This Seashell Kayak Tour launches out of Marco Island, Florida. Ready to pedal kayak, shell, revel in the sun, maybe go for a swim?! Let's go Shelling! We'll either go to sand flats (usually the best choice for summertime low tides) or to Kice Island (usually best in the winter months). Kice is an uninhabited island, part of the Ten Thousand Islands Wildlife Refuge! While the sand flats are just that, an expansive flat sandy terrain, usually only accessible during low tides, Kice's terrain is unique. Kice is more "dangerous" in that it is very rugged and thick with tree roots, stumps, mucky peat, and shells. Both areas contain many shell species where you are free to collect as many empty (unoccupied) shells as you can carry!
Our shelling destination will be decided based on the season, tides, time of day, and recent shelling history to ensure your shelling experience is the best it can be!
From the launch, the kayak ride to our shelling destination is usually 30 minutes, sometimes more or less depending on conditions and abilities of guests. The Hobie Kayaks in my fleet are all tandem (2-seaters) and each is a pedal boat kayak (sit-on-top model) with foot-powered propulsion.
The backwaters stay relatively calm and flat year-round - as the barrier islands protect us. Our backwater path to shelling should be calm, but at times can get rather splashy too!
Each available tour date and time is hand-picked to account for the tides, currents, and optimal shelling. It is much easier to pedal WITH the current than against it!
Tours launch from the boat ramp at Caxambas Park - 909 Collier Court, Marco Island, Florida, 34145.
The Park opens at 7am, and there is usually a line of cars waiting to get in. There is now a $10 fee to park (unless you have a Collier County resident beach sticker). Car spaces are extremely limited! All guests are strongly urged to ride-share, taxi/uber, or get dropped off at the park!
Recommendations if staying on Marco Island and in need of a ride:
CrabbyCabbie, text 239-317-8520 with pickup location and # of passengers (FREE service, tips appreciated!)
Todd Istenes, firstname.lastname@example.org, 239-384-3906
If you must drive, remember the gate automatically opens at 7am. Be sure to be in line by 6:45am during Season if you have booked my 7:30am tour. If your tour is later in the afternoon, be sure to allow extra travel time to account for traffic and finding a parking spot!
Please remember to check-in with your Guide and sign waivers fifteen (15) minutes prior to your scheduled launch time!
Please allow extra travel time during Season (November - April) as traffic to Marco Island builds during the day, and parking spots become a rare commodity!
There are restrooms at the Caxambas launch site, but no showers nor washdown stations. The restrooms close at 5pm, so for afternoon tours there are no restrooms to use once we return. There is also the Ship Store in case you need any last-minute purchases of sunscreen, sunglasses, snacks, etc.! Ship Store closes at 5pm.
WHAT TO BRING
CLOSE-TOED WATER SHOES
LONG-SLEEVE WATER SHIRT
Be sure to wear close-toed water shoes or old sneakers or rubber boots! The terrain may be rough and rugged if we're headed to Kice Island. Even if we're headed to the sand flats there are still several sharp shells and objects you don't want to step on barefooted! Kice is not your typical white sandy beachfront; it's teeming with tree roots and stumps, and sometimes slimy slippery muck! Sometimes shelling requires us to cover a lot of ground on foot, both in and out of water - make sure your shoes are broken-in and fit well to avoid rubbing and blisters! Footwear is so so important!
There's no shade from the blazing sun on the kayaks or on the island or sand flats! Be sure to bring sun protection: long-sleeve water shirt, lotion, cream, sunglasses, hats, even an umbrella to create your own shade if needed - whatever you use!
Of course, feel free to bring your own desired food and beverages.
No tools are really necessary, but you're free to bring your preferred shelling tools such as scoopers, diggers, snorkels, goggles, walking sticks, etc! I do provide hand rakes to each guests if there are any piles to dig! I also provide small plastic boxes to hold fragile finds such as sand dollars, urchins, crab carapaces, etc.
Check out a few of my fav shelling gear, tools, products, and displays listed HERE! (Not necessary to bring with you, but helpful if you want your own or to know where I got mine!)
WHAT YOUR GUIDE PROVIDES
TRAIL MIX SNACKS
SOUVENIR WATERPROOF CELL PHONE POUCH
SOUVENIR SHELLING BAG
PLASTIC BOX TO HOLD FRAGILE FINDS
SOUVENIR SHELL ID CARD
SWFL SEASHELLS STICKER SHEET
Guide provides water bottles and snacks (trail mix) for each guest, so please don't be shy! Ask for water/snacks as often as you like - the more you take, the lighter my load!
Each guest will also receive a complimentary custom-designed (by yours truly) shell bag, which we will set to work filling with seashell treasures (collecting only empty shells, of course)!
If you're lucky enough to book a tour when there are piles of shells (as opposed to smatterings), hand rakes are provided for your use in raking thru the piles.
If you love fragile beach finds (sand dollars, urchins, crab carapaces) you'll want to keep them separate from the shells which can easily break them. Bring your own plastic box to keep the fragiles safe, or ask your Guide for one!
Good idea to bring insect repellent if those pesky no-seeums love you. No-seeums can be problematic during very early morning or near-sunset evening times of day during Spring and Summer months. Guide has some spray on hand as well.
You will also receive a souvenir waterproof cell phone/keys pouch to keep them safe and dry while kayaking.
After we return from tour Guide will fetch you a Seashell ID Card and seashell sticker sheet (also designed by yours truly!) as a keepsake!