Scotch bonnets, conchs, and whelks, oh my!

By Meghan Overdeep
September 28, 2020
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Shellers, set your course for the Outer Banks!

The beaches of the barrier islands are reportedly blanketed in seashells thanks to a perfect combination of storm winds, massive waves, and lunar tides.

Cape Lookout National Seashore shared a photo on Facebook Friday showing a sprawling shell patch featuring sea treasures of all shapes, colors, and sizes left by Hurricane Teddy.

“Did someone say they were looking for shells?” the park wrote alongside the impressive pic (below). “This shell patch brought to you by Hurricane Teddy's storm swells, the strong Northeast wind and the astronomical high tides brought on by the new moon.”

One commenter shared that her daughter found more than 30 full size conch shells, all intact, over the weekend.

A unique combination of colliding currents, shifting sands, and marine life trapped in the Gulf Stream makes the Outer Banks a shell hunter’s paradise, with conditions made even more bountiful by the passing of hurricanes and nor'easters. OuterBanks.com recommends shelling at least one day after a storm has passed, “when the ocean waves have calmed down, and buckets of shells have had an opportunity to wash up on the beaches in huge piles, just waiting for an intrepid shell hunter to root through and dig out the best pieces.”

While Hurricane Teddy never made landfall in the U.S., its tropical-storm force winds generated massive waves compounded by the seasonal arrival of “King Tides.”

Happy shelling, y’all!