After a week sailing, snorkeling and beach combing in the Bahamas, I’m feeling in the pink. So are our seashells! As I unpacked each of these lovely gems admiring their beauty and remembering how much fun it was to find them, I realized how many Caribbean seashells from the Bahamas are pink. Even the OLIVES are pink! We found lots of NETTED OLIVES but 2 of them were gorgeous glossy passionate pink.
They rolled up in the surf on Great Guana Cay.
It’s taking me a bit longer than I expected to get to photos of our shells in order and identified properly so I can share a few more of these pink beauties up close and personal. I think those little pink shells at 5 o’clock in the first picture are SMOOTH ATLANTIC TEGULAS but there are some others mixed in that are different so I need to research them. Then I will show close-ups! Also, I believe those pink TRIVIAS are COFFEE BEACH TRIVIAS but holy cowrie- they are sooo brilliant and bright pink! So until I can get those treasures photographed, I have included a few photos of the other cool things we found …and…. I made a little video of some of the fun stuff we did while on our search for shells. Enjoy!
Clark gave me TULIPS! Just walking along the beach going to dinner at Nipper’s, he found two spectacsheller TRUE TULIPS.
He also found 3 amazing CARRIER SHELLS (I was happy to find one more to add to our loot). Remember I told you we were looking for packable, light weight shelling scoops a couple of weeks ago? Well Clark got creative and picked up a lacrosse stick at Sports Authority to try it out for a shelling scoop. He unscrewed the plastic basket from the aluminum stick to fit it into our new wheeled duffle bag (Costco special) and used it everyday while beach combing and snorkeling. It worked! He loved it!!! LOL
John found a DOG-HEAD TRITON while he was snorkling!
After a couple of hours snorkeling (as you can tell by his pruney fingers- heehee), he came back to the boat to say he had the find of the week. Shellzam! Yes, he did! It doesn’t look like a great shell in this next photo but trust me, once it’s cleaned up, it will be a beautiful specimen. He said he saw an Octopus as well so maybe the OCTOPUS had just eaten this guy for lunch because it only has a small part broken off the “tail”. I love those DOG-HEADS.
I found a dried up CUSHION SEA STAR in the high wrack line on one of the beaches too. I was able to put it in plastic tupperware for the ride home… and it made it!
Such a fun time to spend with a group of friends on Sunsail’s The Talisman V that love shelling as much as we do!
To be continued…. but check out my last post if you missed the first half of this trip CLICK HERE .
And don’t forget we have some other shelling adventures you can join too…. CLICK HERE.
We love exploring new shelling destinations… but sailing the Abaco Islands in the Bahamas on a 44 foot Sunsail catamaran searching for sea shells is spectacsheller!
Clark and I just returned from this fabshellous Bahamian vacation with blue skies and good friends. We have traveled with our friends Jane and John to other islands like Turks and Caicos as well as Cat Island but this was the first time we had the privilege of sailing with them on the Talisman V from Marsh Harbour with John as our captain along with friends Dick, Mary and Karen. We were quite the crew of beach bling sniffin’ shellers.
We sailed to a different island every day, set our anchor then hopped in our dinghy to comb every inch of the beaches looking for tiny hidden treasures…
We snorkeled in crystal clear aqua waters to find unbelievably gorgeous gems like this SEA BISCUIT and KING HELMET Clark found one day.
The Talisman V was not only our transportation, it was our beautiful home for the week with breathtaking views that changed every second of the day.
We even had unmatched waterfront private dining by the best chef in town… Super Sheller Clark grilled lobster for us 2 nights! Really, how did I get so lucky?
I am thrilled with the shell loot we brought back but with no good internet connection, I couldn’t post anything to share with you in the last 5 days- grrrrr. But now that we are home I will organize, identify and take a few more photographs of the different Caribbean shells we found and try to map our route just in case you are ever in the same area. It’s weird though… now that I’m looking back at my photos, it’s hard to remember exactly which island we found which shells. Eeeeek- I’ll have to get some help on each destination from the rest of the crew! Until then….
Stay tuned for more lovelies like this QUEEN CONCH…
Do you get excited when you find SEA GLASS? Me too! It’s another beautiful gem most beachcombers love to collect while looking for shells and other BEACH BLING on any walk on any beach. Oddly enough, lots of our friends don’t really get why we travel the world in search of beach treasure… until I tell them we found a honey hole for SEA GLASS. Then their ears perk up! LOL Well, since it’s impossible to bring back enough SEAGLASS in our suitcase for everybody who wants some from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba… here is a CYBERSHELLING (CYBER-SEAGLASSING) photo from last week’s adventure on Glass Beach in Gtmo (CLICK HERE for the history of this SEAGLASS). Just click on the next photo to enlarge it so you can find your own SEA GLASS. Fun! Then I’ll show you some of the other cool BLING we found.
In my last post (CLICK HERE), I showed you some of the beautiful shells and areas we combed but couldn’t really explain how much fun Clark, me, Lee and Susan had picking through the high tide dry wrack lines in search of Bling. See that incredible SEA FAN Susan found? Un-beee-liev-able!
I just loooove me some Bling! I’m trying to identify all of the different SEA URCHINS we found but it is not so easy. I’ll try to get close up photos of each one but oh lawd, I need more time. So … I’m almost positive we have…. WEST INDIAN SEA EGGS, VARIEGATED URCHINS, LONG-SPINED URCHINS, CLUB-SPINED URCHINS, ROCK-BORING URCHINS and SEA BISCUITS. We could have picked up hundreds of the CLUB-SPINED SEA URCHINS that had probably gotten tossed up by a storm weeks before. They were in the highest wrack line and completely dried and preserved. Cool!
We also brought home SEA HEARTS, HAMBURGER BEANS (SEA BEANS), a few pieces of CORAL, 2 small SEA FANS, a few VERTEBRAE, PURPLE CRAB shells (haven’t looked them up yet), OPERCULUMS, old turquoise CUBAN TILES and… you see that piece of striped POTTERY on the bottom right? Lee told me that piece probably dates back to the Spanish- American war era circa 1898. Amazing, right?
Lee found these pieces of POTTERY from the same era. Wow- Its almost a complete plate! He said he will donate some of the pieces to the base for history and environmental research. (Errrr…. my piece came home with me- it’s way too cool! heehee)
Talk about cool… I found two complete old Cuban Hatuey beer GLASS BOTTLES made in the 1950s. These were so popular, Bacardi is now making this beer again.
More awesome BLING on the beach! Lee found this WWII US Navy uniform button while he was picking through the rock and pebbles looking for SEAGLASS like in the CYBERSHELLING pic. Whoot Whoot!
Let me show you just a few more shell photos before I sign out for the day…. Clark found these spectasheller THORNY OYSTERS that haven’t even been really cleaned up yet. They are gorgeous. We find these in SW Florida but most times they are only fragments.
Here’s the interior of one…
Lee found the mac daddy of the THORNY OYSTERS- it’s huge and with some good spines…. Both sides!
It was completely packed with hard mud and limestone so it will take a little work to get this baby cleaned up but it will be well worth it. It’s a beauty!
I always think these are so funny…. the BLEEDING TOOTH. Shall I say more?
These are some of my favorite minis we found this trip… BEADED MITERS.
Clark was excited (and me too) to find this HEXAGONAL MUREX since we’ve never found one before.
It’s always a thrill to find a new shell!
Again, we have to thank Lee and Susan for sponsoring us, being our shelling guides and letting us share this extraordinary place with everybody to learn what types of shells we can all find in the other Caribbean Islands. We are forever grateful.
I will get more shells cleaned up and photographed soon but the FLAME HELMETS are so shellsational, I had to add show you these before I go out and hit my home beach. It was fabulous finding shells in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba but it’s always so wonderful to be back home on Sanibel Island… especially with a cool evening low tide. Have a nice weekend!
Shellzam! It’s astounding to me that in one long weekend visiting Guantanamo Bay Cuba, Clark and I collected oodles of stunning sea shells, containers of colorful SEAGLASS, gobs of gorgeous SEA URCHINS and buckets of bountiful BEACH BLING. These are the shells Clark and I found in just one day…
Guantanamo Bay (aka GTMO or Gitmo) is a 45 square mile U.S. Naval Base on the island of Cuba surrounded by picturesque Caribbean waters, rock, sand and CORAL… perfect for our favorite sport of shelling.
How did we get to go there you ask? Because of this handsome, super fun couple.. our friends Lee and Susan.
Since Lee and Susan work at the base and have lived there for almost 4 years, they were our sponsors for our trip when Clark and I were able to visit last year (CLICK HERE) and again to visit this past weekend. Good grief, how did we get so lucky?!
We feel so very fortunate to have been able to be there but much less shell so many beaches in such a short time.
We collected sooooo many amazing treasures!
It was a whirlwind shelling adventure as we combed the beaches through rock and CORAL…
To find sweet mini shells…
We climbed up and down stairs on the cliffs…
… to find SEA GLASS and more shells.
We snorkeled the bay …
… to see fish and find more awesome shells.
We went boating…
… to find SEA HEARTS, BEACH BLING and absolutely more shells.
We climbed up and down boulders and cliffs…
… to find gems and you guessed it- more shells.
We boated to more beaches…
… to find more treasure and Voila! even more shells.
We combed through scrub brush…
…to find old Cuban bottles and yup, more shells.
Even when we had to take refuge in the shade for a few minutes…
We found a cool breeze, a place to refuel and of course, more shells.
But that’s not all! Okay, so you’re not gonna believe this…. While we were there… Clark, me, Susan and Lee were written up in their local newspaper the Guantanamo Bay Gazette!
We were interviewed by Public Affairs Officer, Kelly Wirfel about how the shelling stacks up on Guantanamo Bay (no pun intended- heehee) against some of the other places in the world we’ve traveled while collecting shells. It was soooo muuuuch fuuuun to talk to her!! Omigosh, thank you, Kelly for writing such an amazing article in such little time.
You can read the article too! Just CLICK HERE or click on the article. Cool!
After each adventurous day in Gtmo, we cleaned, sorted and researched and we are still cleaning, sorting, researching at home. I could look, pick and photograph these shells for days and not get tired of it but it sure was super fun at the end of each day when we all got together at their picnic table to clean and sort…. I love a good Shell N Tell!
We can’t thank you enough Lee and Susan for an unbelievable adventure on this special island “The Pearl of the Antilles”!
And I am very thankful to Susan for taking photos and sharing her excellent photos with us throughout the weekend so I could share them with you too (photos 5, 12, 18, 25, 28). She’s as much of a shutterbug as I am- i love it!
I will be sharing more close-ups of the absolutely stunning shells we found as well as some of the very cool Bling (geez… the SEAGLASS! You won’t believe it) so our story will be continued soon. But just so you know, all of the shells and the ones I will identify on my next post are shells you can find in some of the other Caribbean islands. So don’t worry! Gtmo is not the only place you can find these amazing treasures. Here is a map of where Gtmo is on the island of Cuba and also in relation to some of the other islands. See how close Turks and Caicos is to Gtmo? We found so many of the same shells on our trips to North Caicos, Middle Caicos and also Cat Island and Grand Bahama Island in the Bahamas so now you see why.
To be continued so don’t miss Part Two of Our Adventure in Gtmo!
Life is short… go shelling!
Whenever we get an opportunity to go shelling in a different part of the world, we jump at the chance.
Fortunately, the opportunity to travel to Grand Bahama Island for a shelling trip was just a bonus. My husband Clark is very involved in a service organization called Rotary International which helps create positive lasting change for communities around the world. Grand Bahama Rotarians along with several Florida Rotary Districts met for a conference at the Grand Lucayan Resort in Freeport for several days to … well … do their Do-Gooder deeds. Yep, that’s what I call them… Do-Gooders. LOL
So after the DoGooders finished doing their good work for the world, we stayed a couple of extra days to explore the island for seashells. At most of the big resorts in the Bahamas and the rest of the world (besides Sanibel and Captiva), they clean the beaches every morning to make it look sandier and nicer. For regular tourists, I guess that’s a pretty look for them but for beach combers like you and me… we want to see those wrack lines! Yes, they need pick up the trash by humans but the beaches are actually much healthier if the beaches stay natural with shells and plant matter remaining on the beach. Needless to say, we didn’t find many shells or bling near our resort so we rented a car to find the ungroomed beaches. We didn’t have much time to research the best shelling locations so we took a stab in the dark and headed to the east end of the island.
We stopped at several different beaches to find interesting shells and beach bling…
And stopped at every cute little shell shack.
And as luck would have it, we pulled into McLean’s Town to this dock…
We asked a few of the locals if we could find a boat captain to take us to some of the out islands to find seashells. Oh Yay-ah! We stopped at the perfect place. We found out that Joe-T is the best bone fisherman in town and he introduced us to his son Joe-L who grew up on the water boating to the best beaches and flats areas to find shells. So let’s go shelling!
After a gorgeous boat ride, Joe-L pulled up to a sandy beach with lots of wrack lines and rocks.
He showed us where to look to find shells like this WEST INDIAN CHANK SHELL …. which they call a LAMP SHELL (but honestly, I thought he was calling it a LAMB shell- hahaha). Nice find Joe- L! (and thanks for giving it to us!)
I was over the moon when my first shell of the day was this FLOWERY WEST INDIAN LACE MUREX. My very first one of this species with the brown color form.
It’s perfect and completely empty.
Clark was happiest to find this awesome ANGULAR TRITON. He reminded me right away how much bigger this one is compared to the best one I found in Turks And Caicos last year. heehee – Always a competition and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You know I loooove my beach bling so I was thrilled to find this WEST INDIAN CHANK EGG CHAIN washed up on the beach. Look how big it is! It looks like some sort of a sci-fi alien sea creature egg case.
Most of the sacks were empty and filled with sand but I found a few dried tiny juvenile CHANKS inside. Cool!
We saw plenty of beautiful fish and other live creatures but it’s always breathtaking to see the live CUSHION SEA STARS…
Our boating day with Joe-L was such an unexpected, unplanned delight… it’s a shelling trip we will never forget. These are just a few of the many different varieties of shells we found.
After shelling all day, we were famished. Conveniently, Joe-L’s mom Eva has a restaurant at their dock so we stayed for an outrageously good lobster dinner worth every reasonable penny.
Since this was such a short trip, we didn’t have time to check out the west end of the island for shells but I can only imagine we could find some secrets spots there too. It’s such a sweet little island I hope we return really soon. Oh and when I get our shells cleaned up and organized, I’ll post another photo.
Update- May 11, 2014… Now that we’ve had time to get home and clean up our shells and BEACH BLING… this is our loot!
Not bad for 2 days, right? Here’s another closer photo of the smaller shells and bling so you can see how many different species we found. They are sooooo beautiful!
If you decide to go to Grand Bahama Island, this might be useful information…
To reach Joe-L or Joe-T for a shelling trip, here’s the email address- [email protected] phone is 242-353-3676 or 242- 375-5219.
The hotel concierge gave me the car rental info Island Jeep and Car Rental– I thought it was reasonable and the car was great. Oh and by the way, the roads are in fantastic shape compared to some of the other islands (like Cat Island and TCI) but you still have to drive on the left side. (I drove the car the whole time- its easy)
The Grand Lucayan was very nice, reasonably priced, had lots of options for restaurants, shopping, etc and only a little over an hour’s drive to McLean’s Town and even less to the west end.
And before you ask about transportation… we didn’t fly over to the island. Part of the Rotary Convention was held on a cruise boat… the Bahamas Celebration. It was pretty cheap for transportation to the island from the Port of Palm Beach but Clark and I aren’t really overnight cruise boat kind of travelers. We want to get where we are going … so we could have skipped the cruise boat if it wasn’t part of the organized group. Next time, we will find a fight or maybe even check into the Fast Cat which isn’t an overnight cruise.
Hope you enjoyed the cyber trip to the island, mon!
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.