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…
WOO HOO!!! A new shellaboratory and a kewl trip to the Bahamas! Can’t wait to see what you found!!
It never ceases to amaze me that you can just jump in the water or walk on a beach and find these treasures there for the taking! I’d love to do that someday. Thanks for sharing your exshellent adventure with us, Pam!
Can you give me details on how you did the trip to cat Islam again.where u stayed etc. Any imfo. Possible would be so great. Thank you. Is that the best shelling spot you have found in the Bahamas ? Thank you gale
Gale, I have a couple of posts on Cat Island – here is one… http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/2013/12/04/look-what-the-cat-island-dragged-in/
PS- If you see a word highlighted and bolded (as in this post where I refer to Cat Island) I provide links that will give you more information on that subject. Another example- if you want more info on Turks and Caicos, you will see that I highlighted and bolded on this post too- if you click on those words in the paragraph, it will take you to more information on theses islands as well.
Wow – can’t wait to see your loot! We’re planning a trip to Abaco in the spring so I’d love to see your map of the places you stopped and the treasures you found!!
Looks like you had a wonderful time. Will look forward to seeing the rest of your shelling finds.
Wow, those shells are amazing! What a trip you must have had. Hubby & I were at Lido Beach in Sarasota last week and I brought home a lot of shells. I was excited to find my first Tulip!! I must get to unpacking everything tho to make sure it survived the trip back to ND……
WOW! Looks like you had a lot of SUPER Fun, Friends and Shelling!!! Beautiful weather and water! WOW!!!!!!!
Really???? The Queen Conch in the last image was a beach find???? I thought it was a staged shot with the Queen as a prop that you bought in a shell shop!!!!!
As for which shells came from which location, my hubby’s new camera has a GPS device that gives the exact location for each image! Here’s hoping yours has it, too, and you just haven’t had time to read the manual to learn that you’ve got it.
Kate, I know can you believe it? Every beach we combed had queen conchs thrown up on the shore- so yes, this was a beach find but we left this one where I found it. All of them have been “cracked” by the locals for the fresh meat to eat. Conch is a huge food source for the Bahamians so on the other side of this queen, it looks like a slice was taken out of the shell… thats where they crack it to get the meat. I never keep my gps on for my phone or camera since i take so many photos Im always worried about battery time. You might be right though- it would be a good idea on vacation!
Yes, the locals make a cut on the spire of the shell of he queen conch, usually using a machete. That cut through the shell is done in order to sever the big muscle that the snail uses to retract its soft parts into the shell. Once that muscle is cut, then all of the soft parts of the snail more or less just slide out.
Wow! What a fabulous trip!
I think that I see some of the Eswing/ Rock Hound shelling “claws” in the group picture….;-))
Yes Steve- Ha! Dick and Mary have been shelling with those claws for years! They boxed them up and took them on the plane because they are so used to having them on the beach. Silver Airlines didn’t mind a bit. They both swear by them and wouldn’t use anything else. :) I’ll have to show you what “scoop” Clark took since the backhoes were too bulky…. you won’t believe it but he took a lacrosse stick – he loved it. hahahah
wow another great shelling experience that got you two some super shells I should be so lucky,anyway great job see you both soon sincerely r.g.stein
Oh, those beautiful conchs! Can’t wait to see more!
Hi Pam – what a wonderful trip you had and what beatiful photos. Friends and I were discussing the proper pronounciation of “conch”. Is it “conk” (as someone told me long ago) or do you pronounce the “ch” at the end?
It seems to me that the British say conch with a soft “ch” at the end, but in the US most people seem to pronounce it “conk”.
HI Bonnie, we always pronounce it as “conk” and everywhere we have ever traveled (especially the Bahamas and the Keys) that had conchs in their waters and beaches (like queen conchs, milk conchs, fighting conchs etc) have always called them “conks”…. so IMHO, I would stick with “conk”. :)
Wow..awesome..would love to visit for sure! We have found some great shells on west gulf the past two weeks. I found a perfect 11 inch conch shell on the rack line in th sea squirts and no one was at home! I could not even believe it…I was sooo excited. Many shell piles loaded with some exciting finds.
Katie We just arrived on Sanibel Sat. afternoon We have not found a thing. A few live shells that we left alone, thousands of bubbles in neck deep water all alive and sand dollars covering the ocean floor to the point I started to do the doggie paddle so not to smash them. My shell bag has 11 shells in it. You said you found these shells on the West Gulf, we talked to other shellers yesterday and they said in the past 20 years coming to Sanibel that the past two weeks have been one of the worst times for shelling. WHERE are you finding these treasures? Would love to find a few special shells to take home. Thanks Katie
Winds have not been the best this summer for sure for shelling. West end has been better. Most of the West Gulf beachs require resident parking stickers..however not a problem..park at the public beach at Tarpon and West Gulf and walk to the right! We go to beach acess 1 which Is just west of Rabbit Road. When we go we turn left toward the public beach! Did not go today but there were shell mounds yesterday. Not as awesome as normal but did get some nice shells. We are going to Bowman tomorrow…have not been there lately but since it is west want to check it out. It is a public beach! Good luck!
I am waiting to see the coolest smallest shells you found Pam!
W.O.W. Pam!!! Awesome…glad y’all had so much fun !!
Clark!!! King helmet!!!
Wow how very licky are you ! I have been wanting to go to turks and Carios for quite some time , flew over it when going to the Dominican Republic . Beautiful waters and Beaches there to, but I found no shells there
I am so ready for the Beach ,Ocean , just Sanibel will be okay with me
I am so SHELLOUS!!
love those gorgeous pink conchs!
You go on the best trips!
That had to be one of your favorite trips. Beautiful shells.
We are going to Bahamas, Great Exuma island in January next year, excited to find some King Helmet as well. I see your husband Clark is very good snorkeler, as he finds the King Helmet all the time. I saw the picture of him with one in Turks and Caicos and now one in Abacos! Do you think Exuma would be nice spot to snorkel for them? What was the habitat he found it in? I have read they feed on sea urchins and usually dwell around turtle grass or sand bottom in shallow depths. Any tips are welcomed however I have heard Great Exuma is not really good spot for shelling, not sure why.
Hi Pam, I was looking to take a trip to the Abacos landing in Marsh Harbour. I was wondering how you packed your shells in the luggage and didn’t get confiscated at customs. On other websites I couldn’t find much info on bringing shells back into the U.S.
Hi Aimee, you can bring back most empty shells other than queen conchs- they are a protected species so the last time I checked, you could still bring back only 2 queen conch shells. All other shells are ok to bring back. There are some restrictions on bringing back coral but honestly, I’m confused on which ones. Here is one of many posts Ive written on packing shells to bring home from a trip… http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/2015/02/17/how-to-pack-fragile-sea-urchins-and-shells-in-your-luggage/