Jan 07 2011

Shell Island in Edisto Beach, SC

Shell seeking is one of the most beloved activities vacationers take part in every summer on Edisto Beach, but there’s one place on the island that is a must-see for any seashell lover.

Shell Island is the nickname given to a sandbar island just across from Jeremy’s Inlet. This area can be seen by walking down the section of the beach in front of the beach campground of the South Carolina State Park. During low tide, it seems possible to walk across the inlet and onto the island, but the currents are very strong and the tide changes quickly making it possible to get stranded on the island.

A better way to get to the island is to call Edisto native Captain Ron Elliott at (843) 869-1937. Capt. Ron will take shell seekers out on a boat and leave them on the island for about two hours. Once on the island, visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of shells scattered on the island.

Many of the shells are bleached from years of direct sunlight that shines down and whitens the sand of the island. Several shells are in excellent condition making it possible to bring home some natural souvenirs from an Edisto vacation.

Shells on the island include the butterfly-shaped Angelwings, slender Wentletraps, spiny Apple murexes, scalloped calicos and cockles, Atlantic Jacknives, Slippersnails, Surfcalms, and Wing Oysters, Banded Tulips, Whelks, Channeled Duckclams, Wentletraps, and more.

It’s also possible to find hermit crabs scuttling about over shells and in the sand, but they generally prefer to be left alone.

Other treasures on Shell Island include sharks teeth, horseshoe crab shells, sun-bleached driftwood, sand dollars, starfish, sea glass, and fossils. Loggerhead turtle nests also dot the land, but are not to be disturbed.

Although it is possible to swim in the water off Shell Island, the undertow is slightly stronger than the undertow off of front beach, so swimmers are urged to take safety measures before entering the water. It’s also likely that small sand sharks are in the water (along with dolphin, turtles, jellyfish, and a host of other sea creatures) so always be on the lookout.

No trip to Edisto is complete without a visit to Shell Island at least once to see all the hidden treasures of the area.

GETTING TO CAPTAIN RON’S: Once an appointment has been made to go to Shell Island, visitors can get to Capt. Ron’s by taking Botany Bay Road past the AME church and follow the road until it dead ends. A sign for his eco-tours will be visible from the road.

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