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…
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.