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

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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Catching A Sanibel Shark With The Shark Wrestler

Posted by on Apr 10, 2015 in Elliot Sudal, Lemon Shark, Lemon Shark Teeth, Shark's Teeth, Sharks- Sanibel | 49 comments

Pam Rambo with 200 pound Sanibel Florida Lemon shark

I caught a 200 pound LEMON SHARK!

Pam Rambo reels in a 200 pound lemon shark

Oh yes I did… and I reeled her in from about 500 yards from the beach.

pam rambo catching a shark

I may have reeled it in but…. Okay, to be fair… my friend Elliot Sudal- aka – “The Shark Wrestler” did everything else.

Elliot Sudal and Pam Rambo catch Lemon shark Sanibel Island Florida

Now don’t think because Elliot’s been named “The Shark Wrestler” and “The Shark Wrangler” by national press like National Geographic, CNN, Fox News and ABC News that catching this beast is “mean” or dangerous for the SHARK. He’s a SHARK conservationist.

Elliot is part of a research team that tags SHARKS for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Since 1962, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Cooperative Shark Tagging Program (CSTP) has been a tagging study for shark and ray species in the Gulf of Mexico and western Atlantic Ocean to better understand their movement patterns, abundance, when/where they use coastal habitats, what distances they migrate and where they migrate to. Once he catches a SHARK, he tags, measures and records valuable information for NOAA’s scientific research then releases the SHARK back into the water all within just a few minutes.

shark tagging kit

Tagging SHARKS is an excellent way to study their habits to help ensure balance in the ocean’s ecosystem… so why not have fun doing it! Check out this Fox Connecticut video interview with Elliot having fun catching and tagging SHARKS … CLICK HERE

So what’s this got to do with shelling? Well, he might look a little familiar since he is one of the captains on our Captiva Cruises shelling trips to Cayo Costa- remember the Shellphone guy (CLICK HERE)? Yes, he’s a sheller too and laughs every time he finds a nice shell like the BANDED TULIP in his cast net.

Elliot Sudal finds seashell in cast net

Clark and I were shelling at Blind Pass Sanibel one evening and ran into Elliot setting up his reels for a night of SHARK fishing. Before I even got to reel in that awesome LEMON SHARK, Elliot had already done a lot of work to get the bait in place.

Sanibel sunset cast net Elliot Sudal

He wrangles bait fish like this SHEEPSHEAD by cast net.

Elliot Sudal catching bait for sharks on Sanibel Island

He also throws a few smaller rods out to catch fish like this LADYFISH to put on a circle hook (the preferred hook for marine conservation) with gobs of heavy duty line…

Elliot Sudal baits circle hook to kayak for shark catching

Then he paddled his kayak out to the deeper water around 500 yards out while friend CJ Floyd watches the line.

CJ watches shark baiting by kayak CJ watches shark baiting by kayak

So don’t worry! This line with the bait is nowhere near where we are shelling in the water. He paddles it waaaay out.

Elliot Sudal paddles into the Sanibel sunset with shark bait

I’ve gotta tell ya, this is one of the most amazing things Ive ever experienced. Finding a JUNONIA is truly a spectacsheller moment but feeling the exhilaration of Mother Nature’s most incredible creatures tugging on the other end of this fishing pole was FINtastic! I caught a SPINNER SHARK too but that one got away. Just after Clark snapped this photo, that fella shook the hook.

Pam Rambo fishing for sharks on Sanibel Island

But that’s ok because the next bite was my 7 foot LEMON SHARK. Can you believe it? And yes, in person you can see that there is a yellow tinge to her… hence the name “Lemon”. (Thats for you, Rachel… heehee xo)

Pam Rambo catches a lemon shark she named Jawnonia

Elliot tagged her…

Elliot Sudal Shark wrestler tagging lemon shark with Pam Rambo

Along with CJ, they measured and recorded her…

Recording Measurement for Tag and release sanibel shark

Then Elliot safely released her back into the water.

Elliot Sudal Shark Wrangler releasing lemon shark Sanibel

I got to fill out all of the valuable information to send off to NOAA … and I got to name her!  Her new name?

Shark tagging details on Jawnonia the Sanibel Lemon Shark

Introducing….. Jawnonia!

Hahaha … and of course I had to see what she would look like with some JUNONIA spots on her- LOL

Jawnonia The Junonia Lemon Shark by Pam Rambo

Okay y’all…  I don’t want you to freak out about SHARKS being in the areas where we are looking for shells. First of all, most SHARKS Elliot catches are at dusk or later at night so most of us aren’t shelling off shore at those times. Secondly, the odds of you getting eaten by a SHARK are slim to none (and “Slim” just left town- as Clark would say). SHARKS are very smart creatures and humans aren’t what SHARKS want for dinner.

SHARKS have gotten such a bad reputation since the movie Jaws so I know that some people have a deep fear and/or concern for SHARKS so let me answer some of the questions you may have.

Yes- SHARKS live in the waters of Southwest Florida. We love to see all types of Sealife in the Gulf Of Mexico and we shouldn’t feel like it’s taboo to talk about SHARKS being there too. They are an important part of our healthy environment that we need to respect and protect.

Yes- It is safe to swim in the Gulf Of Mexico. Honestly, I was a little afraid to write this post because I didn’t want people afraid of the water. If you know the truth about SHARKS then you will respect them more without being afraid of the “unknowing”. Knowledge is power. So if you look at the statistics of only 9 SHARK fatalities in Florida from 1959-2010, hopefully you will still respect SHARKS but will understand the safe odds you have with SHARKS when you go for a dip in the water in Florida. As George Burgess, curator of the world shark attack data housed at UF’s Florida Museum of Natural History says “beachgoers are far more likely to win the lottery than to (unintentionally) encounter a shark”. For more statistics – check out Florida Museum Of Natural History

And here are a few fun facts about SHARKS to sink your teeth into…

  • Sharks have cruised the ocean for 400 million years.
  • Sharks were on the planet 100 millions years before dinosaurs.
  • Lemon sharks can lose a whole set of teeth, one by one, every 10 days.
  • Lemon sharks like Jawnonia can give birth up to 17 pups in one litter.
  • There are more than 450 species of sharks throughout the ocean

purple shark fishing reel with orange sunset

So now if you are on the beach looking for shells and you come across fishermen with kayaks and lots of poles, you can feel better about ducking around their fishing lines if they are out there tagging sharks for research conservation. Especially if you run in to Elliot- because he knows better than plopping his gear down right in the middle of the only big shell pile in miles (oh yes, I’ve seen that happen more than once with other fishermen- grrrrr). We all have our reasons we want to spend time on the beach so it’s fun for all of us to learn something new about the other creatures in the sea.

sanibel kayaker celebrating sunset

Thank you Elliot for teaching me so much about SHARKS and for letting me be part of such an amazing experience!  You can follow Elliot @acksharks on Instagram or ElliotSudal on Facebook to see what SHARK adventures he is up to as he “Shark Wrestles” each winter on Sanibel and summers on Nantucket. And a special thanks to Rachel Fields for being so much fun and hanging out with us and taking photos of “my catch”. I’m usually the one behind the camera so thank you so much for sending those great photos to me!

sanibel shellers rachel elliot and pam

OH WAIT! And…. Elliot is going to be on Nat Geo! He is starring in an upcoming television episode of a new reality show called The Raft airing every Sunday at 10pm eastern time (9pm central) from April 5 to May 3, 2015.

UPDATE: Elliot’s episode was awesome! It aired May 10 … and spoiler alert… he made it to land! This link won’t probably be live very long but you can see a preview here… http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/the-raft/videos/drifters-cant-be-choosers/

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