Navigation Menu

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

I See A Sea Of Beach Bling

Posted by on Jan 29, 2016 in Brown Spiny Sea star, Long-Spined Urchin, Millipede Starfish, Purple Sea Urchin, Sea Life, Starfish, Urchin | 30 comments

sea urchin colors in the sand

It is not every day we get to see SEA URCHINS wash up in the colors in the rainbow. Every day the beaches on Sanibel and SW Florida in the last few weeks have been loaded with all sorts of Beach Bling from the storms we’ve been getting every other day. After sifting through thousands of dried spineless SEA URCHINS in the high wrack line on the beach to find the unusual colors, I needed to get down to the water’s edge to see what the newest measures were that the tide was bringing in. WENTLETRAPS and other cool minis!

wentletraps and sea urchins-1

Every tidal line on the beach has different treasures right now from brought in by the high winds. It’s like a our very own science project spread out in lines along the shore for us to sort through and be amazed by.

Sanibel sea stars and urchins-1

Oh Buoy! Torn from their CRAB TRAPS that washed up on the beach, buoys dotting the shoreline along with DRIFTWOOD, balls of SEAWEED, EGG CASINGS….

Sanibel beach buoys-1

And of course seashells.

pile of seashells around tree roots-1

So… I brought home the SEA URCHINS I found from the top photo, but not all of them made it home in one piece. I know, I know… I should’ve taken a plastic container to the beach with me – dang it! But I really didn’t think I was going to keep any of them but they were just so pretty I just couldn’t help it. Ha! Lesson learned- I really didn’t “need” to bring them home ay way- that’s exactly why I put myself on a shell collecting “diet”. Hmmmm…  This may take a little more work than I thought hahaha.

pear whelk among seahsells-1


Read More

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



Read More

Shellsational Sunsets at Blind Pass Sanibel

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Brown Spiny Sea star, Hermit crabs, Lightning Whelk, Starfish, Sunsets, Whelk | 15 comments

Conchs clams and scallop shells

As the tide was rushing out of Sanibel’s Blind Pass channel, there were little pockets of semi-buried shells in the sand along the shoreline covered by only 3 inches of water. That’s where the treasures were last night just before sunset. My fave of the evening was that beautiful baby BITTERSWEET in the ARK ing the photo above. Love it!

Sanibel sunset beach finds

Karen and Mark (New Jersey) discovered some of those shell pockets too.


Karen and Mark visit Sanibel for shells from New Jersey

They were happy to find some empty shell treasures of their own.

Karens shells found on Sanibel
We all had to be very careful to look inside each shell to make sure there wasn’t a critter living inside of the shell like this teenie tiny HERMIT CRAB I quickly put back in the water after I snapped a photo…

hermit crab inside apple murex Sanibel

This was an even more exciting find… a nice size live healthy LIGHTNING WHELK that I put back in the water exactly how I found it.

Live lightning whelk at Blind Pass Sanibel

The GULF OF MEXICO is alive with beautiful sea creatures living close to shore like these MOLLUSKS, CRABS and this cutie SEA STAR too…

Live starfish stuck on encrusted pen shell Sanibel

And to top it all off there was a shellsational sunset to end a great day.

Sunset with shells at Blind Pass Sanibel

Read More

Full Moon Beach Bling

Posted by on Apr 7, 2012 in Brown Spiny Sea star, Live Sand Dollar, Mangrove Periwinkle, Sand Dollar, Saw-Tooth Pen Shell, Stiff Pen Shell, Sunsets, True tulip, Wentletrap | 25 comments

live sand dollars starfish

The weather conditions and last night’s full moon caused an extreme high tide that washed up lots of live creatures on the beach. Unfortunately for them, an extreme low tide left them with no where to hide.  Fortunately for Cory from Cape Coral (and me), he got to see a tiny live SAND DOLLAR with a few mature beauties as well as several live STARFISH at the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach then he put them back in the water.

cory sand dollar starfish

I saw several live TRUE TULIPS hiding inside a STIFF PEN SHELL.

pen shell true tulips inside

I did spot one empty bright orange TRUE TULIP hiding under one of those PEN SHELLS. A keeper! Yippee!

true tulip under pen shell


worm shell true tulip turban

Caroline and Jennifer (Atlanta) are long time “wentlers” so they knew just where to look to find dozens of WENTLETRAPS.

caroline jennifer atlanta

Jennifer found all of these WENTLETRAPS within an hour and a half…

wentletraps jennifer

Her daughter Caroline has the WENTLE-eye too …and the KING’S CROWN-eye and the BABY’S EAR-eye!

caroline shell bag

Guess who I met! …. Sanibelle! If you read a lot of my post comments, you might have read one of Sanibelle’s comments. She rocks! …well she “shells” …but you know what I mean. ;) It was a pleasure to me you, Sanibelle! This is miss cutie Sanibelle…

sanibelle louise

Since there were so many live creatures to ooooh and ahhhh at, it was hard to find many big empty shells besides PEN SHELLS. I talk about PEN SHELLS so often but I rarely ever show them so I found good example of both types that we find here. The one on the left is a STIFF PEN SHELL and the one on the right is a SAW-TOOTH PEN SHELL.

difference rough saw tooth pen shell

The most unusual shell I saw yesterday was a MANGROVE PERIWINKLE that Clark found yesterday on the gulf side of Lighthouse Beach. We just don’t find many of them at that beach.

mangrove periwinkle

He also found this little army man. I think he’ll make good company for my LEGO guy I found in February.

toy soldier on beach

Since there are so many live shells on the beaches right now, I just want to make sure you know that you can’t take any live shells, SAND DOLLARS, STARFISH and such. You should gently put it back where you found it or in deeper waters. Lots of people don’t know how to tell if a sand dollar is alive or not. Here’s the deal… if a SAND DOLLAR is any where near the water and is brownish and looks a little “furry”, that means it is happy and healthy so we need to let it live a long time … it can breed! This is what live SAND DOLLARS look like. See that “fur”? Those are his feet AND how he breathes. Cool, huh?

baby sand dollar

 This was the moon rise last night over Fort Myers Beach. I did not change or colorize this photo! It was really that big and colorful! I guess that’s why all the living creatures were stirring yesterday.

moon over ft myers beach

 There should be more goodies washing in so for now…. Gone Shelling.



Read More

Wish Upon a Starfish

Posted by on Jun 8, 2010 in Brown Spiny Sea star, Decorate with shells, Starfish, Worm Shell | 7 comments

Small Starfish about an inch and a half

There were tons (ok, I could be exaggerating …..I saw maybe 15) of BROWN SPINY STARFISH washing up at the lighthouse beach on Sanibel yesterday. This happens pretty often so I try to throw back the ones that I can see their little feelers on the under side still moving. Aha!….but this guy was stiff as a board and dried out so he came home with me. He’s only an inch and a half and as cute as can be. I already found a home for him too. A few years ago, I made a few frames made with only WORM SHELLS that I found. It’s not like this picture frame needed anything else but I really wanted to show this starfish off. You can’t miss him now!

Worm shell frame with starfish

Read More

Pin It on Pinterest