captiva, joined us…

jim sally captiva cruises

Along with Traci and Rob from Virginia…

traci rob shell collecting

Maureen from California…

maureen collecting seashells

Mike and Carolyn from Richmond, VA…

mike carolyn captiva cruises

 Amy from California…

amy seashells captiva florida

Pat and Steve from Tennessee…

pat steve seashelling

JoAnn and Sid from Vermont…

joann sid shellers

Arabelle from New York…

Arabelle captiva cruises

Sara and Dan from Tampa, FL…

sara dan sanibel shell

And the Carolina gals Kathy, Helen, Karen and Jackie with their Carolina gentleman Bill…

carolina gals bill

See? An unbelievable group of folks enjoying every aspect of the world of shelling.

net shells florida

which always involves sharing…

touching live whelk

sharing shells

And learning…

pam rambo identify shell

Now that you’ve met this awesome group of shellers, tomorrow I’ll show you some of the cool shells and BEACH BLING they found! Fun! Fun! Fun!!!

Oh but wait…. if you are in the Sanibel area, tomorrow’s negative low tide (-1.1) is in the morning around 7am. That is a really low tide! That means so much more of the beach will be exposed to make it easier to spot more shells. You’ll even get to see what live mollusks look like. Just make sure you leave any live shell where you found it. We want them to breed so they make more beautiful seashells so we can enjoy them forever!

algiers low tide sanibel

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