That Conch Shell on the Ship Bottom Beach Probably Didn’t Get There By Itself

By Eric England | Jul 17, 2019
Courtesy of: Rebecca Ray
Ship Bottom —

If you’re seashell hunting along a Ship Bottom beach and you come across something that might look a little too exotic for the Jersey Shore, consider it a gift from Madelynn Ray.

Madelynn’s mother, Rebecca Ray, said her family has been spending the past 25 summers on the Island visiting her in-laws in Ship Bottom.

“Recently we spent a few days on Marco Island, Fla., where my 10-year-old daughter Madelynn collected bags of beautiful seashells such as large sand dollars, conch shells, whelks and many others,” she said.

Madelynn had a plan for the shells, which she calls “reverse shelling.”

“There are so many beautiful shells in Marco,” Madelynn said. “I want to take these shells to LBI and leave them for others to find.”

Rebecca said she and daughter walk the beach every morning.

“When Madelynn sees someone looking for shells, she drops a few on the path where the person will soon walk,” she said. “She especially enjoys busy beach days where children can find them.”

“I love seeing how excited people get when they find one of my shells,” she said. “They will leave LBI a little happier because of something I did. This is my way of trying to make the world a happier place, one shell at a time.”

Her mother said the conch shells are around 3 inches across and the whelks slightly smaller.

“The sand dollars are about 3 inches across,” she said. “They’re larger than any sand dollar you might find here.”

Rebecca said one day, she and her daughter overheard a father tell his son that he found two U.S. dollars on the beach.

“Madelynn then placed a sand dollar near their blanket, and the boy was really excited,” she said. “He told his father, ‘Look, I found a sand dollar.’”

Rebecca said she has seen other shell collectors take selfies holding their newfound discoveries.

“This is my daughter’s way of brightening up someone’s day,” she said.

— Eric Englund


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