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

Flip Flop Between Sand Dollars and Angel Wings

Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 in Angel Wing, Big Hickory Island, Bonita Beach, Bonita Out Islands, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, False Angel Wing, Sand Dollar, Sight Sea-R Cruises Shelling Boat | 11 comments

flip flops and seashells

I always flip flop when I try to decide which I like better… SAND DOLLARS or ANGEL WING shells.

sand dollars and angel wing shells

Some of the lucky shellers on our iLoveShelling Shelling Adventure with Sight Sea-R Cruises found both!

iLoveShelling Shelling trip on Sight Sea R Cruises

They were mixed in with WORM SHELLS and double SUNRAY VENUS shells too.

seashells found on big hickory island, florida on sight sea-r cruise

Loved hanging out with Shannon and Mark from Minnesota. The were happy to find their first ANGEL WINGS…

Shannon Mark MN on Big Hickory Island Florida beach

Lookie at these cutie shellooties Ellen, Paige, Melissa and Gail from Oregon all dressed up in their iLS gear. Love these shelling sisters!

Ellen, Melissa, Paige and Gail OR beach comb Florida

It so much fun to see so many familiar faces like cutie Mary. She was finding lots of perfectly dried HORSESHOE CRABS and WORM SHELLS.

Mary finds horseshoe crabs

Awwww and Michelle had her FLAT SCALLOP necklace on again to bring back lots of fun memories. She brought her sister Patti this time too so it was so much fun to hear their shelling stories together.

Patti Michelle shelling on Big Hickory Island

Michelle found a nice ALPHABET CONE to go along with her ANGEL WINGS and other BEACH BLING.

beach find faves for the day

I met another set of sisters Lyn and Lucy from Iowa at my Shellography Photography opening earlier in the week so it was so good to see them again.

lyn lucy iowa on shelling cruise

Lyn loves the minis too so these were her faves. This was the first time that I’ve seen anybody find a MORTON’S EGG COCKLE (bottom left of the ROSE PETAL TELLIN) on Big Hickory Island. Hmmmmm…. I know what I’ll be looking for next time I’m there!

mortons egg cockle, rose petal tellins, dusky cone, worm shells

Gary and Pam (Hi Pam!) found their first ANGEL WINGS too.

Pam and Gary find angel wings on Big Hickory Island

Along with Kathy and Bob from Mayaka, Florida…

kathy bob from mayaka, florida find angel wing shells

Who’s cute flip flops were those in the first photo? They were Linda’s! She and Jay from Cape Coral found those SAND DOLLARS, ANGEL WINGS and that big LIGHTNING WHELK in the high tide wrack line.

Linda Jay Cape Coral found sand dollars angel wings

Since Linda was afraid she was going to break her SAND DOLLAR before she got back on the boat, she saw Sight Sea-R’s Captain Phil combing the beach and checking the water conditions. He offered to “baby sit” her SAND DOLLAR to get it back to the boat in one piece. So nice! I guess he was her Shell Bank- a place to keep her DOLLARS safe.

Salty Sam's Captain Phil finds shells beach combing

My friend Robin Draper from Authentic Florida was on our cruise too along with her husband Mike. Woohoo! We might be seeing an article about this shelling adventure soon- if we do, I’ll post it here when she sends a link.

Robin Draper and Mike beach combing on shelling cruise

As on every iLoveShelling cruise, each passenger received an awesome $25 gift certificate from my fave jewelry store on Sanibel… Sealife By Congress (inside Congress Jewelers). They are fabshellous to the shelling community!

Congress gift certificate

It was such a fun day meeting so many incredishell shellers and hanging with so many familiar faces. I’m over the MOON SHELL.

gaudy nautica on southwest florida beach


Join us on an iLoveShelling Adventure… CLICK HERE

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Meeting Friends and Collecting Seashells

Posted by on Feb 5, 2015 in Angel Wing, Big Hickory Island, Bonita Out Islands, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Fallen Angel Wing, False Angel Wing, Sand Dollar, Sight Sea-R Cruises Shelling Boat | 12 comments

Seashells found from Bonita Springs Florida

To be by the sea collecting seashells is an amazing hobby/sport/therapy/obsession.

collecting sea shells on the beach

Sharing a shelling experience with a boat load of other people who’ve become friends after collecting shell on the beach together or meeting new friends, we all feel the same way…

iLoveShelling boat of shelling enthusiasts

It’s abshellutely scrumpshellous!

shellers on a shelling boat

As soon as the Sight Sea-R Cruises shelling boat landed on Big Hickory Island, we saw that the beach was covered with mini shells.

Collecting seashells on Bonita Springs Florida island

Ooooh and I was thrilled to see that so many other people love the minis like I do.

small sand dollar limpet, drill, purplish tagelus sun ray venus angel wing

Jenny  showed me her favorite mini shells…

miniature shell hand collection

Jenny (on the right) was with Jenny and John (VA) who showed me the awesome plastic pipe connector contraption John made for his shelling scoop so that he could break it down to put in his luggage. Brilliant!
jenny john janie newport news with shelling scoop

We didn’t find just mini shells, we found lots of SAND DOLLARS…

Sandy sand dollars found Bonita Springs Florida

Well…. I should say Diane (Sanibel) found lots of SAND DOLLARS and FALSE ANGEL WINGS.

Diane finds sand dollars with iloveshelling gear

Helen from Indiana found a beautiful assortment of shells. She not only found this SAND DOLLAR she’s holding up but her other favorites were displayed in the first photo up top. Exshellent!

Helen from Indiana finds sand dollars in Bonita Springs Florida

Omigosh and I loved Lolly’s (NJ) arrangement of precious little treasures.

lolly nj holding seashell treasure

Roger, Charlie, Dawn (WI) and Jan (Iowa) came back with some treasures as well. Jan was happy she found a beautiful big ANGEL WING.

Roger, Charlie, Dawn Jan find seashells in Florida

Dawn found all sorts of fab shells like the little DUSKY CONE in the middle.

variety of mini seashells found with Pam Rambo shelling trip


a few fave shells found in swfl

Quite a few other people found GAUDY NATICAS too like Amy from VA.

amy collecting gaudy antic moon snail

Here she is (on the left) with the other cutie shellutie Virginia girls Donna, Rene and Susan.

Amy Donna Rene Susan from VA shelling trip with iLS

Amy especially wanted to find an ALPHABET CONE … and she found an adorable one. Congrats!

Amy's shells gaudy natica, cone, rose petal tellin

Even though we all found treasures on the beach on our shelling trip, Sealife By Congress gave every single person on our iLoveShelling cruise a $25 gift certificate to their store on Sanibel. So generous!


It’s so much fun to meet people around the world on shelling cruises like this! On our last Sight Sea-R Cruises iLoveShelling shelling adventure, Steve Stephens from Columbus, Ohio was aboard with his family. Steve wrote an extraordinary article for the Columbus Dispatch that explains our day on our shelling trip to Big Hickory… its fantastic! Its so cool, you have to read it – CLICK HERE

Pam Rambo iLoveShelling article COLUMBUS dispatch

Join us on one of my next iLoveShelling Shelling Adventures- for more dates and more info CLICK HERE

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Touched By an Angel Wing

Posted by on Dec 15, 2014 in Angel Wing, Community Outreach, Make A Wish | 19 comments

Comfort Make a wish seashells

“Every beautiful shell from the sea is a treasured gift” – I’ve said that countless times after admiring the amazing architecture, color and patterns of shells and bling that have washed up at my feet while taking a walk on the beach. I feel like I receive another wonderful gift when I meet folks who appreciate those same awesome gifts from the great Mother Nature.

dennis and jesse collecting seashells

Nicole, Dennis, Jesse and Sophie from Oregon gave me that gift last week… which was being able to hang out with this is one awesome family!
Sophie's Make a Wish on Sanibel

The moment 5 year old Sophie’s feet hit the sand, she barely had time to look up as she picked up one fascinating shell after another.

nicole and sophie on the beach shelling

She already knew lots of the shell names too since she and her family had been studying up on the types of shells they might find on this very special Make-A-Wish trip to Sanibel.

seashells in a pink bag

The whole family told me they loved seeing all of the live creatures on or around the island… like DOLPHINS, MANATEES, TURTLES and the BIRDS but I think Jesse especially liked the ALLIGATORS (Ack! haha) in Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and little critters like this HAIRY CRAB on the beach (maybe its a Pilumnus sayi ?) . I’ve seen lots of these little hairy guys in the SPONGES lately.

Sanibel Florida hairy crab

Jesse pulled these shells and beach bling aside to show me that his favorite finds from the beach were the smallest of treasures. Dont you just love that his faves are the tiniest ones?

jesse's favorite shells while visiting sw florida

Nicole and Sophie picked out a few of their favorite beach treasures … trying to just pick the best of each species (from a massive pile of shells they collected- haha). It wasn’t easy for them to pick just a few!

angel wing butterfly

As I oohed and aaahed over Dennis’s SCOTCH BONNET, ALPHABET CONE and GAUDY NATICA, Nicole told me that picking out a few shells and arranging them makes each one just a special as the moment you found them. I couldn’t agree more. Together we made a masterpiece (with an ANGEL WING butterfly Nicole arranged with WORM SHELL antennas- heehee) using their favorite shells and beach bling collected on their trip.

Comfort Make a wish seashells

These are special peeps whom I will have special memories with for a very long time.

Nicole Jesse Dennis and Sophie on the beach

Last week was a little chilly but they didn’t mind a bit- They are so stinkin silly and fun!

Pam with Sophie's family

I hope they look back on their Sanibel trip as Spectacsheller!

dennis and sophie on shelling cruise

I know I will… as I feel like I’ve been touched by an ANGEL.

angel wing in the sand

A big THANK YOU to Make-A-Wish for making it possible for Sophie and her family to come to Sanibel, Florida.




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Shelling Excursion From Captiva

Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in Angel Wing, Baby's Ear, Captiva, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Fallen Angel Wing, Sunray Venus, White Crested Tellin | 14 comments

shell filled beach

After a rainy Southwest Florida weekend, we had beautiful clear, sunny weather for our iLoveShelling adventure on our Captiva Cruises boat ride to shelling on Cayo Costa. Within minutes, Michelle from NY found a SCOTCH BONNET. Shellzam!

Michelle with scotch bonnet

In the same area on the bay side of the island where Michelle found her BONNET, Bob from Illinois found a beautiful double SUNRAY VENUS.

Finding beautiful seashells in SWFL

I love the color and pattern of this shell!

sunray venus shell with surf

It was so good to see Karen (Houston) and her mom Melody again on this cruise- we go way back! I feel like I have known Karen for so long since she won the first GiveAway I ever did here on my blog…. that was 2010 and I’ll never forget her. I don’t even make those notecards I painted and designed any more but it was a fun project while it lasted. Anyhoooo…. I was thrilled to see that she found a BABY EAR on the beach.

Crazy Karen collecting shells with her mom

There were quite a few people who picked up BABYS EARS…

baby ear shell on iLoveShelling cruise

Rick, Lucas, Amy, Abby, Lindsey and Adam from Massachusetts founds bags of shells. They collected lots of the GIANT ATLANTIC COCKLE, Adam found a SAND DOLLAR and Lucas  collected a sweet BABYS EAR (pictured above).

Family collecting shells on vacation

Cole and Jake from New Jersey are quite the shell hunters. Among all sorts of different shells they found, Cole’s best finds were ANGEL WINGS and a BABY EAR. Jake found a perfect SAND DOLLAR. Great finds!

boys finding shells

Kim and Ed from Rhode Island were back on the cruise again too! This time showing off their faves from the day- a huge WORM SHELL and a sweet little SAND DOLLAR.

finding sand dollars and worm shells

Connie from Wisconsin was visiting her local friend Shelley who lives in Cape Coral. I told Shelley I wanted her name! LOL

Exploring Cayo Costa State Park

Gail (Florida) and Emily (Maryland) have been friends since high school and still get together for girls trips… this time a shelling adventure!

showing shells from shelling cruise

These are just a few shells we pulled out of one of the bags of shells they collected.

hand of shells

It was so nice to meet Tom from Indiana. He said his family used to think he was crazy since he loved to collect shells but now his whole family is hooked after dragging them to Sanibel.

Collecting shells on iLoveshelling shelling cruise

Tom was impressed to see how big and colorful the JINGLES are on Cayo Costa as well as finding teeny tiny SEA URCHINS completely dried on the high wrack line.

jingle shells and sea urchins

Sherry from Knoxville was happy tot find 2 perfect ANGEL WINGS…

Finding Angel wing shells with iLoveShelling

Terry and Dave from Illinois found a few goodies but the jewel in their bag was a GAUDY NATICA.

finding shells on shelling cruise


gaudy natica found on cayo costa

We always see oodles of live CLOUDY PERIWINKLES on the tree roots around the tip of Cayo Costa but rarely see the empty shells so I snapped a photo of this one in the sand. Because I had to bend down to get a closeup, I saw that tiny yellow LUNATE CRASSENTELLA. I haven’t seen them in a while.

cloudy periwinkle in the sand

Mrs. Lueders was happy shelling for the minis too…

stooping for shells on Cayo Costa
She found plenty of the LUNATE CRASSENTELLAS so it was fun for her to find a new species she hadn’t collected before.

miniature lunate crassinella shells

I was thrilled to find those tiny dried SEA URCHINS since we rarely see them that small (without having to pick through the SEA SQUIRTS that are still on Sanibel– hahaha) . Also, there were plenty of double JINGLES as well. It’s not as common to find the JINGLE with both valves but they were plentiful on Cayo and also at Gulfside City Park in the last weeks.

tiny dried sea urchins cayo costa

But my most thrilling find was a double WHITE CRESTED TELLIN!  Yes, both valves still attached so I couldn’t believe my luck. I know it doesn’t look like much but I’ve been looking for one ever since I saw how pretty Nancy’s shell was in my post in 2011 called “I’m Tellin On Some Tellins“.  I have found plenty of the single valves but this is my first one that was still together. Yay! Thanks to Nancy for sharing her find with me so I could have one more thing to look forward to the day I could find one.

both valves white crested tellin

Everybody on our shelling trip seemed to find something that made them happy and if it wasn’t a shell that they had wanted to find, each passenger received a $25 gift certificate to Sealife By Congress.


Wow! Thank you Sealife By Congress for being so good to the shelling community. Yes, you sure do make us happy. So join us on another iLoveShelling shelling adventure… CLICK HERE for upcoming dates.

shelling adventures trips by pam

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Successful Beach Combing Trip to Big Hickory Island

Posted by on Oct 9, 2014 in Angel Wing, Big Hickory Island, Bonita Beach, Bonita Out Islands, Colorful Moon shell, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Dolphin, Fort Myers Beach, Lace Murex, Moon Snail, Murex, Olive, Sand Dollar, Sight Sea-R Cruises Shelling Boat | 22 comments

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

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Treasures of Beachcombing on Fort Myers Beach

Posted by on Mar 23, 2014 in Angel Wing, Fighting Conch, Fort Myers Beach, Purplish Tagelus, Sand Dollar, Sanibel Six | 33 comments

assortment of shells collected while beach combing swfl

These shells are just a few of many beautiful gifts from the sea I could have easily plucked off the beach and popped in my beach bucket.

beachcombing on fort myers beach

I have oodles of shells already in my house (and my yard, garage, porch, walkways, car, and of course the “shellaboratory) so I had to use restraint. But OMG, look at what washed up on south Fort Myers Beach! I showed this photo in my post but it was a little blurry so I’m trying again so you can see in just a tiny area, what kinds of shells and Beach Bling washed up together. Caryl Renz asked what was in this photo that looked like thousands of tusk shells …. here’s the answer- that’s MANATEE GRASS. When the little tubes of MANATEE GRASS get washed on shore they don’t look like your regular SEA WEED, to me it looks like parmesan cheese sprinkled over a seafood stew on the beach. But I now realize after reading Caryl’s comment, they do look like tusk shells too. Look at all the interesting things in this photo! (I hope this CYBERSHELLING shot a little more clear this time?)

manatee grass with seashells

Did you find these FLORIDA CONES while you were CYBERSHELLING?

florida cones found on Fort Myers Beach

I continued to walk south on the beach to see swarms of people in one area. Oooohhhh! I’ve gotta pick up the pace and find out what they are finding!

crowd of shellers on fort myers beach

An o-ver-whelming amount of shells and bling washed up for about a mile!

collecting sea shells after a storm

My head was spinning! Everywhere I looked, I saw seashells, CRAB SHELLS, STARFISH, SAND DOLLARS and MANATEE GRASS.

cybershelling ft myers beach for seashells

So many people were finding sweet little TRUE TULIPS like this one I saw in a cup on the beach.

seashells in a cup

There were shell lines at the shore line….

shellers stooping for shells in sw florida

But then higher on the beach the wrack line was as wide as … well there really was no “line” …it covered the whole beach! I usually find very cool shells on this beach but the shelling was ridiculous this week!

gobs of shells o ft myers beach

I usually find very cool shells on this beach but the shelling was ridiculous this week!

horse conch fort myers beach

Now you see why I had to use restraint to only pick up a few of my faves. I rinsed my treasures off then sorted them out under a cute little tiki hut . It truly is paradise!

 beach resort tiki hut with shells


shells collected on south Fort Myers Beach Florida

UPDATE: I’ve had lots of folks ask me about parking to get to this beach. In the comments section of this post I responded to Holly so I will repost here as well just in case you don’t read the comments…

There is public parking further north on Flamingo Rd with parking meters. But…. Between you and me….;) there is a shopping center near there called Santini Plaza. Some of the locals say you can park there and walk over to the beach… but don’t quote me on that, please. Id hate to have them mad at me for filling up their parking lot so they don’t have room for their patrons. If the lot is empty, I’m sure its ok but please Just be thoughtful of their parking issues for the businesses. My mission is to share the shelling love <3 but the locals with businesses of Southwest Florida need the love too :) Its gotta be a happy balance to shellebrate together! That beach is best at low tide but Let us know if the piles are still there.

PS- I tried to explain the parking in a previous post about this beach but like I said back then, it’s a little harder to get to so you don’t have as much competition. hahaha so to me thats a good thing!

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