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

Not Waiting For the Calm After The Storm

Posted by on Oct 4, 2015 in Calico, Sand Dollar, Scallop | 8 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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An Adventure In Paradise with Captiva Cruises

Posted by on Sep 20, 2015 in Baby's Ear, Captiva, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Purple Sea Urchin, Seashells, Urchin, West Indian Sea Egg | 9 comments

seashells on purple

We had quite an adventure on our iLoveShelling trip to Cayo Costa on Friday. The morning started out with rain but our die hard group of shellers waited it out until our Captiva Cruises captains Jorge and Carlos made sure we could make it safely to the island.

boarding captiva cruises boat

We ended up going to the north side of Cayo Costa to dock at the ranger station (which is not the usual place we go for the iLoveShelling trips). The we hopped aboard the “shell shuttle” (they really don’t call it that- I kinda just made that up. But hmmm.. but they should, right?) to take us to the beach and back.

riding shell tram on cayo costa
It turned out to be a beautiful day and the beach was loaded with dried washed up SEA URCHINS.

sea urchin on the beach

They were everywhere.

seaweed seashells and sea urchins of sw florida

The colors were abshellutely gorgeous with green, pink, purple, beige and lavender.

sea urchin colors

It was so much fun seeing Martha again from our July trip (CLICK HERE) and she told me she was still looking for a BABYS EAR. There were quite a few people on the last trip that found them but she wasnt one of the lucky ones. So on the boat ride over to the island this time, I told her the north side of the island wasn’t normally the place to look for them so she probably wouldn’t find one. Well she proved me wrong! haha As soon as we got to the beach, there was a BABYS EAR sitting right in the middle wrack line. Omigosh! And then Martha found another one. It goes to show you… don’t ever think that you can outwit Mother Nature. Congrats Martha!

martha found a baby ear

Ron and Rene from PA had some shelltastic luck with finding not just URCHINS, but so many OLIVES too.

collecting shells and beach treasures

But I think Rene’s fave was that sweet double SUNRAY VENUS.

seashells and sea urchins

Jay and Jane from Georgia found all sorts of cool shell loot. Look at Jane… she can’t take her eyes off such fun finds. heehee

finding treasures in florida

Tim and Fran (Ohio) found a few faves but check out the size of Fran’s huge SHARKS EYE. Y’all are so much fun! Oh and sorry again Fran for throwing you under the bus- haha.

finding shells on a shelling trip cruise

John and Dee from Illinois along with Bart and Laurie from Pennsylvania found a few keepers but I think their faves were the SAND DOLLARS- look at those smiles. Dee, it was such a pleasure to talk with you and meet you. You are soooo dear!

happy collecting shells on cayo costa

Cuties Julie and Ron from California found a few treasures too. It’s always so much fun to hang out on the boat and to see who found what- shell ‘n tell!

shelling trip to cayo costa florida

I think Terry and Michelle from Arkansas were as obsessed at seeing so many SEA URCHINS as I was. Michelle and I kept saying  “… and theres another one! … and look at that color!”.

shelling cayo costa

As you can see, some of them still had some of their spines but the insides were completely empty. It was fun to see them in so many different variations.

sea urchins of sw florida

Meet Jochen, Katja and their son Benedikt. They have fantastic sheller eyes especially for visiting from Germany since they are the ones that found the shells on the purple tray in the top photo. Way to go!

family on cayo costa island

You have to meet Jessica and Trudy from Ontario Canada. Jessica scored the one thing she wanted find on our trip- a SAND DOLLAR. What I found out is that she is an artist and she makes SAND DOLLARS… out of dough. She is a master confectioner and she brought me some of her cookies!


sweet shellers on shell cruise

OMG they are yummy and sooooo beautiful. Here’s a photo she took of the amazing sealife cookies on Instagram since they didn’t last long enough for me to take a photo of them … Clark and I devoured them. Thank you Jessica!

seashell and sealife cookies edible art


It was an amazing, adventurous day with such fun shellers!

number 5 beach bouy

And… as with all iLoveShelling cruisesCongress Jewelers (Sealife By Congress) gave everybody a $25 gift certificate to use in their store- they are so generous to the shelling community!

Sealife By Congress Jewelers

An adventure in paradise- It was surely a day to remember!

beach path to paradise cayo costa florida

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Smallest Shells Are Biggest Treasures

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in Cyber Shelling, Seashells, Video | 17 comments

Smallets shells are the biggest treasures

Is there anything cuter than a mini shell? Hmmmm…. well, yes. A handful of minis shells. Is there anything cuter than a handful of mini shells? As a matter of fact… yes!  Cutie little handfuls of mini shells held by cousins Ellie and Mia.

kids finding Sanibel sea shells

Once they found a few “Unicorn Horns” (AUGERS), they were hooked on finding other types of minis and then….  WENTLETRAPS! Shelladorable. The best gifts come in the smallest packages.

Fun collecting mini shells on Sanibel Florida

beach combing Sanibel

Here’s just a slice of unedited video of the beach this morning and a few minis I found before I met Ellie, Mia and their moms (sisters) visiting Sanibel from Colorado and Utah. It was so peaceful so I hope you get that peaceful easy feeling in this CYBERSHELLING bit.

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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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Seeking Shellter

Posted by on Aug 30, 2015 in Horse Conch, Junonia, organize shells, seashell decor, Shellaboratory, Storms | 17 comments

organizing sea shells

It’s hot on Sanibel Island in August and September so its the time of year when I try to organize the Rambo Shellaboratory by sorting shells we’ve collected in the past months and try to find room to display them. For months, our shells and bling we found in Okinawa, Japan sat on our dining room table while I tried to find the time to photograph and research all of the ones we couldn’t identify. I even wanted to do another post about the beach bling we found (like Buzz Lightyear, Jeanne!) but life happens and things get away from me when we return from a big trip like that. So now that its scorching hot during the day, I feel like staying in the air conditioning so I can enjoy the shells we’ve already collected instead of collecting more. Today I added a few shelves in the Shellaboratory so we can enjoy looking at our loot and share those precious memories Clark and I had while combing the beaches on that far away land we explored for weeks. I love it!

shells from japan displayed in shelves


If you were keeping up with the weather on Sanibel, we’ve been watching Tropical Storm Erika in the Caribbean since we were in her path for a few days. Since we live on an island, we pay close attention when we are in the pathway for any named storm, but fortunately Erika fell apart and is no longer threatening us. That’s not to say that we don’t have some wicked skies…

Gimme Shellter Sanibel shells and stormy sky

Clark and I only got a few minutes on the beach before we heard thunder in the distance but we did find one or two treasures.

Shell beach with storm sky

This morning I went to Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach to see if anything washed up. I ran into Tam Tam and Don shelling along the pier side of the beach.

Sanibel lighthouse before the storm


They found some awesome shells! Tammy posted this photo on iLoveShelling Facebook page of her incredible LIGHTNING WHELK and this very cool medium sized HORSE CONCH.

Tammy's horse conch and whelk shells

And best of all…. Kristen (instagram @_salt_life_ ) found a JUNONIA at Lighthouse Beach! Shellzam! She tagged this photo on iLoveShelling Instagram page. Congratshellations Kristen, it beautiful!


Kristen with junonia at lighthouse beach


We should have still have some really bad weather this week so I will probably still be “seeking shellter” by sorting and being a Shellab Rat but if I have any news on shells coming in from this weather, I’ll let you know!

Just in case you missed my other post about The Shellaboratory, check it out CLICK HERE 

Pam Rambo Shellaboratory sea shell display room

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


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We Passed Lots-a-Shells at Pass-a-Grille Beach

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Fargo Worm Shell, Florida, King's Crown, Lightning Whelk, Pass-A-Grille Florida, Roseate Spoonbill, St Petersburg, Sunray Venus, Whelk, Worm Shell | 29 comments

Shells found Pass A Grille St Pete Beach Florida

Shell trip! Clark and I took a beach combing road trip from Sanibel Island to Pass-A-Grille over the weekend …  and had blast finding lots of shells. We found all of the shells in this next photo as we walked from our hotel Inn On The Beach, down to the south tip of the island at jetty rocks to the Pass-a-Grill North Channel.

sea shells on Pass-A-Grille beach St Pete Florida

It was like an OLIVE garden just at the water’s edge but we even found some of my faves….  WORMIES.

worm shells pass-a-grille beach florida

There were lots of shells to pick through on the gorgeous beach as well…

Beach combing Pass-a-Grille
I was tickled to find a teeny tiny BROWN-BANDED WENTLETRAP hiding in the mix.

brown banded wentletrap

There is an island right across the channel from the jetty rocks called “Shell Island”.  What? Shell Island? Of course we had to explore it! There are ferries to take people over to the island but since we wanted to spend all day on the water, we rented a boat. Look at the color of the fabshellous LIGHTNING WHELKS we found. Gorgeous!

Dark lightning whelks Shell Key Florida

We actually had more luck on the back flats of Shell Island instead of the beach on the Gulf Of Mexico side. There were lots of those empty LIGHTNING WHELKS, oodles of double SUNRAY VENUS shells and some really funny live KINGS CROWNS scooting all along shallow waters so I did a little time lapse video of one of them to show you. Ha! Groovy KING CROWN dance moves coming up….

So in between the KINGS CROWN congo, Clark found one of the prettiest orange colored LIGHTNING WHELKS we’ve ever seen. It is really the color of a carrot!

sharks eye and orange lightning whelk


Ok- I took another video too of all of those empty LIGHTNING WHELKS. I couldn’t believe my eyes!

We also boated over to Egmont Key to find a beautiful sandy beach island.

Egmont Key Island Beach Florida

We didn’t find as many shells on Emont Key but we found a couple of ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHERS. Ohhhhh such treat to find these pink feathers!

Roseate Spoonbill Feather Egmont Key beach Florida

At the end of the day, we sat our on our lovely porch to admire all of the beautiful colors and patterns of so many different shells we ended up finding.

Shells found staying at beach front hotel Pass A Grille

We had a lovely time shelling and then relaxing in our beautiful room at Inn On The Beach.

Inn On The Beach Hotel room Pass A Grille Florida

Not a bad way to celebrate our 19 year wedding anniversary, huh?

Pam and Clark Rambo with shells

Sunset at Pass a grille St Pete Florida


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