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Since we returned home from our vacation to Cat Island Bahamas, it’s taken us a over week to recover, clean our shells, experience our SanCap outrageous shelling, and enjoy our holiday. As you can see by the first photo, yes, it was aaaamazing!!! So now I can continue to tell you how awesome our trip was and give you details as promised.
We started off by driving to Fort Lauderdale airport to catch a flight on BahamasAir to Nassau. Long story short…. The flight was delayed and we missed our connection from Nassau to Cat Island on SkyBahamas so BahamasAir put us up in Nassau for the night (nice, right?). We had a blast in Nassau!
We finally made it onto SkyBahamas the next day so I took a selfie…
A day late… but we made it!
Okay before I go any further, I’m going to show you a dinner place mat made from a beautiful map of the Cat Island. It’s from a gorgeous resort called Fernandez Bay Villages where we hung out, had drinks, lunch and got great shelling tips from the locals and the staff. I embellished their map with arrows of where we found our best shells and beach bling. Now you can see how far we traveled and explored… From tip to tip of the island and all in between! We shelled just about all of the other beaches too but I narrowed it down for you to the best of the best areas we found.
Ask the folks at Fernandez Bay Villages to let you read the shelling review book called “Cat Island Beachwalks” that one of their guests wrote. The detail on shelling holes is amazing!
We stayed at Island Hoppinn (the area of the MILK CONCHS) which is a very small bed and breakfast type place (without the breakfast) which has an outside common area where we spent our mornings with John and Jane planning our days’ adventure.
On our first day, the owner Cathleen and her sweet daughter Alyssa took us to Flamingo Point on the North Shore where we found lots of green, aqua, amber, brown, a few chips of cobalt and one nice chunk of lavender SEA GLASS. Yay! Check out my last Cat Island post to see the SEA GLASS.
We rented a Jeep for the rest of the week (which I highly recommend) if you are explorers like us- you just never know where you will end up. On the southwest point of Cat Island sits a cool little resort and marina called Hawk’s Nest Resort where we met another awesome sheller … JR. She gave us a few pointers on where to find these fabulous SEA BISCUITS (oops!… I put a “q” in BISCUITS on the map- heehee) and she was a wealth of information on the different shells she has found and the island in general.
After finding Hawk’s Nest Marina, John decided to go fishing with JR’s husband Randy and we were soooo happy he did. They brought back 200 pounds of Wahoo! Yahooo for Wahoo! John brought a few of those fresh fillets back to our place and Clark grilled them up for dinner one night. YUM!
Now don’t get too freaked out … but I took a video of some very hungry REEF SHARKS having their own dinner. When you live on a small island, what do you do with the fish guts? You toss them back in the water and let the CRABS, RAYS and other fish eat them. But this day, the SHARKS were having a feast. Yikes! It was thrilling and very scary all at the same time and even seeing it on video again- it’s so crazy! So again, don’t get freaked out and try to keep your toes out of the water…
Wild, huh? But let’s get back to OUR yummy dinners… we had the best night at Da Smoke Pot restaurant with owners Rene, Julian and their son J’von.
We found out Rene is craaaazy about shelling! She loves to talk about shelling and she even keeps some of her favorite shells behind the bar. See why we loved this place?
Oh… And if you go, ask Julian about the Rake ‘N Scrape. He’ll teach you how to play the saw like we did. hahaha
We had another fantastic meal from Terry as he prepared fresh CRACKED CONCH right in front of us from his little stand on the side of the road near Orange Creek. It was deeeelicious and so much fun to just happen upon!
I have to tell you about another fab dinner we had too…. spiny lobster. We bought 4 tails from the local grocery and chef Clark grilled ‘em up. OMG
As you can see, most of the island is very undeveloped so if you want a vacation with lots of shopping… this isn’t the place for you. But if you like to shop, Emily’s is the place to buy your straw goods. It was a pleasure to meet Emily and to buy one of her beautiful straw hats to cover up while on the beach shelling all day.
Cat Island is such a beautiful, raw piece of paradise.
The locals use their few resources to live a fun filled…
We found many treasures to make us very happy but we are still sorting so I still hope to give you another post with shell details and IDs in the future.
So until then, I hope I’ve given you answers to most of the questions you asked on my other 2 posts about our amazing adventure. The shelling was exshellent, the food was delicious, the scenery was heaven and the locals were gracious and kind. Cat Island is a true island paradise.
We’ve been waiting for a morning low tide that exposes parts of the beach we haven’t seen for months… and we got it this weekend at Gulfside City Park on Sanibel. Near the water’s edge, we witnessed hundreds of live SAND DOLLARS uncovered for a short time while the tide was at its lowest. I could hardly walk without almost stepping on one so I searched higher on the beach in a few of the tidal pools. I had some great luck! I found LIGHTNING WHELKS, PAPER FIGS, APPLE MUREXES, BANDED TULIPS and so much more…
This is how I saw most of the shells… half buried in the sand.
I was thrilled to find this perfectly colorful KINGS CROWN CONCH. A baby!
I met Jan from Illinois who found this perfectly colorful LIGHTNING WHELK…
Hers is no baby. It’s a gorgeous adult.
To make the shelling even better, we had a little cool front come in on Saturday so the winds changed from the east to the west. That’s what we like to see in Southwest Florida! So with low tide mornings and west winds, today was some great shelling. I met Karley and Julie on Friday morning before the winds had changed but they still found a few treasures to start the week off. I hope you guys found lots more goodies this morning!
Unfortunately, I’m having troubles downloading the video I took this morning of my shell hunt to show you how to spot even more shells that are half buried in the tidal areas. Ack! It won’t download tonight! So I hope to get that fixed in the morning (after I get back from low tide shelling) so I can show you.
Until then, think about joining us on Thursday November 7 for our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa in the morning. The tide will be low and after a few more days of this north west wind, the shelling should be awesome. Meet lots of other folks with the same shelling passion! CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO
Yep. I did it again. I got up at the crack of dawn to catch low tide… but this time I went to my fave beach on Fort Myers Beach near Point Estero Resort. I found SAND DOLLARS galore!
And I wasn’t the only one finding them. I saw Ft Myers Beach local sheller Debbie (from our April iLoveShelling Cruise) with her hands full of SAND DOLLARS too.
But hold on… I’ve got to tell you the coolest story. Being obsessed with shelling reunited these friends after 20 years!
Back in February, Heidi (who follows iLoveShelling!) had signed up for our May Shellabaloo 2 and commented on the iLoveShelling Facebook page … “We did it!! We signed up for Shellabaloo 2! These two Kansas girls will be there with “shells” on!! Obsessed!!!”. Debbie saw her post and recognized her name and wrote her a message. Yes! It was the same Heidi she knew years ago when their kids grew up as best friends. Ha! Moms reunited! But unfortunately it turned out that Heidi had to cancel her Shellabaloo trip due to a health problem in the family. That’s when Debbie stepped in and told her when the health issues were resolved, Heidi had to come visit her in Fort Myers Beach to shell to her hearts content. She did.. And they found shells! They are two kindred spirits brought together again by the love of shelling. Here are Shelling Sistahs Heidi and Debbie…
Don’t ya just love that story? So it gets better… When Heidi showed up, Debbie told her that the only shell that she really wanted to find while she was there- was an ANGEL WING. It was their last shelling day together when I saw them and low and behold… que the Angelic choir in the background…. Debbie found the biggest ANGEL WING she could have ever imagined. LOL
We all found lots of other fun goodies too… like double SUNRAY VENUS CLAMS.
THIS Really spiny SPINY JEWLBOX…
Woop! There is it. A FLORIDA CONE.
These were all within 4 feet of each other just laying on the beach.
To make the morning even better, I saw Loree and Roy too! I met them for the first time on the June iLoveShelling cruise so it felt like it was old home week on Ft Myers Beach. So much fun to see you both!
Loree showed me that she found a pair of FALSE ANGEL WINGS and also a pair of SUNRAY VENUS too. It was interesting to me that she pulled them both out to show me so I asked her to take a look at their shapes of both the shells… don’t they look similar in shape other than their size? That’s because they are in the same family- Veneridae. The FALSE ANGEL WING is in the VENUS family instead of the “true” ANGEL WING family. Cool, huh?
I’m so happy I made it out for the Sunday morning low tide to catch the full moon over the horizon. If you want to catch a low tide any where near Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Captiva I would suggest shelling at least one hour before through at least one hour after the lowest tide of the day. Wanna check for the next low tides? Check out the Tide Charts HERE.
Meet other obsessed shellers or hang out with us to learn more tips to finding shells. Join us for a Shelling Adventure!
The weather in Sanibel has been absolutely gorgeous with warm sunny days perfect for long walks combing the beach. Earlier this month, I was in a shelling frenzy following the tropical storm in the Gulf but this week … I can calmly breath in the day to stroll along the shore to look for the smaller pleasures. Ahhhhh. Keep calm, relax and shell for minis. Can you believe Clark found a BUTTON SHELL (inside the CLAM shell) smaller than these two WENTLETRAPS (inside the SCALLOP)? It’s adorable!
The gulf is also calm and blue with lots of gulls and shore birds fluttering about so shelling at Gulfside City Park with Clark at low tide yesterday afternoon was pure and simple happiness.
We found a few more treasures but only wanted to bring home a few of our faves… although I’m not sure which ones are my very favorite ones. It’s a toss up between that tiny baby TURKEY WING, the BUTTON SHELL, the HORSE CONCHS, those LETTERED OLIVES with the fab colors… oh geez… I don’t think I can choose…. because look at that baby TOP SHELL too! It’s as cute as the BUTTON SHELL! Oh Yes- I think that says it all. It’s as cute as a BUTTON.
Happiness is being surrounded by what you love…. the seashore, seashells, art, wildlife, sealife and of course friends and family. There are times when life gets tough when you lose one of them. Clark and I lost our pretty Smittie the kittie this week so our world has been tilted. We don’t have 2 legged children, our children are furry with four legs. She was part of our family and we loved our sweet girl beyond words.
I’m sorry, I know this post isn’t about shelling but I introduced Smittie to you several years ago so I felt you might remember. Now you know why I haven’t been out on the beaches giving you up-to-date shelling info on the islands this week. But we will be back on the beaches this weekend to get back into our groove … and giving lots of love to our little fluff ball Dustie.
Happiness is also gathering 25 awesome shellers and spending 4 days on a great shelling adventure together sharing stories and friendships. Announcing Shellabaloo 4 January 6-9, 2014 this week came at a perfect time to make for happiness again. Join us for lots of happy shelling! For more info CLICK HERE …
Shellabaloo 3 is here! We just started our fabulous shelling adventure by hitting the beaches in hopes of finding hidden treasures like this ALPHABET CONE I found over the weekend….
Along with these FIGHTING CONCHS …
And baby ANGEL WINGS…
And hoping we will be lucky like Chris from New Mexico who found SAND DOLLARS and a nice size LIGHTNING WHELK. Congratshellations Chris!
I can’t wait to introduce my new shelling friends to you from Shellabaloo 3 and to give you the inside scoop of our tropical treasure hunt very soon. But for now… Gone Shellin’!