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

High Dry Sand Beach Finds at Blind Pass Sanibel

Posted by on Jun 9, 2015 in Blind Pass, Land Snail, Operculum, Shiva Shells, Southern Flatcoil Land Snail, Speckled Tellin, Tellin | 12 comments

shiva flat coils boring speckled shells

While shelling at Blind Pass Sanibel, I took a little break to the high dry beach sand to drink some water and reapply some sunscreen. Most of you are the same way I am- anywhere on the beach I still can’t help but look for shells. So that’s what I did. Up on the dry sand away from the water… on the part of the beach most people stomp over on their way to the water’s edge… scanned the sand and look what I found.

Sanibel shells found high on beach


shiva shells mermaid tear operculum

They were sitting in the sand just like this…

Shiva shell turban operculum found in the sand on Sanibel

When I started getting excited to find them, I realized that I was missing some since they were upside down… errr… I call it “upside down” since the swirly part wasn’t showing like this…

Turban mollusk operculum in Sanibel sand beach

Omigosh, then I found a SPECKELED TELLIN…

Speckled tellin shell in sand on Sanibel beach

During my short rehydrating break, I found the SHIVAS, the TELLIN, BORING TURRETS, a bright orange FLY SPECK CERITH, MAUVE MOUTH DRILL and SOUTHERN FLATCOILS.

High dry sand beach finds Sanibel

We find SOUTHERN FLATCOILS at Cayo Costa just about every trip in the high wrack lines. They are LAND SNAILS that get washed up on the beach with the sea weeds so you might find them in the same areas you find might find ROSY WOLF SNAILS and SEA PEARLS.

Southern Flatcoil land snail Sanibel Florida Polygyra cereolus

I also found some CHESTNUT TURBANS as well.

chestnut turban in sanibel sand

Along with finding DARK CERITHS, ROUGH SCALLOPS and APPLE MUREXES, all of these smaller surprise shells up on the high dry beach made my day that much more interesting. Love that stuff!

Sanibel shells found high on beach

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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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Small Island, Big Shell

Posted by on Jul 16, 2014 in Big Hickory Island, Bonita Out Islands, Congress Jewelers (Sealife By Congress), Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Lightning Whelk, Rose Tellin, Sand Dollar, ShellingAdventures, Sight Sea-R Cruises Shelling Boat, Whelk, Worm Shell | 7 comments

lightning whelk with dark toplightning whelk with dark top

Shellzam! Brenda from Indiana found an empty, big, beautiful LIGHTNING WHELK on our iLoveShelling Sight Sea-R cruise to Big Hickory Island today. Wow!

Brenda with large lightning whelk

Cuties Rachel and Danielle helped her shellebrate while feeling happy with their finds too on this fabshellous adventure. So fun!

Rachel, Brenda, Danielle find seashells on a west coast Florida island

It was a fun and gorgeous morning pulling up to this small island sand bar at low tide.

Florida shelling boat anchored on a sand bar

Emily and Lily from Kentucky found SAND DOLLARS, shells and some cool bling…

Visiting from kentucky, emily lily find sw florida shells

some shells found in sw florida

Jessica (NY) found a nice size ALPHABET CONE, SHARKS EYES, ROSE PETAL TELLINS and lots of WORMS SHELLS and her mom Kathy found a very cool ROSEATE SPOONBILL feather in the wrack line.

Jessica and Kathy find shells and feathers on an island in Florida

Sandy handful of seashells of southwest florida

Dima and Amy (MI) found some beauties!

Dima and Amy MI find shell on west coast of Florida

shells found in Estero

Kelsea and Lori from South Carolina showed me their fave finds which included that cool BRYOZOAN COLONY, LACE MUREX, an awesome dark twisty WORM SHELL, GAUDY NATICA, WHITE CRESTED TELLIN and ROSE PETAL TELLINS.

Kelsea and Lori from SC find shells on a shelling cruise

favorite shells on a Florida west coast shelling adventure

Kim and Jon from St Louis showed me their faves too… a sweet baby ALPHABET CONE, a gorgeous FLAT SCALLOP, SUNRAY VENUS, ROSE PETAL TELLINS  and wormies.

Kim and Jon from St Louis find shells on shelling cruise

rose petal tellins , flat scallop, coffee melampus and alphabet cone

Leah, Julianna, June (MD) and Gramma Diane (NJ) found most of their shells in a little honey hole in the water. Way to go girls!

Leah, Julianna, June and Diane find seashells in southwest florida

On the way to the island, we saw ROSEATE SPOONBILLS, STINGRAYS and DOLPHINS as I chose a winner for the Sealife By Congress sterling silver sand dollar pendant giveaway. Congratshellations Mackenzie! It was such a pleasure to meet you and your mom Tammi and your sister Peyton.

Mackenzie Tammi Peyton win jewelry on shelling cruise

Everybody else on the cruise was happy too. They received a $25 certificate towards a jewelry piece of their own. Yay! Thank you Sealife By Congress– thats so nice!

Jewelry certificate Sanibel

I think everybody on the cruise found ROSE PETAL TELLINS and CORAL.

rose petal tellins with coral and worm shells

And everybody found WORMIES!

worm shells button and pear whelk on sandy hand

First Mate Meg even shelled for 5 minutes and found a BEACH BLING “Sea Hero” that guarded some of her other finds. cute!

Meg's minutes of shell finds

Oh and Ingrid (from my last post) joined us as well and showed us her JUNONIA she found in front of the Island Inn on Sanibel yesterday. Boom Shellalaka!

ingrid found a junonia in sw florida

We were so lucky to have a beautiful warm sunny day to spend 4 hours hanging out and shelling together.

boating to a shelling hole in sw florida

I am so happy to announce that starting in August, Sight Sea-R Cruises has changed the hours for their regular shelling cruises EVERY Wednesday to go from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm (instead of leaving at 10am). Spectacsheller! So our iLoveShelling Sight Sea- R shelling cruises will be the same.

sight sea-r adventures aug-oct 2014



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Shelling Trip Worth The Wait

Posted by on Jul 9, 2014 in Alternate Tellin, Captiva Cruises, Cayo Costa, Coquina Limestone, Lettered Olive, Olive, Speckled Tellin, White Crested Tellin | 18 comments

Pam Rambo with shelling group at Captiva Cruises

Our iLoveShelling shelling cruise to Cayo Costa had a rain delay Tuesday morning but just like shellers know how to make broken shells into beautiful pieces of art or jewelry, everybody who was there made the most of our time we had together. Captiva Cruises made our delay turn into something to talk about! We all gathered on the Lady Chadwick boat to stay safe until the storm passed (which BTW, wasn’t supposed to rain until the afternoon) where we could chat about my favorite subject… shelling! After a couple of hours of “shell n tell” and the weather still iffy, we all decided that most of us could come back the next day. Lets go for it!

Lady Chadwick at McCarthy's Marina

So yesterday, our iLoveShelling cruise -round 2 – brought us sunshine and smiling faces! Beth, Debbie, Carol, Joyce from Athens, TN were bright and cheery just like our whole crowd.

Beth, Debbie, Carol, Joyce Athens TN shelling in SW Florida

While boating to the island, I picked a winner for the sterling silver seashell charm that Sealife By Congress gave as a gift to one lucky iLoveShelling cruiser. Carol won!

Carol won seashell necklace from Sanibel's Sealife By Congress jewelry store

For everybody else on the entire iLoveShelling cruise, Sealife By Congress gave a $25 gift certificate so each of these shellers could have a sterling silver charm as well. Here is Dena, Stephanie, Mary, Gary, Lauren and Cameron with their Sealife By Congress gifts. An awesome jewelry store with an awesome way to start off the day. Remember, on every scheduled iLoveShelling cruise, Sealife By Congress will give gifts as well!

Dena, Stephanie, Mary, Gary, Lauren, Cameron get $25 for Sealife By Congress

Then we pulled up to Cayo Costa to find crystal clear water, a beautiful beach with a string of seashells and puffy white non-stormy clouds. Paradise found.

boating to seashell paradise in Florida

Mary, Gary and Cameron found some fabulous shells including a PAUL NEWMAN’S SHARKS EYE. Yep, its a blue eyed beauty…

Sea shells found on Cayo Costa Island Florida_1

Lauren found the cool piece “rock” made of shell fragments which I used to believe were just chunks of cement made by fishermen used to keep their crab traps from moving around in the water. Now that I’ve questioned all of those different shells that are normally in the mix, I realized that they are fossil fragments cemented in limestone called COQUINA LIMESTONE. And yes, the “largest” shell on the right side is…. a COQUINA.

Coquina Limestone from Cayo Costa Florida

Landon started snorkeling as soon as he got off the boat and in just a few minutes, he showed me he found an ALPHABET CONE. Yay!

Landon with alphabet cone with iLoveShelling shelling adventure cruise

By the time we got back on the boat, he and his mom had two big bags filled with shells. They had so many FIGHTING CONCHS and LETTERED OLIVES,  he decided to walk around the boat to give everybody any of the shells they had found. So sweet! In October they have another shelling trip planned which they told me was inspired by my post of our trip to Turks and Caicos. We want to hear how it goes!

Landon giving seashells on shelling cruise_4


speckled, white crested alternate tellins moons_1

The larger shells seemed to be in the water so the clear aqua was very inviting to just go for it like Michele from Los Angeles did. Can you believe how clear that water is? Wow! Since her mom Debora (NY) is an artist more than a sheller, she decided to the opportunity to take in the island scenery and do some graphite drawings of her shells. So lovely!

Michele and Debora finding shells_1

Alex and Tara encouraged Isabelle (Gainsville, Florida) to use a stunning pice of pink pearlized WINGED OYSTER shell she found for the seashell pendant for her sterling silver charm from Sealife By Congress. Perfect idea!

making jewlery from found shells_1making jewlery from found shells_1

It’s impossible to explain how much fun we all had after almost 9 hours of hanging out together on the cruise and because of our rain delay. It actually turned out even better because the rain gave me more time to get to know these fabulous folks… Sarah and Sandy from Arora Ontario… Grace, Melia and Teresa from St Louis…  Pat from Michigan, Carol from Cape Coral, Belinda from Ohio and Kevin and Kerry from Pennsylvania.Finding seashells on iLoveShelling shelling trip _1

Thank you for joining me, it sure was a shelling trip worth the wait.

collecting sea shells on a Florida island

But… Even if you can’t make an iLoveShelling cruise, Captiva Cruises has shelling cruises to Cayo Costa twice a day- one at 9am and one at 1pm. CLICK HERE for more info

Captiva Cruises shelling boat Santiva

For iLoveShelling dates and times CLICK HERE. JOIN US!

shelling adventures trips by pam

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Maiden Voyage Sight Sea-R Shelling Cruise Was Incredishell

Posted by on Jun 25, 2014 in Alphabet Cone, Big Hickory Island, Bonita Out Islands, Cone, Day Trips From Sanibel Island Florida & More, Fargo Worm Shell, Rose Tellin, Shark's Eye, Shelling guides SW Florida Sanibel, ShellingAdventures, Sight Sea-R Cruises, Sight Sea-R Cruises Shelling Boat, Sunsets, Worm Shell | 15 comments

Sight Sea-R Cruises shelling excursion

Our first iLoveShelling Sight Sea-R Cruise was even better than I could ever even imagined! This brand new Sight Sea-R boat proved to be the absolutely perfect shelling excursion with plenty of room to take our 48 amazing shellers to this new shelling destination only accessible by boat… Big Hickory Island.

shells found on iLoveShelling shelling adventure cruiseshells found on iLoveShelling shelling adventure cruise

Not only is the island filled with our favorite treasures (shells, of course)….

sharks eye shell found on iLoveShelling cruise

We kicked this shelling adventure off with lots of other goodies too. Giveaways! Clark and I brought a big bucket of Sanibel Six shells so everybody could pick out a lucky shell to get things started.  Then we treated everybody to iLoveShelling waterproof Seashell Identification guides, bumper stickers and had raffle prizes for hats and tee shirts. So. Much. Fun.

i Love Shelling giveaway prizes

Our biggest surprise was from Mary and Jana of Sealife By Congress– my fave jewelry store. You won’t believe it, they gave every single person on this cruise a sterling silver sealife charm. Seriously. They came on the boat with large baskets filled with beautiful pieces of jewelry and let us all pick our gift of hand made sterling silver dolphin, starfish, sand dollars, scallops and yes… even junonia charms. So sweet!

Mary and Jana of Sealife By Congress

Texas cutie cousins Pat, Pam, Kay, Peggy, Debby and Linda were thrilled to all receive such a gracious gift of jewelry. Thank you Sealife By Congress!


pat pam kay peggy debby linda texas cousins with jewelry prizes

Let me tell you… this boat turned into a parrrr-taayyy!

happy shellers on shelling cruise

So to top it off, on the boat ride to the island we spotted lots of different wildlife. There were dozens of species of birds but we were most excited about seeing many ROSEATE SPOONBILLS…

roseate spoonbill with ibis sighting

We also saw a rare sighting of a SEA TURTLE popping out of the water and we also witnessed countless pods of BOTTLENOSE DOLPHIN.

dolphin sight seeing on shelling excursion

This was already so much fun and we hadn’t even starting shelling yet. But I was soooo ready… especially since I saw Holly had made a special shell bucket for herself with “My Shell Holl” on it- heehee. She also made one for her husband Ted that said “Collect-Ted Shells” and she made one for me with “My Pamtastic Shells”. OMG So stinkin cute.pam Ted Holly with Pamtastic shell buckets

We were all ready to hit the beach to find shells. And we did! Sandy from Fort Myers Beach’s newspaper The Island Sand Paper found some awesome shells to make her smile. Go back and take a look at the second photo from the top, those are her shells- See? Awesome.

Sandy from Sand Paper with seashells from Sight Sea-R Cruise

We couldn’t believe how many WORM SHELLS we all found…

worm shells found on shelling cruise

And lots of SHARK’S EYES…

sharks eye shell found on iLoveShelling cruise

During the boat ride back, I asked how many people found CONE shells (and not ones they picked from the “lucky bucket”) and 19 shellers raised their hands. Wow!

shells found on sight sea-r shelling cruise

I’m always so happy to meet families that shell together. Christine, Anthony, Paula, Bryce and Dominic (from VT and MA) were such a pleasure to talk to.

christine anthony paula bryce (VT) dominic mass on cruise

I asked Bryce what his favorite thing about the cruise was and he reminded me that together we saved a SEA HARE that got washed up on the beach. We put the SEA HARE back in the water and after a minute, he revived and swam away- that was his favorite moment. I asked Anthony what his favorites were and he immediately showed me his ROSE PETAL TELLINS (with 2 COCQUINAS as well).

rose petal tellins

Brooke and Josh from Georgia had favorites too…  SAND DOLLARS.
brooke and josh georgia found sand dollars on shelling excursion

Clark and I loved hearing Keri (also from the Sand Paper) tell about shelling bringing back so many memories of her childhood while shelling with her grandmother. I think that’s why we love it so much… we explore the beach like we are kids again and remember those days.

sight sea-r cruises shelling adventure

Thank you Captain Phil and Meg for such a great adventure!

Captain Phil and Meg on Sight Sea-R Shelling Cruise

I still can’t believe how exciting every moment was with perfect weather seeing DOLPHINS, ROSEATE SPOONBILLS, OSPREY, PELICANS, a SEA TURLE, lots of seashells and the best group of people Clark and I could wish for.

Clark and Pam Rambo on shelling cruise

To make a fairy tale ending, on our way back to the dock we watched the sun set over the Sanibel Lighthouse…

Sunset over Sanibel lighthouse

It was a very special day to remember. Oh but wait… I still have more photos and I have just a few more things I want to share with you about this day on my next post. The surprises continue!

watching sunset on shelling boatThank you Sight Sea-R Cruises!

You can catch a cruise too. Hop on a regularly scheduled shelling cruise on the Sight Sea-R to Big Hickory every Wednesday at 10am, Call 239-765-7272 or go to the website at http://www.sightseaflorida.comYou won’t be disappointed.

If you want to catch an iLoveShelling shelling adventure with me as your guide (once a month), CLICK HERE

shelling adventures trips by pam


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Millepede Starfish Eats Whole Potato

Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in Alternate Tellin, Heart Urchin, Millipede Starfish, Potato Urchin, Tellin | 23 comments

millepede starfish sea star eating a heart urchin

This MILLEPEDE SEA STAR ate a whole POTATO URCHIN that was entirely too big for his belly so he split himself wide open. Are you crazy, dude?

luidia senegalensis nine arm sea star eats heart urchin

After strong west winds yesterday, Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel had some very cool BEACH BLING washing up this morning but this takes the cake… the potato cake, that is. heehee

I could tell that the STARFISH was very much alive since his little tube feet and spines on the underside were sticking out and moving around to tell me he wanted to go back into the water so he could finish this shellicious breakfast. (Of course I understood him- I talk Starfish) In the next photo, the hole in the middle of his body is his mouth so, as you can see, the POTATO URCHIN (or HEART URCHIN) that he ate is barely visible from this side. 

nine leg starfish is called a millepede sea star

But looking at this view…. Holy Cowrie! The whole URCHIN is there but his belly wasn’t big enough.

starfish eats whole potato urchin

In my humble opinion, it seems to reason that since SEA STARS can regrow arms if they break off, I’m assuming once this guy finishes his meal he will be able to repair his torn body and live happily ever after. So I put him back in the Gulf to digest this massive meal and hopefully live another day.

millepede starfish sea star eating a potato urchin

Check out this short video I took so you can see the whole dang thing!

But the funnier thing is…. our friends Dick and Mary had just told us that they found a dead MILLIPEDE STARFISH on the beach that had swallowed half a bivalve. Oh my! They just sent me these iPhone photos so I could share them with you too. One valve of the ALTERNATE TELLIN bivalve shell is inside him and the other is hanging out of his mouth on the underside. This is so wild!

millipede starfish with alternate tellin bivalve inside body

This is the other side that you can see that one valve is still hanging out. Crazy! Unfortunately, this SEA STAR wasn’t the brightest bulb on the tree so neither guy made it out alive from this meal.

starfish with bivalve valve hanging out of his mouth

PS- I’ve interchanged the words “SEA STAR” and “STARFISH” a few times throughout this post. I know “SEA STAR” (I intended these to be said aloud with air quotes instead of real ” ” so go ahead, air quote away!) is the more socially acceptable way to say “STARFISH” these days but I’m stuck with calling them “STARFISH” since I grew up calling them that. Just so you know. :\


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