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

Seeking Shellter

Posted by on Aug 30, 2015 in Horse Conch, Junonia, organize shells, seashell decor, Shellaboratory, Storms | 17 comments

organizing sea shells

It’s hot on Sanibel Island in August and September so its the time of year when I try to organize the Rambo Shellaboratory by sorting shells we’ve collected in the past months and try to find room to display them. For months, our shells and bling we found in Okinawa, Japan sat on our dining room table while I tried to find the time to photograph and research all of the ones we couldn’t identify. I even wanted to do another post about the beach bling we found (like Buzz Lightyear, Jeanne!) but life happens and things get away from me when we return from a big trip like that. So now that its scorching hot during the day, I feel like staying in the air conditioning so I can enjoy the shells we’ve already collected instead of collecting more. Today I added a few shelves in the Shellaboratory so we can enjoy looking at our loot and share those precious memories Clark and I had while combing the beaches on that far away land we explored for weeks. I love it!

shells from japan displayed in shelves


If you were keeping up with the weather on Sanibel, we’ve been watching Tropical Storm Erika in the Caribbean since we were in her path for a few days. Since we live on an island, we pay close attention when we are in the pathway for any named storm, but fortunately Erika fell apart and is no longer threatening us. That’s not to say that we don’t have some wicked skies…

Gimme Shellter Sanibel shells and stormy sky

Clark and I only got a few minutes on the beach before we heard thunder in the distance but we did find one or two treasures.

Shell beach with storm sky

This morning I went to Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach to see if anything washed up. I ran into Tam Tam and Don shelling along the pier side of the beach.

Sanibel lighthouse before the storm


They found some awesome shells! Tammy posted this photo on iLoveShelling Facebook page of her incredible LIGHTNING WHELK and this very cool medium sized HORSE CONCH.

Tammy's horse conch and whelk shells

And best of all…. Kristen (instagram @_salt_life_ ) found a JUNONIA at Lighthouse Beach! Shellzam! She tagged this photo on iLoveShelling Instagram page. Congratshellations Kristen, it beautiful!


Kristen with junonia at lighthouse beach


We should have still have some really bad weather this week so I will probably still be “seeking shellter” by sorting and being a Shellab Rat but if I have any news on shells coming in from this weather, I’ll let you know!

Just in case you missed my other post about The Shellaboratory, check it out CLICK HERE 

Pam Rambo Shellaboratory sea shell display room

Join me on a Shelling Adventure! For more information and dates CLICK HERE.


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Shelling Throughout The Weekend On Sanibel and Captiva

Posted by on Oct 6, 2013 in Blind Pass, Gulf Side City Beach (Algier's), Storms, Tropical Storm Karen | 19 comments

shell collecting sanibel gulf side city park october

The weekend started with a lovely walk on the wide shell strewn beach at Gulfside City Park where I was pleasantly surprised to bump in to our good friends Dick and Mary. We were all waiting to see how Tropical Storm Karen (churning in the middle of the Gulf Of Mexico) would effect the shelling on our southwest gulf coast. It was still beautiful and calm with lots of bivalves, some OLIVES, MUREXES, SEA BEANS, CONCHS and a few other goodies.

dick mary shell beach gulf side city park

 My next stop was Blind Pass Captiva where I saw Donnie, Alyssa, Holly, Valerie and Michael in the water snorkeling for their treasures. They were having a ball!

donnie shellinator snorkeling family

Ooooo… pretties! I wish I had gotten a better picture of that ALPHABET CONE next to the SAND DOLLAR. Its a MeglaCone it’s so huge. LOL

shells from captiva turner beach october

Gerry found tons of shells at Blind Pass on Saturday too. He posted this photo on the iLoveShelling Facebook page. Wowee!!

shell collection gerry captiva florida october

That big shell mound I showed you last week was dwindling down but there were still a few shells on the beach but most were finding them in the water…

shell collecting captiva florida gulf of mexico

Even at YOLO beach, there were shells lining the calm shoreline. It was a perfect day to rent a wave runner to explore the whole coast of Captiva.

shells jet ski captiva floridashells jet ski captiva florida

So that brings us to the shells we found this evening around sunset at Blind Pass Sanibel. Clark found a piece of JUNONIA along with some CONCHS and WHELKS…

shells at sunset sanibel

But the only place we found lots of shells was right in front of the old wooden bulkhead which is now more exposed than I’ve ever seen.

sanibel shells in the surf by wood jetty

The rest of the beach was wiped clean… all in one afternoon! William and Sarah from Kentucky were not too upset about the shells being taken back out in the water. They said they have been shelling a long time and realize that the beach changes every day. They just started their week long vacation so they are looking forward to the hunt for shells. That’s part of the fun!

william sarah sunset sanibel

This is what Blind Pass Captiva looked like around 6pm tonight. It’s so different from yesterday… and waaaay different than last week with that shell mound. Tropical Storm Karen didn’t bring huge shell piles to our beaches over the weekend but we could still get some effects tomorrow. The beaches will change again tomorrow and the shells have shifted so I look forward to the treasure hunt this week.

blind pass captiva erosion

The last I saw, Gulfside City Park still has a nice string of shell lining the beach so I might start there tomorrow.

gulf side city park sanibel shell beach

But on Tuesday…. I’m so excited for our treasure hunt on the iLoveShelling Captiva Cruise to Cayo Costa! Wahooo! I hope you can join us to explore the secluded island … for information CLICK HERE

shelling adventures trips by pam

PS- UPDATE: 10-7-13 11:59 am – The winds have changed yet again but this time they are coming from the west and stirring the Gulf up. This is what Blind Pass Captiva is doing now. Mother Nature is fascinating. We should see more shells soon!

blind pass captiva storm

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Shells Sweep In And Shells Sweep Out

Posted by on Jun 10, 2013 in Calico, Horse Conch, Junonia, Scallop, Snook, Tropical Storm Andrea | 20 comments

shell mound sanibel bridge

Tropical Storm Andrea swept the seashells onto Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach on Friday but she also swept most of them out into the Gulf Of Mexico by Saturday night. I figured the shells had blown to another beach so I headed to the other side of the island… Blind Pass. I found some! There was a pretty nice shell mound under the bridge that leads to Captiva. That’s where I found Jamie and Alex from Hollywood, Florida shellebrating their one year wedding anniversary. Their wedding had a seashell theme so Alex surprised Jamie with a shelling week  Sanibel. Sweet!

jamie alex shelling sanibel

They were sifting through smaller CLAM shells to find a few nice FIGHTING CONCHS, LGITHNING WHELKS, LETTERED OLIVES, CALICO SCALLOPS and COCKLES…

jamie seashells sanibel

Kealey and Chad from Sarasota were having good luck shelling the same spot…

kealey chad seashells sanibel

Oooooh… Look at that WORM SHELL! And they found a few nice SHARKS EYES, WHELKS and that sweet candy.

seashells sanibel purple bucket

Cheri, Rylan and Amanda from New Smyrna were having a ball collecting JINGLES and SCALLOPS…

cheri rylan amanda seashells bp

I was collecting CALICO SCALLOPS too. I can’t resist picking them up when the colors are this gorgeous!

colorful scallop shells bp

I had a question here in the comments section the other day asking “Is there a good beach to find shells while my husband fishes?”. Now you can see for yourself! Danny caught this nice SNOOK (he gently released it immediately after I took the photo) in the same spot we were finding these shell…

danny snook fish sanibel

I ran back down to Lighthouse Beach happy to see there were still people finding shells…  the miniature shells. Jesse, Erick and Jonsiah from PA were thrilled to find their very first WENTLETRAPS

jesse erick jonsiah sanibel lh

The iLoveShelling FaceBook Page was rocking too so I  wanted to share a few photos of shells that were posted from the weekend… like from Steve O who found his first PAPER FIG…

steve ozment shells

Brooke L posted this next photo and said “The shells were great, the beaches empty, waves rolling in, and a perfect sunset! Thank you TS Andrea!”

brooke l seashells

Kelly M from Dunedin, FL found the big “J” on Honeymoon Island over the weekend. Wahoo! A JUNONIA!

kelly honeymoon island junonia

 I love this next photo that Greg D posted. He found three huge HORSE CONCHS! He wrote “Three horse conchs I scooped up at Bind Pass Friday night. Great ending to our vacation”. Boom Shellalaka!

greg deboer horse conchs

I never got a chance to check out Gulfside City Park but I have a feeling there might be shells showing up on that beach soon. I hope to get there tomorrow!

sanibel lighthouse yellow pier

Don’t forget! Only 5 more days to enter to win a Shelling Vacation on Sanibel! CLICK HERE!

Seashell Island Shelling Vacation

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Tropical Storm Andrea Brings Seashells To Sanibel!

Posted by on Jun 8, 2013 in Alphabet Cone, Angel Wing, Atlantic Giant, Baby's Ear, Blind Pass, Carrier Shell, Fighting Conch, Horse Conch, Junonia, Lighthouse, Lightning Whelk, Octopus, Starfish, Tropical Storm Andrea | 27 comments

sara daren shells sanibel

Tropical Storm Andrea blew through Southwest Florida this week without stirring up too much ruckus.. other than seashells and Beach Bling! It was a sheller’s playground at Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel Island, Florida. Sara and Daren from Fort Myers were very happy Sanibel is practically in their back yard so they could drive over after the storm to find all of those seashells in the top photo by sifting through the shells at the water’s edge.

sara daren sanibel tropical storm andrea

I think the happiest gal on the beach was Jessica who was visiting from Kentucky. The beach was buzzing with the news that she found a JUNONIA!!! Boom Shellalaka!

jessica junonia sanibel tropical storm andrea

She said she saw lots of shells half buried in the sand so started digging around and up popped her JUNONIA! … And that gorgeous dark LIGHTNING WHELK… And an ANGEL WING! Wahoo!

junonia sea shell whelk storm andrea

Jim and his wife Linda took a different method of collecting shells. They plopped right down to sit in the shallow water because they were feeling so many shells at their feet. Jim scooped up this exshellent empty HORSE CONCH!

Jim Sanibel horse conch TS andrea

I couldn’t resist peaking in his shell bucket to see the rest of his finds from the water. Wanna peak too? Oh I know you DO!

bucket of seashells tropical storm andrea

Linda was holding her own on finding great shells. Oh yes she was! She found a perfect (and huge) ALPHABET CONE and two, count them… two perfect TRUE TULIPS…

Linda shells water sanibel storm andrea

I was thrilled to see Angela and her sister-in-law Candy again (I met them about this same time last year) loading up their buckets with goodies.

angela candie shells tropical storm andrea

Awesome, right?

sanibel shell buckets tropical storm andrea

I love to see such happy families on the beach doing their own treasure hunt. All visiting from Alabama is Gracie, Dennis, Gloria, Sonya and Tyler…

family finds seashells Sanibel

They were doing yet another method of shell collecting… looking for minis! They found WENTLETRAPS, BABYS EARS, and all sorts of fun tiny miniature shells…

mini shells tropical storm andrea

All while we were all finding shells, there were DOLPHINS swimming by, STARFISH scooting around in the tidal pools, live FIGHTING CONCHS burying themselves. Misty and Davis from Alabama were amazed by the all of this sea life.

misty davis sanibel tropical storm andrea sanibel

Misty even found a live baby PYGMY OCTOPUS! Cool! This is not much bigger than the babies I filmed hatching on video I took several years ago. So see that video CLICK HERE. After showing this baby to us, she gently put it back in the water.

pygmy octopus tropical storm andrea sanibel

Earlier yesterday, I went to Blind Pass Captiva to see if the shells were coming in there too. Yes they were! The water was much rougher so it wasn’t as easy to get the rolling shells but Joe and Penny from MA were toughing it out and scooping up the goods…

joe penny shelling captiva tropical storm andrea

They found some nice WHELKS, CONCHS, COCKLES and SCALLOPS.

collecting seashells tropical storm andrea

Tom and his daughter Alma from Wisconsin found a few treasures but the rough water kept them away from filling up their bags. The water was still a bit too rough in the Gulf Of Mexico at Blind Pass for really good shelling.

alma tom shells captiva tropical storm andrea

There was such a big difference from rough waters at Blind Pass to the calm water around the tip of Lighthouse Beach by the Sanibel Pier. This is actually on the San Carlos Bay side of the Lighthouse. This area is great for kids at a time like this since they get to see and learn about live sea creatures and also get to take empty shells home to remember their vacation forever…. just like these cuties Cole, Chase and Isabelle visiting from Kentucky.

kids shelling sanibel tropical storm andrea

This is where Super Sheller Clark found this one of three ALPHABET CONES. Happy guy!

super sheller clark sanibel alphabet cone

And this is also where I found my best find… a CARRIER SHELL! I know, it doesnt look like much but finding a shell I rarely see, aaaalways makes me happy. Thank you TS Andrea!

carrier shell sanibel storm andrea

I think the best shelling today will be in the afternoon at low tide again either at Lighthouse beach or Blind Pass Captiva. I just checked the Web Cams around the island to see if the water has calmed down a little at Blind Pass Sanibel and it does look a little calmer so it should be good by the jetty rocks on the Captiva Side soon…if not now. OMG So I have to go! I’ve got to get out there before I miss something! I’ll post more soon but in the meanwhile,  CLICK HERE to see the best shelling web cams for Sanibel Captiva and Ft Myers Beach.

tropical storm andrea brings seashells sanibel

Don’t forget to enter to win the Sanibel Shelling Vacation giveaway! Click on the next image!

Seashell Island Shelling Vacation

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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 Beaches After Hurricane Sandy

Posted by on Oct 30, 2012 in Gulf Side City Beach (Algier's), Hurricane Sandy, Shark's Eye | 16 comments

my seashells sanibel

Hurricane Sandy is still wreaking havoc all along the east coast of the United States so I feel so bad getting excited about some of the shells that we are finding along our shores of Sanibel because of Sandy’s northwest winds. But… we all need a little good news too in times like this… right? So if you still have power in your home, I hope we can spread a little Florida sunshine and share our treasures with you to hopefully make you smile at least once today.

pear whelk gscp sanibel florida

As I picked up this SHARK’S EYE in the next photo, I realized I snagged it up so quickly because it was in such great condition then realized it would be a good idea to let you know what it looked like when I spotted it so you would know what to look for if it was upside down like it was when I found it.

sharks eye GSCP sanibel florida

See? It is so different looking if it is laying in the sand with the aperture side up.

shark eye gscp sanibel hurricane sandy

There are still oodles of PEN SHELLS lining the beach but I only found a few other shells hiding among them. Down by the water at low tide, there were FIGHTING CONCHS were everywhere!

eric seashells ft lauderdale

I met Eric from Ft Lauderdale scoping out the best spot on the beach scooping up handfuls of shells. Happy birthday Eric! You got plenty of gifts from the sea!

eric ft lauderdale shell sanibel

I found other fabulous treasures besides seashells at Gulf Side City Park as well… like Shelling Sister Judy from PA!

judy shelling sister sanibel

She immediately showed me some of the goodies she had found around the same spot…

judy seashells sanibel

Then Cheryl showed me this big honkin LIGHTHING WHELK she had found!

whelk gulf side city park sanibel

After I talked with Cheryl about her LIGHTNING WHELK, she told me that I had taken a photo of the backs of her with her sister at Blind Pass watching sunset in June 2011. I remembered that photo! They looked so cute sitting on the beach because all I could see was their backs and matching straw hats while they watched the  sun setting right in front of them. It’s the 15th photo down on my post “Sunset, Seashells and Shelling Sisters”… CLICK HERE to see itThen you will know why I took their photo this way (since they didn’t want me to take their faces… silly girls!) Here is Cheryl and her sister Brenda holding their WHELKS…

brenda cheryl seashells sanibel

Joyce and her daughter Kristin had just gotten started filling their shell bags but were so happy to already find some goodies.

joyce kristin mother daughter shell sanibel

There are some good shells to be found at Gulf Side City Park… BUT, it doesn’t even compare to the shells we found after Hurricane IsaacTropical Storm Debbor any of the other storms that brought high northwest winds like this. Blind Pass still is empty of shells- weird. I didn’t find too many good shells on any other beach other than this one… Mother Nature is definitely fickle. She likes to change the rules to stay in control so we don’t ever think we are smarter than she is. You’ve got my respect , Mother Nature!

pen shell wrack line sanibel florida

PS- I did take a few minutes of video so I’ll try to get that downloaded ASAP for you to see on my next post.

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