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

Smallest Shells Are Biggest Treasures

Posted by on Sep 15, 2015 in Cyber Shelling, Seashells, Video | 17 comments

Smallets shells are the biggest treasures

Is there anything cuter than a mini shell? Hmmmm…. well, yes. A handful of minis shells. Is there anything cuter than a handful of mini shells? As a matter of fact… yes!  Cutie little handfuls of mini shells held by cousins Ellie and Mia.

kids finding Sanibel sea shells

Once they found a few “Unicorn Horns” (AUGERS), they were hooked on finding other types of minis and then….  WENTLETRAPS! Shelladorable. The best gifts come in the smallest packages.

Fun collecting mini shells on Sanibel Florida

beach combing Sanibel

Here’s just a slice of unedited video of the beach this morning and a few minis I found before I met Ellie, Mia and their moms (sisters) visiting Sanibel from Colorado and Utah. It was so peaceful so I hope you get that peaceful easy feeling in this CYBERSHELLING bit.

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Shellebrating Earth Day

Posted by on Apr 22, 2015 in Island Inn, Lettered Olive, Olive, Sanibel Hotels, Sanibel Seashells Surf Video, Video | 19 comments

Beach combing on shell filled Sanibel shore line

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to breathe the salty air with a walk along the shell filled beach at the Island Inn this morning.

Seashell beach on Sanibel Island

I didn’t collect many shells today because I just wanted to hear the ocean sounds, smell the beach, feel the sea breeze and to see the amazing view. Sanibel beach with lots of shells

… And give a little thanks to Mother Earth for this paradise I call home on Earth Day.

shells on the beach with cloudy skies

I asked Lynn from Charleston, SC if she had found any treasures and she replied with “Every single shell on this beach is a treasure”.

Lynn visit Sanibel from SC to find shells

I feel the same Lynn!

purple scallops and cone shell in netted bag

John from Rhode Island plopped right now in the water and waves where he was finding all sorts of treasures. He found an amazing live purple FIGHTING CONCH that he gently put back in the water to live a healthy life after we all admired it.

John visits Sanibel from RI finds conch shell

After this little SEA STAR said “Hello” then waved “Good Bye”, the surf washed in and took her right back out to sea. Hmmm… Or maybe she was saying “Raise your hand if you Love Shelling!”

Raise you hand if you Love Shelling along with Sunny Sea Star

This OLIVE shell was playing “Hide ‘N Seek” with me.

Olive among sea shells and waves

A beautiful treasure may be right in front of you but if you don’t appreciate it when you can, it may disappear in a moment. Always keep your eye on the ball… well, in this case… the SHELL. ;)

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Case Of The Cracked Cockles – Video

Posted by on Apr 6, 2015 in Atlantic Giant, Cockle, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Smart Bird Cracking Cockles, Video | 11 comments

lesser black-backed gull with cockle

Have you ever found one of these shells on Sanibel Island that you couldn’t identify? I’ve been asked to identify this shell with a thick “lip” and one long “wing” hundreds of times.

cracked cockles by birds

It happens to be a broken ATLANTIC GIANT COCKLE (most likely they are juvenile shells that are cracked).

Atlantic Giant Cockles

… and most likely it was cracked by a bird like this LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL.

Lesser black-backed gull on Sanibel Florida beach

Wanna see how this bird can crack the case of the COCKLE shell? It’s fascinating! This is a VERY. SMART. BIRD.

Join me on a Shelling Adventure! CLICK HERE

pam rambo shelling trips


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How To Identify Differences Between Live and Dead Sand Dollars

Posted by on Mar 25, 2015 in Sand Dollar, Sand Dollar Video, Video | 9 comments

keyhole sand dollar mellita isometra

It’s thrilling to see a live SAND DOLLAR at low tide half buried in the sand and water, isn’t it?

cilia showing on a live sand dollar

It’s also thrilling to see bleached out SAND DOLLARS washing in with the tide as well, right?

sandy sand dollar CLW beach

But how do you know if a SAND DOLLAR is alive or not when it is isn’t bright white?

sand dollars in the surf ft myers beach

If a SAND DOLLAR is dark in color and half buried in the sand and/or water, it is most likely still alive and we should let it stay in its place in the water.

Little Hickory Live Sand Dollar

There have been times I have posted photos of SAND DOLLARS in my bucket that were grey in color. This has been a concern to folks who were worried about whether or not I collected live SAND DOLLARS. First of all, I would never collect a live SAND DOLLAR. But I completely understand the concerns from anyone who wants to make sure nobody takes a living creature out of its habitat – especially just to take it home for a souvenir.

sand dollars and shells in a blue bucket

So here’s the way to tell if it’s alive or not… Look for the CILIA and velvety skin. These are the things that keep the animal alive and on these SAND DOLLARS… they are missing so they are not alive any more. These are now just the TESTS of the animal… like the shell (although its not technically a shell).

dead sand dollars without cilia

Do you see how the edge and surface of this SAND DOLLAR looks like it has fur?

sand dollar cilia

SAND DOLLARS have short SPINES covered in CILIA (tiny hairs) so it can move along the sand and grasses. Along with those “hairs” are TUBE FEET (which look like “fur” to me too – heehee) which is actually how the SAND DOLLAR breathes.

live sand dollar with cilia and tube feet

I bet now, you can look at this next photo and see that all of these baby SAND DOLLARS in Clark’s hand are alive. After I snapped this photo, he put them back in the water.

live sand dollars sanibel Clypeasteroida

You can see it here too, right? These need to go back into the water where they belong.

baby sand dollar

So now take a look at this next photo…. is this still alive? No. Even though this SAND DOLLAR is still gray in color, there’s no possible way it could be alive since there are no SPINES nor CILIA nor TUBE FEET. It has no way to breathe or move without those things.

sand dollar without cilia

Julianna shows us that the SAND DOLLAR to the left of the photo is still alive and the other one on the right side of the photo has no “fur” whatsoever. She is a good steward of the earth so she put the live one safely back in the water and she gave the other “hairless” one to her mom for safekeeping.

how to tell if a sand dollar is alive

Most days you will see sun bleached SAND DOLLARS just like this…. Hairless! Furless! Completely “Bald”! haha

sun bleached sand dollar without cilia

So next time you see a SAND DOLLAR while walking the beach, remember to leave it alone if it’s dark and hairy but if you are unsure if it’s alive… take your time to inspect this amazing creature before you assume it’s a “keeper”. Look for any signs of hairs, fur or velvety skin.

Sand dollar sanibel

Now you can bet your bottom DOLLAR you’ll know when to leave those sweet living SAND DOLLARS alone…

low tide sanibel sand dollars

and when you can jump for joy when you find that keeper almighty DOLLAR.

sand dollar on a Sanibel beach

Oh, and I took a short video of a cutie little juvie LIVE SAND DOLLAR to show you how they move those little hairs around. I hope this helps!

PS- Most of these photos are from articles I’ve published in the past, just click on each photo to be linked to those posts.

pam rambo shelling trips



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Juvie Junonia Sweet Success

Posted by on Feb 27, 2015 in Blind Pass, Blind Pass Video, Captiva, Junonia, Video | 30 comments

Junonia with clam shells on Sanibel

Finding a JUNONIA is always a sweet success but finding a teenie tiny juvie JUNONIA is (in my humble opinion) the best ever! My heart is so happy for shelling sistah “Diane From Tucson” because she is just about the sweetest thing put on this planet. Shellzam!

Diane from Tucson with junonia

She found this special JUNONIA on the Sanibel side of Blind Pass down near that wood jetty that gets uncovered every once in a while. Congratshellations, Diane. Here she is looking for another one- heehee.

pink sheller in shell pile

After hanging out with her for a while, I got the itch to see what was happening on the Captiva side of Blind Pass. Holy Cowrie! A huge shell pile was forming right before my eyes…

Shells build up at Blind Pass Captiva at jetty


I’ve got so many photos but the best way to describe it is to show you in a video. Now, hang on… put your sea legs on and get your seasick patch secured because of course I was excited, overwhelmed and trying to shell while shooting this footage so I did the best I could to carry you along. You will see lots of things I missed so you might catch yourself yelling at me to pick them up… it’s ok. I understand and you can yell at me all you want because I did the same thing when I watched for the first time. There is another great WORMIE I missed. Ack! Anyway, Enjoy your time on the shell pile and I’ll show you more photos later.

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Beach Love And Seashells

Posted by on Feb 23, 2015 in Blind Pass, Blind Pass Video, Captiva, CyberShelling, Video | 25 comments

Seashells with aqua flip flop toes on the beach
It’s a special moment to witness the power of Mother Nature as she displays some of her greatest works of art at the tip of your flip flops.

Dreaming of seashells, sunshine and blue ocean

It seems in the blink of an eye, there is a sand bar that formed between Sanibel and Captiva at Blind Pass... and the next moment there are new shells washing on top of it.

The perfect day. Beach, Waves and Seashells.

Each wave brings a special gift.

seahells in bubbling waves

With no preconceived expectations, the surprise of seeing Mother Nature’s treasures wash up is the greatest gift of all.
collecting seashells on Captiva Island Florida after cold front

Pam, Deb and Dave were there to see the glorious day over the weekend…

pam, deb, dave from s dakota visit captiva shells


Beach treasures and seashells found on Captiva

There’s no better view in the world.

Flip flops and seashells on the beach. Paradise

Take a little escape for a moment… Feel the sunshine and imagine your cute toes in flip flops… then click on this next video. Ahhhh. You feel it?

PS- Gulfside City Park has major Beach Bling too!

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