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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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Whelkome To Paradise

Posted by on Jul 20, 2015 in Lighthouse, Lightning Whelk, Sand Dollar, Sanibel, Whelk | 8 comments

Whelkome lightning whelk

Life on a tropical island is magical. Our skies change from blue to pink to orange to grey any given moment bringing rain showers to cool off from the heat of the day which produce rainbows and picturesque reflections.

Reflecting on the power of the dollar-  a sand dollar
On my beach walk at low tide just before yet another stunning sunset, I found a few treasures on the gulf side near Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach.

Beachcomber small shells and sand dollars

Milt and Jenna from New York found about the same sweet little minis I found walking toward the lighthouse.

Shellers Milt Jenna from New York visit Sanibel Floridav
After making a turn around the tip of the island heading towards the fishing pier, we saw lots and lots of people.

Sanibel Lighthouse beach with shellers

If you were lucky like Bryce from Kansas, you could find TULIPS and WHELKS half buried around those old concrete slabs. (For the history of those slabs CLICK HERE)

Collecting shells around rocks

Hmmm…. I don’t think Bryce was the only lucky one. I’m sure everybody who sees beauty like this feels very lucky.

Sanibel catamaran at sunset with a shell

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

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Week Of Shell Wonder

Posted by on Jul 12, 2015 in Horse Conch, Kitten's Paw, Lightning Whelk, Whelk | 15 comments

2 Sanibel Horse Conchs Foley

Could you imagine finding these 2 huge empty HORSE CONCHS wading through the Sanibel gulf waters? Well Diane Foley and her sister-in-law not only found 2 off Middle Gulf Drive... they found 5 of these gorgeous treasured shells. Shellzam! Then used my cleaning tips to get those first 2 to look amazing.

5 Sanibel horse conchs Foley

Remember Abigail from our iLoveShelling Adventure with Sight Sea-R Cruises this week? After our cruise, her dad Ken posted this photo on my Facebook page. Abigail found a big beautiful empty HORSE CONCH on Sanibel too. Yahoo!

Abigail found Sanibel horse conch

Lainey found an awesome empty LIGHTNING WHELK at Blind Pass Sanibel. The big shells might not be rolling up on the beach but they are sure in the water. Way to go!

Lainey found lightning whelk blind pass sanibel

I was so honored to meet the Santiago family from Georgia this week staying at the Island Inn Beachfront Resort. They were the big winners of our iLoveShelling 5 Year Shellaversary GiveAway for 5 nights stay at Island Inn. It was so much fun hanging out with Sierra, Pete, Keaton, Cynthia, Claire and MaKalie who were enjoying every second of their stay in their beautiful room with a view of this awesome beach.

Winners of iLoveShelling and Island Inn giveaway

They showed me a few of their favorite finds including TRUE TULIPS, LETTERED OLIVES, FIGHTING CONCHS, SUNRAY VENUS, LIGHTNING WHELKS, all sorts and colors of SCALLOPS and an array of minis.

Shells found on Sanibel Island

Claire couldn’t keep her eye of the cutie KITTENS PAWS. I love them too, Claire!

Claire with kittens paws

Big or small, strolling the beach in sunshine along aqua water is a dream come true. Live it, Love it.

Shell Cup of Kittens paws

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

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Shellsational Sunsets at Blind Pass Sanibel

Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Brown Spiny Sea star, Hermit crabs, Lightning Whelk, Starfish, Sunsets, Whelk | 15 comments

Conchs clams and scallop shells

As the tide was rushing out of Sanibel’s Blind Pass channel, there were little pockets of semi-buried shells in the sand along the shoreline covered by only 3 inches of water. That’s where the treasures were last night just before sunset. My fave of the evening was that beautiful baby BITTERSWEET in the ARK ing the photo above. Love it!

Sanibel sunset beach finds

Karen and Mark (New Jersey) discovered some of those shell pockets too.


Karen and Mark visit Sanibel for shells from New Jersey

They were happy to find some empty shell treasures of their own.

Karens shells found on Sanibel
We all had to be very careful to look inside each shell to make sure there wasn’t a critter living inside of the shell like this teenie tiny HERMIT CRAB I quickly put back in the water after I snapped a photo…

hermit crab inside apple murex Sanibel

This was an even more exciting find… a nice size live healthy LIGHTNING WHELK that I put back in the water exactly how I found it.

Live lightning whelk at Blind Pass Sanibel

The GULF OF MEXICO is alive with beautiful sea creatures living close to shore like these MOLLUSKS, CRABS and this cutie SEA STAR too…

Live starfish stuck on encrusted pen shell Sanibel

And to top it all off there was a shellsational sunset to end a great day.

Sunset with shells at Blind Pass Sanibel

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Boom Shellalaka Whelk!

Posted by on Apr 19, 2015 in Blind Pass Sanibel, Bowman's Beach, Lightning Whelk, Sanibel, Sunsets, Whelk | 15 comments

Super Sheller Clark Rambo finds 11 inch whelk shell Sanibel

Shellzam! Super Sheller Clark found an incredishell 11 inch LIGHTNING WHELK this weekend.

Large Whelk shell found on Sanibel at sunset

All along the Sanibel shoreline from Blind Pass to Bowman’s Beach, there were strings of shells lining the beach just waiting to be picked through. Looking at this next photo, Clark found his WHELK around the furthest point in the background while in knee deep water… half buried in the sand. He said he only saw 1/4 of it. Oh yaya!

Sanibel shell beach

Thanks to a iLoveShelling Facebook post by Carrie L  – she told us there was a pile of shells that built up around the old wood jetty at Blind Pass Sanibel – we had to see it.

Shells pile up on wood jetty Sanibel

I could tell there had already been lots of people that had picked through this pile (but they missed so many!).

cybershelling for whelk shells

These were just some of the shells from this pile and along the shoreline…

shells and bracelets
I wasn’t the only one happy to be finding shells again at Blind Pass- Michael, Lindsay, Emma, Taylor from Vero Beach, FL found some gems too.

Michael, Lindsay, Emma, Taylor find shells on Sanibel

These are a few of their faves… CONCHS, WHELKS, TULIPS, OLIVES, MUREXES and SCALLOP shells.

Hands finding shells at Blind Pass Sanibel

Kathy and Angie visiting from PA were just as happy too..

Kathy and Angie visit from PA find shells on Sanibel Florida
Nice pickins with a sweet WORMIE to boot!

Sanibel beach shell finds

These are my favorite kind of evenings… beach combing at sunset.

Beach find shells at sunset

Espeshelly when when we get to bring home one of these big bad trophies- way to go Clark! Boom Shellalaka!

Shellzam! 11 inch Whelk shell found on the beach

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Sanibel’s Captivating Live Sea Creatures

Posted by on Jan 5, 2015 in Lightning Whelk, Live Sand Dollar, low tide, Operculum, Sand Dollar, Starfish, sunrise, Whelk | 16 comments

lightning whelk in surf

As we celebrate new days watching the sun rise over the horizon at low tide in the new year on Sanibel…

Sanibel sunrise

We also shellebrate the gifts of the sea…

seashell and waves at blue dawn

We also celebrate the gift of witnessing living creatures exposing themselves for just a short time as the water recedes.

live lightning whelk at sunrise

With most animals, we are easily able to see if they are alive, healthy and breathing but with creatures of the sea that have washed ashore, it’s a little bit more difficult. We (shellers) take the time to to look for signs of life with respect. As soon as I saw this shell was occupied by noticing the body and OPERCULUM of the “snail” still intact, I gently placed it back in the water covered with sand making sure the opening faced down into to sand.

live lightning whelk in sand and sea foam

Even for some shellers, it’s hard to tell if a SAND DOLLAR is dead or alive so the best thing to do first is… slow down. Take a few minutes to look for any cilia which looks like fur or looks a little fuzzy in the edges. Any time a SAND DOLLAR is this color, assume that it is still alive… gently place it back in the water.

Live sand dollar bottom

If a STARFISH is any where near the water or if the sand is still damp where you found it, always assume it is still alive too and let it be.

starfish in the sand with shells

Shellers are very fortunate to have seen the miracles of Mother Nature as we comb the shorelines to discover the magic of the sea. We learn new lessons every day we walk the water’s edge. For most beach combers, we know the signs of life in sea creatures but inexperienced visitors may be overwhelmed with the beauty that surrounds them and not know to take the time to look for signs of life. Since I grew up on the water, I always assumed other folks knew shells, SAND DOLLARS and STARFISH live their lives close to shore but now I’ve learned that most people don’t know much about life in the ocean or gulf. First time visitors to the beach may have heard how amazing shell collecting is and unintentionally collect a live animal without knowing it. It’s an amazing experience to see the compassion on a new sheller’s face after learning they have collected a live animal then race it to the water where they found it to save its life. Most just don’t know… and are thankful to learn and appreciate the living ocean even more.

father and daughter on the beach at sunrise

There have been so many live critters exposed during the morning’s low tide the last few days so with many newbies on the beaches, I’m sure I’ll get to see the amazement on someone’s face that just learned for the first time that shells, sand dollars and starfish are living beings and are still actually alive.

live fighting conch sw florida

Come with me on a shelling trip! For upcoming dates … CLICK HERE

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