Treasure Seekers Shell Tours – Review

Growing up in Brazil and having gone to the beach as a young boy many times, I do not ever recall “shelling” with my family.  After moving to Boston, my trips to the beaches were limited to a couple times in the summer and again, I do not remember even seeing shells in the beaches of New England.  When I moved down to Southwest Florida, I started appreciating the times my family and I visited the beaches and there was a good number of pretty shells.  My kids would pick a handful of them, and we would bring them home and store them in a shell bucket in the garage, where they would live happily ever after.

Having been here in SWFL for a while, I heard of ‘shelling trips’ where you would go with a group to different beaches around the area to collect shells.  I have always seen people share about their trips and all the beautiful shells they found on their trip, but I did not fully understand what the buzz was all about.  So I decided I was going to find out and booked a family shelling trip with Treasure Seekers Shell Tours this past weekend.  It was very easy to book on their website, with different tour options and a paperless transaction.

Our family talked about this trip all week leading up to this past Saturday.  Upon arriving in Goodland (next to Marco Island) to start our journey, we were met by owner David, who helped us with parking and introduced us to our Shell Guide, Hannah.  Hannah walked us over to our boat, where our Captain Matt was waiting for us.

Our captain told us it would take about 15-20 minutes to get to Shell Island, where we would spend the next three hours shelling.  As we moved away from the dock, Hannah, our Shell Guide, took out a box full of shells, explaining that those would be some of the ones we would find at Shell Island.  She named every single one of them, explained how rare some of them were and shared the best way to find them to prepare us for our journey and off to Shell Island we went!

On the way to the island, we encountered some dolphins, and the captain slowed down so that we could see them closely and within 15 minutes we were at Shell Island.  Now, I must confess, I was not sure how my 4- and 8-year-old kids would be in the scorching sun for the next 3 hours on a deserted island full of shells and nothing else.  My wife and I were bracing ourselves for a lot of complaints and requests to go home.

As we were about to hop off the boat, a pretty large grouper swam right next to our boat and got everyone excited and this seemed to be a good sign for what is to come.  I had seen some pictures of the previous visitors with some humongous shells the day before, so I had that in mind, while the rest of the family were looking for the rare shells.

Off to explore Shell Island we go, and our amazing Shell Guide, Hannah, comes along to help us find the best shells we can.  The kids get right into it and start collecting them and asking Hannah what were the types of shells they had just picked up.  She graciously explains to them each time and helps us find some good-looking shells.  She was so incredibly patient with them and definitely was key to them enjoying the trip.

Suddenly, Captain Matt comes along and tells us there are rumors of a dead shark on the beach and he goes on a quest to find this shark.  He had heard it was a 4-5 feet long Lemon Shark that may have been trapped in the lagoon that was formed inland.  We catch up with the captain and low and behold, we come across the dead shark.  He shared that it looked like a Black tip shark and was about 4-5 feet long.  Hannah and Matt explained that Shell Island changed a lot of its landscape with Hurricane Ian, raising the shells about 3 to 4 feet.  The island also had inlets which allowed water to flow in and out, but the Hurricane closed some and this may have been what happened to this shark.  It may have gotten trapped in this lake and eventually could not find food and died.  Florida Wildlife and Conservation was called to investigate the shark situation further.

We continued our shelling journey heading to the Northwest part of the island where, according to Hannah, we would find larger shells, as the last few days the wind was blowing from the North and this would push the water and subsequently shells to this area.  And Hannah was absolutely right!  Once we got to the Northwest part of the island, I found very large shells (most were alive, so I could not take them) but it was impressive to see them!  We continued our excursion and before we knew it, we had been on the island for 3 hours and it was time to return!  We hopped in the boat, and Captain Matt had collected some more rare shells for us, and we made the journey back to the dock.  They offered water and iced tea throughout the trip and our shell guide took so many great pictures of our family, which was a bonus as well.

What an amazing trip!  What my wife and I thought would be a complaint fest from the kids, turned out to be a fun and exciting trip where they were so into collecting the shells and learning all about nature.  I finally understand what all the shelling buzz is all about now and must confess I could have stayed another 3 hours or gone back the next day to find more shells!  It is just such a fun time!

I am very glad to have chosen Treasure Seeker Shell Tours as the company to help us with our exploring adventure.  From the easy booking to the reception upon arriving in the park, to the knowledgeable captain that searched every opportunity to show us a fantastic time, to our amazing shell guide, who patiently answered our questions and led us on the right path, we could not have asked for a better experience.

Our family highly recommends you do a shelling trip– you will love the experience.  Be sure to reach out to Treasure Seekers Shell Tours!  They will ensure, just as they did with my family, that you will have the best experience possible!

Felipe Approved (👍) and the entire Pereira family approves and recommends Treasure Seeker Shell Tours!

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Felipe Pereira
Author: Felipe Pereira

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