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

Sanibel Sand Dollars Days

Posted by on Nov 14, 2015 in Gulf Side City Beach (Algier's), Sand Dollar, Sanibel, Sea Life, Sunsets | 24 comments

clean sand dollars on drying rack

There are days on Sanibel when hundreds of COCKLE shells… or DOSINIA shells… or PEN SHELLS wash up on the beach. Well, this past week (and lots of random weeks this year) there were hundreds- if not thousands- of SAND DOLLARS washing up on the beach.

sand dollar beach cairn stack

Lots of them were still living (!) but some were perfectly bare of cilia and spines which means they can no longer be alive.

Sanibel seashells and sand dollars

If you have any doubts whether a SAND DOLLAR is alive or dead, please leave it where you found it. But if you want to learn how to tell the difference, please CLICK HERE for my post How To Identify Differences Between Live And Dead Sand Dollars.

Collecting sand dollars on Sanibel Island

Local sheller Karen knows the ones she can keep and was as dumbfounded as I was to find gazillions of them scattered all over the beach.

Karen with sand dollars found sanibel

So many in perfect condition.

finding sand dollars on the beach

If you look closely at this next photo, you’ll see those dark spots throughout the sand- most of those were still the live ones dotting the beach at Gulfside City Beach on Sanibel Island.

sunset sanibel stoop sand dollars

It always feels like such a special day to just see one, so I was feeling like I won the SAND DOLLAR lottery.

sand dollars at sunset

We have a nice collection of SAND DOLLARS already so I don’t normally pick them up any more… but… I had a few events planned this week to visit with friends so Clark and I gathered a few up to give as gifts. We placed them overnight in a bleach solution then rinsed them off in the morning. CLICK HERE for a more detailed tutorial for cleaning SAND DOLLARS.

cleaning sand dollars

We then placed them in the sun all day to dry out. They made for wonderful party favors for my friends that evening. Gifts from the sea.

clean bleached sand dollars on drying rack

We just had some strong NE winds move in this morning so all of these sweet beach bucks might get covered back up with the wave action. We always have to remember not to take anything for granted- they’re here one day and maybe gone the next. It happens that fast!

I’m working on new dates for our iLoveShelling cruises. I hope to have dates very soon so I can see y’all when you come to SW Florida to visit! I have through January… so CLICK HERE to join us!


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Not Waiting For the Calm After The Storm

Posted by on Oct 4, 2015 in Calico, Sand Dollar, Scallop | 10 comments

Conch if you love sunset

Even though Hurricane Joaquin has been churning in the Caribbean hundreds of miles from Sanibel and Captiva the last few days, those north and west winds have effected our beaches and churned our gulf coast as well.

Rough SW gulf coast water with shells

This weekend Clark and I combed the beaches (through intermittent rain without lightning) finding some cool broken brick/concrete chunks with turquoise paint (maybe an old floor?), lots of incredible “sun beam” SCALLOPS and other assorted shells and bling getting tossed up by the rough surf on the beaches closer to Captiva.

beautiful sunrise scallops

Clark found lots of dreamy creamsicle shelliciousness at Bowman’s Beach.

orange shellicious shells

The gulf was much calmer near Gulfside Beach which made for a beautiful sunset to show off Ray’s perfect little juvie SAND DOLLAR.

Ray's sand dollar in the sky

Although Ray (from Nantucket) is visiting Sanibel for a fishing trip, he found his first SAND DOLLAR (he called it a sand nickel – heehee) along with some other shells. He noticed it was still a little dark so he knew to search for any signs of life by looking for any “fur” or cilia anywhere on the body. He asked me to check it out to make sure as well…. yep, he was right- no fur. It’s a keeper!

juvie sand dollar by Ray while fishing

At Lighthouse Beach, the wind was kicking up and the shells were starting to roll in…. but you had to fast to snag them or the waves would take them right back out as fast as they came in. Dale and Wayne (Jacksonville, FL) were lucky enough to catch a few good ones but Dale said this ALPHABET CONE was the best of their collection. Awesome!

Dale Wayne Jacksonville with cone shell Sanibel

Just like this weekend, each SW Florida beach this week will probably be changing by the hour. That’s why we love to be out there and it keeps us coming back, right?

i heart shells beach art

I can’t wait to see what we find on our iLoveShelling Adventure to Cayo Costa tomorrow with Captiva Cruises- So excited! If you won’t be joining us tomorrow, check out more dates by CLICKING HERE


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Pearls Of The Sea

Posted by on Sep 26, 2015 in Bowman's Beach, Gulf Side City Beach (Algier's), Lighthouse, Sand Dollar, Sanibel, Sea Bean, Sea Pearl | 18 comments

Sea Pearls and Babys Ears

SEA PEARLS and BABYS EARS were some favorite gems to be found at Lighthouse Beach this week. They blend in with all the other shells and bling so I feel so rewarded when I find one. It’s like I feel lucky that I saw the beauty in them when others may have passed them by without giving them a glance. That’s why beachcombers “get” each other, right? Beachcombers know there are hundreds of treasures the sea offers …but we just have to take our time to look for them.

beach bucks

But I feel luckiest when we meet other beach combers on the beach like Lee and Susan (formerly of Guantanamo Bay) who turn into friends for life because they feel the same way. So much fun!

Beach Combing with the Merrills

We not only found those SEA BEAN treasures at Lighthouse Beach, we combed the beach at Gulfside beach…

The boys beach combing low tide Sanibel

…Where we saw some nice SAND DOLLARS, OLIVES and a few other nice finds.

Shells and bling at Bowmans Beach Sanibel

Each beach we went to, we saw completely different shells and bling. We walked along Bowman’s Beach to find a few small shell piles…

bowmans beach shells and water

Lee caught a few SHARKS EYES rolling in the surf.

Shells at beachcombing Bowmans Beach

Oooooo… and look at that FLAT SCALLOP and ALPHABET CONE Clark found…  perfect!

Beachcombing shells at Bowmans Beach
This was my fave find of the week… a brilliant, bright orange RIBED CANTHARUS. Omigosh… Eye candy.

Ribbed Cantharus Bowman Beach beachcombing

But even if I didn’t find the RIBBED CANTHARUS, I found happiness…

Beach combing with friends

With some of my fave peeps …

Rambo and Merrills at Lighthouse beach

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Whelkome To Paradise

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Lighthouse, Lightning Whelk, Sand Dollar, Sanibel, Whelk | 8 comments

Whelkome lightning whelk

Life on a tropical island is magical. Our skies change from blue to pink to orange to grey any given moment bringing rain showers to cool off from the heat of the day which produce rainbows and picturesque reflections.

Reflecting on the power of the dollar-  a sand dollar
On my beach walk at low tide just before yet another stunning sunset, I found a few treasures on the gulf side near Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach.

Beachcomber small shells and sand dollars

Milt and Jenna from New York found about the same sweet little minis I found walking toward the lighthouse.

Shellers Milt Jenna from New York visit Sanibel Floridav
After making a turn around the tip of the island heading towards the fishing pier, we saw lots and lots of people.

Sanibel Lighthouse beach with shellers

If you were lucky like Bryce from Kansas, you could find TULIPS and WHELKS half buried around those old concrete slabs. (For the history of those slabs CLICK HERE)

Collecting shells around rocks

Hmmm…. I don’t think Bryce was the only lucky one. I’m sure everybody who sees beauty like this feels very lucky.

Sanibel catamaran at sunset with a shell

Join me on a Shelling Adventure! For me information and dates CLICK HERE

pam rambo shelling trips

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Sand Dimes By The Dozen

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Gulf Side City Beach (Algier's), Live Sand Dollar, Sand Dollar, Sanibel | 13 comments

Tiny baby sand dollars found on Sanibel

The teeny tiny SAND DIMES are back at Gulfside City Park!

finger tip sand dollar

Yahoo! There’s gold in them that SEAWEED hills. I found these sweet little white SAND DOLLARS high on the dry beach mixed in with the wrack line dry SEA WEEDS…. so far from the water. Dollar days are back.

beach treasure sand dollar in sea weed

I just followed the wrack line to find the money trail.

Dry white sand dollar dimes in high tide wrack

I walked down to the water’s edge to find hundreds of live SAND DOLLARS washed up in the low tide.

Baby live sand dollar dimes in the sand

As the tide turned and the water started covering them up, all of the live ones all along the tidal line dug themselves back into the sand where they will hopefully grow into adult SAND DOLLARS.

Tiny live baby sand dollar Sanibel

Mother Nature had other plans for this fist full of dollars. She was giving out SAND DIMES by the dozen in the high dry wrack.

small dried sand dollar dimes

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Beautiful Life On The Beach Video

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in Baby's Ear, Birds, Conch, Fighting Conch, Lesser Black-backed Gull, live baby ear, Live Sand Dollar, Live Shark's eye, Sand Dollar, Shark's Eye, Starfish | 33 comments

bird in the yellow sunset

You wanted a video? Is that what I heard earlier this week after I posted photos of lots of living sea creatures in the low tidal pools? If so….  I’m delivering! I captured some footage of the awesome SHARKS EYE, STARFISH, SAND DOLLAR, FIGHTING CONCHS, BABYS EAR and an incredible LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL. Wherever in the world you might be, sit back and enjoy the beautiful life on the Sanibel beaches.


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