After our shelling trip last week to the beautiful island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, I’m gonna rename it “Shelleuthera”!
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.
Each beach being so unique with it’s own little treasure hunt for us.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Then we were off to find shell-loot like this amazing TUN SHELL and TRUE TULIP Lee found one day.
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.
We not only found gifts from the sea, we found memories of a lifetime.
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.
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.
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.
We had a few days of rain but we made the best of it.
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.
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.
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!
Shell N Tell with Jane and John was hard to beat. John found this shellmongous PUFFER SEA BISCUIT and juvie KING HELMET.
Jane found a perfect HAWK-WING CONCH and a gorgeous display of caramel colored FLORIDA WORM SHELLS.
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!
Sandy was thrilled to find her first FLAMINGO TONGUE.
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
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.
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.
Ya just never know what you’re gonna find.
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
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.
As we are comb the beaches of the world one island at time.
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
Beach Combing The Abacos Bahamas
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!