We went to Turks and Caicos Islands on our vacation and it was a-mazing! We explored just about every beautiful inch of North Caicos and took several wild adventures to Middle Caicos and found that to be just as breathtaking.
We had lots of sunshine and warm weather for great beach combing on their awesome picturesque beaches along with plenty of clear aqua water to snorkel for hours at a time. But… best of all… we found a slew of bright, beautiful and colorful seashells! Remember I showed you a photo in my last post of a KING HELMET? Clark has always wanted to find a KING HELMET shell… and now his wish has come true! He was (is) sooooo ecstatic about his find!
Can’t you see why?
He was not going to come out of that water until he found something spectacular since he was very jealous (but very happy for me) when I showed him what I found…. an ANGULAR TRITON!
Take a look at this beauty…
I still can’t believe how many juvenile QUEEN CONCHS we found…
We found them on just about every beach we visited rolling in the surf…
Most of the empty adult QUEEN CONCHS around the islands had large cuts or holes in the spire of the shell because the locals cut the shell to get the meat out for food so it was hard to find a pretty one to bring home. John “Johnny Rescue” finally found a gorgeous QUEEN CONCH!
I’m still in awe at the glossy brilliant colors of this shell…
Jane found a nice size ANGULAR TRITON too!
It was a little gunky when she found it but it cleaned up like a dream…
We were all thrilled to find SUNRISE TELLINS and GAUDY ASAPHIS shells. The SUNRISE TELLINS are the glossy yellow, pink and white ones that have the sunbeam pattern. We found quite a few different colors of the GAUDY ASAPHIS shells (yellow, orange, purple white and ones with sunbeams as well!) so I’ll separate these shells in another post so you can see the difference. Unbelievable, right?
I have so many stories and videos to share with you from our trip but I thought I’d start you off with the most important photos… shells! And that ain’t all, folks. We found looots of other amazing shells and beach bling so I’ll try to get organized quickly so I can give you the whole run down on Turks and Caicos. To see my other posts on Turks & Caicos CLICK HERE
PS-Now that we are back and I have read all of your thoughtful comments and birthday wishes from so many of you on my last post… I am overwhelmed and humbled by your kindness. Really. Thank you so much for all of your sweet words that made this very special birthday even more special. It really was a shellebration of living life and loving Mother Nature so it’s nice to be able to share that with people that feel the same way… you. Shellers!
To see my other posts on Turks & Caicos CLICK HERE.
OH, hold on! Don’t forget… I’d love to meet you on one of the dates so click on the next image to book a day!
OMG!!! Beautiful shells!!! I want to go there – have been talking about it for a little while.
Thanks for sharing your wonderful finds!!
wow stunning – I need to got to Sanibel in January ;) have fun with shelling ;) and I´ll be back – Love from Austria ;)
Belated Hapy Birthday Pam!!!! What great booty you guys found. We have a secret spot in Aruba where you can find the Queen Conchs as well. I think that should be you and Clark’s next Caribbean adventure:-)
Oh yaya! We just might have to do that Aruba trip, Alicia & Gail!
I am so glad you and Super Sheller Clark had a wonderful time. Can’t wait to see more of your images!
OMG!!!! Now I HAVE to go to Turks and Caicos!!!! Envy!
Welcome back, Pam – what an awesome birthday prezzie!! Cannot WAIT to see the rest of the photos and hear more tales of the SooperShellingPosse! :)
T&C is my favorite place to go (getting ready for my 16th trip there)! They do have beautiful shells along with the prettiest beaches & aqua water surrounding all the Islands and Cays.
I also celebrated my big 5-0 there a couple of years ago!
Thanks for sharing your pictures! Did you see JoJo while you were there?
Judy, we must be kin! You celebrated the same way I did- love it. 16th trip? wow! JoJo? As in JoJo that just commented with that cutie saying “tales of the SooperShellingPosse”? JoJo, I might have to borrow that- heehee
Am looking forward to hearing more about your trip! JoJo is the resident dolphin that you may see while out snorkeling/boating – that is funny there is also a JoJo on here :~). I didn’t discover Sanibel until recently but it is now on my list of places I must visit each year – will be going back there in May with some family!
I never understood why people went back to the same place for vacation more than once, with all there is to see in the world…….until I went to Sanibel last February. I will be back in Sanibel next month, and I hope to make it back as many times as I can!!
Wow, what beautiful shells. Looks like a beautiful place to celebrate a birthday.
I also have a big birthday this year…same one as you Pam! I will be celebrating it partly on Sanibel Island!!
Gorgeous shells. It was wonderful to see the your bounty of your trip. Was that an albino juvenile Queen Conch?
Thanks for sharing :-)
Hope none you kept had the critter in them still
Pam, take a live specimen?! You’ve got to be kidding! I’ ve never even met her and I know she wouldn’t hurt a flea, let alone take a live shell. Thank you Pam for everything you do for all of us and a belated Happy Birthday!
I am so booking a trip!! Give us all the details about your lodging and good food.
I would love to also know your lodging sugestions and food. I love shells if Theres shells I am happy!
What a super guy Clark is to give his special ‘queen’ such a wonderful vacation. The shells, beaches and water are beautiful in your pictures. Thank you so much for sharing your birthday trip with us.
beautiful!! i have heard that shelling there is good. what kind of wildlife is there??
Maybe I can go there in March for my 5-0!!! I’ll have to start working on hubby. Do I need a passport?
I’m already working on my next post to give y’all some tips about the islands but for right now here are a few answers….
sheri, Yes. You do need a passport to get to Turks and Caicos.
Marielle, not much wildlife. We are so spoiled here on Sanibel with soooo much incredible wildlife to see, I was shocked not see anything but a few lizards, a few birds (but not many), lots of stray dogs, one cat (no, not a bobcat but a house cat). We did see fish while snorkeling and John and Jane saw a whale and her baby while out fishing. John got it on video so maybe i can get that to show it.
Markd60, ack! something in my bag stinks! I’m afraid I didnt see an occupant in one of my shells. We even cleaned all of our shells there to make sure to put back any that we missed… but peeeyeww… we missed one somewhere. I’m still going through them. I feel so badly!
Lee, I’m not convinced the conch on the top row is an albino (just sun bleached) but I do believe the smaller one on the bottom may be- it still has some shine to it and it’s still in pretty good shape like it was just a few days fresh dead.
Traci, there are 2 white sea urchins in Jane’s hand (she loves the bling too!), a limpet and I havent quite figured out if the white chunks are coral or what. It’s very brittle but soooo beautiful. The beaches were littered with it!!!
It seems a lot of you are 50 as well! I feel like I’m in good company. Life is GOOD at 50, baby!
I’d love details about the best beaches to snorkel, where you stayed, etc. Planning a trip in March!
That helmet is beautiful!! And BIG! Way to go Clark!
The Queen sheller finds lots of beautiful Queen conchs!
Okay I have to know…Pam the second to last picture, the shells/bling in someones hand with the white sea urchin…..what is that big white chunk?? Is it a big wormie cluster?? Or big chunk of coral?? And is that a limpet next to it?? Thats a big limpet if it is!!
I cant wait to hear about the rest and see the pictures!
Nice birthday presents! Stunning King Helmet and amazing Angular triton!! Looking forward to more pics and details about the trip and the islands…is it a problem bringing back shells through customs?
What a great way to spend you birthday!!! I’ve been following your blog for awhile now and we’ll be coming to Sanibel Island in April. I thought I was going to bust waiting to see where you all got to go on vacation, lol. Hope you had fun and maybe I’ll see you on the beach in April.
Happy belated birthday Pam! A “shellebration” fit for a queen….some queen conchs for the Queen of shelling! What beautiful treasures from the sea you found. Were you able to bring all of them back or are there some restrictions with Customs? Just curious.
Oh…1 more thing. Sanibel is included as one of the top 10 finalists for “America’s happiest seaside town for 2013”. Voting is taking place until 2/28/13 at the following URL for Coastal Living magazine. Perhaps the shellers can unite and Sanibel will be #1! Vote at http://www.coastalliving.com/happytowns2013
A…maz…ing! Congratulations on such stunning finds! Birthday gifts from the sea as well as a fabulous vaca! Pam, you are one fortunate and well deserving birthday woman. (I was going to say “girl” but it’s probably not pc) Once again, Happy Birthday, Pam.
Love both the King Helmet and the Angular Tritons! Let’s not forget the other beach bling as well. And to think they are all over the place there! Maybe the T & C must be on my bucket list.
Can’t wait to see what you post next.
Pam can you find lots of shells along the beaches or did you have to do more snorkeling.
Sooooo gorgeous!!! Can’t wait to hear more about it…nice job, Clark!!! :)
Thank you for sharing your vacation with us! The shells are beautiful. Happy 50th! You look amazing, I know because we actually met in person in Sanibel :) We are leaving for Krabi and Phuket in 2 weeks for what we hope to be some amazing shelling!! Looks like this island will be next February’s trip. Thanks again for your website. It is so well done and my homepage. I look forward to your posts everyday. Cheers to the next 50 years!
I went to Turks and Caicos last year and didn’t find nearly any of the shells you did!! I ended up buying them – I cheated. Which side of he island where you on? The people on T&C are wonderful and I would love to return some day. Does Clark have a single brother you can hook me up with???? What a great guy. He gets extra bonus points for this trip.
What a dream vacation and look at those shells – so amazing. I can’t wait to hear and see more.
Hi Pam! I was wondering how you know the names of all the seashells you find. Is there a certain reference you go to? I am really interested in learning more names of seashells, can you help me?
Always have wondered what the shelling was like there….a little boy from my class a few years ago gave me a Queen Conch after vacationing there…thanks for telling us all about it! Happy Birthday to you, Pam…..looks like your birthday was amazing!
Happy 50th Pam! What beautiful shells and beautiful place. Hubby and I have both of our 50th’s and our 25th anniversary in the same year coming up ( ok a few years yet) but never hurt to plan ahead. Do you recommend T&C? We like the beach, shells, snorkeling and relaxing! Maybe a little adventure too. Keep the photos coming!
Great finds Pam,! We have been in sanibel the past several and found lots of beautiful treasures. But, we missed your daily updates! we went to Bowman’s and Plind Pass, but seemed to find the most treasure along the beach near the West Wind. As usual, I need just one more day to shell! Sadly, reality calls tomorrow and we must head home. Can’t wait to see what else you found in the T and C!
Beautiful, beautiful shells!! So glad you found so many treasures. When we talked last summer, you mentioned Eleuthera in the Bahamas. Think you made a wise choice by going to the Turks and Caicos. I love the helmet shells and have only found them in the Bahamas and they weren’t nearly as large nor as beautiful as the ones you found. The Tritons are exquisite.
Wow, so lucky to find empty shells. I found beautiful Tritons in Tortola but all alive so had to settle with the Conch pile on Anegada.
The Helmet is beyond words beautiful!!!!
What a wonderful birthday.
What wonderful shells! thanks for sharing your vaca with all of us. How about a post on your experiences in bringing shells back into the states?
Or let’s talk about it sometime. I had some fun bringing some in from the BVI a couple years ago…
Wow!! Everything is sooooooo beautiful…..am loving those shells…….can look at these posts all day long!! And most likely will take several “breaks” throughout the day to look at them again.
I am in awe like everyone else! What beauty in nature! Thank you for sharing!
I’m convinced the prettiest part of the world is under water. My favorite spot is Kahaluu on the Big Island – the fish will eat right out of your hand. But no shells there – just lots of other pretty things. Wow -may have to put these little islands on my BUCKET LIST! Congrats…and again, happy BD Johnnie
HAPPY HAPPY 50TH PAM. WHAT A WONDERFUL TRIP YOU TOOK! I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT MY SPECIAL CELEBRATION FOR 50 WAS IN SANIBEL!! I HAVE LOVED COMING BACK EVER SINCE.
We stayed at Coral Gardens on Grace Bay. The reef
For snorkeling was right off the beach. It was
Roped off around the reef to prevent damage.
We saw a wonderful variety of fish, octopus,
Turtles but not many shells. Please share your secret
To help Pam out while she is going through vacation withdrawal:
Turks & Caicos is known for its beautiful beaches surrounded by beautiful clear aqua water – it is all about the beach and water activities there. It is one of the few countries where it is legal to bring back Queen Conch shells to the US. I believe you are allowed to bring back 3 large queen conch shells (not sure if there is a limit on other shells or small conch shells). You are not allowed to take any shells from the waters in the National Parks – Grace Bay in Providenciales (aka Provo) is a National Park. A lot of the Islands are protected so a snorkeling/beach excursion would be best to get to an area of shelling. There are several places around the Cays and other T&C Islands where you can find good shells. Here is a link to protected areas: http://www.environment.tc/
All beaches in T&C are public. There are several access roads to the beaches and parking is free. The beaches are never crowded. As for wildlife, you will see pelicans, osprey, herons, lizards, flamingos (in just a couple of areas), iguanas (take an excursion to see), and donkeys & cows (on Grand Turk and Salt Cay). There is great snorkeling and diving to see the underwater world. Whales may be seen between Jan – March, dolphins (on snorkeling or diving excursions) and JoJo who is a well known dolphin that hangs around Grace Bay/Pine Cay area that you may see while swimming or on an excursion.
Provo is the Island where most people stay. It has plenty of villas and condos along with good restaurants and supermarkets and many water excursions to choose from. If it is your first trip and are staying on Provo, I would recommend staying somewhere along Grace Bay Beach. If you want a more off the beaten path place to stay, you can get to North and Middle Caicos by ferry (a lot of people take a day trip there). There are not as many lodging choices or food availability over there so it is great for a low-key vacation. You can also fly from Provo to Grand Turk or Salt Cay. The cruise ships stop at Grand Turk but most cruisers stay at the cruise center beach/pool/shops so you really don’t notice them in town like you would at Grand Cayman or Cozumel. Salt Cay is a great place to stay especially during whale migration (mid January – March). No more than 70 people live there and you will have the beach to yourself. They have started up a ferry service to South Caicos – not many facilities there yet. Cays with a place to stay are Parrot Cay and Pine Cay.
Looking forward to hearing more about Pam’s adventures there!
Thanks for all the great info about the TCIs! Provo is so beautiful but we didnt find shells there. Instead we found them on North and Middle Caicos which is much more “rustic”. I’m making up a map to show our shelling holes but it may take a few days. I’m working on a post right now to show the other shells while I map our route.
Thanx for all the great info. While Pam continues to put together more great posts and getting caught up with life in general, I’ll ask you some questions if you dont mind.
If staying in provo which I think as a first time visit we probably would, would we need a car to get to north or middle island area’s? Is renting a car a preplan thing to do and reserve or wait til you get there?
Looks like an awesome trip, we have been considering for this spring, I did not know about getting to middle caicos can you rent a car from the airport or is it not drivable?? Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated!
Hi Pam and Happy Happy Birthday!!!
The 50’s are awesome and you started out extra special.
These pictures are beautiful. Thank you for sharing, I’m living through your adventures. My lifelong dream has always been to go to China but your website has changed my mind. I just wish I could hire you to be my tour guide and travel agent.
I wanted to come to FL this spring and shell while my husband went to Spring training games. I think I will wait another year and really plan this trip. I’ll miss your adventure but have one planned for next year or possible this fall.
So instead of Florida in the spring I’ll return to Ocracoke, NC.
Blessing to you and all the other shellers that share this site.
SERIOUS SHELL ENVY!!!!!!!
Do you ever take a group to shell in the carribean? I’d love to go!
did you ever post a map of your shelling holes? thanks