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Fulgurator olive in a pile of Kittens paws

Among thousands of KITTEN’S PAW shells that washed in by the jetty rocks on Captiva Island’s Blind Pass yesterday, a very cool FULGURATOR OLIVE rolled up from the surf as well. Can you even see it in the photo above? It’s almost camo-ed, right? It was a happy day Linda from South Carolina (right) who was the lucky gal who found it! Shellzam! Here she is with her awesome shell along with her family Keith and Hannah.

Keith, Hannah and Linda show sea shells found on Captiva

These are just a few of the other shells they found there too…

Shells found on Captiva Island July 2014

There were so many CERITHS too but Hannah was loving all of the “PAWS” since she a Tiger. A Clemson Fighting Tiger!

Hannahs Captiva Shells

Hannah wasn’t the only one loving the PAWS, Sarah is a Clemson Tiger too. Sarah and her mom Shannon (Greenville, SC) were new to shelling so being surrounded by so many PAWS on vacation in Florida felt like a warm welcome mat rolled out especially for them.

Sarah and Shannon collect kittens paw shells on Captiva

KITTENS weren’t the only PAWS washing up on the beach, Linda and I found a few fragments of LIONS PAWS too… and some other sweet shells.

My sweet shells I found on Captiva Island

Just a few days ago, only sand and waves were crashing on the shore but then came a line of SEAWEED… then a mound of shells. You just never know what to expect until you get there.

Blind Pass Captiva shells

Wanna CYBERSHELL? Click on the next photo. Meow!

Kittens paw shells on Captiva

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Boat O’ Shellowship

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seeing live horse conch while snorkeling

We had another exshellent shelling adventure to Cayo Costa yesterday with brilliant blue skies and turquoise water as a perfect backdrop for beach combing and snorkeling.

shellers snorkel in south west florida

And of course we found a few beautiful shells for souvenirs to remember the day forever.

shells we find in sw florida

I was thrilled to meet shellers like Hannah and her mom Bonnie (from Kentucky) to start our day…

hannah bonnie ky

Mother Nature is a funny lady sometimes, you know? We normally find the mini shells and BABYS EARS on the bay side where the boat pulls up but came up a little empty handed. Then we turned the corner of the point of the island and finally found a line of shells to comb through…

shells on a beach in florida

We finally started to find the spot where the BABYS EARS were hiding. Sharon And Bob from San Antonio Mike were lucky enough to have spotted a perfect specimen.sharon bob san antonio visit sanibel beaches

JoAnne from SC found the right spot to collect a bucket of shells to take home for “camp” projects for their grandkids this summer. Fun!

mike JoAnne SC shelling sw florida

I was very excited to see Amy (with her husband Rodney) spot one of the biggest BABYS EARS Ive ever seen.

amy rodney mo babys ear shell sw florida

Shelling Sistah Lisa Feds was on the cruise with us too and she showed me her best find of the day…

lisa feds finds olive gold sw floridalisa feds finds olive gold sw florida

She struck OLIVE gold. It has the golden color form of a GOLDEN OLIVE with some beautiful flecks of chocolate. Gorgeous!

gold olive cayo costa

Joyce from Pennsylvania showed me shell to identify…

joyce pennsyvania travels to south west florida for seashellsjoyce pennsyvania travels to south west florida for seashells

I had to break out laughing… It’s an IMPERIAL VENUS! I just wrote about this shell on my last post since it was the first time I had found one. This one is either very beach weathered or its a fossil but either way- I love this find!

imperial venus clam cayo costa

Meet the Shellmans! I am very jealous (shellous) of Mark and Sue of North Carolina since their last name is Shellman! LOL I think you have to be a sheller if you are lucky enough to have that last name.

mark sue north carolina visit sanibel for shells


Diana and Mike from Kansas City found a few treasures but as nice as Mike’s KINGS CROWN was, he placed it back in the water since a HERMIT CRAB had taken up residence in that beautiful shell. Those CRABS always pick the nicest shells to call home, don’t they? I guess I don’t blame them.

diana mike kansas city vacation to florida for shells


Rachelle and Justin from Missouri have lots of shelling stories and do lots of crafts with the shells they find. Rachelle embellished her visor with shells on the bill and even made her collapsable mesh shell bag. I wish I had gotten a closeup photo- they both are so cool.

rachelle justin missouri vacation in florida for seashells

Shaun and Kevin from Colorado Springs had some pretty good luck finding some nice shells to take home.

shaun kevin from Colorado on shelling vacation captiva cruise boat

These are a few of their favorite shells…

sea shells collected in south west florida


Emma and Candy from New York are avid shellers and both have different styles of shelling. Emma worked the wrack line on the beach and her mom Candy snorkeled the entire time at Cayo Costa. She said she had a blast.

emma candy from ny vacation in florida for shells

We had a bunch of really fun shellers on this iLoveShelling cruise that it was a pleasure to meet.. especially Timothy, Sue, Karen and Diana. They were decked out in their iLS JUNONIA shirts to celebrate the shelling day.

timothy sue karen diana finding seashells in sw florida

I can’t tell you how fun it is to get this many shellers together that all love shelling as much as I do to talk about shells. It’s not just all about finding gobs of shells (although thats nice too), its about the whole experience of getting together. We all tell fun stories about what we are finding… and in these stories… we found out that Timothy found a JUNONIA at Blind Pass Captiva the day before. Emma found two (2!) JUNONIAS as the same place 2 days in a row. And Emily found a JUNONIA at the same place at the same time… and was there when Timothy found his! They all brought their JUNONIAS on the cruise with them! I love the shellowship and I love to share the shelling love.

timothy emma emily found junonias at blind pass captiva

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Bits and Pieces Of Unusual Shells

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pieces of unusual shells of sw florida sanibel

What is your favorite shell to collect? For me, it’s way too hard to choose a favorite but it’s always a happy day when I find a HORSE CONCH (upper left corner pictured above) and a WORM SHELL (the crazy corkscrew shell pointing to the middle in the photo above). But what I really looooove to find and collect are the unusual shells and even fragments of unusual shells! In my last post, I showed you how many beautiful shells folks were finding in the massive shell pile that formed at Blind Pass Captiva over the weekend (which I believe is just about washed completely out now) but didn’t really show you the shells that Clark and I collected.

shell pile with rocks and waves captiva

I say “collected” because we “found” oodles of beauties but we like to bring home the unusual ones or ones that strike a funny bone. The contents of my shell bucket may look a little weird to most folks but to seasoned  SW Florida shellers, these shell fragments might look pretty cool. So instead of showing you all the pretty shells we found, on this post I figured I show you the some of the other things we collect and explain why I kept all of the pieces of shells. We collected lots of QUEEN HELMET fragments (the 6 pieces below the “candy corn”) – I couldn’t believe how many there were. This is not a common shell for Sanibel/Captiva so it just seemed so rare to find so many.

queen helmet pieces

There were lots of LIONS PAW (right top corner) fragments washing in so I figured if I kept them all, it would give me more luck to find a whole one since we only have a handful in our collection. (Btw, I never said all of my explanations would be good explanations- hahaha)

Remember my post about the other side valve of the FLAT SCALLOP? Well I found 3 more pieces! The 2 pieces of SCALLOP halves and the SCALLOP just below them are the right valves of the FLAT. Honestly, I was pretty dang happy to find even the cracked pieces- to me thats way more rare than finding a JUNONIA (errrr… but that JUNONIA is just so pretty its hard to compare the two).

right valve raveneli flat scallop zig zac

The orange fragments on the bottom middle is a piece of THORNY OYSTER – which i feel the same as the LIONS PAW… I just want to collect pieces of them so I will have better luck finding the whole ones- ha! The LETTERED OLIVE (bottom left corner) was a perfect example of the holes that the BORING SPONGE makes in shells.

shell fragments of captiva

So that leaves us with my fave find from that big shell pile. I’ve never found even one side of the IMPERIAL VENUS… until now. Yay! I think I actually pounced like a cat when I saw it!

imperial venus Lirophora latilirata captiva florida

Here is the inside view. I know… it’s still not as pretty as a TULIP but since we have quite a few of those already, why not let other people have those when this makes us so much more happy?

imperial venus clam sw florida

And here’s what has taken me so long to post about our finds… this little porcupine-ish looking shell. It’s not really the shell that formed the nodules on it, it’s a growth on the shell that I wanted to identify. There were quite a few that washed up and everybody asked me what it was… hmmmm. Dunno but I’ll find out!  I still don’t have a positive identification on it yet but I’m very sure that its a form of CORALLINE ALGAE. This is good algae! Coralline algae are of ecologic and economic importance because they provide food and habitats for other sea life. (And dare I say I like them because of their whimsy and color? heehee)

corallinne algae on captiva beach


Here is more CORALLINE ALGAE that Heather picked up…

coralline algae on a seashell of sw florida

And more that Jodi found…

coralline algae sanibel captiva florida


So as much as I love to collect beautiful shells… to see a new species, a freak shell or an unusual piece of beach bling is what keeps me fascinated with all of the mysteries of the sea. Okay, and the fact that they are a feast for eyes!

some of the shells i found on captiva island florida

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Happy To Be On Sanibel

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seashell collection from sanibel by lori and hayley

The theme for my Virginia Beach high school friend Lori and her daughter, Hayley, visiting us on Sanibel is…. Happy. It has been such a happy week! We have been singing that Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” (from Virginia Beach too!) every sunny day when we stepped on the beach.

hayley happy to be in florida

Happy to be together at Gulfside City Park…

lori and hayley on Sanibel with seashells

Happy to be in the water sifting through shells….

hayley and lori sifting for shells

Happy to find lots of beautiful treasures…

hayley's sanibel shells

Hayley was very happy to find SAND DOLLARS!

hayley finds sand dollars on sanibel

Happy to have Clark join us in the evenings for low tide…

lori clark shelling sanibel

Happy to see healthy, live creatures on the low tide sand bars at Lighthouse Beach…

clark and hayley on the beach of sanibel

Happy to make a seashell mobile with some of the broken shells we found…

pam rambo and hayley make a seashell mobile

Happy to meet such wonderful and generous shellers on the beach as well. Just a few feet in front of us, we saw George from Maine uncover a large, beautiful HORSE CONCH then give it to an amazed little boy in awe of the shell. He didn’t even know him!

george gives jeremy a large conch shell

I’m sure Jeremy from New York will remember this happy day for the rest of his life.

jeremy from ny holding a big conch shell

Happy to share this beautiful island with such special friends especially on a full moon. Happiness.

mother and daughter with the pull of the moon

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collecting sea shells on secluded island

Any day I’m on a boat, I’m happy. I’m even happier when that boat pulls up to a tropical island with strings of seashells lining a beach surrounded by aqua water.

stoop for shells on Cayo Costa

That’s why it was a very happy day on the iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa yesterday.  Before we boarded our Captiva Cruises boat, I met Nan and John from Wisconson since I was immediately drawn to John’s home made shelling scoop. I love to see what different folks invent to make shelling a little easier (or more competitive! :)) so I praised his handiwork on the plastic slotted spoon on the end of a long wooden handle. Clever!

nan and john from wisconsin make shelling scoop

I should have know they would be awesome shellers. John made the find of the day (IMHO)- he found a MACULATED BABY’S EAR! He and Nan also found a PURPLISH TAGELUS, FALSE ANGEL WINGS, TRUE ANGEL WINGS, a KEYHOLE LIMPET, MORTON’S EGG COCKLE, and OPERCULUM (his first) and a juvie SOUTHERN QUAHOG.

maculated baby ear shell on iLoveShelling cruise

It was fun to meet locals Amy and Jeff from Fort Myers and seeing how many different shells she was collecting. Oh and… notice her  Seashell Identification guide attached to one of her shell bags? Love it!

amy jeff from fort myers find shells on pam rambo cruise

Amy pulled out a few of her favorite finds and of course my eyes went straight to the humongo BABYS EAR. Then I saw how sweet the mix was…. a BUBBLE, WHELK, COMB BITTERSWEET, MELAMPUS on the top row, then 2 PURPLISH TAGELUS, a COQUINA, another PURPLISH TAGELUS and then after the BABY EAR, a FALSE ANGEL WING.

seashells found on pam i love shelling tour

I saw lots of shellers finding PURPLISH TAGELUS shells.

purplish tagelus shell interior

Jane from Boston found a few treasures right where our boat anchored.

jane from boston find shells on shelling cruise


shells found on cayo costa cruise from captiva

Marsha and Robert (Georgia) found most of their treasures on the Gulf side of the island.

marsha Robert georgia find shells on i love shelling cruise

Looks like they found the OLIVE garden!

lettered olive shells on florida island

Marsha and Robert were sitting beside Rachel and Sherry on the boat and realized they lived only 30 minutes from each other in Georgia. Those Georgians can find some shells!

rachel and sherry from georgia with shells on i love shelling cruise

These were just a few of Rachel and Sherry’s finds. Out of the four SHARK’S EYES, we noticed that one of the SHARK’S EYES had blue in the center of the eye…. A PAUL NEWMANS EYE!

rachel and sherry display their shells from our cruise

It’s always fun to see families like Henry, Charles, Eric and Courtney’s family from Illinois learning about shells…

henry charles eric courtney illinois collecting seashells

And seeing friends like Gary, Roxanne Marge and Gordon (all from Chicago) sharing the adventures of a new beach together.

gary, roxanne, marge and gordon from Chicago visit Cayo Costa for shells

I met Linda earlier this year on another iLoveShelling cruise but she was calling herself The Queen Of Parts since she only found a slightly broken BABYS EARS and broken ANGEL WINGS.

linda minnesota queen of parts

 But then she found a few WORMIES, a gorgeous double ALTERNATE TELLIN, a BROAD PAPER COCKLE, FALSE ANGEL WINGS and an EGG COCKLE. Queen of Parts and Treasures!

shells and parts

 It was so much fun to find shells and share the sun filled day with beautiful happy people.

shellers with a sand dollar

My Shell Tree wish came true. Happy.

cayo costa shell tree

beach combing tour to cayo costa

angel wing among broken shells

And a MANATEE too!

manatee nose on captiva

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Quick Shelling Update- Seashells!

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 Lots of shells being found in the water at the point of Sanibel Lighthouse Beach yesterday morning. It may have looked dark and dreary but we all had anything but dark and dreary attitudes… because there were beautiful shells!


In the afternoon, the sun was shining and the smiles continued since the shells started rolling in at Blind Pass Captiva. Yay!


Erin found a JUNONIA! She and her mom Beth from Iowa were there to witness the shells start rolling in to form a pile on the beach. Shellzam! Congratshellations Erin!



I have loads more photos but just wanted to quickly update you on the shells on the beaches in case you are here in SW Florida. Just so you know, I haven’t checked today yet but by 6pm last night the shells at Blind Pass Captiva were being taking back out and the beach was getting piled with sand again. Who knows what today will bring! Everyday the beach changes so today we could have a brand new pile. That’s why i Love Shelling! :)


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