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

Cruisin’ To Cone Shell Country

Posted by on Mar 26, 2016 in Big Hickory Island, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Sea anemone, Sight Sea-R Cruises Shelling Boat | 10 comments

find florida cones and alphabet cones

We found so many CONE shells down by the seashore at Big Hickory Island this week. Sweet giant JINGLE SHELLS, WORMIES and WHELKS were among the beauties we found as well.

jingle shells coral wormies and whelks

Meet Super Sheller Dale in the red shirt. He found “CONE COUNTRY” with those ALPHABET CONES and FLORIDA CONES in the first image plus a few more fun favorite shells with Sandi and Kelvin all visiting from Illinois.

Dale, Sandi Kelvin IL visit florida for seashells

We had so many cool shellers like SW Florida locals Kelli and Howard join us on this gorgeous day for our iLoveShelling beach combing adventure with Sight Sea-R Cruises.

Kelli and Howard Cape Coral FL find shells
alphabet cones sand dollars conch shells

So much fun to meet Brett and Meg from Virginia. I think being 7 months pregnant has made Meg’s shelling eye even more keen.

Brett and Meg VA visit SW Florida for beach combing

She found some awesome treasures so I’m hoping they have a little sheller on the way since their little one has already felt the joy that shelling has.

sand dollar and Florida shells

Brian and Kristen (Chicago) were the SAND DOLLAR magnets.

Brian Kristen Chicago beach finds vacation Florida

sand dolaars and seashells

Peggy (also from IL) loves the CORAL like I do- she found an awesome branch.

peggy IL beach finds

collecting beach finds

Mary Ellen from Minnesota was so smart to fill her plastic shell bag with sand to protect her ANGEL WINGS and other fragile shells. Love that!

Mary Ellen MN with beach finds in Florida

John and Mary (WI) found 3 live colorful SEA ANEMONES hanging out on a BANDED TULIP.

John and Mary WI sea anemone on tulip

Once we marveled at the color and saw this creature “flowering” when we dipped it in the water, I took it out a little deeper in the water to return it to the Gulf Of Mexico. Always fun to see the different creatures of the sea!

sea amemone on tulip shell sw florida

Seeing this photo of Margaret (NY) and her daughter Danielle (RI) just makes me smile. They are so sweet together and mother and daughter shellers

It makes my day to see families enjoying the thrill of the beach hunt together. It was a pleasure to hang out on the beach with Miriam, Emily, Laurie and Jim (Oregon) and to find ANGEL WINGS, OLIVES and SHARKS EYES with them. ❤︎

Miriam Emily Laurie Jim Oregon beach combers in SW Florida

A shelling family is a happy family because it’s so much fun to learn about the beach. Wes, Ruba, Laurie and Neal (Virginia), thank you for bringing your kids Teagan, Ethan, Matthew and Lilli on our shelling adventure. I had so much fun walking the beach with them and answering all of their questions about all the different shells and bling they found.

Wes, Ruba, Teagan, Ethan, Matthew, Lilli, Laura, Neal Roanake VA

It was way too cute to see the beach finds they chose when I asked them what their favorite things were that they found on the beach.

kids shelling finds
Hershel, Connie, Nathalie, Collin, Kylie and Scott (Indiana) were celebrating Nathalie and Scott’s 20 year anniversary. Such a fun way to shellebrate with their family!

family shelling trip

crown conch olive whelks and sand dollars

You never know what you will find shelling by the seashore. On our cruise, most shellers hit Cone Country and I found a sun, fun shell filled day with the sweetest shelling families and friends old and new… my favorite days.

stoop for shells

PS- Have a wonderful Easter Weekend!

Pam shell easter basket

Stoop, scoop, "Whoop!". Our beach therapy chant. #iLoveShellingAdventure

A photo posted by iLoveShelling (@iloveshelling) on


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Healthy Living On The Coast Of Sanibel Island

Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Augers, Baby's Ear, Fighting Conch, Hermit crabs, Lettered Olive, Lightning Whelk, Lined Sea Star, live baby ear, low tide, Onion Sea Anemone, Sand Dollar, Sea anemone, Shark's Eye Egg Collar, Sponge, Whelk | 24 comments

Lightning whelk in Sanibel surf

If the Sanibel SEA LIFE could have talked last evening at low tide, they probably would have been chatting it up about how lovely the evening was and how healthy they were feeling…. just like us.

live starfish at sanibel lighthouse beach

This LINED STARFISH was raisin’ the roof!

Curled live starfish sea star Sanibel Island

The live LETTERED OLIVES were doin’ the locomotion…

live lettered olive shell

The live AUGERS were gettin’ jiggy with it…

live auger shells at low tide Sanibel

This live BABY’S EAR was jivin’ and slimin’…

live babys ear shell

The live FIGHTING CONCHS were putting’ up their dukes…

live fighting conch in sand

There were hundreds of HERMIT CRABS running around claiming the best shells for their residences.

apple murex with hermit crab

We even saw quite a few SHARK’S EYE EGG COLLARS brimming with little tiny eggs…

sharks eye egg collar

We even saw lots of ONION SEA ANEMONES flowering in the tidal pools…

Paranthus rapiformis onion sea anemone

Hmmmm….I wonder why they call it an “ONION” SEA ANEMONE … heehee

Paranthus rapiformis onion sea anemonae CNIDARIA

The colors of the night were amazing! This clump of SEA SPONGE was the most brilliant color purple…

purple sea sponge Sanibel

A little higher on the beach, I saw that Leah from Georgia found a honey hole of wonderful minis which included lots of WENTLETRAPS.

collecting seashells on the seashore of Sanibel Island

Leah and her husband Matt were vacationing on Sanibel to celebrate Matt’s 40th birthday.

Matt Leah from Georgia vacation on Sanibel for shells

Finding a few beautiful shells to take home was just icing on the cake. Happy Birthday Matt!

seashells found on Sanibel Island by Leah

The weather was perfect, the beach was teeming with live creatures and each breath of fresh, salty air made exploring the tidal pools heaven on earth.

Whelk in the surf of Sanibel Island

sand dollar at low tide Sanibel Island

exploring low tide on Sanibel Island

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Tropical Summer Of Sanibel

Posted by on Jun 26, 2013 in Brittle Star, Sand Dollar, Sea anemone, Sunsets | 39 comments

sand dollar on a Sanibel beach

After late afternoon rain showers in the summer tropics of Sanibel when the setting sun peeks out from the clouds, the colors of the sky seem to magnify the brilliant colors of the water, beach, sand and shells.

Sand dollar sanibel

I didn’t find many empty shells along the middle island beach of Sanibel but I made up for it finding the perfect SAND DOLLAR. Or maybe I was so amazed by the living SEALIFE that I couldn’t focus on picking up shells. I’m still in awe over the baby KINGS CROWNS so my focus has been on stopping at every living thing to inspect it closely just to make sure I dont miss anything. WOW! I usually walk right on by the SEA ANEMONES at low tide trying to find half buried shells but this one stopped me in my tracks. Look at the color of this one! The shallow water waved the tentacles back and forth so I could get a view of it’s magical dance.

purple sea anemone sanibel low tide

The turquoise blue color caught my eye on this different one. I think it’s a SEA ANEMONE because of the size, shape and texture but I never saw it open (I waited for about 15 minutes) and it didn’t retract when I gently touched it. Hmmmm. Something new again. Have you ever seen one this color?

turquoise blue sea anemone sanibel florida

I found this BRITTLE STAR wrapped up like a ball in the water that was lapping up on the beach. “He” looked like he had seen better days but I untangled him then placed him in shallow water without the wave action. He started coming alive again! You can see he is already starting to bury himself in the sand.

brittle star seastar sanibel

I could have taken hundreds of photos of live sea creatures during the low tide evenings this week but to experience such beautiful late afternoons with the cool breeze says it all in this next photo. It takes my breath away. Happy weekend to you all.

sand dollar background


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Finding A Pot Of Gold

Posted by on Jun 12, 2013 in Live Sand Dollar, Rainbows, Sand Dollar, Sea anemone, True tulip, Urchin, West Indian Sea Egg | 17 comments

family water seashells captiva

 The beach at Captiva’s Blind Pass near the jetty rocks was an absolutely gorgeous aqua blue yesterday… and that’s where SaraBeth, Todd, Pati and Kate from Texas were finding their turquoise pot with golden treasures.

turquoise shell bucket bp

Danielle from North Carolina found this bucket of golden shells in the water too along with her family in the background. See how close they were to the jetty rocks? It was calm and clear- so completely different from last week when TS Andrea came through.

daniel nc shelling captiva

All of the shelling action was in the water so Mikey, Linda and Mike from Tampa, FL were chest deep in the water too having a ball scooping up CONCHS, WHELKS and a variety of shells. They know if the shells arent on the beach… get in the water to look for them! Most likely you will find something golden and you’ll have a great time looking.

mikey linda mike seashells captiva

I also want to show you all of the live creatures that are around Lighthouse Beach this week. Michael R found this WEST INDIAN SEA EGG (URCHIN) in one of the tidal pools at low. It really doesn’t show up well in this photo but the spines were a beautiful pink tint. Thanks for showing it to me Michael before you put it back in the water.

west indian sea egg sanibel

Its always a treat to see such a laaaarge healthy TRUE TULIP scooting along the shallow waters. I thought he wanted to be in a little deeper water so I put him in a tidal pool that just covered his shell but he made a “U-ie” and went right back to shallow water. Okay, dude- I get it. I’ll leave you alone next time. :)

live tulip scoot sanibel

There were thousands of live SAND DOLLARS everywhere! I thought this one was so interesting since it was so light in color but very much still alive… And that he had repaired himself from an injury.

live repaired sand dollar

We normally don’t see SEA ANEMONES like this one laying on top of the sand like I found this one. Weird, huh? But it was still alive so I hope he survived after I put him back in the water.

white sea anemonae

We’ve had rain on and off this whole week so it’s been fun to see so many RAINBOWS! This one stretched along the horizon to remind us that Southwest Florida is an amazing pot of gold.

rainbow over Sanibel beach path

I’ve got some fun news…  We reached 6000 “Likes” on our iLoveShelling Facebook Page! Wahoo! Thank you Lisa Rothman for being our 6000th shelling friend!

6000 facebook  likes

One more thing…Only a few days left to enter to win a shelling vacation on Sanibel! Enter now so CLICK HERE!

Seashell Island Shelling Vacation

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It’s Raining Dosinias

Posted by on Apr 6, 2011 in Apple, Blind Pass, Brittle Star, Dosinia, Lace Murex, Murex, Sea anemone, Wentletrap | 18 comments

shelling for clams on the beach

Earlier this week the DOSINIAS were everywhere at the lighthouse. Doesn’t it look like Mr Greenjeans just dropped all of his ping pong balls all over the beach?  I know, I’m showing my age.

Shells inside a dosinia

There has been a variety of shells washing up at the lighthouse beach this week. The MUREXES, SHARK’S EYE, TURBAN  and FIGHTING CONCH that are resting inside a double DOSINIA CLAM were some of the treasures in Dennis and Terri’s (WA) shell bag.

Terri Dennis with shells

A shelling sister!….With her tee shirt to prove it!

Dosinia seashell

This is a view of the outside of a DOSINIA. You’ve probably seen one of these before if you’ve come for a visit to Sanibel or Captiva.

apple murex disk dosinia

I placed their shells in the DOSINIA in the first photo because I saw this live APPLE MUREX looking so cute hanging upside down in this one.

Wentletrap Terri

That’s a huge WENTLETRAP in Terri’s hand! The smaller one is the size we are used to finding.

wentletrap clark

Ha! Clark hates to be out-shelled (remember the day I found my first SCOTCH BONNET?  Clark found one the same day.) So of course he found a monster WENTLETRAP too.

Brittle starfish

This was a live BRITTLE STAR that got caught in the receding tide so we picked him up (they won’t hurt you) and placed in back into the gulf.

Here are a few pictures I took this week. I just didn’t get a chance to post them yet so the beach may have changed (as it does every day).

Lighthouse shellers

Judy and Robin

ladies collecting shells

More Sanibel Stooping.

kids with wild dolphin

Don’t worry, it’s a DOLPHIN not a SHARK.

pink sea anemone


Captiva sandbar

Blind Pass update: I took the photo above and the one below Sunday at Blind Pass on the Sanibel side. The sand is filling in between the shore and the sand bar so I wonder if there is any water that separates it now. I didn’t see anybody collecting too much there but I’ll check it out tomorrow too.

Captiva low tide

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Smiles For Seashells

Posted by on Apr 3, 2011 in Horse Conch Egg Casing, Melampus, Sanibel, Sea anemone | 14 comments

shell crazy ladies

This is shelling heaven. I’m sure you understand why Clare and Robin have such great smiles on their faces as they sift through scoops of shells Clare just brought back from the water.

collecting wentletraps

Those are WENTLETRAPS they are finding!

wrack of Sanibel seashells

I felt so lucky all weekend to be able to sift through such a wide wrack of shells and talk to so many happy successful shellers at the lighthouse beach on Sanibel.

Top ten seashells

This is a day’s shell collection that any sheller would smile about. It’s like the top ten shells of Sanibel, isn’t it? I saw Connie again (from March 30 post) with a FIGHTING CONCH, PAPER FIG, TRUE TULIP, HORSE CONCH, FLORIDA CONE, ALPHABET CONES, LIGHTNING WHELK, a little tiny KING’S CROWN, and a PEAR WHELK on her shelling screen (oh yeah, and a PONDEROUS ARK but not sure I would call that a top ten shell- haha).

seashell colander

Connie with her top ten.

girl with cone shell

Rachael (Denver) found a FLORIDA CONE and two minutes later, she and her Aunt Joan scooped up all of these shells from the surf…

scoop of seashells

All of these shells in just two scoops!

shellers rachael and joan

Rachael and her Aunt Joan (Rachael’s mom’s twin sister!) smiling big.

Coffee Melampus seashell

This weekend you could find big shells but Hudson (St Pete, FL) had keen eyes to find beautiful minis too. This is a gorgeous COFFEE MELAMPUS.

boy shells with melampus shell

Happy Hudson!

girl with starfish

Hudson’s little sister Ilene filled up her bucket with COCKLES and DOSINIAS. She even saved a STARFISH by putting it back in the water.

guy collecting seashells

This guy is a malacologist in the making if you ask me. When I started talking to Mitchel (MI), he told me he was a scientific shell collector. I watched him scoop up a few good scoops of shells out of the water to take back to the sand to sift through them. Every time he’d dump the shells out, he’d draw a crowd of people to see what he found….. most of them were girls. Smart guy.

guy with shell bag

Nice Conus spurius (ALPHABET CONE), Dr M.

pens shell and tulip egg casing

There were so many different things  like this HORSE CONCH EGG CASE with a PEN SHELL washing up on the beach that I could talk about it for days….. and I think will. I’ll have to show the rest of my photos tomorrow since I’ve run out of time. I have so many more good ones …. like this

SEA ANEMONE flower…..

Sea anemone flower

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