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

Oh My, Shells and Manatees at Cayo Costa

Posted by on Aug 20, 2015 in Captiva, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, manatee | 28 comments

Aug 20, 2015 Seashells in shell with wave

We found a huge “Sit ‘N Sift” shell pile on Cayo Costa during our iLoveShelling shelling adventure with Captiva Cruises yesterday.
Cayo Costa shelling and beach combing

As always, there’s always a lot of sharing shells when awesome shellers get together.

Aug 20, 2015IMG_0389

Every single step through the island was a great exploration while hanging out with new friends.

iLoveShelling Captiva Cruises to Cayo Costa August 2015-5

While Michelle from Michigan was finding a few shells by snorkeling in the water….

Michelle snorkeling Cayo Costa

Her daughter Mandy found a SUNRAY VENUS.

Mandy MI finds shell on the beach in Florida

Lauren, Aaryn, Elizabeth, Jason and Jordan (Alabama) found lots of SUNRAY VENUSES too.

Aug 20, 2015IMG_0393

They found like 15 double SUNRAY VENUS shells plus a Lauren found a huge empty WHELK that will look beautiful when all cleaned up.


Cindy, Shelby, Steve and Madi (TX) were so much fun to hang out with.

iLoveShelling Captiva Cruises to Cayo Costa August 2015-7

Madi found lots of LETTERED OLIVES just at the waters edge. Thanks again Madi for the cute photo on Instagram!

lettered olive shells at cayo costa

The water was so warm and clear Lauren, George and Beth (NY) stayed in the water just about the whole time on the island.

Aug 20, 2015Lauren, George and Beth NY snorkeling Florida
Andrew, Mark and Daniel (NY) felt the same way. Mark told me that the water was still so cold up in Log Island so it’s a treat to be able to play in the warm water of the Gulf Of Mexico.

iLoveShelling Captiva Cruises to Cayo Costa August 2015-8

The water must be cold in Michigan too because Todd and Michelle were loving the water too. :)

iLoveShelling Captiva Cruises to Cayo Costa August 2015-9

Martha found a sweet BABYS EAR when she combed the tip of the island…

Aug 20, 2015IMG_0381

Look at that baby…. a baby Baby Ear.

iLoveShelling Captiva Cruises to Cayo Costa August 2015-1

After I snapped the photo of Marth’s BABY EAR, I waded into the water to check for shells since the water was so clear then saw a big black blob way out in the water… a MANATEE! I started my video to see if I could catch its cute little nose come out of the water…and then it turned for the beach… and head straight for me! And then… I started squealing. OMG so embarrassing that my voice goes into the highest silliest pitch you’ve ever heard. Hahaha You think I was a little excited?

Funny And amazing, huh? So who found those nice shells in the first photo? They were found by Noa and her mom Joann (Utah)… big smiles for a great day.

iLoveShelling Captiva Cruises to Cayo Costa August 2015-3

And I just had to get a picture of me with cutie shellootie Shelling Sistahs Tanya and Tammy from Texas who showed up in their cutie shelling tee shirts together. Love these girls.

Aug 20, 2015i Love Shelling with Pam Rambo

Like every iLoveShelling cruise,  everybody received a $25 Gift Certificate from Congress Jewelers– Fun day!

Sealife By Congress Jewelers

I have new dates for all iLoveShelling beach combing adventures for 2015 and into January 2016!

Oct 5, Oct 29, Nov 6, Nov 17, Dec 2, Dec 15, Jan 11, Jan 21

Check out all the information with new dates and times then make reservations now… just  CLICK HERE !




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A Moment With Manatees

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in manatee | 16 comments

manatee nose

Happiness continued… We were surrounded by MANATEES!

manatee near sup board

We took our kayak and SUP board (stand up paddle board) out in the roosevelt channel on Captiva Island for an awesome water adventure and boy did we find one.

hayley lori on sup board

As we paddled around the channel, several MANATEES came over to check us out. They were just a curious about us and we were of them! Wanna see? Hop on board with us and enjoy the view without getting wet by clicking on the video… 

PS- There are plenty of places to rent SUP boards and kayaks on Captiva. For info at South Seas Island Resort CLICK HERE

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Manatees Wash Up On The Beach… For Fun!

Posted by on Aug 14, 2013 in manatee, Manatee Video | 30 comments

mating manatees

It was exciting yet alarming to see so many MANATEES washing up at the shoreline last night! There were more than 7 of these SEA COWS rolling around in the breaking waves …. only a few feet from my toes.  My first instinct was… “Omigosh! They are hurt!”. Then…. ummmm… maybe not. Was is still mating season? I couldn’t remember! I immediately called our local US Fish and Wildlife office (I have it on speed dial!) to make sure this was not an emergency.

manatees sanibel mating

We saw MANATEES mating last year at the Lighthouse Beach and  the year before at Blind Pass… but this looked different. So when I called USF&W and told them there were MANATEES t the shoreline, he kept telling me not to touch them or get close to them. I wanted to say “Of course! They are wild animals and I dont want to disturb them …but I want to know if they need help!”. I starting filming just about the minute I got there so I caught my whole conversation with the fella at USF&W. So it’s funny just to hear my side of the conversation.

So, instead of telling you what happened, you can watch and listen to it on video. This was so cool to see this close encounter! The video is a little long but trust me, I cut it a way shorter than I taped them. I could have stood there for hours- It was so amazing!

So here’s the UPDATE: 8-15-13…. These MANATEES were mating! They weren’t in any danger being so close to the shore the fella from Fish And Wildlife reassured me. I talked to Beth from Blue Dolphin Cottages on West Gulf Drive near this sighting. She said they swam in around 11 am  just north of their property and slowly floated along the shoreline until I saw them at 8 pm. The USF&W guy said it would not be unusual if they stayed there all night as well! But Beth told me they were gone by the morning…. but had funny story for me! Since those MANATEES were on their beach the entire day… they left a few stinky gifts on the beach! Bahahhaha. She posted this photo on their Facebook page and said…

“Wonderful guests volunteered for manatee poop removal!”

remove manatee poop


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Dear Fragile Seashells, Please Don’t Break On The Way Home

Posted by on Aug 1, 2012 in Angel Wing, Buttercup Lucine, Chalky Buttercup Lucine, Lucine, manatee, Manatee Video, Packing Fragile Seashells, Purplish Semele, Sand Dollar, Traveling with sea shells, White Atlantic Semele | 24 comments

fragile seashells

How many times have you found a perfect SAND DOLLAR, a cute little crab shell or a SUNRAY VENUS  still with both side attached… only to find them broken to pieces by the time you get home to show off your gems? Geez, I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the times I’ve done it. Fortunatley, in the last few years I miraculously grew more brain cells (thank goodness) so now I throw tubs and tubes in my tote to protect those fragile shells.

fragile seashell container

You remember all of the SAND DOLLARS I found snorkeling over the weekend? As soon as I got back to our boat, I put them in plastic tubs I’ve saved (the packaging for our butter, cottage cheese and lunch meat) to keep them from getting crushed in my bag. Recycling at its best! My favorite container is the tube from the Crystal Light packaging. I save this one for long fragile shells… like WORMIES but unfortunately I didn’t find any WORM SHELLS on our boat trip this time so I used this container  keep my biggest ANGEL WING safe and sound…

angel wing container

Okay, so I have to show you my newest shell bag that is helping me keep my fragile shells safe until I can even get the to my containers for travel. This called a “shower tote” I found at Bed Bath and Beyond that is a rubberized mesh with tons of outside pockets. I’m loving this thing! All the non-fragiles go in the center like a regular shell bucket or bag then the fragiles get stashed in the outside pockets. The SAND DOLLARS are a perfect fit for the wider pockets and the other pockets keep small or thin shells from getting broken by the OLIVE and WHELKS being thrown on top of them. Watch out MacGyver!

shell bag pockets

In one of the smaller pockets, I threw a couple of bivalves that I found on Cayo Costa that I don’t often find on Sanibel…

sand dollars semeles

This PURPLISH SEMELE is not a rare shell, but this one seemed particularly deep purple on the interior. Okay, I should have put some mineral oil on it to keep the color bright… but I didn’t. ;( I hope you can still see the deep color!

purplish semele interior

Here’s the exterior…

Purplish  Semele

I also found her sister shell… the WHITE ATLANTIC SEMELE…

white atlantic semele

I’m sure both of these would be great craft shells…

white atlanic semele interior

I also found several CHALKY BUTTERCUP LUCINES on Cayo Costa. I never find these on Sanibel! These are the big sisters of the BUTTERCUP LUCINES (on top row of the next photo) which we do find on Sanibel frequently … and one of Clark’s faves.

chalky buttercup lucine

After shelling all day, we stored all of our treasures safely in our containers then Captain Clark got behind the wheel as I was going to pull up the anchor… and looky who was giving us a great send off! A MANATEE!

manatee at boat

 Darn! I wished I still had my snorkel gear on with my camera to film this underwater but any way we get to see them is a really treat.

manatee by boat

 We always get excited when we see a MANATEE so not only did we see this one, we saw a whole group of them on the way home. It was thrilling! This time I got a very shaky video. Yes, shaky because I was so excited and because I had to react really quickly when I saw them surface. Clark always does a great job of watching out for them and idling the engine when they get close but we’ve never had them follow the boat like this before. It was crazy! And I cant help but squeal or ohhh and ahhh when they surface so … I’m apologizing now. I had to edit some of it out because my voice gets so weird and high and sqeaky… it’s embarrassing. LOL  Enjoy!

PS- If you’d like to take a boat ride out to Cayo Costa for some shelling and sight seeing..  CLICK HERE

For more tips on traveling with seashells, click on the links below…

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Calm After The Tropical Storm On Sanibel

Posted by on Jul 2, 2012 in Bones, Dolphin Beak Bone, manatee | 12 comments

conchs whelks sanibel

 After Tropical Storm Debby blew through Southwest Florida last week, things are now calm, the parking lots are cleaned up and I met lots of happy shellers enjoying the sunshine all weekend. I saw MANATEES that were even out socializing…

shellers manatee

 Remember Barbara from West Virginia who found the JUNONIA on my last post? She was back shelling near the jetty rocks at Blind Pass Captiva when two MANATEES swam right by her. Lucky Lady!

barbara manatee captiva

 The big pile of shells near the jetty was completely gone but there were still a few keepers rolling in the surf.  Candy from Cape Coral found a sweet little SHARK’S EYE…

Candy sharks eye captiva

 On the Sanibel side of Blind Pass, there were lots of shellers finding FIGHTING CONCHS and WHELKS…

sanibel seashells handful

My dear friend Mary B (she is moving away soon so I’ll miss you Mary!) found a perfect tiny FLAT SCALLOP.

mary b flat shell

 I loved talking to this next family from Ringwood New Jersey! Kevin, Alyssa, Kelly and Bailey have been coming to Sanibel for years and they Love Shelling! They just arrived when I was leaving so I hope they found some goodies.

family sanibel shelling

 My fave find of the weekend was this BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN BEAK BONE Super Sheller Clark picked up on the beach.

dolphin jaw bone

 These are the holes where the teeth were on this side of its jaw bone!

bottlenose dolphin bone

 Apparently, this is just one side of the mandible so this bottom right side was broken off the left side of its jaw.

dolphin beak bone mandible

In my research, I couldn’t find out what these holes are for in the next photo. They are definitely not from wear or from another animal so if I were to speculate, I’d say they were for sensory (?)…. but I wouldn’t bet on it. Do you know?

holes in dolphin beak

 UPDATE : Thank you Karen S and Jeff B for letting us know that the holes in this DOLPHIN BEAK BONE are called “Mental Foramen”. They are the openings for the nerves and blood vessels to pass through….and we (humans) have them too. Again, THANK YOU KS and JB for your comments so we can all learn together!!


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There’s No Place Like Home On Sanibel

Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Alphabet Cone, King's Crown, Lightning Whelk, Live Shark's eye, manatee, Manatee Video, Pear Whelk, Sand Dollar, Shark's Eye, Thailand Trip | 26 comments

low tide sanibel lighthouse

 I love to travel… but more than anything, I love to come home to my beautiful island of Sanibel. Sanibel is like getting to finally sleeping in your own bed or taking your first good breathe of fresh air.

alphabet cone lighthouse clark

Yep. Super Sheller Clark found this beautiful ALPHABET CONE last night at the Lighthouse beach. We just couldn’t wait any longer to see our own contented beach. Clark was looking at this CONE like it was a long lost friend.

live kings crown

 I was enjoying all the signs of a beautiful life on our islands. I picked up this gorgeous KINGS CROWN (above) then realized it was full of life and health so I was happy I scooped up so much sand with “him”. He went right on his merry way when I put him gently back where I found him. The Gulf of Mexico was so full of life! I found a live SHARK’S EYE too…

live shark's eye

 There were lots of live PEAR WHELKS too…

live pear whelk

 And live KEY HOLE SAND DOLLARS. Did you notice I put the whole common name of this SAND DOLLAR? Sine we found those cutie tiny SAND DOLLARS in Thailand, I’ve been trying to figure out what type they are… when I realized that I’ve never said which ones ours are that we find here in SouthWest Florida. KEY HOLE SAND DOLLARS!

live Sanibel sand dollar


live lightning whelk

In the next photo of this same LIGHTNING WHELK, I wanted  show you how much lighter the other side was but do you see that little string on my left hand ? While on our trip to Thailand, we were blessed by a Monk who wrapped this string with a knot around our wrists. I was told it was called a “spiritual line” and we are to wear it until it falls off and not to cut it off. It is for good luck, good health and to remind us every day that today is special so live it that way. I immediately thought of those strings I used to tie around my finger to remind me to do something. So every day now when I look at this string on my wrist I am reminded that today is a gift.

live lightning whelk lighthouse

 We even saw MANATEES wallowing in the shallow water just a few feet from us. Talk about a welcome home! Oh I love this place. Check out the video…

I hope the spiritual line this Buddhist Monk blessed us with rubbed a lot of luck onto these full of life MOLLUSKS and SEA LIFE to live an even longer healthier breeding life.

blessed monk

PS- I’ll show lots of more photos of Thailand soon!

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