Archive for Sand Dollar

Jan
19

Life Is Good With A Sanibel Sunrise

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closeup shells on the beach

It’s really a shame I’m not a morning person. Everybody assumes since I’m an obsessed sheller that I’m always the first one on the beach every morning. Wrong! I’m a lazy bum in the mornings and I love to sleep in… but there are a few certain occasions I like to see the sunrise. One of those occasions would be a really low morning tide after some nice north winds. That’ll give me a little shove out the door every time.

sunrise over sanibel shells

Every single solitary time I’m on the beach to witness a new day as the sun rises up over a fresh new string of shells with a golden glow… I wish I was a morning person.

sanibel shoreline at dawn

It’s the time to see live healthy creatures.

live sand dollar in crushed shell

I didn’t even have to touch this SAND DOLLAR to know it was alive. I could see cilia (or what I call “fur”) lining the outside of its body as well as each of the key hole slits. So beautiful!

cilia showing on a live sand dollar

This live LIGHTNING WHELK had already done an excellent job of digging itself back into the wet sand to wait for the tide to soon cover him back up completely so I left him alone as well.

live lightning whelk digging in the sand

My sunrise morning trip to Gulfside City Park Beach to see the beautiful colors of dawn, feel the calmness and to pick up a few treasures was well worth hearing that alarm clock ringing in the dark. But when I think about it, every single time I’m on the beach whether its dawn, mid morning, noon, afternoon, early evening or at dusk… I find something that makes me happy.

Seashells by the Sanibel seashore

A few minutes before I headed home, I admired my loot and realized that I didn’t need to take everything I picked up. So if my biggest decision of the day was to choose which shells made it home with me… life is good today.

Collecting seashells at Gulfside City Park beach Sanibel

Come with me on a shelling trip! CLICK HERE

pam rambo shelling trips

Jan
05

Sanibel’s Captivating Live Sea Creatures

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lightning whelk in surf

As we celebrate new days watching the sun rise over the horizon at low tide in the new year on Sanibel…

Sanibel sunrise

We also shellebrate the gifts of the sea…

seashell and waves at blue dawn

We also celebrate the gift of witnessing living creatures exposing themselves for just a short time as the water recedes.

live lightning whelk at sunrise

With most animals, we are easily able to see if they are alive, healthy and breathing but with creatures of the sea that have washed ashore, it’s a little bit more difficult. We (shellers) take the time to to look for signs of life with respect. As soon as I saw this shell was occupied by noticing the body and OPERCULUM of the “snail” still intact, I gently placed it back in the water covered with sand making sure the opening faced down into to sand.

live lightning whelk in sand and sea foam

Even for some shellers, it’s hard to tell if a SAND DOLLAR is dead or alive so the best thing to do first is… slow down. Take a few minutes to look for any cilia which looks like fur or looks a little fuzzy in the edges. Any time a SAND DOLLAR is this color, assume that it is still alive… gently place it back in the water.

Live sand dollar bottom

If a STARFISH is any where near the water or if the sand is still damp where you found it, always assume it is still alive too and let it be.

starfish in the sand with shells

Shellers are very fortunate to have seen the miracles of Mother Nature as we comb the shorelines to discover the magic of the sea. We learn new lessons every day we walk the water’s edge. For most beach combers, we know the signs of life in sea creatures but inexperienced visitors may be overwhelmed with the beauty that surrounds them and not know to take the time to look for signs of life. Since I grew up on the water, I always assumed other folks knew shells, SAND DOLLARS and STARFISH live their lives close to shore but now I’ve learned that most people don’t know much about life in the ocean or gulf. First time visitors to the beach may have heard how amazing shell collecting is and unintentionally collect a live animal without knowing it. It’s an amazing experience to see the compassion on a new sheller’s face after learning they have collected a live animal then race it to the water where they found it to save its life. Most just don’t know… and are thankful to learn and appreciate the living ocean even more.

father and daughter on the beach at sunrise

There have been so many live critters exposed during the morning’s low tide the last few days so with many newbies on the beaches, I’m sure I’ll get to see the amazement on someone’s face that just learned for the first time that shells, sand dollars and starfish are living beings and are still actually alive.

live fighting conch sw florida

Come with me on a shelling trip! For upcoming dates … CLICK HERE

pam rambo shelling trips

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