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

We Passed Lots-a-Shells at Pass-a-Grille Beach

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Fargo Worm Shell, Florida, King's Crown, Lightning Whelk, Pass-A-Grille Florida, Roseate Spoonbill, St Petersburg, Sunray Venus, Whelk, Worm Shell | 30 comments

Shells found Pass A Grille St Pete Beach Florida

Shell trip! Clark and I took a beach combing road trip from Sanibel Island to Pass-A-Grille over the weekend …  and had blast finding lots of shells. We found all of the shells in this next photo as we walked from our hotel Inn On The Beach, down to the south tip of the island at jetty rocks to the Pass-a-Grill North Channel.

sea shells on Pass-A-Grille beach St Pete Florida

It was like an OLIVE garden just at the water’s edge but we even found some of my faves….  WORMIES.

worm shells pass-a-grille beach florida

There were lots of shells to pick through on the gorgeous beach as well…

Beach combing Pass-a-Grille
I was tickled to find a teeny tiny BROWN-BANDED WENTLETRAP hiding in the mix.

brown banded wentletrap

There is an island right across the channel from the jetty rocks called “Shell Island”.  What? Shell Island? Of course we had to explore it! There are ferries to take people over to the island but since we wanted to spend all day on the water, we rented a boat. Look at the color of the fabshellous LIGHTNING WHELKS we found. Gorgeous!

Dark lightning whelks Shell Key Florida

We actually had more luck on the back flats of Shell Island instead of the beach on the Gulf Of Mexico side. There were lots of those empty LIGHTNING WHELKS, oodles of double SUNRAY VENUS shells and some really funny live KINGS CROWNS scooting all along shallow waters so I did a little time lapse video of one of them to show you. Ha! Groovy KING CROWN dance moves coming up….

So in between the KINGS CROWN congo, Clark found one of the prettiest orange colored LIGHTNING WHELKS we’ve ever seen. It is really the color of a carrot!

sharks eye and orange lightning whelk


Ok- I took another video too of all of those empty LIGHTNING WHELKS. I couldn’t believe my eyes!

We also boated over to Egmont Key to find a beautiful sandy beach island.

Egmont Key Island Beach Florida

We didn’t find as many shells on Emont Key but we found a couple of ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHERS. Ohhhhh such treat to find these pink feathers!

Roseate Spoonbill Feather Egmont Key beach Florida

At the end of the day, we sat our on our lovely porch to admire all of the beautiful colors and patterns of so many different shells we ended up finding.

Shells found staying at beach front hotel Pass A Grille

We had a lovely time shelling and then relaxing in our beautiful room at Inn On The Beach.

Inn On The Beach Hotel room Pass A Grille Florida

Not a bad way to celebrate our 19 year wedding anniversary, huh?

Pam and Clark Rambo with shells

Sunset at Pass a grille St Pete Florida


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Shelling Excursion From Captiva

Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in Angel Wing, Baby's Ear, Captiva, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Fallen Angel Wing, Sunray Venus, White Crested Tellin | 14 comments

shell filled beach

After a rainy Southwest Florida weekend, we had beautiful clear, sunny weather for our iLoveShelling adventure on our Captiva Cruises boat ride to shelling on Cayo Costa. Within minutes, Michelle from NY found a SCOTCH BONNET. Shellzam!

Michelle with scotch bonnet

In the same area on the bay side of the island where Michelle found her BONNET, Bob from Illinois found a beautiful double SUNRAY VENUS.

Finding beautiful seashells in SWFL

I love the color and pattern of this shell!

sunray venus shell with surf

It was so good to see Karen (Houston) and her mom Melody again on this cruise- we go way back! I feel like I have known Karen for so long since she won the first GiveAway I ever did here on my blog…. that was 2010 and I’ll never forget her. I don’t even make those notecards I painted and designed any more but it was a fun project while it lasted. Anyhoooo…. I was thrilled to see that she found a BABY EAR on the beach.

Crazy Karen collecting shells with her mom

There were quite a few people who picked up BABYS EARS…

baby ear shell on iLoveShelling cruise

Rick, Lucas, Amy, Abby, Lindsey and Adam from Massachusetts founds bags of shells. They collected lots of the GIANT ATLANTIC COCKLE, Adam found a SAND DOLLAR and Lucas  collected a sweet BABYS EAR (pictured above).

Family collecting shells on vacation

Cole and Jake from New Jersey are quite the shell hunters. Among all sorts of different shells they found, Cole’s best finds were ANGEL WINGS and a BABY EAR. Jake found a perfect SAND DOLLAR. Great finds!

boys finding shells

Kim and Ed from Rhode Island were back on the cruise again too! This time showing off their faves from the day- a huge WORM SHELL and a sweet little SAND DOLLAR.

finding sand dollars and worm shells

Connie from Wisconsin was visiting her local friend Shelley who lives in Cape Coral. I told Shelley I wanted her name! LOL

Exploring Cayo Costa State Park

Gail (Florida) and Emily (Maryland) have been friends since high school and still get together for girls trips… this time a shelling adventure!

showing shells from shelling cruise

These are just a few shells we pulled out of one of the bags of shells they collected.

hand of shells

It was so nice to meet Tom from Indiana. He said his family used to think he was crazy since he loved to collect shells but now his whole family is hooked after dragging them to Sanibel.

Collecting shells on iLoveshelling shelling cruise

Tom was impressed to see how big and colorful the JINGLES are on Cayo Costa as well as finding teeny tiny SEA URCHINS completely dried on the high wrack line.

jingle shells and sea urchins

Sherry from Knoxville was happy tot find 2 perfect ANGEL WINGS…

Finding Angel wing shells with iLoveShelling

Terry and Dave from Illinois found a few goodies but the jewel in their bag was a GAUDY NATICA.

finding shells on shelling cruise


gaudy natica found on cayo costa

We always see oodles of live CLOUDY PERIWINKLES on the tree roots around the tip of Cayo Costa but rarely see the empty shells so I snapped a photo of this one in the sand. Because I had to bend down to get a closeup, I saw that tiny yellow LUNATE CRASSENTELLA. I haven’t seen them in a while.

cloudy periwinkle in the sand

Mrs. Lueders was happy shelling for the minis too…

stooping for shells on Cayo Costa
She found plenty of the LUNATE CRASSENTELLAS so it was fun for her to find a new species she hadn’t collected before.

miniature lunate crassinella shells

I was thrilled to find those tiny dried SEA URCHINS since we rarely see them that small (without having to pick through the SEA SQUIRTS that are still on Sanibel– hahaha) . Also, there were plenty of double JINGLES as well. It’s not as common to find the JINGLE with both valves but they were plentiful on Cayo and also at Gulfside City Park in the last weeks.

tiny dried sea urchins cayo costa

But my most thrilling find was a double WHITE CRESTED TELLIN!  Yes, both valves still attached so I couldn’t believe my luck. I know it doesn’t look like much but I’ve been looking for one ever since I saw how pretty Nancy’s shell was in my post in 2011 called “I’m Tellin On Some Tellins“.  I have found plenty of the single valves but this is my first one that was still together. Yay! Thanks to Nancy for sharing her find with me so I could have one more thing to look forward to the day I could find one.

both valves white crested tellin

Everybody on our shelling trip seemed to find something that made them happy and if it wasn’t a shell that they had wanted to find, each passenger received a $25 gift certificate to Sealife By Congress.


Wow! Thank you Sealife By Congress for being so good to the shelling community. Yes, you sure do make us happy. So join us on another iLoveShelling shelling adventure… CLICK HERE for upcoming dates.

shelling adventures trips by pam

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Adventure In Paradise With Awesome Shellers

Posted by on Jun 8, 2014 in Barnacles, Captiva, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Cloudy Periwinkle, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Dolphin, Flat Zigzag Scallop, Ghost Crab, Horse Conch, Jingle, Limpet, Periwinkles, Striped false limpet, Sunray Venus | 22 comments

coudy periwinkles hiding in tree knots

The only thing cloudy about our Captiva Cruises iLoveShelling trip to Cayo Costa were the live CLOUDY PERIWINKLES hiding in clusters on the tree roots at the south tip of the island.

cloudy periwinkles cayo costa


It’s been such a month on the islands of spotting great wildlifeEverywhere I look, I am still seeing wonderful signs of healthy life… like these STRIPED FALSE LIMPETS and BARNACLES on those same tree roots with the PERIWINKLES.

striped false limpets on fallen tree

Melissa, Juliana, Becky and Garrett from Colorado walked around those tree roots to find some nice empty shells as well.

Melissa juliana becky garrett colorado visit cayo costa for shells

They found a bag full of double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS…

Sunray Venus shells at Cayo Costa

Sisters Teresa and Elaine from Pensacola, FL found some keepers on the Gulf side of the island.

teresa elaine from pan handle  visit cayo costa

Elaine collected oodles of different color JINGLES to use for a picture frame craft project.

black grey white jingle shells

D.J. from Avon Park, Florida found empty LETTERED OLIVES and an ANGEL WING wading knee high in the water.

D.J. avon park florida olive shells

Oh but wait… How could I forget? I have to tell you about the boat ride over to the island. We had a pod of DOLPHINS come over to say “Hi” to everybody on our boat.

dolphin sight seeing captiva cruises

When they swam closer to the boat, we could see there were 3 mother DOLPHINS… each with babies!  If you look closely at this next photo, you can see the baby hugging up to the mother. So cute!

mother dolphin and baby

And the DOLPHINS weren’t the only wildlife coming up to say “Hi” to us… meet Casper The Friendly GHOST CRAB.

casper the friendly ghost crab hiding in shadow

I have never seen a GHOST CRAB act so friendly! Seriously, “Casper” was not at all afraid of us and actually followed us on the beach. See? He got right in-between Sandy’s feet and hung out there for a few minutes.

ghost crab hiding in shadow

He even ran into a shelling net like he wanted to play. hahaha What a character!

casper the friendly ghost crab hiding in shadow

Even though the wildlife was exceptional, it was a wonderful day to meet exceptional people like Vicki and Bill from Arizona.

vicki bill arizona visit cayo costa for shells

… And Melinda, Katelyn and Justin from Indiana. I especially loved meeting Katelyn since she knew all of the names of her shells but also loved all the wildlife she saw. Casper The Friendly GHOST CRAB didn’t want there to leave.

melinda katelyn justin indiana visit sanibel

… And it was exceptional to see Marie’s beautiful family- Emily, Madison, Steve, Sandy and Ryan from Ohio. But… they were missing one Morgan, they all wanted me to tell you…. you’re next!

marie emily madison steve sandy ryan ohio visit sanibel… And to see Bill, Michelle, Alyson and Anthony from Illinois.

bill michelle alyson anthony illinois visit sanibel

I had met Michelle at Blind Pass Captiva last week when I stopped at the beach to see what the conditions were on the Captiva side by the jetty rocks. As I dug through the “picked over” shell pile, we got to talking and she told me she hadn’t found too many keeper shells but was just happy to be on the island enjoying everything else about the beach. That’s when I uncovered a beautiful FLAT SCALLOP with a tiny hole in the top. I handed it to Michelle and told her it was meant for her. I was soooo touched to see that she was on the cruise with her family AND that she made that FLAT SCALLOP into a gorgeous necklace with a little SEAHORSE charm. OMG I love that she made it into a special treasure to remember a special day we happened to meet.  Shellers rock!

how to make flat scallop shell into necklace

Lindsay had told me about an awesome HORSE CONCH she had found on Sanibel last week so when we got back to the dock at McCarthy’s Marina, she showed it to us. Wow! Lindsay, I’m so happy you showed it to us. That IS awesome and will clean up beautifully with a little elbow grease.

lindsay dodd with empty horse conch

Even though the beach wasn’t piled up with mounds of shells this time, we were treated to a DOLPHIN show with babies, lots of friendly wildlife and most of all – a perfect day in paradise with a boat ride on calm waters full of happy people meeting an amazing community of likeminded shellers. 

iLoveShelling blue toe nail polish

You won’t want to miss the upcoming shelling cruises! Check out the new dates CLICK HERE

shelling adventures trips by pam

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Warm Sandy Beach Wishes

Posted by on Feb 23, 2014 in Flat Zigzag Scallop, Lace Murex, Murex, Sand Dollar, Scallop, Speckled Tellin, Sunray Venus | 20 comments

variety of seashells on Sanibel Island Florida

When the weather on Sanibel and Captiva is in the high 70s and low 80s during the winter months like now, it’s hard not to be outside every minute of the day… so the world slips away. This weekend, Clark and I took a few walks on the beach at Gulfside City Park to find beautiful shells like the ones in my hand. Clark was scooping just at the waters edge with his big metal shelling backhoe to pull up the LACE MUREX (Lacie!) and that very cool HORSE CONCH. We both found more MUREXES, CONCHS and WHELKS but gave them to some nice folks on the beach. And then the fog started rolling in…then out…. then in again. It was wild! 

foggy day on sanibel

I found some beauties on the north end of Captiva at South Seas Island Resort last week too.

shells on the beach at South Seas Island Resort Captiva

Although you can only get to this beach if you are staying at South Seas Resort (or its a very long walk from Alison Hagerup Parking lot in Captiva)… if you are there, look for a nice shelly area near Sunset Beach

seashells wash in south seas resort captiva florida

It’s always a treat to find a SAND DOLLAR wash up at your feet.

sand dollar in sand captiva

I found a sweet baby SUNRAY VENUS right near the SAND DOLLAR.

sunray venus  clam south seas resort shell

And right next to the SUNRAY VENUS was this pretty little SPECKLED TELLIN. Weehoo!

speckled tellin captiva south seas resort

After so much sand was pumped onto the beaches of Captiva a couple of months ago, some of it is already being claimed back by King Neptune. You can see two different erosion lines…

beach erosion south seas plantation

I could see shells stuck in the side of the erosion ledge so I started pulling a few out. Can you see that AUGER packed into the side?

sea shells packed in sand from erosion

I also pulled this bad boy out of the “cliff”. A FLAT SCALLOP. Voila!

flat scallop south seas resort captiva

seashells and sea foam on Sanibel island

Sending you warm sandy beach wishes of blue skies and cybershells…

 beach art smiley face with seaweed hair

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Low Tide Shelling On Fort Myers Beach

Posted by on Oct 22, 2013 in Angel Wing, Florida Cone, Florida Spiny Jewelbox, Fort Myers Beach, Rose Tellin, Sand Dollar, Sunray Venus | 30 comments

sand dollars in the surf ft myers beach

Yep. I did it again. I got up at the crack of dawn to catch low tide… but this time I went to my fave beach on Fort Myers Beach. I found SAND DOLLARS galore!

sand dollars and shells in a blue bucket

And I wasn’t the only one finding them. I saw Ft Myers Beach local sheller Debbie (from our April iLoveShelling Cruise) with her hands full of SAND DOLLARS too.

shades colors of sand dollars

But hold on… I’ve got to tell you the coolest story. Being obsessed with shelling reunited these friends after 20 years!

Back in February, Heidi (who follows iLoveShelling!) had signed up for our May Shellabaloo 2  and commented on the iLoveShelling Facebook page … “We did it!! We signed up for Shellabaloo 2! These two Kansas girls will be there with “shells” on!! Obsessed!!!”. Debbie saw her post and recognized her name and wrote her a message. Yes! It was the same Heidi she knew years ago when their kids grew up as best friends. Ha! Moms reunited!  But unfortunately it turned out that Heidi had to cancel her Shellabaloo trip due to a health problem in the family. That’s when Debbie stepped in and told her when the health issues were resolved, Heidi had to come visit her in Fort Myers Beach to shell to her hearts content. She did.. And they found shells! They are two kindred spirits brought together again by the love of shelling. Here are Shelling Sistahs Heidi and Debbie…

heidi debbie shell sand dollars fort myers beach

Don’t ya just love that story? So it gets better… When Heidi showed up, Debbie told her that the only shell that she really wanted to find while she was there- was an ANGEL WING. It was their last shelling day together when I saw them and low and behold… que the Angelic choir in the background…. Debbie found the biggest ANGEL WING she could have ever imagined. LOL

angel wing sea shells

We all found lots of other fun goodies too… like double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS.

sunray venus clam shell ft myers beach florida


spiny jewel box sea shell

Woop! There is it. A FLORIDA CONE.

florida cone fort myers beach

These were all within 4 feet of each other just laying on the beach.

sea shells fort myers beach florida

To make the morning even better, I saw Loree and Roy too! I met them for the first time on the June iLoveShelling cruise so it felt like it was old home week on Ft Myers Beach. So much fun to see you both!

loree fort myers beach florida shells

Loree showed me that she found a pair of FALSE ANGEL WINGS and also a pair of SUNRAY VENUS too. It was interesting to me that she pulled them both out to show me so I asked her to take a look at their shapes of both the shells… don’t they look similar in shape other than their size? That’s because they are in the same family- Veneridae. The FALSE ANGEL WING is in the VENUS family instead of the “true” ANGEL WING family. Cool, huh?

false angel wing sunray venus Veneridae

I’m so happy I made it out for the Sunday morning low tide to catch the full moon over the horizon.  If you want to catch a low tide any where near Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Captiva I would suggest shelling at least one hour before through at least one hour after the lowest tide of the day. Wanna check for the next low tides?  Check out the Tide Charts HERE

sunrise fort myers beach florida full moon

Meet other obsessed shellers or hang out with us to learn more tips to finding shells. Join us for a Shelling Adventure!

shelling adventures trips by pam

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Stopping For Seashells- A Marco Island Day Trip

Posted by on Apr 12, 2013 in Alphabet Cone, Cancellate Semele, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Fighting Conch, Flat Zigzag Scallop, Jingle, Marco Island, Purplish Semele, Rose Tellin, Sand Dollar, Sunray Venus, Tigertail Beach Marco Florida | 35 comments

Marco Island shells iLS

Since we knew we’d be gone for the entire day, Clark and I packed up a cooler, snacks and a change of clothes to head for Marco Island, Florida for a day trip from Sanibel. Clark’s Rotary Club had an event in south Marco that we wanted to attend (he is still President – so proud of him!) so we figured if we had time on the way home, we’d stop at a beach. We did! We stopped at Tigertail Beach!

tiger tail beach marco map

This is the very first time we’ve been on this beach so we had to get the lay of the land by looking at the map (above). We decided to wade through the little lagoon to get to the gulf side beach on the other side…

wading water tiger tail

On my way over, I saw Jonathan and Rachel carrying handfuls of SAND DOLLARS…

sand dollars marco florida

Wow! They said they found them all along the beach in the surf line…Cool!

sand dollars tiger tail

So wading through the lagoon and down a sweet beach path we went… to find our first treasures from the Gulf Of Mexico.

seashells marco beach

All I started seeing was ROSE PETAL TELLINS! I love them!

rose petal tellins marco


sunray venus shell marco florida

We could not find any SAND DOLLARS but that’s okay because we found so many other goodies like these two FLAT SCALLOPS. Clark’s beautiful orange one is on the left, and I found the larger perfect (heehee) purple one on the right.  I call them “FLATS” but they are really called  ZIGZAG SCALLOPS .

flat scallop marco island

Clark found the prettiest PURPLISH SEMELES!

purple semele marco

We both found CANCELLATE SEMELES as well…

cancellate semele marco florida

I was thrilled with all of the multi colored JINGLE SHELLS and those ROSE PETAL TELLINS!

jingle pink tellin shells

From Tigertail Beach in Marco, Florida traveling back by car to Sanibel Island it took us about 1 and 1/2 hours by way of interstate 75…

map from Sanibel to marco

We didn’t even get there until after 4 pm and we stayed about 3 1/2 hours to have a wonderful evening exploring a new beach.

conch shell marco florida

I am so glad we had the time to stop and take our time to walk down to the north end of the spit. It took us an hour and 1/2 each way so I’m so glad we had plenty of water and thank goodness we always have shelling supplies and sunscreen in the car at all times. This was our loot we brought home… and yes, Super Sheller Clark found that gorgeous ALPHABET CONE I put right smack in the middle of our fabulous collection. Thanks Tigertail!

Marco Island shells iLS

Join us on our next trip tomorrow, Saturday April 12, as we are taking a shelling cruise to explore the island of Cayo Costa! Clark and I will show you where to find the hidden treasures of that beautiful island… CLICK HERE.


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