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

Beachcombing Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas

Posted by on Dec 7, 2016 in Caribbean Shells, Eleuthera Bahamas seashells, Eleuthera Island, Eleuthera Shells, The Bahamas, World shelling | 16 comments

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After our shelling trip last week to the beautiful island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, I’m gonna rename it “Shelleuthera”!

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In a week’s time, we explored probably 20 beaches or more … finding everything from SEA GLASS, to POTTERY SHARDS, to SEA BEANS, to SEA URCHINS and SEA BISCUITS, to CORAL and of course SEA SHELLS.

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Each beach being so unique with it’s own little treasure hunt for us.

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Clark and I were excited to have expert beach combing friends with us to make this an even more fun adventure… Lee and Susan (who we visited to shell with in Guantanamo Bay Cuba ) and long time friends John and Jane (Abaco Islands, Cat Island and Turks and Caicos) With this group, of course we found shells!

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Beach combing is the favorite thing to do for all six of us so it’s very cool to find friends that get excited when walking the beach to find a KING HELMET, HAWKWING, SEA BISCUIT and a little empty “ROLLER” like these.

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But shelling was just half of the fun. We had an adventure getting to the island as well!

When we go on vacation, Clark normally does the research to find the best way to fly to our destination. This time he found Aztec Airways with a straight flight from Fort Lauderdale to Governors Harbor, Eleuthera at basically the same price as the other airlines. Nice flight, Pilot Don!

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But on this airline we felt like rock stars! hahaha We checked in at the “executive airport”, had the whole plane to ourselves and…  OMG I was the co-pilot. It was So. Much. Fun.

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We arrived in style to beautiful turquoise water, blue skies and fluffy white clouds. Wow. Its dreamy! This was the view looking out from the porch of our rental house Hamilton House on Windermere Island.

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We rented a perfect 4 bedroom house each having our own bathroom and sooooo many windows to look out at that beautiful water. And as you can see we had 3 fabshellous porches to wash and dry our shell-loot every day. Uhhh…. yea, I know…. we’re a little messy so if you want to see any of the photos inside the wonderful house CLICK HERE. But I’m sure you completely understand what happens if you’re a sheller. We’ve got “stuff” everywhere! Not only our beach combing stuff but John cleans up the beach every morning by bringing home piles of washed up rope, wood and huge buoys (great bling- ha). We love that and we loved the house since it had so much room for all of us.

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Then we were off to find shell-loot like this amazing TUN SHELL and TRUE TULIP Lee found one day.

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We explored miles and miles of beaches from the north west Glass Window Bridge to the south point of Cape Eleuthera. Our favorite beaches for finding shells were on the west side at Tarpum Bay, James Cistern, Millars Beach (or is it Miller’s? E or A? We couldnt figure it out haha) and Cape Eleuthera (near the restaurant). Every day the six of us hopped in this 7 seater SUV from Big Daddy Rental Cars to take us on a crazy adventure to explore this gorgeous island one beach at a time.big-daddy-car-rental-eleuthera

 

We not only found gifts from the sea, we found memories of a lifetime.

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We would have never have found most of these beaches, shells and memories if it hadn’t been for the big hearted Texas sisters Lisa, Sunnye and Suzanne who have talked to us about shelling in Eleuthera for years. I originally met them during Shellabaloo 5 and our paths have since crossed so many times. The last time was at the 2016 Sanibel Shell Festival where they displayed exhibits of their winning shell finds from Eleuthera. From that day, Eleuthera has been on our bucket list. I’m feeling so grateful for these gals who gave us so much information and suggested we buy The Beach Book: Eleuthera, Bahamas Edition . It displays photos, detail and directions to each beach on the island. Oh yea- seriously its amazing.

 

I’m feeling so much gratitude for such lovely friends, our gracious hosts on Eleuthera and for so many of you who sent such beautiful notes on my last post. My heart is full today. Thank you.

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PS-  I hope to take some more detailed photos of our shells for my next post to give you ideas on which shells and bling we found on which fave beach.

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Combing The Beaches Of The World One Island At A Time

Posted by on Oct 25, 2016 in Abaco Bahamas Beach Combing Video, Abaco Islands, Caribbean Shells, The Bahamas, World shelling | 9 comments

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Our Bahamas beach bounty! We just returned from an awesome week of shelling with friends the Abacos, Bahamas while sailing from Marsh Harbor to the islands of Lynyard Cay, Elbow Cay, Man-O-War, Great Guanna Cay and Spoil Bank Cay. We scoured every beach we came across in search of seashells, beach bling and to soak in the island views. At the end of the week, Clark and I  sorted through our shells to compete in our Shell N Tell with our friends. Ha!  We found SEA BEANS, SEA GLASS, BUOYS, SEA FANS, SEA BISCUITS, URCHINS, SEA POTTERY, TELLINS, CONES, MUREXES, TRITONS, TUNS and so much more.

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We had a few days of rain but we made the best of it.

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We have heavy hearts for the folks on Nassau, Grand Bahama Island, Chub Cay and the islands west of the Abacos who were hit very hard by Hurricane Matthew just weeks before our vacation. The Abacos escaped from Matthew’s devastating path but feel the pain for their other islands. Other than choppy water and a few residual storms, the only sign of strong winds from the hurricane were piles of QUEEN CONCHS washed up high on the beach and a few damaged docks on Guanna Cay.

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We didn’t find piles of any other shells on their beaches but searching high and low we found a few beautiful shells like this ANGULAR TRITON which is not native to our own beaches of Sanibel Island or on the west coast of Florida.

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If there was something interesting to find on any of the beaches, this bunch of explorers found it. Our boating friends Roger, Sandy, Jane, Captain John (Johnny Rescue), Clark and yours truly found a beach with spectacular views but not one shell. After combing every crevice of the beach, we all came back to show our favorite finds… SEA FANS. haha There’s always something!

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Shell N Tell with Jane and John was hard to beat. John found this shellmongous PUFFER SEA BISCUIT and juvie KING HELMET.

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Jane found a perfect HAWK-WING CONCH and a gorgeous display of caramel colored FLORIDA WORM SHELLS.

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So our Shell N Tell doesn’t really tell the whole story since I took the photo of Sandy and Roger after they had already packed some of their fragile shell-loot. I wish I could have shown the fabshellous TUN SHELL Roger found!

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Sandy was thrilled to find her first FLAMINGO TONGUE.

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Since the water was still a little choppy and stirred up from the hurricane, it wasn’t easy to get local seafood for our meals … so we hired Capt. James who promised “I’ll find some local food for ya, Baby Girl”. heehee We still didn’t have luck with fish or spiny lobster but he dove for QUEEN CONCH and made us an oh-so tasty conch salad. Yum!

Since the QUEEN CONCH was “over-fished” many years ago, Capt. James was very careful not to take any juvenile CONCHS- only the adults which have a flared lip. This is their way of life and a food source for the Bahamians so he wants to make sure the population stays healthy by being cautious to not fish for smaller CONCHS with a lip that isn’t formed so they can reproduce. To read more about QUEEN CONCHS … http://www.communityconch.org

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We also made a stop at my favorite fabric store with hand made designs from Bahamas… Sally’s Boutique in Man-O-War Cay. I met the owner Mandy (in the middle) a few years ago after buying a set of starfish place mats and found out Mandy, Cassie (on the right) and Mandy’s best friend Lisa love shelling too. It’s so much fun talk to the locals about their beaches so now we make it a regular stop (and do a little shopping!). I got napkins and wristlets this year- they’re such happy island fabrics.

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I didn’t find any incredibly unusual shells but I always have a spectacsheller time combing the beaches for minis like these LIMPETS, WEST INDIAN TOP SHELLS and NERITES.

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Ya just never know what you’re gonna find.

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I think John’s HELMET and PUFFER SEA BISCUIT won our little Shell ‘N Tell competition… errrr….. well, other than that creepy but very funny baby doll arm I found on the beach and stuck in the conch. haha

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Hands down, each one of us feels like we won a prize as we watched the beautiful sunset over the Sea Of Abaco each day.

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As we are comb the beaches of the world one island at time.

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For more info on shelling the Bahama Islands…

Captain James 1-242-458-2380

Gone Shelling… To The Bahamas!

Beach Combing Vacation – Cat Island, Bahamas

Gone Shelling – To The Bahamas

Shelling Trip To Grand Bahama Island

Gone Shelling – Abaco Islands, Bahamas

In The Pink From The Bahamas

Bahama Mama

Beach Combing The Abacos Bahamas

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She Saw Seashells While Sailing The Seychelles

Posted by on Jun 9, 2016 in Seychelle Islands | 28 comments

branched murex seychelle islands

We saw seashells by the seashore on our shelling and sailing vacation in the Seychelles!

Seychelle seashells

We saw spectacular seaside sightseeing views.

Seychelle Island View

We saw stunning sandy beaches … spawning smiles. ;)

Happiness. We couldn’t think of a better way for Clark and I to celebrate our 20th Anniversary!

Pam and Clark Rambo Seychelles

The Seychelles Islands are on the east coast of Africa right smack dab in the middle of the Indian Ocean. We flew from Miami to Paris then Paris to Mahe Island in the Seychelles. We spent a few days on Mahe Island exploring the beaches … we rented a car but we do NOT advise doing this. The roads are crazy narrow with no room for error. Clark did an amazing job of driving but I think my feet are still sore from slamming on my imaginary breaks on the passenger side- eeek! If you go, just hire a cab- seriously. Then we boarded a 44 ft Sunsail Catamaran to sail to a few of the other Seychelles Islands…. with Captain Jeremie Bossy. Let me tell you, Jeremie was THE best captain we could have ever hoped for. We love him!

Clark Pam Rambo boat captain Jeremie Bossy

Our first hour on the boat, we sat down with Jeremie to chart our route. He looked at us like we were crazy when all of our questions were about finding areas with seashells. He grew up on the water in the Seychelles with his parents (and 5 brothers) and has been a captain since he was 18… he had never met anybody who wanted to spend their vacation in search of seashells. Fishing, yes. Diving, yes. Birding, yes. Snorkeling, yes. Reading books, yes.  Shelling? Never.

By day 2, he was combing the beaches right along side us. He was hooked.

Jeremie Bossy beach comb shelling Seychelles

So with now 3 sets of eyes… we found SPIDER CONCHS…

seychelle seashell spider conch

and beach bling like PENCIL URCHIN SPINES…

seychelle sea urchin spines

and SEA GLASS…

Seychelle seaglass Indian ocean

Our favorite little island was LA DIGUE. We loved it so much we ended up staying there 3 days and renting bikes to explore. Gorgeous!

Biking La Digue Island Seychelles

We found most of our shells while biking around this island. It was soooooo much fun.

seashells and seaglass in Seychelle Islands

But we didn’t just comb the beaches. The Seychelles Islands are known for their conservation efforts so lots of the beaches are marine parks to protect the sealife and all wildlife. Jeremie knew where we could beach comb but also where we could observe but not collect. He also took us where we could lots of wildlife for photos…. like seeing the amazing rare GIANT TURTLES. haha They are so dang cute and friendly!  Now don’t worry that Im so close to him (yes, this one’s a him), its ok. They are part of the landscape and their lives just like you’d say hi to your neighbor or their dogs or cats.

Aldabra giant tortoise La Digue Seychelles

In one of the marine parks, we saw “shellions” of live MANGROVE WHELKS laying around at low tide. We saw plenty of empty ones but they are off limits to collect, as well as quite a few other types shells. It’s still fun to see them by the masses and to learn about their habits at low tide.

Seychelle seashell giant mangrove whelk

Anther very cool thing to see in the Seychelles is the very rare coconut…  COCO DE MER. This is the only place on the planet to see these wild coconuts and they are protected as well. They look like… well, you decide. haha

Coco De Mer coconut seychellesHonestly, this little LITHOGRAPH CONE (i think that’s what it is) is my favorite find of the whole trip. It’s sweet and perfect and it makes my heart skip a beat every time I look at it.

chick pea cowries lithograph cone

We didn’t find an overwhelming amount of shells but we found enough to put in a beautiful bowl in our home to see them every day and remind us of our amazing trip. They are perfect souvenirs on our hunt for shells which took us on quite an adventure on the other side of the planet to see breathtaking views, rare animals, lush foliage and a trip of a lifetime we will never forget.

clark and pam rambo world shelling seychelles

pam rambo shelling trip boat

PS- I have a phone number for Jeremie if you ever want him to be your captain- just leave a comment.

UPDATE: I had quite a few people already interested in Jeremie’s info so I’ll post it here too. So he said he doesn’t go online or look at email all that often (maybe once a week) but he has a mobile phone (which for some reason one number he gave me wouldn’t go through from my phone) so just be patient when you try to reach him.

Jeremie Bossy- 002482632253 or 002482753768 …[email protected]

and PSS- Yes, I have major jet lag (31 hours travel time) bit couldn’t wait to get back to working on my shell art project ( to be revealed soon!) so I haven’t been sleeping.  Please disregard all the run-on sentences and/or misspellings and anything that doesn’t quite make sense – just read between the lines, k? ;)

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Finding Seashells in The Seychelles

Posted by on Jun 4, 2016 in Seychelle Islands | 10 comments

Seychelles Seashells

Holy Cowrie! We are floating around the Indian Ocean on a sailboat anchoring at several of the Seychelles Islands in search of seashells. Not only have we found a few seashells… we’ve seen breath taking views, amazing wildlife and even tried to relax a little in the sunshine and take in the salty air.

We’re soaking up every second so coming up soon…

Seychelles Shell N Tell

Seychelle Island La Digue scenic view

PS- you were right Jody and Judy!!! ;)

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My Inner South Carolina Seashell Artist Is Channeling Whelks

Posted by on Mar 29, 2016 in Cape Romain, Channeled Whelk, Eastern Oyster, Knobbed Whelk, Knobbed Whelk Egg Case, Oyster, South Carolina, Wentletrap, Whelk, World shelling | 17 comments

channeled whelk shells

I am channeling my inner artist looking at these CHANNELED WHELKS as I look back on our shelling trip to the Carolinas earlier this month (Beach Combing Trip To Portsmouth Island). I could have taken hundreds of photos of these incredishelly beautiful works of art as I saw them laying in the sand half buried in the islands of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.

channeled whelk

Seeing KNOBBED WHELKS and OYSTER SHELLS rolling up in the surf was a masterful sight to behold.

South Carolina shells on the beach

Mother Nature artfully placed a SAND DOLLAR as though she staged this still-life for me to photograph.

South Carolina sand dollar

I didn’t find all of her still-lifes in obvious places. These 2 KNOBBED WHELK shells, an ANGEL WING and oodles of OYSTER SHELLS were behind a large wrack line of driftwood, seaweeds and various sticks from sea oats and sea grasses.

shells in beach wrack

The EASTERN OYSTER SHELLS are so beautiful as well, especially the juveniles as they form stunning sculptures.

eastern oyster sculpture

After searching for miles, we found an area filled with the sweet adorable miniature shells. There were even WENTLETRAPS!

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And then, Whelp… another WHELK.

empty knobbed whelk

How can they be this gorgeous?

knobbed whelk with oyster shells

We found dried KNOBBED WHELK EGG CASES too. They are so similar to our LIGHTNING WHELK egg cases we find in Sanibel but the KNOBBED WHELK EGG SACK disks are little more oval in shape.

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But this just may have been the find of trip….  a GIANT EASTERN MUREX. Boom Shellalaka! It may not have been he prettiest shell on the beach but it really is giant and it just seemed impossible that we would find one.  I can’t claim finding it- our friend (our hostess with mostest) Karen found it then gave it to me. Omigosh really? We don’t normally bring home shells that we don’t find ourselves (we are fortunate to already have enough) but it is an amazing memory from that day and an awesome shell. Very cool- thank you!

Giant Eastern Murex

Clark and I (in red colors) are still smiling from our shelling trip with Nanette, Helen, Jackie, Karen and Captain Dan. We met all of them in McClellinville, South Carolina where Karen’s buddy Captain Dan Scarborough took us out on his boat to the out islands. I can’t even explain how much fun it was island hopping out on the boat all day with this crew.

shell trip guides to South Carolina

We brought back a few brilliant shells with different color patterns that look like Mother Nature had a field day with her architectural designs and paint brush.

shell basket filled with South Carolina seashells

Clark and I are so grateful to these Three Crazy Carolina Girls- Jackie, Helen and Karen for inviting us on this unforgettable shelling trip. Love these girls!

Shell guide friends Jackie, Helen and Karen

To join me on a shelling trip adventure in SW Florida…
Pam-rambo-sanibel-shell-trips

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Crazy Carolina Beach Combing – Shelling Trip To Portsmouth Island, North Carolina

Posted by on Mar 22, 2016 in North Carolina seashells, Portsmouth Island, World shelling | 18 comments

whelk shells beach combing north carolina

I feel like I just got back from being on the Amazing Shell Race in the Carolinas! Look at the colors of our shell-loot found on our trip to the beaches of Portsmouth Island, North Carolina. Can you believe it?

Portsmouth island North Carolina seashells

Oh yea baby, I gotta QUEEN HELMET! Errrr…. But then I’ve heard it’s also called a CLENCH HELMET or even the CAMEO HELMET. The HELMETS are always so hard to identify but what I do know is that I sprung into the air when I found it I was so excited. In the next photo, it’s sitting next to one of the many KNOBBED WHELKS we found and a SCOTCH BONNET – that’s North Carolina’s state shell.

North Carolina shells and sand dunes

We went on this trip with a bunch of other crazy shellunatic extreme shellers… Joan, Susan, George, Greg, Helen, Clark, (me) and on the front row- Carly, Hilda, Nanette, Jackie and our fabshellous leader Karen and the best shell hound ever- Roxie. We had a blast together!

Shelling trip Portsmouth Island NC

Colorful weathered shells were scattered along the beach of the entire island peaking out of rippled sand dunes and half buried by high winds and heavy surf. The LIGHTNING WHELKS look so different on the east coast than they do in Sanibel.

lightning whelk north carolina

SHARK’S EYES were mixed in with shards of broken OYSTER and SCALLOP SHELLS.

Sharks eye shell Portsmouth Island North Carolina

Most of the SCOTCH BONNETS were broken or cracked so it made it that much more fun to find a whole one… especially darkened with black or gray. The shells in the Carolinas stained with black or gray were likely darkened by iron sulfide from the sulfurous muck from years past.

Scotch Bonnet shell beach combing North Carolina

Some of the shells like this KNOBBED WHELK have a bright orange, rust, pink or brown color due to being exposed many years to iron oxide minerals in the Atlantic Ocean sediments and fade in the sunlight when washed up on the beach.

beach combing north carolina

The colors, pattern and architecture are unique to each stunning shell.

Beachcombing Portsmouth Island NC knobbed whelk shell on the beach

We found this amazing empty KNOBBED WHELK shell with almost a neon orange aperture that recently washed up maybe a few weeks before we got there.

Orange opening knobbed whelk

Our first CAMPECHE ANGEL WING shell! It’s smooth, long, thin and has that high swoop by the hinge compared to our Sanibel ANGEL WINGS.

Campeche Angel wing sea shell North Carolina NC

The internet makes the shell world even smaller… I “met” Greg Diesel about 6 years ago when he showed some of his amazing photos of shells and sunsets of North Carolina on iLoveShelling Facebook page . It was such a fun surprise to run in to him to meet in person for the first time on Portsmouth Island with his girlfriend Chrissy. We saw (well, I should rephrase- we raced passed each other haha) several times driving on the beach – they found a TUN SHELL!

Greg Diesel tun shell North Carolina

I was thrilled to find a black TUN SHELL too even though the tip was broken off- I’ll take it. Yahoo!

black tun shell portsmouth island nc
Are you sitting down? Good, because you might have fallen over after looking at NANETTE’S super-colossal (colosshell!) NORTHERN MOON SHELL.

Northern Moon snail Portsmouth Island North Carolina

She was over the MOON SHELL! It’s one of many of her spectacsheller shells…

Nanette with shells Portsmouth Island NC

OMG Look at the CHANNELED WHELKS too.

North Carolina seashells

Joan’s faves were a baby QUEEN HELMET and a huge BANDED TULIP.

Joan with helmet and tulip shells

It was a total score for all of us to find a HELMET – Greg’s was absolutely perfect.

greg with queen clench helmet

How did we explore this whole island? We four-wheeled it!

Greg and Carly drove their 4-wheel drive Nissan so Jackie, Clark and I piled in to ride the beaches until we saw an area with loads of shells…. then…. “Whoooaaa! Ssssst-aaaaahhhhp!  Huuuuge WHELK!”. We all raced out of the truck to scour every inch until someone went back to get the truck to move it down the beach.  We’d just stumble on a gorgeous shell sticking halfway out of the sand – Greg named us “The Helen Shellers”. Haha- It was wild!

Four shell wheeling Portsmouth Island

How do you get to Portsmouth Island? You can only get to Portsmouth Island by boat so we took the morning passenger and car ferry from Morris Marina in Atlantic, NC and while we enjoyed the boat ride we watched a beautiful sunrise over the island. 

Ferry to Portsmouth Island NC
We stayed a couple of nights in a rustic little beach cottage not far from the ferry dock. And yes, it had electricity and hot running water-  thank goodness. Beach house Portsmouth Island NC

A special thank you to Karen (and Roxie) for organizing this amazing shelling trip for all of us- it was spectacsheller.

So… does she look familiar? Karen, Helen and Jackie were on the first Shellabaloo. They are the crazy Carolina girls! It’s so cool we have kept in touch throughout the years and shared our shelling adventures with each other.

Karen guides shelling trip to portsmouth island

Clark and I had an amazing time with everybody. (thanks to Greg Diesel for the photo)

Pam and Clark Rambo sunrise shelling trip

I hope to share more photos of our shells in another post but I still have our shelling stop in South Carolina to show you.

beach combing north carolina

So keep checking back with me here because if you think you like this place…

Whelk in the sand North Carlina shell

You’ll love our next shelling hole just as much.

sunset shell North carolina

driving on north carolina beach at sunset

Shell-love and peace.

shelling at sunset Portsmouth Island NC

Join me on a SW Florida shelling adventure…

Pam-rambo-sanibel-shell-trips

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