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

I’ve Never Met A Seashell I didn’t Like

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 in Baby's Ear, Florida Spiny Jewelbox, Jewel Box, Maculated (Brown) Baby's Ear, Moon Snail, Paul Newmans Eye, Sand Dollar, Shark's Eye | 4 comments

never met a sand dollar i didnt like -1

I’ve never met a SAND DOLLAR I didn’t like. For that matter, I’ve never met a PAUL NEWMANS SHARK EYE that I didnt like either. You know, the SHARKS EYE that has the swirl of blue in the center instead of having a brown swirl.

paul newmans eye shark eye moon shell-1

We had an amazing time on our Captiva Cruises shelling adventure to Cayo Costa last week. We found a beautiful sunny day and the beach filled with plenty of shells… especially LETTERED OLIVES.

finding olive shells-1

And  spectacsheller SPINY JEWELBOXES…

pink spiny jewelbox-1

Even double JEWLEBOXES and a fab BABY EAR…

jewelbox moon cayo-1

SHELLZAM! Check out this MACULATED BABY’S EAR… a pretty rare find in SW Florida

maculated brown baby ear cayo costa-1

Hannah from Kansas asked me about her find on the boat ride back to Captiva. OMG That’s such a great find!

find brwon baby ear moon shell-1

Everybody found some great shells…

show seashells from cayo costa-1

worm shell beach-1

It was so much fun to hang out with so many awesome shellers…

finding seashells cayo costa florida-1

finding cockle shells-1

family shelling cayo costa-1

family shellers cayo costa florida-1

captiva crouch-1

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family vacation shelling florida-1

family shelling vacation-1

friends shelling cayo costa-1

shelling trip captiva sanibel-1

purple aperture mauve mouth drill-1

To make it even better, of course everybody received $25 gift certificates for Congress Jewelers.

Sealife By Congress Jewelers

We have a few new dates for more iLoveShelling tours! To join us CLICK HERE 


beach path cayo costa-1

seashells cayo costa-2

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Learning about Seashells at the 2016 Sanibel Shell Festival

Posted by on Mar 14, 2016 in 79th Sanibel Shell Festival 2016, Cockle, Eleuthera Shells, False Shark Eye, Flat Zigzag Scallop, Florida Prickly Cockle, Freak Shells, Glass Sponge, Moon Snail, Sanibel, Sanibel Shell Fair and Show, Scallop, Shark's Eye, Shell Shows, Sponge, Triton, ZigZag Scallop Right Valve | 4 comments

Eleuthra seashells October 2015 -1

The shell world is a fascinating adventure to learn about the lives of MOLLUSKS and the people who collect their shells on the beaches across the planet. Because I am one of those people obsessed with living my life in the world of shells, I love to hang out with people who love to share their knowledge about them too. The Sanibel Shell Festival is a great place to do that.

I’m thrilled Sunnye (TX) shared her colorful shell collection she found beachcombing in Eleuthera, Bahamas (top photo).

Sunnye Dinger Eleuthra seashell display Sanibel Shell festival-1

Her sister Lisa (TX) had some awesome displays too for which they both won awards.

lisa fitzgerald sanibel shell festival exhibitor 2016-1


Smooth Tellin shell Laciolina laevigata Eleuthera BahamsSmooth Tellin shell Laciolina laevigata Eleuthera Bahams

But I looooved this cool display Lisa did showing the difference between the SHARKS EYE and the FALSE SHARKS EYE. It explains and shows the difference in detail (for more info check out my post Sanibel Shark Week… Featuring The Shark Eye Shell).

difference between shark eye shell false sanibel shell festival exhibit-1

And then there’s Stef! I’m so happy for her- she won a blue ribbon for her double FLAT SCALLOP she found by Sanibel’s Island Inn.

Stefanie Wolf Sanibel Shell Museum marine biologist.jpg

Wait… did you miss what I said? Okay, lemme slow down… she found both sides of her FLAT ZIGZAG SCALLOP still hinged together. Exactly like she displayed it… on Sanibel… and with amazing color. Wow! Years ago, I was thrilled when Clark found just the other half of a FLAT (the right valve) since it’s rare to find them here (CLICK HERE to see what the other side looks like) … and she found both perfect valves still together. Shellzam! Congrats Stefanie!

Ziczac Zig zag scallop both valves shell festival blue ribbon-1

There were lots of displays showing ALBINO shells this year but this one by Ken and Joyce Matthys was really very cool. Here they shows tons of ALBINO FLORIDA PRICKLY COCKLES they’ve found through the years…

Albino shells prickle cockle

In the next case they show FLORIDA PRICKLY COCKLES which are ALBINISTIC. They explain… “Some shells lack their normal color, but they are not pure white. Instead they may be pale yellow, cream-colored, or have other hints of color. These are referred to as being albinistic”. Hmmm Haven’t you seen some like this? I have and now we’ve learned a name for this color form… ALBINISTIC.

Albinistic shells lack normal color

Anne Joffe’s seashell emergency room display was hilarious and voted best for People’s Choice award. Freak and damaged shells that repaired themselves to form in odd shapes were propped in mini doctor’s offices, emergency rooms and surgery rooms with bandages, crutches and doctors notes.

ann joffe freak shell exhibit sanibel festival-1

Check out this PALLID CARRIER SHELL with an attached GLASS SPONGE (from the Philippines) by exhibitor Robert Linn. Wildly beautiful.

Pallid carrier shell with glass sponge Sanibel festival

Last week I posted about the artistic side of the show with SAILORS VALENTINES, shell frames and all sorts of shell art and craft but when you look at some of these shells like these ATLANTIC TRITONS exhibited by Holly Nordyke, you realize you are looking at the most perfect work of art ever made. Stunning.
atlantic triton shell festival Holly Nordyke exhibit

Hope to see you next year at the 80th Annual Sanibel Shell Festival!


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Star Light, Star Bright. Pretty Starfish in Sight

Posted by on Dec 3, 2015 in Brown Spiny Sea star, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Lettered Olive, Olive, Operculum, Purplish Tagelus, Shark's Eye Operculum, Starfish | 13 comments

Wish upon a starfish on the beach

Star light, star bright. First STARFISH yesterday in sight.

SEASTARS are always so much fun to see. This beautiful creature went right back in the calm, clear Gulf water where Linda and David (TN) found it while on our iLoveShelling adventure with Captiva Cruises yesterday.

Lynn and David from Tennessee visit Cayo Costa Island shells-1

I was also thrilled to see this gorgeous SHARKS EYE OPERCULUM that Jill (Peculiar, Missouri) found. She brought it over for me to identify and I think I went a little crazy… “Omigosh it’s perfect!”.  

Jill from Peculiar Missouri finds Sharks eye operculum on Sanibel Island-1

I always love when other beachcombers have an eye for the unusual pieces of beach bling and want to know what it is. She said she saw that cool swirl on it so she picked it up. Most people would have walked right over it… but not Jill! (check out our first one CLICK HERE -errr…. but its nowhere near as pretty as her’s).

Sharks eye mollusk shell operculum

I think Jill found that OPERCULUM because she has an eye for the small BIVALVES and likes to find shells she’s never found before. I think there are about 9 different species on her towel she brought to wrap them in for safe travels.

miniature bivalve shells

Jill’s not the only one that loves the bling and unusual,  Shelly found all sorts of fab finds like FEATHERS, SEA URCHINS and huge shell pieces. Look at that happy smile on such a beautiful day at Cayo Costa Island!

Shelly R with seashells on cayo costa

The water was an amazing 75 degrees for Mac and Delta ( Los Angeles) to wade and scoop up a few treasures like LETTERED OLIVES and FIGHTING CONCHS. So much fun hanging out in the water with y’all!

Mac and Delta from L.A. find shells on iLoveShelling shell tour

We all found oodles of live OLIVES in the water and on the beach that we had to put back where we found them… but we were also lucky enough to find a few really glossy empty ones too.

Glossy lettered olives

Sue and Jens from NC were happy to find a few OLIVES and a stunning LIGHTNING WHELK too.

Sue Jens from NC visit FL shelling

And PURPLISH TAGELUS shells too. These were scattered all along the mid tied wrack line on the beach so once we found one, we followed the same tide line to find so many more.

Purplish Tagelus bivalve shells found on Cayo Costa island

That was actually the same shell line that Krys and Mandy (Richmond, Virginia) found lots of dried out SEA URCHINS. They also found some sweet little COMB BITTERSWEETS with amazing patterns but my photo just didn’t turn out well. (I’m going to look for those COMB BITTERSWEETS the next time on Cayo Costa) 

Krys and Mandy visit Sanibel from Virginia for seashells

We were barely off the boat stepping foot on the beach when Louisette and Michael (from Massachusettes) found a pile of shells they started scooping up. Louisette is a Sailor’s Valentine artist so she was in heaven with all of the common ARKS, VENUS shells, JINGLES and KITTENS PAWS all the same size for her work.

Louisette Michael from Massachusettes visit Florida for sailors valentine shells

Local shellers Cazzie and Beth (Fort Myers Beach) found showed me their fave shells they found- Cazzie with a CONCH and Beth with a juvie lemon yellow HORSE CONCH.

Cazzie and Beth from Fort Myers Beach find shells with iLoveShelling

So Cazzie realized that he had never seen this shell ever before on our beaches …  hmmmm… Yep- he was right. We don’t normally find these type CONCHS on our beaches. It’s what I call a “WEDDING SHELL” which is a shell from the other side of the planet that someone bought in a shell shop and threw out on the beach to decorate or something (for whole story- CLICK HERE). I haven’t seen that many WEDDING SHELLS at Cayo Costa so it was pretty fun to see this one and know it is a very common shell in Okinawa, Japan– we saw them on every single beach when we visited there. When I asked Cazzie what his favorite shell of the day was… he showed me the WEDDING SHELL. :)

favorite shell finds

Rena brought her friend Nancy (Boston) who had never even heard the term “sheller” before this trip- A newbie! She might even consider herself a sheller now? haha Hopefully!

Rena Nancy Boston take shelling cruise Captiva

I had a twin on our cruise! Susan and I showed up with the same outfits on- same hat and iLoveShelling tee shirt. She and her husband Stuart were on a cruise last year with us when Stuart found an OLIVE without a tip. She took that OLIVE shell to Congress Jewelers with her certificate she received on our iLoveShelling trip and had this necklace made she has on this the next photo. A wonderful memory from last year- i LOVE that!!!! So much fun to see y’all.

Pam with Kansas shellers Susan and Stuart

Just like Susan and Stuart, each passenger on this and all iLoveShelling cruises received a $25 gift certificate from Congress Jewelers  (formerly Sealife By Congress) to use in their store. Thank you Congress Jewelers for being so generous with the iLoveShelling community!
Sealife By Congress Jewelers

Join us! For future dates CLICK HERE



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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 | 26 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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Beautiful Life On The Beach Video

Posted by on Mar 27, 2015 in Baby's Ear, Birds, Conch, Fighting Conch, Lesser Black-backed Gull, live baby ear, Live Sand Dollar, Live Shark's eye, Sand Dollar, Shark's Eye, Starfish | 33 comments

bird in the yellow sunset

You wanted a video? Is that what I heard earlier this week after I posted photos of lots of living sea creatures in the low tidal pools? If so….  I’m delivering! I captured some footage of the awesome SHARKS EYE, STARFISH, SAND DOLLAR, FIGHTING CONCHS, BABYS EAR and an incredible LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL. Wherever in the world you might be, sit back and enjoy the beautiful life on the Sanibel beaches.


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Sanibel Shark Week… Featuring The Shark Eye Shell

Posted by on Aug 13, 2014 in Live Shark's eye, Shark's Eye, Shark's Eye Egg Collar, Shark's Eye Operculum | 20 comments

Neverita duplicata Shark eye shell identification

Whoa! Shark!

Naaaaa, it’s not the Jaws type shark so you don’t have to get out of the water for this one. Actually you want to get IN the water to see this type of creature… it’s a SHARK EYE (Neverita duplicata or as I always say “Shark’s Eye) seashell. Over the years of beach combing, we’ve been fortunate to have found these shells in so many different life stages to share with you so I thought this was the perfect week to sum up some of the cool things we’ve learned about the SHARKS EYE. Why not… it’s Shark Week!

Ajaelyn's shark's eye

When this MOLLUSK is still alive, its amazing to see the animal wrapped around it’s shell like we found in my post The No Place Like Home On Sanibel.

live shark's eye

Here’s a video of a live SHARKS EYE in action I filmed for a post in 2011

We only see the live SHARKS EYES at low tide scooting around in the sand but we seem to find a lot of empty SHARKS EYE shells washed up on Sanibel and Captiva especially after storms. We started to realize we don’t normally find the operculums. When Clark and I found another live one, we paid closer attention to the operculum to see exactly what it looked like so we could make sure not to miss one washed up on the beach. Why don’t we find them washed up on the beach more often? Dunno exactly but I’m assuming because they are so paper thin that they crumble easily when the animal dies and dries up. They also look like a small piece of broken PEN SHELL or a brown leaf so they are easy to overlook.  Anyway, here’s what the OPERCULUM looks like when it’s attached to the healthy animal still in his shell…

Almost a year after I made this video, low and behold, Clark found our first SHARKS EYE OPERCULUM washed up on the beach.

moon shells sharks eye operculum

We’ve also seen juvie live SHARKS EYES sliming around finding their way…

Live shark's eye coming out of his shell

We’ve seen lots of other live babies scooting around at low tide on Sanibel along with teeny tiny eggs in the SHARK EYE EGG COLLARS.

Live baby shark's eyes with egg casing collar

This is what the EGG COLLAR looks like that the female SHARKS EYE lays. If you see a ring like this while at the beach that feels and looks sort of like freshly made hand crafted paper, take a closer look then place it back in the water if that’s where you found it. There are hundreds of itty bitty baby SHARKS EYES in there. Cool, huh?

sharks eye egg collar

What do SHARKS EYES eat? They are carnivores who love to make a meal out of bivalves but at times they are cannibals …. so one SHARKS EYE will eat another SHARKS EYE.  (Hmmmm… that happens with the fish type Tiger Sharks too on occasion). You can tell another SHARKS EYE ate this SHARKS EYE in the next photo because it makes a beveled edge hole just like this. CLICK HERE to see that story.

sharks eye shell is cannibalistic

There are two types of these MOON shells that look similar and are hard to distinguish between the two of them. See how much higher the spire is on the shell on the left? The one on the right is a Neverita duplicata (SHARK EYEand the one on the left is a Neverita delessertiana ( FALSE SHARK EYE) I’ll do another post to show you the aperture side so you can see another difference but I usually just look for the “eye” that looks popped out.

difference Neverita duplicata delessertiana

Have you heard me talk about the “Paul Newman’s Eye”? Paul Newman was an Academy Award winning hunky actor known for his incredibly beautiful, brilliant blue eyes (I know, funny I thought I needed to explain who he was, right? But anybody under 30 might not know! LOL Oh wait y’all  would know “Newman’s Own”- thats the guy. haha) Anyway, not all SHARKS EYES have a blue center but when they have that handsome brilliant blue “eye”… it’s called a PAUL NEWMAN’S EYE.

Paul Newman blue eyed sharks eye shell

See how many different sizes and patterns they have. Gorgeous!

Neverita duplicate shark eye seashell mollusk

I had so many nice comments on my last post about the differences in SCALLOPS and that y’all really like my educational posts. Me too! I have oodles of photos and gobs of great information about shells AND beach bling that I’ve built up over the years, so I need to start combining them so we all can find the information a little easier. It’ll take a while, but it sure will be fun looking through so many older posts that have been buried by newer posts.

Sharks Eye shell

Dont worry, I’ll still post any shelling updates on the beaches but hopefully once a week I’ll pick a shell to research so we can see all the cool stuff we’ve learned over the years.

shark eye moon sand

But speaking of shelling updates…  I hope to see you tomorrow on our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa with Captiva Cruises at 9am- Come join us tomorrow! CLICK HERE for information and some new dates for iLoveShelling Shelling Adventures into February 2015 …

shelling adventures trips by pam


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