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“Where do you find your sea glass?” This is a question we are asked all the time. Most of the sea glass used in our jewelry comes from the Abaco Islands, which are a group of family islands located in the Northern Bahamas. The Bahamas are made up of more than 700 islands and has the world’s fourth largest barrier reef system. As a result of the numerous shipwrecks that occurred off of the reefs from the days of Columbus to World War II, this area is rich in beautiful pieces of sea glass, which have been polished by the strong ocean currents. The Abacos’ extensive reef system and hundreds of uninhabited cays combine to create some of the best sea glass hunting locations in the world.
We spend the winter months living on our boat in Hope Town Harbour on Elbow Cay. One of our favorite places to go sea glassing is located about two miles north of town. Here we find good-sized pieces of glass from historic bottles that date back to the seventeenth century.
I believe sea glass finds you; you do not find the sea glass. However, you can definitely improve your chances by searching in the right areas at the right time of day. A beautiful pristine sandy beach will probably not be fruitful. I prefer to search on, what I call, a “dirty beach”. This is a beach covered with coarse sand, where there are pebbles and seaweed, along with pieces of plastic and debris that have washed ashore with the tide. In Elbow Cay we find the best time to go sea glassing is right after low tide. Once the tide starts to change, it seems to uncover the sea glass. We have to be quick so we can catch the glass before it washes out or gets buried again. We use nets to help improve our chances of catching the glass. We are always prepared to get knocked down by the waves because they can be extremely powerful. Oh yes, we also have to watch out for the Portuguese Man-of-Wars on the beach. Sea glass can be found on some of the southern beaches on Elbow Cay; however, most of the glass we find there are much smaller pieces and are usually from newer bottles
Crossing Rocks on Great Abaco Island is another favorite spot for us to explore for sea glass. This beach reminds me of Fort Bragg Beach in California because it is covered with glass. All you have to do is lean over and pick it up, and there is no getting wet or knocked down by waves. The sea glass we find here is different from the glass we find on Elbow Cay because they have originated from an old dumpsite. Most of this glass is not jewelry quality but is still excellent for other crafts.
The uninhabited cays are by far the best places to find sea glass. We use our boat to explore inaccessible islands and beaches. This is where we are most likely to find some real treasures.
If you decide to visit the Abaco Islands, you will not be disappointed because these islands have so many amazing things to offer. When planning your trip here, remember to include plenty of time in your itinerary for sea glassing.