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

Breakfast of Shelling Champions

Posted by on Oct 20, 2013 in Apple, Banded tulip, Horse Conch, low tide, Murex, Nutmeg, Pear Whelk, Shark's Eye, Tulip, Whelk | 14 comments

banded tulip sanibel sunrise october

I may not be a champion but I like my weekend breakfast to be garnished with TULIPS while I fill up on PEARS….

pear whelk at low tide sanibel florida

Quite a few PEAR WHELKS …

pear whelk with purple sun rise

With a little NUTMEG…

nutmeg in sunrise sanibel

This weekend’s low tides were in the early morning so it was such a treat to see the sunrise… and to collect the shells from the shallow tidal pools.

But I started the weekend running into an awesome family at Blind Pass Captiva around sunset as they were just packing up all the shells they found after snorkeling. Paul, Darren, Gabe, Kyle, Emily, Ellie from Naples are all like shelling encyclopedias. They knew the names of all of their shells and little tid bits about them too. Hmmmm… “Enshellopedias”! Ha! They were so much fun to talk to…

shelling family vacation sanibel captiva florida

They found lots of CONCHS, WHELKS, TULIPS, COCKLES, OLIVES  and all sorts of treasures. You know I love to peek at other people’s shells so I was thrilled to take a look into Paul’s green shell bag. Wanna see too? Ha! I knew it! Here you go… Fun!

shell bag sanibel captiva florida blind pass

The next morning at the Lighthouse Beach, I met Charity holding a double ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLE she was holding like a treasure box. It was a treasure box! She had filled the COCKLE with all of her other tiny treasures she found at low tide.

charity with sea shells sanibel

I met the rest of her family… Janssen, Lynn Ann and Joann visiting Sanibel from the Tampa area…

janssen LynnAnn charity Joanne

Lynn Ann told me that they found all of these shell like the fab SHARKS EYE, HORSE CONCH and APPLE MUREXES (and the SEA BEAN) at the tip of the island in front of the lighthouse.

sanibel shells found in october

At low tide, it’s always glorious to see and touch live MOLLUSKS… especially this live 14 inch HORSE CONCH. No worries- this creature was very happy to be put back into the water where it could keep healthy and hopefully have lots of babies.

live horse conch sanibel beach


I’ve never been much of a morning person (I know. Sounds crazy for an obsessed sheller like me to say that but it’s just the truth)… so I hope this next season I learn to enjoy mornings like I did this weekend. I meet people like Angela from the Outer Banks of North Carolina who was too shy for me to take her picture but made a big impression on me. It was a pleasure to talk with you Angela!

shells found on sanibel florida

But now that I think about it, I doesn’t really matter what time of day it is. I always find shells and I always meet awesome people shellers. I meet them finding shells at breakfast time , lunch time , afternoon snack time, dinner and evening snack time. It really doesnt matter! Errrr. I might sleep in tomorrow morning. heehee

sanibel stoop in aqua

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Summer Shelling At Blind Pass

Posted by on Aug 6, 2013 in Banded tulip, King's Crown, Lightning Whelk, Nutmeg | 26 comments

courtney seashells whelk conch nutmeg

Cool breezes and dramatic skies of summer evenings on the islands are fantastic. Oh… and did I forget to mention there are shells too? I felt a little giddy being at Blind Pass Sanibel last night since I haven’t been there in 2 weeks. It was lovely! Especially lovely after seeing the shells Deborah, Brian and Courtney from Jacksonville (FL) were finding. Courtney found that gorgeous knobless FIGHTING CONCH and NUTMEG.

deborah, brian courtney jacksonville seashells

… While her mom Deborah found her own NUTMEG and BANDED TULIP.

deborah shells nutmeg banded tulip

Brian had a pocketful of LIGHTNING WHELKS and CONCHS.

brian shells whelk conch

Alexis (NJ) and Todd (NY) just flew in for a weeks vacation. First stop? Blind Pass to look for shells!

alexis todd sanibel shells

They were on their way to making day #1 a great success. Did you notice Alexis’s shell bangles? She said she got them in Hawaii… but hmmmmm… maybe my OLIVE STRING bracelet could use a fancy version too.

alexis nj todd ny seashells

Clark was busy finding a few goodies too…

clark scooping shells

Oh yaya, candy! The SCALLOP, OLIVE, WHELK and HORSE CONCH Clark found are oh so nice… but that KING’S CROWN! Come to Momma!

olive scallop whelk conch crown bp seashells

I can’t get over the skies of summertime! We got to the beach last night an hour before sunset (at low tide) and I snapped this photo of the pretty sky.

1 hour before sunset bp

Then I shelled and gabbed a while meeting new friends. I gave most of my shells away other than a sweet little CHESTNUT TURBAN the color of a pumpkin (oops! I didnt take a photo- sorry!) But… meanwhile … the sky was changing crazy colors by the second. Each direction I turned the sky looked different. At a point it was purple! It gave everything on the beach a purple tint as well so I saw a “grape” SCALLOP and snapped another photo.

purple sky sanibel sunset scallop

I turned towards Captiva and this is what I saw!

pink sky reflection sanibel florida sunset

When we were leaving the beach about 15 minutes after sunset, I snapped another shot about the same place I took it before sunset. Oh, the summer skies of Sanibel.

15 minutes after sunset bp

Hold On! Get ready to dial your Shellaphones! We have Exciting News! Not only can we shell together during the iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa on Thursday August 15th at 1pm, but you can also join us for the FULL DAY CRUISE (10am to 4pm) to the north side of Cayo Costa on Wednesday August 28th… during Shellabaloo 3! We’ve had lots of requests to join Shellabaloo 3 for a day so now you can participate! Meet and mingle for a shell of a good time. Call 239-472-5300 to reserve your space for the iLoveShelling cruise on either half day August 15th or full day August 28th!

For more Information CLICK HERE or on the next image…

seashell shelling adventures pam

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Sensational Seashells, Sunshine and Sunsets

Posted by on Apr 26, 2013 in Bittersweet Clam, Blind Pass Video, Florida Spiny Jewelbox, Giant Bittersweet, Jewel Box, Lightning Whelk, Nutmeg, Sunsets, Turban, Whelk, White Crested Tellin | 34 comments

therese lightning whelk captiva florida

If there is a better souvenir than finding an awesome LIGHTNING WHELK like this to remember a wonderful vacation… I dont know about it.

Therese told me she only saw a tiny bit of the top of this shell and thought it looked interesting enough to start digging around it. Then she realized it was this perfectly empty WHELK! Congratshellations Therese! She and her husband Dan (visiting from Minnesota) had an exshellent afternoon at Blind Pass Captiva under the bridge at low tide filling up their shell bags with WHELKS, CONCHS, OLIVES and one nice piece of a JUNONIA.

therese dan find shells captiva florida

She even found one of the biggest CHESTNUT TURBANS I’ve seen in a while too…

therese turban olive seashells

Wendy (a local Sanibelian) found a few goodies to take home to make into jewelry…

Wendy shells sanibel florida

She also found a SHIVA SHELL (which I didnt even get a picture of – darn!- so CLICK HERE if you want to see one) and this incredible DOUBLE JEWELBOX. It has pieces of CORAL growing on it!

Wendy double jewel box2

Clark found a few nice shells too but the one I got most excited about was the WHITE CRESTED TELLIN in the top left corner. We have found them more on Cayo Costa but to find one at Blind Pass is pretty rare. The shell in between the two OLIVES is a huge and thick weird shaped JINGLE I thought was interesting too. I love that weird stuff!

CLARK SHELLS jetty rocks

You really couldn’t see how big the NUTMEG was in the last photo so I thought I’d show you how big it is in Clark’s hand. It’s shellacious! It measures in at a whopping 48mm… which isn’t like a world record size (Susan H?) but it’s the biggest one we’ve seen in a long time!

48mm nutmeg captiva clark

I found a regular sized NUTMEG that I thought I’d keep along with a BITTERSWEET, a CALICO CLAM with a cool pattern, and my new faves- the CALICO SCALLOP.

shells jetty rock captiva

We ended the evening watching another gorgeous sunset over a big pile of Sit ‘N Sift shells on the other side of the jetty rocks at Blind Pass Captiva.

sea shells sunset florida

The sky turns a lucious orange right at the horizon when the sun sets over the Gulf Of Mexico.

sunset horizon captiva island florida seashells

Then it melts into the water to end another sensational day on the island.

melting sun captiva island florida

Oh Wait! I did take a short little video right when we first got to Blind Pass at 6pm yesterday. It’s just a little something to show you exactly where we were. This was right before Therese showed me her WHELK! Have a wonderful weekend!

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As The Evening Low Tide Turns

Posted by on Apr 25, 2013 in Lightning Whelk, Nutmeg, Sand Dollar, Sanibel Stoop, Sunsets | 29 comments

sanibel seashells lighthouse april 2013

My favorite time to shell is in the warm evenings when the receding low tide seems to expose a mile of undiscovered beach…

low tide Sanibel shells

Whichever way you walk, you know will be the right way…

sanibel stoop low tide east end


When treasures are half buried but you see just enough of a clue to know you’ve found something special…

nutmeg seashell sanibel low tide

When there are live creatures trying to camouflage themselves until they can make it back under the sand like this tiny baby SAND DOLLAR…

Live baby sand dollar

When the sky glows like a bon fire just before the sun sinks behind the horizon.

Sanibel Fishing pier sunset april


There were quite a few shells half buried all along the Lighthouse Beach (like the NUTMEG) but if you walk west on the gulf side this week in the evening you will see oodles of live FIGHTING CONCHS, STARFISH and other amazing creatures… oh and some treasures like the empty LIGHTNING WHELK as well. It’s just a beautiful site to see. I’ve heard that Bowmans Beach and Blind Pass have some great shells right now so if you are around Southwest Florida, you should get out on one of the beaches this afternoon/evening. It’s a site to behold.

seashell on the beach Sanibel

And we have a little bit of SHELLEBRATING to do too! The iLoveShelling facebook page now has over 5000 fans! Wahhooo! 5000 shellers who love shelling as much as we do! We are in some exshellent company, my friends. Here’s a little shout out to our 5000th shelling friend, Angela Lucas! Thank you Angela and welcome to the world of iLoveShelling! Here’s Angela and her mermaids!

angel mermaid

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Pam and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Shells

Posted by on Sep 11, 2012 in Albino Lightning Whelk, Albino Shells, Horse Conch, Lightning Whelk, Nutmeg, Rough scallop, True tulip, Tulip, Whelk | 37 comments

true tulip colors

My world has been splashed with so many amazing colors of shells lately! These gorgeous tiny TRUE TULIPS (above) were a combination of both my finds and SS Clark‘s finds over the last few weeks as well as these little HORSE CONCH candies. These are the shell colors we dream about!

Since I just talked about the process I took to clean the big size HORSE CONCHS in my September 5 post, I thought I’d tell you that I only rinsed these shells with fresh water before I photographed them (as well the shells on my last post). None of these shells needed any more cleaning than just a rinse as you will see. I did put mineral oil on the TULIPS  to bring out the color but I didn’t on these HORSE CONCHS because… well… I ran out of time. ;)

horse conch colors

I’ve showed a few colors of the CALICO SCALLOPS (and even named them!) but here are some rich colors of the ROUGH SCALLOP. I just love this lemon yellow one Clark found…

rough scallop colors

Even the NUTMEGS have been rich with color.

nutmeg colors

Not only did we find so many different patterns and colors on LIGHTNING WHELKS, I even found one without color at all… an ALBINO LIGHTNING WHELK! See the white one on the bottom row?

lightning whelk colors

I think this ALBINO LIGHTNING WHELK deserves a close up shot. You can see that it still has a shine to the exterior which would be a sign of an albino. Beach worn white shells have a dull matte finish so you can tell that the sun bleached the color out of them.

albino lightning whelk

Hmmm. This photo makes it look blue. Dang it. It really isnt blueish but since it was so bright white against the blue, the lens got tricked and the white balance went wacky. If I get time, I’ll try to retake it but you can see the true color with all of the other LIGHTNING WHELKS but hopefully you can see, this one is in excellent condition with a nice glossy aperture.

albino lightning whelk ap

Now every where I look I see amazing technicolor I thought were only saved for dreams.

Sanibel bay sunset

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Snorkeling Sanibel’s Out Islands

Posted by on Jul 29, 2012 in Angel Wing, Conch, Horse Conch, Lion's Paw, Live Sand Dollar, Nutmeg, Sand Dollar, Sargassum, Snorkeling Video | 31 comments

boat beach seashell

We spent hours boating from Fort Myers Beach to the outer islands of Sanibel this weekend. I felt like we were on vacation! The first island we pulled up to I found this nice sized WENTLETRAP…

north cap wentletrap

It was resting in a nest of sea weeds and SARGASSUM.

wentle weeds

Okay, I’ll fess up. Clark and I weren’t really looking for WENTLETRAPS but it was a nice surprise. We were actually looking for a LION”S PAW. “Why”, you ask? Because we wanted to find this LIONS PAW’s brother or sister…. or better yet, the granddaddy!

brian lions paw

It’s a beauty, right? Did you see that all of the knuckles are in tact? Saweeeet! Captain Brian found this awesome LION’S PAW on Cayo Costa on Friday. Is this a happy face or what! Congrats Brian!

captain brian lions paw

So we looked high and low for even a piece of one…

island clark shelling

While on Cayo Costa, we met Anna (Indiana) shelling the beach with a bag full of shells tied to her walking stick…

island sheller Anna

She had a beautiful collection of shells ranging from SAND DOLLARS to that excellent yellow HORSE CONCH.

anna shell collection

Now who wouldn’t be happy with this collection? She found ANGEL WINGS, TRUE TULIPS, TURBANS, a NUTMEG, SHARK’S EYE, LIGHTNING WHELK and a cute twisted WORMIE.

anna seashell arrangement

Clark found one of these live ARROWHEAD SAND DOLLARS floating in the current then saw the other one close by. We have found dead ARROWHEADS before but neither of us has ever seen live ones like this. They are beautiful! Clark put them back in the water right after I snapped this photo to keep them nice and healthy.

live arrowhead sand dollars

Well, we didn’t find  LION”S PAW and the water clarity was a little cloudy but after seeing so many SAND DOLLARS, I put on my mask and snorkel to see what else I could find in the water. Take a few good breaths and get used to the water so you can go on my snorkeling vacation with me. Here we go!

PS- Next post I’ll show you lots of MANATEES that we saw this weekend! I love those SEA COWS!


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