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

Sanibel Sunrise to Sunset

Posted by on Mar 2, 2014 in Bowman's Beach, Brittle Star, Lighthouse, Sanibel Shell Festival 2014 | 31 comments

seashells and sunflowers at the beach

Sunrise on Sanibel is such a beautiful sight at Lighthouse Beach, I always tell myself I need to get out there in the morning more often.

sanibel lighthouse at dawn

As I was shelling at the waters edge, I met a family enjoying the cool morning while collecting shells along the same path. Rick, Cindy, Sarah, Harley (she’s peek-a-boo-ing between her mom and dad’s legs- heehee) and Richard from Virginia were tickled with their finds.

rick cindy sarah richard harley virginia visits sanibel florida

Cindy found a beautiful PAPER FIG and ANGEL WING while Rick was finding juvie WHELKS, CONCHS and pieces of shells with cool BARNCLES attached…

seashells collected on the beach

Cindy found this awesome BRITTLE STAR on the beach which we thought was too dry to still be alive but while we inspected him and all ooohed and aaahed, the little guy started waving one of his arms to tell us he still had some life in him. Omigosh! He needed water! Cindy hurried to get this guy back to the Gulf Of Mexico.

brittle star on gray

Sarah found her first WENTLETRAP!

finding sea shells

I should have known I would see award winning SAILORS VALENTINE artist Constance Miller shelling at the lighthouse because the Sanibel Shell Festival this week. She loves to find her own WENTLETRAPS and other mini shells to use in her gorgeous designs.

constance marshall miller shelling sanibel lighthouse

Clark and I walked just south of Bowman’s Beach to catch sunset and saw the perfect Sanibel Stooper shelling the sand bar just as the sun reached the horizon. So beautiful!

sanibel stoop bowman's beach florida sunset

Just after I snapped the photo, that Sanibel Stooper walked back towards the beach so I approached him to tell him I got a fun photo of him at sunset. Holy Cowrie! It was Rick again! LOL Yes, that was the same Rick that I had just met in the morning shelling at Lighthouse Beach. He and his son Richard (Marley’s dad) were still shelling but this time near Bowman’s too. It’s a small island, huh?

rick richard collect sea shells bowman beach sanibel

These are just a few goodies they pulled out of their shell bag. Lots of treasure!

collecting seashells on sanbel island bowman's beach

If you are near Sanibel Island this week Thursday- Saturday (March 6,7,8 2014) you shouldn’t miss the 77th Sanibel Shell Festival. It will be lots of fun AND…. I am entering into the show for the very first time. I have two pieces that will be judged in the artistic division so I will definitely show you pictures later in the week after they have been judged. Yes, judged… Ack! Pressure! Please wish me good luck! And of course I will be blogging about all of the other exhibits as well. I hope to see you there!

sanibel shell festival 2014

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Tropical Summer Of Sanibel

Posted by on Jun 26, 2013 in Brittle Star, Sand Dollar, Sea anemone, Sunsets | 39 comments

sand dollar on a Sanibel beach

After late afternoon rain showers in the summer tropics of Sanibel when the setting sun peeks out from the clouds, the colors of the sky seem to magnify the brilliant colors of the water, beach, sand and shells.

Sand dollar sanibel

I didn’t find many empty shells along the middle island beach of Sanibel but I made up for it finding the perfect SAND DOLLAR. Or maybe I was so amazed by the living SEALIFE that I couldn’t focus on picking up shells. I’m still in awe over the baby KINGS CROWNS so my focus has been on stopping at every living thing to inspect it closely just to make sure I dont miss anything. WOW! I usually walk right on by the SEA ANEMONES at low tide trying to find half buried shells but this one stopped me in my tracks. Look at the color of this one! The shallow water waved the tentacles back and forth so I could get a view of it’s magical dance.

purple sea anemone sanibel low tide

The turquoise blue color caught my eye on this different one. I think it’s a SEA ANEMONE because of the size, shape and texture but I never saw it open (I waited for about 15 minutes) and it didn’t retract when I gently touched it. Hmmmm. Something new again. Have you ever seen one this color?

turquoise blue sea anemone sanibel florida

I found this BRITTLE STAR wrapped up like a ball in the water that was lapping up on the beach. “He” looked like he had seen better days but I untangled him then placed him in shallow water without the wave action. He started coming alive again! You can see he is already starting to bury himself in the sand.

brittle star seastar sanibel

I could have taken hundreds of photos of live sea creatures during the low tide evenings this week but to experience such beautiful late afternoons with the cool breeze says it all in this next photo. It takes my breath away. Happy weekend to you all.

sand dollar background


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The Calm Before Tropical Storm Andrea On Fort Myers Beach

Posted by on Jun 7, 2013 in Angel Wing, Brittle Star, Fort Myers Beach, Golden Olive, Lightning Whelk, Millipede Starfish, Minor Jackknife Clam, Olive, Sand Dollar, Tropical Storm Andrea, Whelk | 32 comments

seashell collection myers beach florida

Tropical Storm Andrea gave Southwest Florida pounding rain all day yesterday (and a little the day before) but didn’t seem to do much damage (if any … that I heard). It looks like we will have another round of heavy rain and wind today but before another storm band comes through again, I’ll try to take a peak at a couple of beaches to see if the site of shell piles rolling up on the shores look promising. If I hear thunder? We’ll have to wait it out and check the beaches when it settles again. Until then, I’ll show you what I found Tuesday evening at low tide on Fort Myers Beach just before the storm hit.

Fort myers Beach Florida before storm

Yep, I said Fort Myers Beach! I had to be there Tuesday afternoon to meet somebody so I snuck out to the south end of the beach to see if there were shells. Oh my! I’d say YES!

shell collection diane myers beach florida

As soon as I stepped on the beach, Linda from New Jersey was thrilled to show me all of her shells and SAND DOLLARS. I was amazed to see so many SAND DOLLARS!

Linda NJ with shells

shell bag seashells fort myers beach florida

Then I walked further down the beach to see Wesley from Kentucky holding up this huge LIGHTNING WHELK. Wow!

Wesley whelk fort myers beach florida

He had just met Ace (also from Kentucky) and his his wife (she’s camera shy) as they became fast friends finding out they had so much in common. Both being shellers from Kentucky was just a start!

wesley ky Ace sand dollars  fort myers beach florida

Can you believe how many SAND DOLLARS Ace had in this bag? They were everywhere!

sand dollar bag Fort Myers Beach

Look how happy this next family is! They all came from West Virginia to be together for a family reunion on Fort Myers Beach. That’s my kind of family reunion- shorts and tee shirts wading around in the water at the beach finding treasures together. Let me introduce you to this awesome family. From left to right… Jackie, Matt, Nancy, Charlie, Mike, Marc, Mollie, Lydia, Savannah and Michelle.

family reunion vacation Fort myers Beach Florida

They combined all their loot then they will share it all later. What a wonderful idea.

seashells fort myers beach florida june

Although…  I didnt share the ALPHABET CONE I found. Oops! LOL

alphabet cone fort myers beach

Nobody could have pried this next gem out of my hand either. I found a GOLDEN OLIVE! Boom Shellalaka! I still cant believe it. The lip is just a little bit ragged but the color- Oh, the color is spectacsheller.

golden olive ft myers beach

I also found a MINOR JACKKNIFE on this beach. We’ve found these before but I dont think I’ve ever found one on Sanibel. Interesting, right?

jack knife clam ft myers beach shell

And of course I found a few SAND DOLLARS too.

sand dollar beach combing myers florida

I saw lots of live MILLEPEDE STARFISH scooting along in the tidal pools….

millepede starfish ft myers beach florida

And a beautiful dried BRITTLE STAR was mixed in with shell crumbles. I didn’t have a safe place to put it to get it home in one piece, so I left him on the beach.

brittle star ft myers beach florida

It was funny to me that I didn’t find lots of the same shells. Yes, there were plenty of SAND DOLLARS… but it’s like I found one cool shell after another. Just one of a kind. Like this one ANGEL WING.

angel wing sand fort myers beach

Can you identify this next half buried shell? Would you have seen it? I know who else would have seen it… Cheri B! LOL  Remember? She picked up the SPINY JEWELBOX I missed in a video finding an ALPHABET CONE. Crazy!

double jewel box fort myers beach florida

As much as I hate to admit it, this is first time I’ve ever shelled on the south end of Fort Myers Beach near the “lagoons”… but it wont be my last! I had a blast!

tidal flow for seashells

But what I really can’t wait for is…. to see what Tropical Storm Andrea left on our beaches! She came in with strong SSW winds from the Gulf Of Mexico to blow through Southwest Florida so I’m sure most every beach on the island will have some good shells by sometime this weekend. When? Where? What? It’s hard to  pinpoint because all storms are so different. But… since Andrea came in from the southwest, Lighthouse Beach would be a logical start. Although I’m excited to scout every beach, my experience with past storms tells me the waves will still be too rough for the shells to pile up on the beach just yet. But this is what’s fun… following the clues. I’m going to follow clues of areas collecting PEN SHELLS or other sea debris or BEACH BLING to narrow down the search for shells for this fabulous treasure hunt Andrea has given us.  I’ll keep you posted!

shells at low tide Ft myers beach


PS- I’m just gonna go ahead and keep reminding everybody until the 15th … Enter To Win a Shelling Vacation on Sanibel! CLICK HERE!

Seashell Island Shelling Vacation

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Sanibel and the Rambos in The New York Times!

Posted by on Aug 12, 2012 in Angel Wing, Brittle Star, In the News, The New York Times | 32 comments

pam clark Rambo New York Times

A Florida Island Draws An Array of Seashells And Their Hunters“….

The “Island” is Sanibel. “Their Hunters” are Super Sheller Clark (aka Mr Rambo- heehee), me, and YOU in the top National story of the New York Times! Dr. Leal and The Shell Museum were in it too. Wahoo!


How did this happen? Well, first of all, let me introduce you to the talented folks that made this story happen.

The brilliant writer/reporter (17 years with The NY Times) Lizette Alvarez who threaded this beautiful piece together with her gift of words and Angel Valentin top notch photographer from Puerto Rico and South Florida  

lizette angel new york times

I’m still boggled by the whole thing but… Out of the blue we got a call from Lizette to introduce herself and tell us that she would like to do a story about shelling on Sanibel. She said she’d like to come to Sanibel to interview us and she was hoping to get a photographer to cover the story. Heck Yay-ya! Two days later we were hanging out at Lighthouse Beach showing Lizette and Angel the treasures of Sanibel.

lizette angel clark shelling

It was a gorgeous low tide evening with lots of shells for collecting as well as exposed live mollusks. We couldn’t have placed an order for a more perfect evening to share the wonders of our island.  Hunting along side us was my new BFF Isabel (which happens to be Lizette’s daughter) perfecting Sanibel’s signature stance… The Sanibel Stoop.

isabel sanibel stoop

It turns out that Isabel is an excellent sheller. Within minutes of being on the beach, she found a nice sized unbroken ANGEL WING…

isabel angel wing

In the article, Lizette wrote about a 13 year old boy that found a STARFISH. This is the BRITTLESTAR STARFISH that Hunter from Mulberry, Florida found…

brittle star sanibel starfish

Hunter and his sister Audrey showed us all of the other STARFISH and CRABS they were finding and learning about too.

audrey hunter star fish crab

Shelling Sistah Denise Kisko from North Carolina made it in the story too!

Denise in new york times

This next photo is Denise being interviewed by Lizette… meanwhile, “a 13 year old girl” got curious about her abandoned shell pile she had been digging in.  Okay, this is funny… Denise was quoted saying “Don’t find anything in my pile” kiddingly to a 13 year old girl. That 13 year old girl was Isabel! LOL Isn’t that so cute?

denise with lizette

If you haven’t read the story yet, a black-and-white photo in our house was mentioned (well, Mr. Rambo’s “shell-festooned house” was mentioned- hahaha). We have a wall in our hallway with photos of our families and special memories.

rambo wall framed photos

In one of those frames is a photo of Clark’s shell collection on his bed at age 7.

framed shell collection

He arranged all of his favorite shells on his cowboy bedspread then asked his mom to take a picture of it. A-dor-a-ble.

Clark 7 shell collection

 After 3 hours of laughing, learning, sharing and seashell hunting, we had to say goodbye. It was an evening that we will never forget especially because we really had a fantastic time. I’m not saying I wasn’t nervous…because I was totally shaking in my flip flops at first. But then after being with such fun down to earth people…

lizette alveraz angel valentin

Who genuinely love life…

isabel lizette angel sanibel

It was easy to relax and share what we love… Shelling and Sanibel. Thank you Lizette, for contacting us.

sanibel beach conch seashell

To read the New York Times story, click on this next image….

Featured new york times

Note to self: remember to get a photo of me too with the gang when something big happens … like being interviewed by one of the biggest publications in the world.  ;)

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Shelling For The Holidays

Posted by on Dec 4, 2011 in Blue Crab, Bones, Brittle Star, Captiva, Christmas, Dosinia, Horseshoe Crab, Long-Spined Urchin, Pen Shell, Purple Sea Urchin, Sanibel, Sea Whip, Shark's Eye Egg Collar, Shop, Stone Crab, Transverse Ark | 13 comments

i Love Shelling 2012 calendar cover

 The holiday season is in full swing on Sanibel and Captiva islands so I have been a busy little elf! First of all,  I’d like to introduce the brand new i Love Shelling 2012 Calendar chock full of beautiful Sanibel photos and of course our beloved seashells. Now you can enjoy shelling 12 months of the year!

Here’s a sneak peak of January’s sunset photo and  CLICK HERE to see all 12 months and get one for yourself or as a gift for your shelling buddy.

Jan page calendar 2012

 We also hit the beaches this week to find a few shells and lots of Beach Bling. We found big old WHELK and CONCH pieces I love for yard shells along with a few SEA WHIPS, LONG SPINED SEA URCHINS, PURPLE SEA URCHINS, PEN SHELLS, CRAB SHELLS and this little BRITTLE STAR too.

Beach bling shells sea whip urchin

There were lots of DOSINIAS mixed in with hundreds of SAILORS EARS and TRANSVERSE ARKS

ark shells, dosinia, sailors ears

I even saw a few bones scattered along the beach. These are from bait in the crab traps in the gulf that get tossed around in rough surf.

Sanibel beach bone from crab trap

STONE CRABS are what lots of those traps are made to catch. When fishermen bring in the traps, they only take one claw from a STONE CRAB since the claws have the best meat. They throw the crab back without killing it because they know the crab can eat and defend  itself with only one claw until another claw grows back. Here is a STONE CRAB  claw lying on the beach that could have been a good appetizer if it had been freshly caught. Darn!

stone crab claw on beach

There were HORSESHOE CRABS too …

horseshoe crab beached


Blue Crab Sanibel


shark eye moon shell egg collar

 I met a wonderful local man Frank, who moved here in 1964 and still loves to walk the beaches and pick up shells especially with his daughter Connie. He told me he was 87 but he looks like he is no older than 72! Thank you Frank for your service for our country in WW2.

Connie, Frank Sanibel locals

Here are some of the mini shells Frank and Connie collected when I saw them along Middle Gulf Drive.

Connie Frank mini shells

 I also have photos of the yesterday’s oh-so-fun Captiva Holiday Village golf cart parade. Here’s one picture of our Junonia Jalopy but I’ll have to show you the rest tomorrow. It was a blast!  All of the other cart were so darn cute!

junonia jalopy i love shelling

Check out my new tee shirt! I wore my new “Oh CONE All Ye Faithful” Christmas design v-neck tee. I got so many compliments- so much fun ! And don’t forget to check out the 2012 i Love Shelling Calendar too….. and the new online i Love Shelling Shop….. Or the fun faves at Shelling Shop. You see? I’ve been a little Santa’s helper for the good seashell loving girls and boys. Ho Ho Ho!

Merry Xmas beach art

 Captiva Holiday Village Logo

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Another Sanibel Cyber Shelling Adventure

Posted by on Sep 16, 2011 in Brittle Star, Carrier Shell, Cyber Shelling, Fighting Conch, Florida Cone, Horse Conch, Sanibel, Worm Rock, Worm Shell | 35 comments

Seashell finds Sanibel September

I found that CARRIER SHELL I showed you on my last post Carried Away By A Carrier Shell but since I was so excited, I didn’t get to show you the rest of the shells I found. Aren’t the beautiful? It was an amazing day.

But wait, I’ve got a shell pile for you cyber shellers out there! I promise, I did not touch one thing in this pile before I took the next picture. But be careful! If you click on this photo to enlarge it, you might have a little sensory overload. Use caution, please.

cyber shelling

OMG I just looked at that photo again! I missed another CONE!!! Did you spot it? TWO cones…. and I just looked again- maybe THREE. I worked this pile a while so I could have gotten it on another swipe but I definitely didn’t get it on the first run. I guess I was gathering every ounce of patience not to pluck this WORMIE, CANDIE and ALPHIE (notice the ultra cuteness clue of the “ie”endings) off the beach so I could take the picture.

Handful of favorite shells

 So just a few minutes after finding this little seashell honey hole, I found the CARRIER SHELL and had to do a video. I hope you can see some of the other shells in that “troth” (I don’t think I’ve ever called it that before, but it sure did seem like one- LOL).


Oh yeah, something else cool…there was a live four legged BRITTLE STAR in one of the tidal pools.

Four legged brittle star


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