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

Week Of Shell Wonder

Posted by on Jul 12, 2015 in Horse Conch, Kitten's Paw, Lightning Whelk, Whelk | 15 comments

2 Sanibel Horse Conchs Foley

Could you imagine finding these 2 huge empty HORSE CONCHS wading through the Sanibel gulf waters? Well Diane Foley and her sister-in-law not only found 2 off Middle Gulf Drive... they found 5 of these gorgeous treasured shells. Shellzam! Then used my cleaning tips to get those first 2 to look amazing.

5 Sanibel horse conchs Foley

Remember Abigail from our iLoveShelling Adventure with Sight Sea-R Cruises this week? After our cruise, her dad Ken posted this photo on my Facebook page. Abigail found a big beautiful empty HORSE CONCH on Sanibel too. Yahoo!

Abigail found Sanibel horse conch

Lainey found an awesome empty LIGHTNING WHELK at Blind Pass Sanibel. The big shells might not be rolling up on the beach but they are sure in the water. Way to go!

Lainey found lightning whelk blind pass sanibel

I was so honored to meet the Santiago family from Georgia this week staying at the Island Inn Beachfront Resort. They were the big winners of our iLoveShelling 5 Year Shellaversary GiveAway for 5 nights stay at Island Inn. It was so much fun hanging out with Sierra, Pete, Keaton, Cynthia, Claire and MaKalie who were enjoying every second of their stay in their beautiful room with a view of this awesome beach.

Winners of iLoveShelling and Island Inn giveaway

They showed me a few of their favorite finds including TRUE TULIPS, LETTERED OLIVES, FIGHTING CONCHS, SUNRAY VENUS, LIGHTNING WHELKS, all sorts and colors of SCALLOPS and an array of minis.

Shells found on Sanibel Island

Claire couldn’t keep her eye of the cutie KITTENS PAWS. I love them too, Claire!

Claire with kittens paws

Big or small, strolling the beach in sunshine along aqua water is a dream come true. Live it, Love it.

Shell Cup of Kittens paws

Join me on a Shelling Adventure! For more information CLICK HERE

pam rambo shelling trips

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6 Most Common Shells On Sanibel Island, Florida

Posted by on Jun 6, 2015 in Ark, Coquina, Cross Barred Venus, Jingle, Kitten's Paw, Ponderous Ark, Transverse Ark | 19 comments

The Most common shells on Sanibel Island Florida

Have you ever wondered what are the most common seashells that wash up on Sanibel? We see them every day on the beach but all of those “little white CLAM shells” start to look the same and we tend to look over all of them in search for our favorites like the TULIPS and WHELKS.

common bivalve shells on sanibel island, florida usa

If you have shelled the beaches of Southwest Florida several times, then you might not be surprised to hear…

The 6 most common shells found in beach drift on Sanibel, Florida are:

TRANSVERSE ARK (Anadara transversa), CROSS-BARRED VENUS (Chione elevata), PONDEROUS ARK (Noetia ponderosa), KITTENS PAW (Plicatula gibbosa), COQUINA (Donax variabilis) and the JINGLE (Anomia simplex).

6 Six most common shells on Sanibel Florida

They look pretty familiar don’t they?

Sanibel most common 6 sea shells interior

The TRANSVERSE ARK (Anadara transversa) seashells are literally everywhere on our beaches and this is why it’s hard to find any other shell on the beach because we get so overwhelmed by looking at so many of these “little white clams shells”.

ark shell Anadara transversa

CROSS-BARRED VENUS (Chione elevata) shells always intrigue me because they have so many different interior colors.

Sanibel common cross barred venus Chione elevata

PONDEROUS ARK (Noetia ponderosa) normally looks like just a bigger version of the TRANSVERSE ARK but when they are juveniles, it is really hard to tell the difference. Closely looking at the interior is the only way to decipher the juvie PONDEROUS from the adult TRANSVERSE.

common ponderous ark Noetia ponderosa

KITTENS PAW (Plicatula gibbosa) – How can you walk on a beach in Sanibel and not smile when you see one of these?

Sanibel common kittens paw shell Plicatula gibbosa

COQUINA (Donax variabilis) shells have stolen the hearts of most of us the first time we walked on the beach and saw these sweet little butterfly shells scattered along the beach.

Sanibel common shell coquina Donax variabilis

JINGLE (Anomia simplex) shells are like shimmering little beacons calling out from the sand- love them.

Sanibel common jingle shell Anomia simplex

So how do I know that these are the most common shells on Sanibel? Well, because Susan Hewitt (our Susan H !) did a comprehensive but simple research study of the most abundance shell species while she was visiting Sanibel in 2011. She took loads of samples all along West Gulf Drive to separate and count each species. (This was not her sample bag in this next photo- she had buckets full)

Susan Hewitt shell collections

I helped with her study by scooping up shells for her shell material research on the beach at Blind Pass Sanibel.

Common Sanibel shells research data collections

I also took samples at Sanibel’s Lighthouse beach for her.

Sanibel seashell research collections bucket lighthouse beach

After identifying, separating and counting every single shell collected, she got to work on writing her paper. To read her entire study paper, CLICK HERE

Sanibel Most Common shell collage Paper

So now we know! It was so much fun being involved in her very cool project to answer the question asked about our beaches of Southwest Florida “What are the most common shells on Sanibel?”. Thanks Susan H for this awesome report!

pam rambo susan h identify bivalve seashells

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Meowy Kitten Paw Christmas

Posted by on Dec 23, 2014 in Christmas, Decorate with shells, Holiday, Kitten's Paw, Kitty, seashell decor, Shell crafts, Shell Tree | 19 comments

Sea shell beach bliss

Do you see what I see?

The perfect beach with shells

Thousands of purrfect KITTEN PAW SHELLS!

Collecting kitten paw shells on Sanibel Island

These sweet little KITTIES washed up on the sand bar at Blind Pass yesterday waiting to be adopted (errr I mean collected) for a good home. Here Kitty Kitty Kitty Kitty!

Meow! Kittens paw shells

Aha- And I know what I “knead” to do with them. I love this idea!

Charlotte P. shared a photo of her KITTEN PAW creation on iLoveShelling Facebook page and said…

My two nieces, my sister and I collected kitten paw shells at Blind Pass this past June. They were so plentiful, that we just scooped handfuls of them into our shell bag. I made these 9-inch trees using about 460 shells each. Now we will always remember our fun summer day every Christmas! …use Michael’s stryo cones, sort shells according to size. I used the largest on the bottom. (The shells that are still hinged together are too thick. Also, the really curved ones don’t work either. ) Shove the shell into the cone until secure. Take it out, insert hot glue and jam it into place. Repeat about 459 or so times!” 

CLICK HERE to find the link to her post on iLS Facebook page…

Kittens Paw Christmas Tree Shell Craft

Our kitties PuppyCat and Dustie are already in the holiday spirit dressing in ShellElf hats to match their mom so I’m sure they would love to help me. They love craft time.

puppycat dustie santa christmas

Wanna scratch around in the sand to find a few KITTENS PAWS too? Lets go CYBERSHELLING! Click on the next image to enlarge…

cyber shelling kittens paws sea shells

Want more? Take a walk on the beach with me to see the shells, waves, water and listen to the jingle of the shells against the surf…. and be amazed at the oodles of KITTENS PAWS (and itty bitty orange ROUGH SCALLOP I couldn’t resist). Here’s a video! (sorry if the vid looks a little “fuzzy” right now- I hope it clears up)

Meowy Christmas!

[youtube]http://youtu.be/a00gJeNd8wk?list=UUu2b66f3iGn5EJMQ6yl3IBg[/youtube]

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Kittens Paws To The PuppyCat Show Video

Posted by on Sep 1, 2014 in Beach Art, Kitten's Paw | 27 comments

Kitty Cat seashell beach art

Mother Nature must have known that cat lovers “knead” Sanibel Island so she made KITTENS PAWS plentiful on our beaches. Or maybe it’s the other way around? Kitty lovers love Sanibel since its the purrrfect place to curl up on the beach to enjoy so many KITTENS PAWS Mother Nature has given us. Either way, KITTENS PAWS may be one of the most common shells that “litter” the beaches on Sanibel but we think they are Meeeowvalous!

sanibel shells kittens paws

You might recall we adopted a new orange fur-baby last December who didn’t want to stick with the name “Rustie” that we chose for him for the first 2 months. So now after 8 months of kitty love and entertainment (and has the cutest little Kitten Paws), his permanent name is “PuppyCat”. He’s a kitty that thinks he’s a puppy! This Sanibel kitty wags his tail and he does tricks for treats every afternoon. Yup… he really puts on a show! Wanna see?

Introducing PuppyCat  in…  The PuppyCat Show![youtube]http://youtu.be/wkIczWkdjHo[/youtube]

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Shell ‘N Tell At Shellabaloo 2

Posted by on May 12, 2013 in Alphabet Cone, Atlantic Giant, Cockle, Conch, Cone, Horse Conch, Kitten's Paw, One-Tooth Simnia, Sea Whip, Shark's Eye Operculum, Shark's Teeth, Shellabaloo, Shellabaloo 2, ShellingAdventures, Tusk Shell | 31 comments

Michele Junonia Sanibel Bill

After you enjoy feeling the excitement of finding shells on the beach, you get to enjoy the excitement all over again when you show them to someone else that “gets” what you found and knows how you feel. That’s why our Shellabaloo 2 “Shell ‘N Tell” was one of my favorite days of the whole week during Shellabaloo. Do you see what Michele (Ohio) is holding in her hand in the first photo with her husband Bill? She found a JUNONIA! But that’s not it… she found what she calls “The Trifecta!”… A large HORSE CONCH and a large WHELK along with her JUNONIA. Do you think she was a happy girl or what! So happy for you Michele!

michele trifecta seashells

Here are some of her other finds (minus the JUNONIA since she was showing it to the others when I took this) …

seashells found sw florida shellabaloo 2

For the week of Shellabaloo 2, I made up another Shellinger Hunt. The hunt is really meant to just have fun learning about different shells and not to overlook some of the common shells like JINGLES and KITTENS PAWS because…. well… because I think they are beautiful too! So you will see some of the displays with a dozen JINGLES in a COCKLE SHELL because that was point for the Shellinger Hunt. It wasn’t about who could find and take the most shells off the beach- it was all about enjoying the shells that were found… and some bigger points for finding things like The Sanibel Six or finding the rarer shells. It was so much fun to see these shellers find shells they’ve never found before and to rediscover the ones that can easily be overlooked.

shellinger hunt dustie

On our last day, I asked everybody to bring their fave finds and/or their entries for the Shellinger Hunt at our home base at Island Inn so we could all see what everybody else was collecting. We set up tables for each person to display their shells and it turned out to be a mini Sanibel Shell Show!

Shellabaloo 2 Shell and Tell show

Terri (NY) made a beee-uuuteeeful display of her favorite finds.

Terri seashells shellabaloo

Lee and Susan (Cuba) narrowed down their favorite finds on a cooler tray for the Shellinger Hunt…

Lee Susan shell display

Of course I added a BEACH BLING category on the hunt ( i Love the BLING!) so it’s so funny they added a dried up fish tail that looks just like a MERMAID and a washed up fishing bobber as the faves in that category. LOL

lee susan shellabaloo shellinger hunt

Rick (Texas) brought a plate of his fave shells… the miniature shells. I just love how everybody organized their shells so creatively!

Rick miniature shells favorite

rick miniature shells sanibel

Rick’s wife Murfy showed her faves along with her favorite vintage shell book…

Murfy seashell display

There is one shell in the middle of the others that is a little different. It looks like some sort of a TURITELLA… which I dont think is native to this area. I think it is either a FOSSIL shell that found it’s way to the gulf on a high tide from sidewalk fill or it was left over from a party or wedding after someone bought shells to decorate with. Hmmmm.

Murfy seashell display shellabaloo 2

If there was a prize for being creative…  Sharene and Tom (Ontario) would have won for creativity!

sharene tom shellabaloo shells

seashells display shellabaloo 2 sharpen tom

Rusty and Donna (Apopka, FL) narrowed down the favorites and of course it included an ALPHABET CONE and the SEA WHIP that had the ONE-TOOTH SIMNIAS I showed you in the first Shellabaloo 2 post.

Rusty Donna seashells shellinger hunt shellabaloo

rusty donna seashell shellabaloo hunt

Roger (MO) told me that his favorite shells were the minis he found at Lighthouse Beach. It was his first time finding WENTLETRAPS, RICE OLIVES and TUSKS so it was really fun to find something new.

roger shells shellabloo shellinger hunt

roger shells shellabloo

Margie (AL) is so adorable! Her favorite shell was the PONDEROUS ARK because she loved the black PERIOSTICUM (the shell’s “skin”) on the white shell so that’s all she collected. She is going to make a black and white frame for a mirror when she gets home so I hope we get to see it!

Margie shells for mirror

Ponderous ark shells sanibel shellinger hunt

Cutie Pie Becka needed her own table to make room for all of her newly found treasures.

Becka shells shellinger hunt

Kendra (IN) had a sweet organized display of her favorites but also for the Shellinger Hunt.

Kendra shellinger hunt sanibel

She was so afraid she was going to lose her first TUSK SHELL so she wrapped half of a bandaid around it so she would know where it was (on the blue plate). LOL

kendra seashells shellabaloo

Pat (Boca Raton, FL) had an amazing display of shells and BLING for the Shellinger Hunt.

pat shells shellabaloo shellinger hunt

While I was oooohing and aaaahing at all of her finds, she pointed out a piece of BEACH BLING that she wanted to know what it was. Whoa! Pat! You found the OPERCULUM to the SHARKS EYE! Clark just found our first ones just last month so I was absolutely thrilled for her that… A) she saw it and picked it up… and B) that she knew it was something special to show at the Shell And Tell. See why I love these shellers? Who else would think this thing on the beach was cool…

moon shells sharks eye operculum

pat shellinger hunt shellabaloo treasures

Speaking of awesome shellers, unfortunately, Gina couldn’t come to the Shell ‘N Tell but I still have to show you one of her exshellent finds… Gina found a yellow SEA WHIP. We find the purple ones a little more often but not the perfect yellow ones like hers. And no, I couldnt get her photo either because she was a little camera shy but Ha! I took a “long-arm shot” with me in it so we could get her picture and the SEA WHIP. LOL    And yep, you guessed it! There were two ONE-TOOTH SIMNIAS on it!

gina pam yellow sea whip

I have found yellow SEA WHIPS before but never one with the yellow ONE-TOOTH SIMINAS on it. Yahoo! Gina did! Such a treasure!

yellow sea whip one tooth simnia

Okay back to the Shell ‘N Tell with the rest of the awesomeness…. Here’s Cindy with her huge HORSE CONCH I showed you in my last post! Now you can see all of the other fabulous shells she found as well.

cindy shells shellabaloo shellinger hunt

She also found a big ALPHABET CONE …which is part of 2 sets of The Sanibel Six for her Shellinger Hunt finds. She found a FLORIDA CONE to make her other set. And look at all of the SHARKS TEETH!

shellinger hunt cindy shells shellabaloo 2

Okay… It’s time to announce the winner of the Shell And Tell and you won’t believe this prize! The winning sheller went home with a silver JINGLE SHELL necklace made by Sealife By Congress. It is beautiful! This new Sanibel jewelry store in Periwinkle Place Shopping Center is filled with seashells, SEAHORSES, DOLPHINS, STARFISH, SAND DOLLARS and every other sea life in gold, silver and with tasteful gemstones as well. I was thrilled they wanted to give our winner this perfect shell necklace.

Sealife By Congress jingle necklace

After much laughter and ado, we narrowed the winners down to Michele (with her JUNONIA and  HORSE CONCH) and Cindy with her HORSE CONCH based on their points score…

shellabaloo 2 shell winners

Before we announce the winner, Cindy and Michele clicked their CONCHS as if it was a toast. Cute and so much fun!

cindy michele conch shells

Drum Roll Please! …. wait for it…… The winner is Michele! Her JINGLE necklace is perfect for her! Congratshellations, my friend!

pam rambo michele winner necklace jingle

 I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun both Shellabaloo 1 (in January) and this Shellabaloo 2  have been since it really brings amazing people together with not just shelling in common but we all seem to be like-minded in so many other ways. It’s quite a bonding experience, I must say. Thank you Island Inn for hosting such a great Shellapalooza. I’m sorry to say that I don’t know when the next one will be- no dates of been set yet for this 4 day Shellathon but as soon as we’ve come up with a plan, you will be the first to know.

But wait!  I’m gathering a group of shellers for an afternoon of shelling at Cayo Costa next Sunday May 19 from 1-4pm on a Captiva Cruise. Join us! CLICK HERE for more info or call 239-472-5300 and ask to come along for the next iLoveShelling cruise!

seashell shelling adventures pam

Shellabaloo 2 seashell pile captiva

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Constricted Shelling Seems Like An Oxymoron

Posted by on Oct 14, 2011 in Alternate Tellin, Constricted Macoma, Kitten's Paw | 15 comments

constricted macoma

When I am shelling on the beach, the rest of the world melts away. My breathing gets easier because my body loosens up and my whole outlook widens. To think of anything that is constricted about shelling seems like an oxymoron to me. Constricting and shelling are contradictory words! That’s why I was surprised to find this CONSTRICTED MACOMA mixed in with oodles of ALTERNATE TELLINS around West Gulf Dr.

contricted macoma front

This one looked so different because it looked like the sun melted one side of it. I couldn’t find a match in any of my books to identify it but MurexKen assures me it is the CONSTRICTED MACOMA. I wonder what it is so constricted about? I would have called it the MELTED MACOMA or MELTY TELLIN…  but who asked me, right?

constricted macoma bend

 Quit constricting, MACOMA!

constricted macoma interior

Relax like some of your other relatives, the ALTERNATE TELLINS…

alternate tellins

 …and like some of my buddies when we get together to enjoy just hanging out on the beach and shelling…

girlfriends shelling

Nancy, Sarah, Jodi, Toni, Di, Ellen and Me

Toni had a theme going… KITTEN’S PAWS in a kitten’s paw bag.

kittens paws in a paw bag

girlfriends scatterd shelling

Di Ellen shelling

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