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!
After returning home from a shell collecting trip, there are tasks of unpacking, cleaning and sorting to begin some sort of process for organization. I’ve written a few posts on our trip to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (read them by CLICKING HERE) but there were so many shells I could not identify like this GOLD-MOUTH TRITON.
Clark and I are familiar with Southwest Florida shells, but the different species of shells from Cuba? Not so much. So to find the identity of some of these Caribbean shells we found in Guantanamo Bay … I’ve had my nose stuck in oodles of books, surfed through gobs of websites and also very thankful for the exshellent help from MurexKen (Thank you!). Here are some of the books I used for research…
If you have ever collected shells from the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, the Virgin Islands or any where else in the Caribbean, these identifications along with our other shelling trip posts might help you identify your shells too. I was so excited when we got back, I made a mistake by calling this a CUBAN FROG SHELL (CLICK HERE to see the photo I’m referring to). It’s NOT! It’s a CORRUGATED (or GAUDY) FROG SHELL.
After feeling a little embarrassed about the wrong ID, I got over it pretty quickly since they look so similar. Live, Shell and Learn. That’s half the fun of going to a new destination to find shells….we get to see and learn about other shells from around the world! So now you can see why I got these guys mixed up. Here’s the CUBAN FROG SHELLS (or also called GRANULAR FROG SHELLS) …
We also found KNOBBED TRITONS…
These REHDERI TRITONS look similar to the KNOBBED but have that darker brown color on the inner lip. Beautiful!
See how similar some of these shells are? This next one is the DOG HEAD TRITON.
FYI- I changed this photo on August 9, 2013 since the original shell photograph was not a DOG HEAD TRITON. Lee from GTMO graciously took this photo of DOG HEAD TRITONS so I could show what they look like (since I mentioned them already). The funny thing is, we have soooo many fab shells from GTMO that I could have posted about and I chose one shell… that I misidentified …. and then didn’t have the real thing to show you? geez Whaddupwidat? LOL Thanks Lee for the photo!
I showed you the incredibly hairy ATLANTIC HAIRY TRITON that Lee found (if you missed it CLICK HERE) but we were thrilled to even find some “hairless” HAIRY TRITONS. Here’s the bald version…
Can you believe all the different TRITONS? This one is the SHELLY DWARF TRITON.
One more TRITON for the day… the ANGULAR TRITON. The orange one with the white tips is spectashellar!
We found more CONES too! It’s astounding to me how many different CONE species there are throughout the world … especially throughout the Caribbean. Since there are so many varieties of CONES, I’m almost positive this one is the CARDINAL CONE…
The MOUSE CONE is a little smaller, squatter and looks a bit more faded than the CARDINAL but we had so much fun finding them because they were everywhere.
We found CROWN CONES in 7 different colors from banana to dark chocolate which seemed pretty common too.
Some of the MUREXES are so different from ours here in Sanibel as well. We found Antilles Murexes in a few spots but most had broken tails. They are still beautiful!
The WEST INDIAN MUREX shells we found remind me so much of our LACE MUREX, right?
I don’t know what they feed the APPLE MUREX shells down there but they are giganshellous! Really, this is an APPLE MUREX next to a quarter. Did a cargo ship of Miracle Grow spill over down there? Ha!
This is next shell was listed as a DOG WINKLE in one of my books but it looks nothing like a DOG WINKLE in any of the others… maybe it’s a CHESTNUT LATIRUS? This was such a plain shell next to the other TRITONS, MUREXES and others but we saw hundreds of them so I hope that yall can help with me with it. The best I found was LEUCOZONIA LEUCOZONALIS (no common name?) but when “NASSA” came up in search results, those shells look so knobby compared to these. Yes, they are beach worn just like all of our other shells but I doubt they all got this smooth at the same time.
So… what do YOU think? UPDATE: Consensus says they are CHESTNUT LATIRUS- LEUCOZONIA LEUCOZONALIS
There are still dozens of shells I haven’t identified and maybe one day I’ll get back to identifying all of them but for now, I’ll enjoy looking at them displayed in my living room but I’m ready to get back to my favorite beaches… Sanibel and Southwest Florida beaches! I hope you enjoyed the shells and posts from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba thanks again to Lee and Susan for such a great shell adventure!
PS- We have new dates for our iLoveShelling Cruises to shell together on the secluded island of Cayo Costa! Come join us! CLICK HERE for more info.