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Collecting Sand or Shells as Souvenirs

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More localities are banning this activity.  Do you bring back sand or shells collected on a beach?  Do you know if there are any local laws against this in the ports you are visiting?

 

I know shell collecting is still encouraged here in SW FL, particularly on Sanibel Island.  But bad karma (and a possible fine) can occur if you do the same in Hawaii.

 

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other/why-its-illegal-to-take-sand-from-some-beaches/ar-AAG56SM?li=BBnbcA1

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I don't know about the laws, but my sons collected shells and sand during our last cruise.  The oldest brought along little corked vials that he got on Amazon and collected sand from each beach we visited.  He didn't have any trouble taking them home through the airports.

 

The teenager collected loads of shells and had them in a cloth bag.  He also collected an entire water bottle full of black sand from the St. Kitts black sand beach. That got us stopped in security at the airport! It looked like gunpowder! LOL.  The security guard took the bottle, but he let me take a small medicine bottle amount of the sand.  I have two vials of sand from that trip, one with white sand from Barbados and one with black sand from St. Kitts.

 

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Posted (edited)

DH found a wonderful very dead "sea biscuit" on our first cruise in the Bahamas.  We brought it back, apparently if nothing is living in it, you can keep the shell.

 

We have it on a shelf along with our Ships on a stick, to remind us of why we love the ocean and cruising so much.  However we have cruised and snorkeled on each cruise (except for Alaska) on said cruises for more than 9 years, and  never have found anything, shell or "sea biscuit" since then.

Edited by marshhawk

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We have seen others stopped in security line to get on this ship.  They had to give up shells that they were bringing back.  We certainly haven't seen this on every cruise, but we have seen it more than once.

Speaking of Karma, a 20 something lady was in line to board at Grand Turk, realized she had forgotten her S&S card and had to go back to where her friends were still hanging out.  She cut in front of several of us in line, saying that she had already waited once and shouldn't have to wait again.  Her backpack was obviously very heavy, so none of us said anything.  Why ruin a good day with an argument that really doesn't amount to much?  When she went through security, they made her unload her backpack and confiscated all the double fist size white rocks she was taking back home.  😆  

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Was on the Magic last week.  At Grand Turk we had a cove balcony right between the two gangways.  Right before they removed the gangways when they were leaving, first from the rear gangway they brought out a large blanket of confiscated shells and sand and dumped it on the dock.  It had maybe 20 shells from small sizes all the way up to the conch shells.  Then from the front gangway they brought a much larger blanket full of the same thing including some bottles that were filled with sand.

 

They actually were joking about how much was confiscated.  One of the workers from the ship picked up one of the shells and you could tell he wanted it himself, but one of the officers saw him and told him to put it down.

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Posted (edited)

I don't have a need to know where there are rules and regulations about such things.  I was always taught that when it comes to visiting places of natural beauty, it's best to try to leave things as I found them, and take away memories and pictures.  

Edited by naxer
clarity

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I used to save sand, but I find that the pictures are more valuable to me now than the physical sand. It was a cool novelty for a little while.

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I don't have time to read the postings of others, but I have never had to leave any of my shells/rocks when I got on the ship.  I didn't try to hide them, but they were in the bottom of my beach bag, if they wanted to find them.  It may just depend upon what ship (I have been on many), or the security people that are on duty at that time.  Even when I went through customs (I did have these packed away in my luggage that would go under the plane, not my carry-on), I never had any problems.

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Carnival's official policy from their FAQ's states:

  • Seashells may be brought on board if they appear to be clean and sanitized and do not have the odor of a living organism

Oftentimes, I think it's going to depend on the people working security that day when you get back on the ship. That and different countries sometimes have their own set of laws about it. We've brought a few small ones home. I don't really bother unless I think it's unique & cool looking.

 

Grand Turk has a conch "graveyard" near the south end of the island. It's where the restaurants discard the shells after harvesting the conch. You can tell because each one has a hole drilled into the shell from where they pulled the conch. Most of them are broken or in pieces, but I've seen some full ones. Some people say they were allowed to take them onboard, others said they were confiscated.

 

2 hours ago, keywest1 said:

When she went through security, they made her unload her backpack and confiscated all the double fist size white rocks she was taking back home.  😆  

 

We used to grab what we thought was a cool looking rock when on our land-based vacations. Maybe from a hike, hiking up a mountain, in a cave (not the ones you pay to take a tour of), etc. But it didn't take long before we'd forget where each rock came from and that kind of defeated the purpose of being a keepsake from each place. So we don't bother anymore.

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It's actually illegal in many places to take sand, and even shells, from the beach. You can be fined or jailed. And you are harming the beaches. Even if you only take a little, if everyone did that how much sand would that be. Don't do it.

 

http://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/news/why-its-illegal-to-take-sand-from-some-beaches/ar-AAG56SM?li=BBnbklE

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We're frequently at the Outer Banks, NC where lots of folks collect sea glass.  This May, we took our first trip to Grand Turk and on the way back from Jack's Shack, we were walking along the water line and I saw a bright green object and stopped!  It was sea glass!!  We got all excited and started picking up piece after piece.  I joked with hubby that folks were looking at us, thinking "Why are those people so happy to be picking up trash?"  😃  

 

We don't pick up sand or shells, but honestly, this was just cleaning up the beach!😎

glass GT.jpg

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Posted (edited)

We bought a large conch shell from someone on the dock in Nassau.  We were able to walk right on board, no questions asked.

Edited by Butterbean1000

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My youngest daughter always collects shells in at least one port and thats 11 cruises for her. During that time we've never had anything taken away or said to us.. 

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57 minutes ago, obx_fintoo said:

We're frequently at the Outer Banks, NC where lots of folks collect sea glass.  This May, we took our first trip to Grand Turk and on the way back from Jack's Shack, we were walking along the water line and I saw a bright green object and stopped!  It was sea glass!!  We got all excited and started picking up piece after piece.  I joked with hubby that folks were looking at us, thinking "Why are those people so happy to be picking up trash?"  😃  

 

We don't pick up sand or shells, but honestly, this was just cleaning up the beach!😎

glass GT.jpg

Isn't "sea glass" just trash tossed into the water and worn down?  It isn't natural to the ocean.

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To bring a bit of humor to this thread, I hope.

 

I grew up and live in Florida near the coast, where taking sand, shells, or shark teeth from the beach is not illegal. Over the years, there were a bunch of shells and shark teeth gathered.  Over the years many of these were discarded.  However, first my mom passed then my dad. 

 

In our family home there was a very large jar of shells collected from the local beaches.  I couldn't bring myself to simply throw them in the garbage.  So I drove to a local beach access point and deposited the shells in the sand.  My wife and sister kidded me about "setting the shells free".

 

I thought it was the right thing to do.

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Posted (edited)

We take the easy route out.  We buy those little bottles filled with sand and sea shells with the name of the island on them.  They are displayed on a shelf in the family room.  Granted, the sand and sea shells probably come from Indonesia but they are remembrances from the islands.  We also have a few Christmas ornaments that are clear glass with sand and sea shells in them with the island name on them.  If I remember right, we also have a sand dollar Christmas ornament with St. Thomas painted on it. 

Edited by RWolver672

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18 hours ago, naxer said:

I don't have a need to know where there are rules and regulations about such things.  I was always taught that when it comes to visiting places of natural beauty, it's best to try to leave things as I found them, and take away memories and pictures.  

“Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories.”

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15 hours ago, Elaine5715 said:

Isn't "sea glass" just trash tossed into the water and worn down?  It isn't natural to the ocean.

Yes, which is why I don't have a problem taking it with me.

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I've always taken just a few shells in a zip lock sandwich baggie and never had an issue getting them back on the ship, but I've heard Carnival started confiscating shells sometime after our last cruise (in 2015), so it just won't be worth the risk next time we cruise.  I started collecting a little bit of sand from each port as well, just a few tablespoons that fit in little tiny jars.  I try to research before any trip to find whether it's legal or not.  I'm pretty sure the US Virgin Islands does not allow the collecting of sea shells/sand (maybe someone can confirm) and I've also seen that the part of Cozumel that is within their national park (southern half) does not allow it.  Most national parks/marine reserves do not allow the removal of anything.  I think I saw recently that most of Grand Turk is within a marine reserve or protected area. 

 

As for Hawaii sand, just not worth it.  Pretty as it is, it brings some bad juju.  We were there for two weeks almost 2 years ago and I found out a few weeks before our trip that sand can bring the bad luck.  I already knew about the lava.  I also have a friend who collects sand/shells who I've collected for and she does the same for me.  I let her know what I saw about the Hawaii sand and that I wasn't planning on bringing any back.  She told me she already knew about it & didn't want any of the bad mojo that comes with it.  Long story short, I didn't purposely take any sand from Hawaii but it sure found it's way back with us.  Most of it came from one beach in Maui and even though we rinsed, cleaned off our shoes/clothes, it was still everywhere.  Two days after that and two days before we were to fly home, I got the dreaded news from home that one of our beloved cats passed away.  This was sudden/very unexpected and I was heart broken.  He had just turned 4 years old the month before.  He had a history of abuse (was tossed from a car into traffic), was very fearful of humans and it took him a few days to trust us when we adopted him and another kitten and he became like a dog to me, my shadow...so he was special to me.  Once we got home, I found that sand in our suitcases, shoes, swimsuits, and it got in our washer and dryer from doing laundry.  I saved what I could, about a tablespoon, and put it in a little jar, just in case.  The following May some scary things started happening with my hubby and just bad luck in general and it just started snowballing.  I'm really not superstitious, one of the cats we still have is a black cat and the one who died while we were in HI was a black cat but that sand had to go back.  I sent that sand home to Hawaii, along with a letter where I found it, and a donation to Haleakala National Park (that's where we were when our cat died).  Things started looking better after that.  Could have been a coincidence, but I wasn't willing to risk it. 

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1 hour ago, obx_fintoo said:

Yes, which is why I don't have a problem taking it with me.

I agree, I just don't see why some folks think it is valuable..  

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We love to snorkel and our last trip in Cozumel I found an extremely old and worn Conch shell.
Pitted, horn tips broken, several holes, color completely bleached away.
But we thought it was neat because we had found it.
A friend who has a little gift stand there had also given my daughter a conch shell that was shined and prettied up.
Going through security to get back on the ship, they let her keep the clean one but confiscated the old broken one because it did not look as though it had been cleaned and sanitized.

They did let her take a few smaller shells and pebbles she found on the beach.

Ours also wasn't the only shell in the pile, either.
Wasn't embarrassing or anything, but still won't do that in the future.

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I have not read all the postings, but someone said the sometimes "forget" where they picked up their shell or rock.  For me, not always, but I "try??" to remember where I got it, and take a black marker and put the date/place, if possible where I got it.  In my living room, which is really off bounds for most people, on my carpet I have a very large circle of shells, etc. that I have brought from all over, as they are MY reminders, as well as many pictures. 🙂

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22 hours ago, Organized Chaos said:

Carnival's official policy from their FAQ's states:

  • Seashells may be brought on board if they appear to be clean and sanitized and do not have the odor of a living organism

Oftentimes, I think it's going to depend on the people working security that day when you get back on the ship. That and different countries sometimes have their own set of laws about it. We've brought a few small ones home. I don't really bother unless I think it's unique & cool looking.

 

Grand Turk has a conch "graveyard" near the south end of the island. It's where the restaurants discard the shells after harvesting the conch. You can tell because each one has a hole drilled into the shell from where they pulled the conch. Most of them are broken or in pieces, but I've seen some full ones. Some people say they were allowed to take them onboard, others said they were confiscated.

 

 

We used to grab what we thought was a cool looking rock when on our land-based vacations. Maybe from a hike, hiking up a mountain, in a cave (not the ones you pay to take a tour of), etc. But it didn't take long before we'd forget where each rock came from and that kind of defeated the purpose of being a keepsake from each place. So we don't bother anymore.

 

 

I had no idea that is how those shells got there!  Thought it was some weird current thing. Still was cool to find it. 

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