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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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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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Different Cone Shells From Sanibel Florida

Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in Alphabet Cone, Bowman's Beach, Dusky Cone, Florida Cone, Sanibel, Seashells | 15 comments

Finding shells on Bowmans Beach Sanibel

We’ve been enjoying walking along the shore at Sanibel’s Bowmans Beach this summer since we’ve had our best luck finding shells no matter which direction we comb the beach. Clark had an eye for the cutie mini shells this time. As soon as he found that little DUSKY CONE (on the tips of the horsies/candy/candy corn/mac n cheese…. errrr… those juvie HORSE CONCHS) I remembered that on one of my latest shelling adventure cruises I tried to show how one can tell the difference between those and the ALPHABETS and FLORIDA CONES.

small shells from Bowmans Beach Sanibel

So let me try to show the difference of the shells to you too. Here is a handful of the DUSKY CONES to show you how big they are and the different colors and patterns. Also, check out that each one of them has spiral ribs along the body of the shell. If you run your thumb over the shell, it won’t be smooth, you will feel all of the the little ridges.

Dusky shells from Sanibel Florida

Here’s the difference between a random ALPHABET CONE, FLORIDA CONE and the DUSKY that I pulled from our collection of Sanibel shells to see the different patterns and the normal adult size of each.

Different cone shells from Sanibel Dusky Florida Alphabet

In this view, you can really see those ribs on the DUSKY compared to the other two that are mostly smooth.  Cool, huh?

Dusky cone shell ribs compared to florida and alphabet cone


So next time you find a small little cone shell, look a little closer to see which one you’ve found. Maybe it will be a DUSKY CONE like Deseray found years ago that I showed in my post Rainbow Of Miniature Shells that we compared to her sweet little ALPHIE.

UPDATE: Ive had a few people ask about the difference between the Duskys, Stearns and Jasper Cones. I used to call some of them Jasper Cones but I was corrected a few years ago (can’t remember who told me- MurexKen maybe?) that the Shell Museum says that Jaspers and Stearns aren’t found in our area- only Dusky Cones. So I guess Ive gotta go with with that too unless they add them to the list. Im def no scientist ;0

Dusky alphabet cones sanibel


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Paul Newman’s Shark Eye at Bowman’s Beach

Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in Bowman's Beach, Paul Newmans Eye, Shark's Eye | 25 comments

Bowmans Beach shells on Sanibel Island-1

Well there you are ol’ blue eye! I found the prettiest PAUL NEWMAN’S EYE SHARKS EYE at Bowman’s Beach over the weekend. I just love to find these special shells with the bright blue center.

paul newmans eye shark shell

After walking a while, Clark and I found one little spot that produced lots of other gorgeous treasures.

Paul Newmans Eye sharks eye shell-1

Most of the shells we found were just at the water’s edge.

orange horse chonch shell in ocean-1

Such an amazing assortment. We haven’t found such a variety like this in a while so I felt so shellucky.

Bowmans Beach shells on Sanibel Island

I was thrilled… so I took a little video to share with you so you can see how the shells were rolling in. I didn’t pick any up while I was filming so you could try to spot them too. Have fun! 

We went back last night but didn’t find this same assortment but I did find something that made me laugh… a broken beat up JUNONIA. Just to see those spots in the sand made my heart is a beat!

Junonia cob in Sanibel sunset



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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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