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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 | 29 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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Whimsical World Of Worm Shells

Posted by on Jun 4, 2015 in Fargo Worm Shell, Florida Worm Shell, Variable Worm Snail, Worm Rock, Worm Shell | 36 comments

Pam Rambo Worm Shell Mirror frame Sanibel Island

WORM SHELLS don’t follow any rules of symmetry or structure as they twist and stretch in all kinds of crazy ways doin’ their own thang- that’s why I love them so much. No two are alike!

Oodles of whimsical worm shells

That’s also why I love to use them in art projects like the large shell mirror in the top photo and for mermaid locks of hair.

Mermaid sculpture with worm shell hair

And for smaller frames…

pam rambo worm shell frame

In Southwest Florida, we have a few different kinds of WORM SHELLS that wash up on our beaches although I never really think about their differences… Im just always thrilled to find any WORM SHELL but I think it’s time I show you the differences.

Here are the 3 varieties of WORM SHELLS we have in our area. In the next photo from left to right… VARIABLE WORM SHELL, FARGO WORM SHELL, FLORIDA WORM SHELL

Petaloconchus varians Variable worm rock Vermicularia fargoi fargo knorrii florida worm shell

You’ve seen me post WORM SHELLS a million times but I don’t think I ever even say “FARGO WORM SHELL”. I always think “WORMIE!” so who cares what kind- haha. So yes, this is the FARGO WORM SNAIL – Vermicularia fargoi – which comes in many various color forms.

Vermicularia fargoi Forgo Worm snail shell color forms

These little cutie shellooties are the FLORIDA WORM SHELL – Vermicularia knorrii – (or KNORR’S WORM SNAIL). Look at those sweet little white tips!

Vermicularia knorrii Florida worm snail shell color forms

Just so you can see the differences in size of the FARGOs and FLORIDAs…

Vermicularia fargoi and knorrii color forms and sizes

WORM SHELLS are even fun when they are broken too. Sanibel local sheller Cherry uses them to make wooden plaques with her granddaughters’ names on them… Ella and Grace.

seashell and wood sign

These are THE cutest!!!

seashell name wall hanging sign

There’s another type of WORM SHELL… the VARIABLE WORM SHELL- Petaloconchus varians. This is the one I call WORM ROCK because it really doesn’t look like a snail shell but instead it looks like a big ol’ hunk of rock or dark CORAL. Theses snails can grow into large colonies which look similar to CORAL REEF structures.

Petaloconchus varians Variable worm snail shell colonies

The wonderful, whimsical world of WORM SHELLS. Be still my heart.

Whimsical wonderful world of worm shells

PS- To see all of the different places that we’ve found WORM SHELLS and more photos of them, CLICK HERE and scroll down through all of the pages of posts.

Come with me on a Shelling Adventure and maybe we will find some together.

pam rambo shelling trips


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Finding Seashells on Clearwater Beach

Posted by on Dec 2, 2014 in Clearwater Beach Shelling, Fargo Worm Shell, Shiva Shells, Worm Shell | 24 comments

sandy toes and seashells

Wow… WORM SHELLS, WHELKS and even a WENTLETRAP! Our weekend away was wonderful collecting CLAMS, CONCHS and CORAL on the coast of Clearwater Beach.

I’m still giddy with all these shells.

Collection of seashells from Clearwater Beach Florida

Lots of these shells were found on our boating day with Captain Paul Hajash I told you about on my last post “i Love Shelling- Clearwater Beach” but we also found lots of shells on the beach in front of our hotel – Hilton Clearwater Beach.  Right beside the hotel is Pier 60 which seems to collect little pockets of shells … and you know we love our mini shells… oh yaya baby… lots minis!

shelling Hilton Clearwater Beach Pier 60

Omigosh… a WENTLETRAP!

wentletrap Clearwater Beach Florida

We weren’t even in full shelling gear… we were just walking the beach back from the festivities at Pier 60 (ooooh- and ice cream) and started seeing so many sweet shells. These were only a few treasures Clark found in just a few minutes… another BABYS EAR, more SHIVA SHELLS and another LONG SPINED STAR SHELL. Yes!

Shells found by Hilton Clearwater

Wouldn’t you love to see what that shell line looked like with all these mini shells? Aha! I thought that would be the case so I snapped a photo of this little area of lots of broken bits of shells… but there are some goodies in there too. Actually, there are oodles of goodies. I didn’t even see the SHIVA SHELL when I took the photo, but now looking back at it… theres one in this CYBER SHELLING next photo. Can you find it? It doesn’t have the swirly side showing but if you look back at my last post and look at my hand full of them, you will see what the other side looks like and you’ll be able to spot this one. Click on the next image to enlarge it for some fun CYBERSHELLING… and then I’ll show you a monster of a shell just a few feet away from this.

Cyber shelling clearwater beach florida

After we picked up a few more minis, we saw Dave and Susie from Michigan holding this huuuuge live LIGHTNING WHELK. Shellzam! Such a gorgeous creature. Their son Jason found it right in front of the hotel but as Dave and Susie were returning this live animal back to the water, Jason ran up to the room. I missed Jason but Im thrilled I got to see his amazing MOLLUSK before it went back to the sea… to hopefully breed more beautiful LIGHTNING WHELKS.

Dave Susie find huge live Whelk Clearwater Beach Florida

We met Jett and his mom Ashley (Indiana) coming off the beach with a bucket of shells too. Jett’s favorite was a perfect FIGHTING CONCH.

Jett Ashley find shells Clearwater Beach Hilton

We spent one full day just being beach bums and met so many folks who had no idea there were beautiful shells only steps away from them. (Their loss and our gain? hahaha)

Hilton Clearwater Beach Tiki Bar

We also did a little exploring of the other things Clearwater Beach has to offer… like seeing Winter the Dolphin. She’s the DOLPHIN who lost her tail then was rescued and rehabilitated at the Clearwater Marine AquariumIt’s an amazing true story of Winter and a prosthetic tail that was made for her so she could survive. She then went on to star in movies about her life Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2Clark and I learned about Winter after watching the first movie so it was so much fun to be able to see her in person. Here she is with her BFF, Hope, as we watched them from the underwater viewing window.

Winter Dolphin Clearwater Aquarium

We felt like little kids when we got to hold Winter’s prosthetic tail and sleeve. We love that Clearwater Marine Aquarium isn’t actually an “aquarium” though… it’s really a rehabilitation center. They don’t have dolphin shows or any other animal shows- its more of an educational center for the public with their mission being Rescue, Rehab and Release. The 3 Rs. Of course Winter can’t be released back into the wild but most animals they rescue are only there until they are ready to go back to living in their natural habitat. Its an awesome place.

The Rambos with Winter's Dolphin tail

We missed the evening festivities at the beginning of our trip because we were completely worn out from shelling all day, but we finally made it back to Pier 60 for the sunset party. With live music serenading the sun setting over the gulf- its so fun and colorful.

Pier 60 Sunset Clearwater Beach

A fabulous way to end a beautiful weekend.

Sunset at Pier 60 Clearwater Beach Florida

As promised, here are a few tips about how to get to Caladesi and a few other things about shelling Clearwater Beach that were asked from my last post…

Years ago, Caladesi Island State Park (pronounced Cal-a-dee-see) and Clearwater Beach were separated by a channel of water so they were 2 different islands but that channel has been filled in by winds and currents over the years filling the channel with sand so now they are one island. Meaning… We could have walked 3 miles on the beach to the north tip of Caladesi from our hotel on Clearwater Beach…. and yes, we could have done that But we would have had to walk BACK the 3 miles …. carrying a boat load of shells. Also, we could have driven to Honeymoon Island north of Clearwater Beach to catch the 20 minute ferry to the marina on Caladesi and walk to the beach and shell that area. Either of those options are do-able but we chose to hire a boat captain so that we could quickly get to the areas we wanted to shell… the north tip and the sand flats. We only had a short time to shell so we wanted to see the area for ourselves and be able to tell Captain Hajash to keep going or stop at a flat if we saw anything. It was perfect!

If you go, here are the highlights of our awesome trip:

Shelling/Fishing Boat Captain- Captain Paul Hajash,

Hilton Clearwater Beach –

Clearwater Marine Aquarium-

Pier 60-

Crabby Bills-

And if you still need more info….

shelling low tide Clearwater Beach

worm shells clearwater beach




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i Love Shelling – Clearwater Beach

Posted by on Nov 29, 2014 in Clearwater Beach Shelling, Fargo Worm Shell, Long-Spined Star Shell, Shiva Shells, Worm Shell | 32 comments

sea shells near Clearwater Beach Florida

We are addicted to shelling… So we love to explore different shelling areas of Florida. We found a great new (to us) shelling hole… Clearwater Beach!

seashells from Clearwater Beach Florida

Weehoo- Road Trip! We drove 2 1/2 hours north of Sanibel to spend our Thanksgiving right smack on the beach at the Clearwater Beach Hilton having our dinner there with round one Turkey and fixins and seconds of beach bling and bivalves (shrimp, scallops and oysters- heehee).

dinner view at Clearwater Beach Hilton

We hired shelling/fishing guide Captain Paul Hajash of Reel Florida Adventures Fishing Charters. Okay, honestly, it wasn’t easy to find a shelling guide as I googled and called MANY charters but everybody thought I was crazy that I wanted to “hire a boat to find shells”. hahaha I finally talked to Capt. Paul Hajash (pronounce “Hash”) who is mainly a fishing guide but he completely understood what Clark and I wanted to do since his wife is a sheller and we could walk from our hotel to the dock. Aha.. Perfect! His only concern was it was gonna be cold… 44 degrees on the water. Ouch. The winds were pounding from the NW for 3 or 4 days and we shellers know that NW winds and cold weather bring in shells. The winds were calming down and the tide was low…. So heck yaya we still want to go!

Shelling guide Captain Paul Hajash Clearwater Beach Florida

After layering up in warm clothes for this unseasonably cold weather, Captain Paul took us to some beautiful sand flats on the way to Caladesi State Park and as soon as I got out…. WORM SHELLS! And FIGHTING CONCHS, CORAL, SUNRAY VENUS and oodles of TURBAN SHELLS.

Worm shells coral conchs sun ray venus Clearwater Beach


sandy sand dollar CLW beach


baby ear shell Clearwater Beach Florida

I was in shell heaven as I found LONG SPINED STAR SHELLS and hundreds of SHIVA SHELLS. I don’t find these CHESTNUT TURBAN OPERCULUMS very often so I was over the moon shell (heehee- I’m still pretty giddy!).

shiva shell operculum Clearwater Beach Florida

While I was in my own little glorshellous shell world, Clark came back from his ShellAdventure on the flats…

shelling the sand flats of Clearwater Beach

Shellzam! Holy Cowrie, that’s the biggest WORM SHELL I’ve ever seen! Not to mention 2  fabshellous ALPHABET CONES, a big LIGHTNING WHELK, and a KINGS CROWN (with incredible spines).

largest worm shell cones whelk kings crown Caladesi

That’s why we call him Super Sheller Clark! (I couldn’t help but steal that WHELK for a picture) :)

pam clark rambo shelling clearwater beach florida

We only had time to make sure there were no critters in any of our shells, so we still need to rinse and clean them up to really show you the variety of amazing treasures we found… but here’s a sneak preview of what I’ll show you on my next post.

Buckets of shells from Clearwater Beach Florida

After a day of spectacsheller shelling and fantastic food, we were too stinkin cold and tired to be outside to watch sunset… but low and behold, the view from our room couldn’t have been a better ending to an amazing day.

Sunset from Hilton Clearwater Beach Florida

PS- I will give you more info about our trip, show more shelling on other beaches of Clearwater Beach and details on all the shells on my next post… so stay tuned! Feeling thankful…

Clark Rambo with Alphabet Cone shell Clearwater Beach Florida

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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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Boring Turret Not So Boring

Posted by on Jan 29, 2014 in Augers, Boring Turret (Turritella), Cerith, Dark Cerith, Fargo Worm Shell, Worm Shell | 17 comments

boring turritella auger cerith worm shell differences

Who wants to do some CYBERSHELLING??!! I’ve got it for you! There are days on Sanibel, Captiva and Fort Myers Beach when there are so many great shells washing up to your toes on the beach you feel like you hit the lottery. And there are other days when you just might have to look in the unlikely shell lines high up on the beach to find your hidden treasures. This, my friends, is why I fell in love with shelling….being surprised at finding a beautiful seashell gift of the sea that everybody else passed right on by without a glance. Click on this next photo for some CYBERSHELLING of your own. See if you can find my newest treasure… a BORING TURRET (Turritella acropora)!

cybershelling for boring turrit

Did you find it? Ha! Of course you did because you are on to me now, aren’t you.  I put it right in the middle of the photograph- LOL. I found 2  BORING TURRITS in the same area I found my CROSS-HATCHED LUCINES on the new beach/sand bar Blind Pass Captiva.

Turritella acropora boring turretella captiva florida

It looks very similar to the AUGERS…

size of turritella and auger sanibel florida

Gail Carr (from my last post) found 3 of them!

boring turrets sanibel captiva gail

Susan H showed me a beautiful specimen of a BORING TURRITELLA when she was here in December.

boring turret Turritella acropora susan h

Also back in December, brother and sister Greg and Debbie were finding all sorts of great shells…

greg debbie brother sister shelling

But with all the hoopla about folks finding CABRITS MUREXES, JUNONIAS and LIONS PAWS, I never got to show you Debbie’s precious find. The one I liked the most was Debbie’s BORING TURRET.

boring turritella december sanibel shell

 There are many shells from Southwest Florida that may look similar to the BORING TURRET so I’d like to show you a side by side comparison so you will be able to distinguish your shells too. Now you can see how different they are!  From left to right-  BORING TURRET, AUGER, CERITH and WORM SHELL.

boring turritella auger cerith worm shell differences

Can you guess which other shell in this group is in the same family TURRITELLIDAE as the “BORING” one? The WORM SHELL!

shelling adventures trips by pam

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