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.
For 5 days now, the shelling in SouthWest Florida as been has been outrageous! It doesn’t get more outrageous that finding your very first JUNONIA after 20 years of searching… then 2 days later, finding JUNONIA #2! Jill from Miami was livin’ the good life this weekend finding those trophies plus two ALPHABET CONES to boot. Shellzam! Congratshellations, Jill- so happy for you!
But wait.. the outrageousness continued! Wouldn’t you love to find a huge empty HORSE CONCH like this with a bright orange interior?
Gail and Alicia not only found that one gorgeous shell, they found 3 more! … Plus a nice size LIGHTNING WHELK too. Over the long weekend, they were out every morning before sunrise and said there were hundreds of live HORSE CONCHS rolling in the surf on the beach near Island Inn but kept on looking to find ones that were empty.
So I’m sure you can image how happy they were to find those amazing large shells already…. then to find a SEAHORSE too? They found this guy in the afternoon just getting back out on the beach in the high tide wrack line. REally, after all of those trophy shells then a SEAHORSE….Outrageous! Congrats Gail and Alicia!
I found quite a variety on Island Inn beach as well but nothing compared to what they found of course…
I met Lea and her daughter Kristi from Omaha picking up the dried MILLIPEDE STARFISH in the high tide wrack line.
They asked me how to preserve these awesome SEASTARS so they can put them in shadowboxes when they get home. Honestly, I have never had luck with keeping them in tact because I guess I keep them outside or in my garage too long and the humidity gets to them so they break apart and start stinking -Ack! I’m doing something wrong so I never pick them up anymore- I don’t care how bone dry and perfect they are. But… My friend Moira makes beautiful shadowboxes with them as well as Kim who both live in Chicago- they have no problems so I hope they see this so they can explain in a comment how they get them home without breaking them and keeping them intact for a frame.
Fort Myers Beach was rocking with shells too! My friend Debbie’s dad Dennis from Kansas was in town for the holiday and they found lots of treasures…
Repeat… they found LOTS of treasures… LOL
Throughout the holiday weekend, I saw lots of shells at Lighthouse Beach, South Seas, Blind Pass, Island Inn, …. and my last stop for the weekend shelling was Gulfside City Park this morning for low tide. I found such a variety of shells again including a perfect ALPHABET CONE along with the best SHARK’S EYE I’ve found in a while. But my real favorites where violet colored FIGHTING CONCHS which I don’t think I’ve ever found colors in FIGHTING CONCHS like these before. Weird, because I even found another purple one at Island Inn beach the other day. So unusual.
This morning Karen from Orlando area was happy with her finds too…
She found a perfect ANGEL WING and a few SAND DOLLARS…
And these are just a few that were in her bag. Awesome.
There where so many live creatures as well. It’s always fascinating to see these beautiful living animals in their natural habitat like this beautiful live LIGHTNING WHELK. Since this shell was occupied, I dug a hole for him to wait it out until the higher tide came back in so he could scoot along wherever it wished.
One more thing…. I have a new online Art Gallery!
Over the years, I have shared many, many photos of my shelling adventures and have learned that… just as I love to collect a beautiful shell, I love to capture a beautiful moment or my beautiful surrounds with my lens just as much. I never could find the means to offer them as quality, affordable art on canvas, prints, cards and more…. until now! So I started an online Art Gallery for my photographs. It’s just the beginning so I haven’t added all of the photos that you’ve asked for in the past but at least this is a start. I’m heartfelt that you’ve asked for them and I’m proud that now I can offer them. Please stop by, take a browse, say “hi” and if you like one enough to buy it, I would be incredibly honored.
Don’t forget! We have an iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa on Friday December 6, 2013 at 9am. We can do some fun shelling together… so Join Us! CLICK HERE
This Thanksgiving holiday weekend has been such a Shellaganza in Southwest Florida, it’s been hard to choose which beach to shell first! But as you know by my last post, we chose to shell Blind Pass Captiva on Thursday and hit the mother load. I’m so happy we found soooo many good shells, but it’s not only that we found shells… I’m thrilled that everybody found amazing shells like this…
And I got to meet so many awesome shellers like Skip and Tina. Tina found the spectacsheller SCOTCH BONNET and Skip found the amazing ALPHABET CONE, FLAT SCALLOP and gorgeous TRUE TULIP. And those were just a few shells they found. Their bag (in the first photo) was filled to the brim with incredible shells. It was a pleasure to meet you both!
I also met Jessica, Lyle and Matthew from Virginia who now know how addicting shelling can be after finding so many shells like this in only a couple of hours. They didn’t know the names of many of the shells, so I peeked in their bags to tell them the names of most of the shells in their bags… LIGHTNING WHELKS, FIGHTING CONCHS, APPLE MUREXES, LETTERED OLIVES, BANDED TULIPS… But OMG, Wait!
Jessica found a CABRITS MUREX! Boom Shellalaka! It was mixed in with all of the other shells and had a small hole in it but I told her that was a pretty rare shell to find in our area. Very nice find!
James and his brother Jacob (from Chicago) are experienced shellers who named all of the shells they found – which BTW, was very impressive. It tickled me so much though when James snatched a perfect bright orange HORSE CONCH out of the water and shouted “Score!”. Yes you did, Jacob!
It was so much fun to see everybody finding such beautiful treasure. Local sheller Roma (who never lets me photograph her- silly girl ;)) never even got wet by the waves as she sat in the shell pile digging away. She found all of these shells in one small area…
As you saw in the video on Thanksgiving Day, Clark didn’t want to get wet since we had plans later in the day for our big meal but after finding these 2 ALPHABET CONES right next to each other coming in with surf… it was all over.
Super Sheller Clark was soaked by the time we got to our car.
Uuuuuhhhhh… and so was I.
A few minutes after Clark took that picture, I found a JUNONIA! Yes, it is a little beat up and cracked but I was very thrilled! I showed it on my last post but I love that photo so much, here it is again. These were the best of our finds on Thursday…
After shelling for countless hours Thanksgiving morning, we decided it was time to pack it up. While loading up the car with all of our loot, we met this sweetheart family Linda, Eliana and Nik from Pennsylvania ready to adventure out to find their own treasures. Prepared with shelling scoops, bags and a fantastic attitude I’m sure they found all of the shells they could hope for. So nice to meet y’all!
But that’s not all folks! I know this is a long post but I have so much to catch you up on since … really…. its been a Shellaganza. I have met so many nice folks while shelling and that was just on Thursday. I want you to meet more folks that I was shelling with yesterday (Friday) at Blind Pass (Turner Beach) it was a Sit N Sift kind of day…
The shells weren’t crashing up on the beach any more but they were buried in a mound of shells. These were all found sittin’ ‘n siftin’ by Jeff and Donna from Palm Beach Gardens….
Isn’t that amazing? Jeff and Donna were sitting right here to find a CARRIER SHELL, GAUDY NATICA, SHARKS EYES, ALPHABET CONES, FLORIDA CONES, FLATS, TULIPS… and on and on. Love it!
Shelling Sistah Connie Knight was deep into the shelling zone with her cute hat and tee on :)
It was so much fun to meet her shelling family on this big pile of gems… meet Zach, Lori and Nate with Connie all visiting from Iowa
I always love to see that rich chocolate color in the LACE MUREX Nate found along with his other favorite shells…
Local shellers Bob and Sue couldn’t resist sifting through the pile looking for a few unusual shells but I think were having more fun giving OLIVES to the other shellers. :) There were so many OLIVES!
I met sweet Patti Goodwin on last month’s iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa (“Woop!” heehee) but this time I got to meet her husband Curt too. They arrived when I was about to leave so I hope y’all found some good treasures.
I saw Becky and Wade again too. They had been at the Lighthouse Beach on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) and told me it was a great day shelling there too.
Wade found this Mega True Tulip at Lighthouse Beach! Woohoo! It was a fabulous day on all of the beaches of Southwest Florida!
Since returning from Cat Island, things have been a whirl wind… literally… with the wind whipping from the north bringing such exciting shelling days for us here at home. Then preparing for the big holiday, I haven’t been able to find one extra second to clean our Caribbean shells from our vacation or much less finish telling you all about it. I’m so sorry but when local shells arrive, I want you to know about it ASAP! So if you are anywhere near SW Florida and want to do a little shelling, most of the beaches have some great shells and some really interesting BEACH BLING to explore. Once I slow down and finish up local exploring (Island Inn beach has great shells too!) , I’ll share the rest of our adventure to the Bahamas so you will have more info on other shells from around the world.
Want to shell together? Join me on the next iLoveShelling Cruise to Cayo Costa Friday December 6, 2013 at 9am!