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

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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Seashelling And Cybershelling At Sanibel Lighthouse Beach

Posted by on Feb 8, 2014 in Cone, CyberShelling, Florida Cone, Horse Conch, Lighthouse, Sanibel Lighthouse Seashell Video | 30 comments

seashells and the sanibel lighthouse

 Just a few steps from the Sanibel Lighthouse, oodles of seashells were being washed up near the shoreline yesterday.

shells and palm tree sanibel surf

I overheard Kathy and Karen (Wisconsin) getting very excited about the shells they were finding in the water…

kathy karen wisconsin finding seashells on sanibel

Yes there were! In ankle deep water along the surf line, I saw one shell after another so I quickly got out my video and started filming. This video is uncut and I was continuously filming so you can see how I had to keep working the same area to find all of these shells. Each wave uncovered more shells so I had to be patient. More CYBERSHELLING to the rescue!

As you can see, the shells weren’t obvious since they were buried and filled with sand so I had to keep stooping for better scoops. Sisters Diane (Illinois) and Nancy (Missouri) couldn’t believe how many they found in that one area.

diane illinois nancy missouri sisters shelling


seashell candy corn

In the video, you briefly see Penny (Wisconsin) stooping in the water a little further out. I think I mumbled something like I hoped she was finding shells out there too. Any way, I ended up meeting Penny and her husband Brian a few minutes afterwards.

penny brian wisconsin enjoy shelling sanibel

We figured out that just around the same time I was filming her out in the water, she found this FLORIDA CONE.

florida cone sanibel lighthouse

I also drove up to Blind Pass Captiva but that new sand bar in the pass is mostly just sand now but there are still some sweet minis. The Sanibel side of Blind Pass is still producing shells but the tides have been fickle so its been a hit or miss. It’s almost like if you don’t see shells there, just wait 4 more hours and they should be rolling in. I was just so happy to find such goodies at my old fave stomping ground- The Sanibel Lighthouse Beach.

looking for seashells on sanibel island florida

shelling adventures trips by pam

shelling adventures trips by pam

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So Many Rare Shells Found On Sanibel This Week

Posted by on Jan 19, 2014 in Blind Pass Sanibel, Cabrit's Murex, Cone, Florida Cone, Junonia, Lion's Paw, Long-Spined Urchin, Pitted Murex, Sanibel, Sunsets, Thorny Oyster | 23 comments

rare seashells on sanibel island florida

I have said countless times that the beaches of Southwest Florida change every day and by the hour so finding shells becomes a fascinating treasure hunt. So I would say Tam Tam from Michigan has had quite a treasure hunt this week! She found so many shells that aren’t found on our beaches all that often like that sweet baby LIONS PAW (top left), a CABRITS MUREX (middle), a LONG SPINED SEA URCHIN (okay, thats not a shell but its just so beautiful and big for that type of URCHIN) and a THORNY OYSTER (bottom). The ALPHABET CONE isn’t rare at all but it is just dang gorgeous…. and same for that BABY’S EAR. And of course you see she found a JUNONIA too!

tammy junonia found on sanibel florida

Tammy found her LIONS PAW along West Gulf Drive and found her JUNONIA and CABRITS at BLIND PASS SANIBEL. Her friend Barb from Virginia found a CABRITS MUREX at Blind Pass Sanibel too!

barb with caritas murex i love shelling tee

I think this is the tiniest, cutest CABRITS MUREX Ive ever seen. Wow!

juvenile cabrits murex barb

Oh but hold on there’s more…  Sue found a LIONS PAW as well!

sue lions paw florida cone sanibel

Her LIONS PAW is soooo pretty, right? The CONE is just as spectacshellar and both were found off West Gulf Drive. That is a very dark rich color variation of a FLORIDA CONE. Shellicious!

lions paw florida cone color variation

Lisa and Derek from Kansas were very happy to be finding such a variety of shells at Blind Pass Sanibel.

lisa derek kansas visit sanibel for shelling shells

They are very new to shelling but as you can see, they already have a great eye for such pretty shells. They found out about all the seashells on Sanibel from Derek’s dad Darrell who caught the shelling bug about 5 years ago on his first visit to Sanibel. Hey Darrell! Thanks for spreading the shelling love on to your kids- Derek and Lisa cracked me up!

lisa derek seashells from sanibel

Lisa could identify most of their other shells but she showed me this little mini shell and asked me what it was. Its a PITTED MUREX! I don’t find these all that often but I loved that even as new shellers, they both were so interested in this tiny shell that turned out to be not all that common in our area.

pitted murex lisa kansas found on sanibel

Every day is a new adventure on Sanibel, Captiva and all of the beaches in southwest Florida. What I find even more rare than these shells that my lucky shelling friends found, is that our islands are filled with so many friendly, smiling folks that enjoy every gift from the sea whether its rare or not. (oh…and the view aint half bad either ;) )

sunset captiva red sky palms

shelling adventures trips by pam

photo art gallery pam rambo i love shelling

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Shellebrating Outrageous Shelling Days

Posted by on Dec 2, 2013 in Alphabet Cone, Florida Cone, Horse Conch, Island Inn, Junonia, Lightning Whelk, Millipede Starfish, Sand Dollar, Seahorses, Starfish, Whelk | 47 comments

alphabet conus junonias

For 5 days now, the shelling in SouthWest Florida as been has been outrageous! It doesn’t get more outrageous that finding your very first JUNONIA after 20 years of searching… then 2 days later, finding JUNONIA #2! Jill from Miami was livin’ the good life this weekend finding those trophies plus two ALPHABET CONES to boot. Shellzam! Congratshellations, Jill- so happy for you!

Jill Martin 2 alphies 2 junonias sanibel island

But wait.. the outrageousness continued! Wouldn’t you love to find a huge empty HORSE CONCH like this with a bright orange interior?

orange horse conch found sanibel florida

Gail and Alicia not only found that one gorgeous shell, they found 3 more! … Plus a nice size LIGHTNING WHELK too. Over the long weekend, they were out every morning before sunrise and said there were hundreds of live HORSE CONCHS rolling in the surf on the beach near Island Inn but kept on looking to find ones that were empty.

gail alicia find horse conchs whelks sanibel

So I’m sure you can image how happy they were to find those amazing large shells already…. then to find a SEAHORSE too? They found this guy in the afternoon just getting back out on the beach in the high tide wrack line. REally, after all of those trophy shells then a SEAHORSE….Outrageous! Congrats Gail and Alicia!

seahorse found on sanibel beach

I found quite a variety on Island Inn beach as well but nothing compared to what they found of course…

seashells on sanibel after a storm

I met Lea and her daughter Kristi from Omaha picking up the dried MILLIPEDE STARFISH in the high tide wrack line.

mom lea kristi omaha shells sanibel

They asked me how to preserve these awesome SEASTARS so they can put them in shadowboxes when they get home. Honestly, I have never had luck with keeping them in tact because I guess I keep them outside or in my garage too long and the humidity gets to them so they break apart and start stinking -Ack! I’m doing something wrong so I never pick them up anymore- I don’t care how bone dry and perfect they are. But… My friend Moira makes beautiful shadowboxes with them as well as Kim who both live in Chicago- they have no problems so I hope they see this so they can explain in a comment how they get them home without breaking them and keeping them intact for a frame.

One of many Millipede Starfish on the beach today

Fort Myers Beach was rocking with shells too! My friend Debbie’s dad Dennis from Kansas was in town for the holiday and they found lots of treasures…

dennis kansas shells fort myers beach florida

Repeat… they found LOTS of treasures… LOL

shells haul ft myers beach florida

Throughout the holiday weekend, I saw lots of shells at Lighthouse Beach, South Seas, Blind Pass, Island Inn, …. and my last stop for the weekend shelling was Gulfside City Park this morning for low tide. I found such a variety of shells again including a perfect ALPHABET CONE along with the best SHARK’S EYE I’ve found in a while. But my real favorites where violet colored FIGHTING CONCHS which I don’t think I’ve ever found colors in FIGHTING CONCHS like these before. Weird, because I even found another purple one at Island Inn beach the other day. So unusual.

shells found low tide morning sanibel

This morning Karen from Orlando area was happy with her finds too…

Karen Mid florida shelling sanibel

She found a perfect ANGEL WING and a few SAND DOLLARS…

angel wings sand dollars sanibel florida

And these are just a few that were in her bag. Awesome.

shells found sanibel december 2013

There where so many live creatures as well. It’s always fascinating to see these beautiful living animals in their natural habitat like this beautiful live LIGHTNING WHELK. Since this shell was occupied, I dug a hole for him to wait it out until the higher tide came back in so he could scoot along wherever it wished.

whelk sea shell spire on the beach

One more thing….  I have a new online Art Gallery!

Over the years, I have shared many, many photos of my shelling adventures and have learned that…  just as I love to collect a beautiful shell, I love to capture a beautiful moment or my beautiful surrounds with my lens just as much. I never could find the means to offer them as quality, affordable art on canvas, prints, cards and more…. until now! So I started an online Art Gallery for my photographs. It’s just the beginning so I haven’t added all of the photos that you’ve asked for in the past but at least this is a start. I’m heartfelt that you’ve asked for them and I’m proud that now I can offer them. Please stop by, take a browse, say “hi” and if you like one enough to buy it, I would be incredibly honored.



Don’t forget! We have an iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa on Friday December 6, 2013 at 9am. We can do some fun shelling together… so Join Us! CLICK HERE

shelling adventures trips by pam

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String Of Shells On Captiva

Posted by on Nov 15, 2013 in Bittersweet Clam, Carrier Shell, Coral, Florida Cone, Frond Oyster, Giant Bittersweet, Scotch Bonnet | 18 comments

collection of captiva shells and coral

As I walked onto the sand of Blind Pass Captiva towards the Gulf Of Mexico yesterday, I didn’t see much of a shell pile forming on the beach. But I did see Rena (Fort Myers) in the water about knee deep with her shelling backhoe filling up her bag. It was so much fun to see such much beautiful CORAL in her bag then she showed me her two FLORIDA CONES, GIANT BITTERSWEET and that sweet little orange candy.

rena with shells from the gulf of mexico

There was one small string of shells that had come in at the high tide, that most of the shellers were picking through to find a treasure or two. Since this was on Captiva, you could say they were doing the Captiva Crouch instead of The Sanibel Stoop…. Oh yes… that would be a crouch!

captiva shelling

After lots of people had already picked through this wrack line, Jay still found an amazing treasure. A perfect SCOTCH BONNET! Shellzam!

scotch bonnet found on south captiva beach

Brenda and Jay from St Louis were already happy with all of the other shells that they had found so the SCOTCH BONNET was just icing on the cake.

jay brenda st louis visit sanibel finding seashells

He was so surprised that it was in perfect condition with such great color just sitting in that shell line. You just never know!

scotch bonnet found on captiva beach

Jamie from Ft Lauderdale was doing double time. After he threw out a fishing rod to catch a few fish, he couldn’t help but catch a few shells as well.

jamie ft lauderdale seashells

Beautiful OLIVES and CONCHS but I couldn’t take my eye off that gorgeous ROUGH SCALLOP right below the bucket.

jamie seashells collection

Around 11am I felt so lucky to find a CARRIER SHELL! This is how I saw it….

carrier shell in the sand

I had to leave the beach around noon but came back to Blind Pass Captiva around 3:30pm just to see what the low tide had exposed. The beach hadn’t changed that much (actually, it looked pretty picked over by then) and didn’t see lots of shells in the water like the high tide had shown… BUT …. I saw another CARRIER SHELL! I may have missed it earlier since I don’t think the tide had brought in more shells after I left but this is exactly what it looked like sitting with the other shell. Click on this next photo. Would you have noticed it?

carrier shell in shell pile captiva florida

 This is what it looks like from the side view. See how it collects other shell fragments and CORAL to cement them to its shell?

american carrier shell captiva florida

Here is another view of the one I found in the morning. I love that this shell is a shell collector too like us!

carrier shell with seashell fragments

I love to find unusual shells so I was thrilled with my treasures. Other than the CARRIER SHELLS, I didn’t find many whole UNIVALVES like WHELKS or TULIPS in that line of shells but I did find a piece of a LIONS PAW and a piece of JUNONIA and some awesome CALICO SCALLOPS  and CORAL.

carrier shells lions paw junonia piece

The other shell above the piece of CORAL in my last photo is a FROND OYSTER. I wouldn’t say it was a rare shell, but I don’t find many of them in good condition like this one. I know, it’s not so pretty (like the CARRIER SHELL) but I gotta tell ya, these things make me so happy when I find them. It’s all about the little things in life.

frond oyster shell captiva florida

Have a great weekend!

shelling adventures trips by pam

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Low Tide Shelling On Fort Myers Beach

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 in Angel Wing, Florida Cone, Florida Spiny Jewelbox, Fort Myers Beach, Rose Tellin, Sand Dollar, Sunray Venus | 29 comments

sand dollars in the surf ft myers beach

Yep. I did it again. I got up at the crack of dawn to catch low tide… but this time I went to my fave beach on Fort Myers Beach. I found SAND DOLLARS galore!

sand dollars and shells in a blue bucket

And I wasn’t the only one finding them. I saw Ft Myers Beach local sheller Debbie (from our April iLoveShelling Cruise) with her hands full of SAND DOLLARS too.

shades colors of sand dollars

But hold on… I’ve got to tell you the coolest story. Being obsessed with shelling reunited these friends after 20 years!

Back in February, Heidi (who follows iLoveShelling!) had signed up for our May Shellabaloo 2  and commented on the iLoveShelling Facebook page … “We did it!! We signed up for Shellabaloo 2! These two Kansas girls will be there with “shells” on!! Obsessed!!!”. Debbie saw her post and recognized her name and wrote her a message. Yes! It was the same Heidi she knew years ago when their kids grew up as best friends. Ha! Moms reunited!  But unfortunately it turned out that Heidi had to cancel her Shellabaloo trip due to a health problem in the family. That’s when Debbie stepped in and told her when the health issues were resolved, Heidi had to come visit her in Fort Myers Beach to shell to her hearts content. She did.. And they found shells! They are two kindred spirits brought together again by the love of shelling. Here are Shelling Sistahs Heidi and Debbie…

heidi debbie shell sand dollars fort myers beach

Don’t ya just love that story? So it gets better… When Heidi showed up, Debbie told her that the only shell that she really wanted to find while she was there- was an ANGEL WING. It was their last shelling day together when I saw them and low and behold… que the Angelic choir in the background…. Debbie found the biggest ANGEL WING she could have ever imagined. LOL

angel wing sea shells

We all found lots of other fun goodies too… like double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS.

sunray venus clam shell ft myers beach florida


spiny jewel box sea shell

Woop! There is it. A FLORIDA CONE.

florida cone fort myers beach

These were all within 4 feet of each other just laying on the beach.

sea shells fort myers beach florida

To make the morning even better, I saw Loree and Roy too! I met them for the first time on the June iLoveShelling cruise so it felt like it was old home week on Ft Myers Beach. So much fun to see you both!

loree fort myers beach florida shells

Loree showed me that she found a pair of FALSE ANGEL WINGS and also a pair of SUNRAY VENUS too. It was interesting to me that she pulled them both out to show me so I asked her to take a look at their shapes of both the shells… don’t they look similar in shape other than their size? That’s because they are in the same family- Veneridae. The FALSE ANGEL WING is in the VENUS family instead of the “true” ANGEL WING family. Cool, huh?

false angel wing sunray venus Veneridae

I’m so happy I made it out for the Sunday morning low tide to catch the full moon over the horizon.  If you want to catch a low tide any where near Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Captiva I would suggest shelling at least one hour before through at least one hour after the lowest tide of the day. Wanna check for the next low tides?  Check out the Tide Charts HERE

sunrise fort myers beach florida full moon

Meet other obsessed shellers or hang out with us to learn more tips to finding shells. Join us for a Shelling Adventure!

shelling adventures trips by pam

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