caribbean seashells of guantanamo bay cuba

Somebody pinch me! Did we really get to travel to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to collect seashells? If I’m still dreaming, I haven’t woken up because I am looking at the most beautiful Caribbean shells from Cuba I’ve ever seen and have some awesome photos that have magically appeared. But honestly, I think Clark and I just might be the luckiest souls on the planet because we received a special invitation to visit the Guantanamo Bay military base by the coolest beachcombers we’ve ever met- our sponsors Susan and Lee have lived there for over two years.

beach combing guantanamo cuba lee susan

We knew we were in another world when they took us to one of the first beaches and these were the shells we found in and around the rocks. And y’all, these weren’t in the water! They were all sitting on the beach wedged in between rocks and coarse dark sand…

caribbean seashells gtmo cuba

I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I found my first ever RETICULATED COWRIE-HELMET…

reticulated cowrie helmet seashell cuba

There were a lot of firsts for me… My first CUBAN FROG SHELL!

UPDATE: Oops! yes I found my first CUBAN FROG SHELL on this trip but this isn’t it. LOL This one is a CORRUGATED FROG SHELL or also called the GAUDY FROG SHELL. To see the CUBAN FROG … CLICK HERE

Let’s try this again…. This is my first GAUDY FROG SHELL! hahaha

cuban frog shell guantanamo cuba

Our generous host Lee knows every square inch of the beaches and told us what to look for when we arrived at each different beach.

lee hairy triton seashell guantanamo cuba

But! He was even surprised when he found a very hairy ATLANTIC HAIRY TRITON laying high on the beach in between the rocks. Boom Shellalaka!

cymatium vespaceum hairy triton guantanamo cuba

Our fabulous hostess Susan was the first to find a perfect TRITON’S TRUMPET…

triton trumpet gtmo guantanamo cuba seashell

Once Clark saw Susan’s TRITON’S TRUMPET, he was like a bloodhound after a new scent. He didn’t even have time to take off his snorkeling vest he wore from the boat to the beach… he was on the hunt. Of course! He found one and it is huuuuujah!

clark tritons trumpet shell gitmo

This is how big it is in my hand (because Clark couldnt stand still for one more minute of posing with it because he was way too focused on finding another one! hahaha)

triptons trumpet seashell collected in cuba

Right after Clark found his TRITON, I found another first… a FLAME HELMET.

pam flame helmet shell gtmo cuba

I still can’t believe what a beautiful site it was to see Clark’s shell bag…

caribbean seashells cuba gtmo

 We moved on to another beach without so many rocks but still found shells like this HAWK-WING CONCH that was half buried in packed sand.

hawk wing shell gtmo guantanamo cuba shelling

We even found a entire dried CHITON with all of its segments intact attached to a small rock…

dried chiton cuba

Truthfully, I feel so guilty showing yall all of these incredible shells we found without this being a tourist destination that you can travel to as well. So I especially feel a little funny about telling you that not only do they have great shells at GTMO…. but…. Okay, get out the drool cup y’all ….. because we even found gorgeous SEAGLASS.

collect sea glass guantanamo bay cuba

We collected handfuls of turquoise blue, green and cobalt blue SEA GLASS at a beach appropriately named Glass Beach.

seaglass of guantanamo bay cuba

Lee found several pieces of old Coca Cola bottles with “CUBA” stamped on the bottom of them. He showed me a card written by Mark Halsey, a former GTMO resident and jewelry maker who wrote…

“…Stories have it that some glass comes from pirate ships that tried to find safety just inside the bay only to fall short and sink near it’s entrance but most of the gems that wash ashore probably come from an enlisted men’s club that overlooked the bay back in the late 1800’s. Known as the ‘White Hat Club’ after headgear worn by enlisted men of that era, this club was a place where enlisted men could let off some steam after a long days work. Prior to any environmental awareness, the sailors would just toss their empty beer, wine and liquor bottles into the cove below. To this day sea glass gems of every color can be found in abundance on this beautiful stretch of beach. Whether from pirate ships to tipsy sailors, Glass Beach glitters with history and has helped Guantanamo Bay Cuba earn the nickname ‘Pearl of the Antilles‘.”

sea glass coca cola bottle cuba

 Just like any day of shelling on most beaches, we had to work for our treasures. We had to do some rock climbing…

climbing rocks for shells guantanamo cuba

We sloshed around through MANGROVE roots (where Clark found this awesome red FLAT ZIGZAG SCALLOP)…

clark shells mangrove roots guantanamo cuba

 We snorkeled for a few gems…

snorkeling for seashells cuba

And we walked…. and walked…. and walked over rocks, sand and through surf to find our gifts from the sea…

tritons trumpet seashell clark lee gtmo cuba

At the end of each day, we laid out some of our finds for a little Shell ‘N Tell. These were Lee’s besties from one day…

lee caribbean shell collection cuba

These were Susan’s shells from one day…

shell collection guantanamo bay cuba

 Clark and I co-mingled our shells (shocking, right?) for our Shell ‘N Tell show. Ahem… Although I do have to brag about finding 4 out of the 4 CARRIER SHELLS on the tray! (Ummm, but most of the CONES are Clark’s finds)

seashells of caribbean cuba

 We also got to do a little sightseeing like going to their LIGHTHOUSE Museum but I’ll spare you from the “home- movie” type stuff…

lighthouse guantanamo bay cuba

We saw jumbo IGUANAS everywhere! They are quite different from our cute little GECKOS.

iguana guantanamo bay cuba gtmo

 Our trip to Guantanamo Bay Cuba will go down as one of our best weekends EVAH because of our hosts Lee and Susan. And BTW, do they look a little familiar?  They were in Sanibel for the  SHELLABALOO 2 in May! We can’t thank you enough Lee and Susan for such an amazing time in your neck of the woods.

susan lee guantanamo bay cuba june 2013

I’m sure you have questions about the history of GUANTANAMO BAY and the U.S. Military Base so you can read this Wikipedia entry – CLICK HEREIt’s fascinating!

scenic water rock view guantanamo bay cuba

I will have some close-ups and details of some of our shells coming up in another post soon. But wait… I have one more photo for today. CYBERSHELLING – GTMO Style! Click on the image to enlarge to find SEAGLASS and minis…Because it don’t GIT-MO better than this! LOL

cyber shelling guantanamo cuba

Read PART 2 – It Doesn’t GIT-Mo Better Than This (VIDEO) … CLICK HERE