Orange County, California
January 28, 2001
Along the little island coast road, we stopped at a jungle restaurant on a cliff, a couple of tourist palapa bars on the beach, for cervezas and nachos (the best!), and, every now and then, we stopped at some remote beach to shell shop.
It was great and I found one of those huge conch shells with spines, like 10 inches long. It was white on the outside and a beautiful, shiny pink on the inside. It made all my other finds, of which there were many, pale by comparison. It was just sitting there by the water's edge, like it had just been washed ashore. Lucky me, as I found I was competing with the island's locals who scan the beaches daily collecting shells to sell to, you guessed it, tourists! Why would anyone buy a shell in a store instead of enjoying such a fun day and being able to find the treasure themselves?
Maybe its because they think only divers can get these shells. Yes, we divers can get them, except they are such a pain when found underwater! They aren't rubbed clean and shiny by the surf, so that has to be done later, manually. And, there is usually some little guy living in it, leaving some remnants behind, even if you boil him and pull him out and (watch somebody else) eat him. I have shells I've found underwater that still stink, even with boiling them in vinegar and then setting them out in the sun for years!
Anyway, I love my giant shell which, to reiterate, I found myself, and would recommend shell shopping in Cozumel very much.
From journal Diving and Shell Collecting in Cozumel