A mountain of shells washed in with the tide over the weekend at Blind Pass Captiva!
Picking up shells in my first fifteen minutes produced these awesome shells and bling…
Todd and his sister-in-law Amy from New York were there early Sunday morning to pick through the pile.
Theses are just a few of their faves- Shelltastic!
Loretta from Cape Coral was lucky enough to be there too…
She was looking for the other half of this JUNONIA piece…
I had no idea this pile at Blind Pass Captiva had formed on Saturday morning until I met Todd and his wife at sunset Saturday night. They told me they were there to witness the beach at Blind Pass go from only sand to that mound of shells in just a few hours…. and I missed it. Dang! But it was so much fun to talk to hear them talk about how it was just like one of my videos- heehee. It’s really hard to imagine until you see it for your very own eyes because it doesn’t happen very often. At least I was able to be there Sunday morning and to see them again on the shell mound.
While Todd and his family were at Blind Pass on Saturday, Clark and I scoped out Lighthouse Beach and Gulfside City Park.
We still had a great time meeting Nora from Cape Coral who found a bag full of great shells but her fave was this perfect ALPHABET CONE.
We found plenty of empty FIGHTING CONCHS, WHELKS and BANDED TULIPS but my fave finds were the smallest ones… a gorgeous TRUE TULIP and the prettiest little GULF OYSTER DRILL I’ve ever seen.
Well, wait a minute. My fave finds just may have been meeting Carter from Wyoming and his parents Dawn and Jason. They love shelling too!
Hopefully the Gulf Of Mexico will continue to deliver treasures to our shore in Southwest Florida this week…
But Mother Nature has a way of taking these big shell mounds back out to sea just a quickly as she washed them up.
Join us for an iLoveShelling Shelling Adventure CLICK HERE – more dates for summer shelling coming soon.
PS- If you aren’t on my email mailing list to get the new dates, sign up now by CLICKING HERE.
You wanted a video? Is that what I heard earlier this week after I posted photos of lots of living sea creatures in the low tidal pools? If so…. I’m delivering! I captured some footage of the awesome SHARKS EYE, STARFISH, SAND DOLLAR, FIGHTING CONCHS, BABYS EAR and an incredible LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL. Wherever in the world you might be, sit back and enjoy the beautiful life on the Sanibel beaches.
It’s thrilling to see a live SAND DOLLAR at low tide half buried in the sand and water, isn’t it?
It’s also thrilling to see bleached out SAND DOLLARS washing in with the tide as well, right?
But how do you know if a SAND DOLLAR is alive or not when it is isn’t bright white?
If a SAND DOLLAR is dark in color and half buried in the sand and/or water, it is most likely still alive and we should let it stay in its place in the water.
There have been times I have posted photos of SAND DOLLARS in my bucket that were grey in color. This has been a concern to folks who were worried about whether or not I collected live SAND DOLLARS. First of all, I would never collect a live SAND DOLLAR. But I completely understand the concerns from anyone who wants to make sure nobody takes a living creature out of its habitat – especially just to take it home for a souvenir.
So here’s the way to tell if it’s alive or not… Look for the CILIA and velvety skin. These are the things that keep the animal alive and on these SAND DOLLARS… they are missing so they are not alive any more. These are now just the TESTS of the animal… like the shell (although its not technically a shell).
Do you see how the edge and surface of this SAND DOLLAR looks like it has fur?
SAND DOLLARS have short SPINES covered in CILIA (tiny hairs) so it can move along the sand and grasses. Along with those “hairs” are TUBE FEET (which look like “fur” to me too – heehee) which is actually how the SAND DOLLAR breathes.
I bet now, you can look at this next photo and see that all of these baby SAND DOLLARS in Clark’s hand are alive. After I snapped this photo, he put them back in the water.
You can see it here too, right? These need to go back into the water where they belong.
So now take a look at this next photo…. is this still alive? No. Even though this SAND DOLLAR is still gray in color, there’s no possible way it could be alive since there are no SPINES nor CILIA nor TUBE FEET. It has no way to breathe or move without those things.
Julianna shows us that the SAND DOLLAR to the left of the photo is still alive and the other one on the right side of the photo has no “fur” whatsoever. She is a good steward of the earth so she put the live one safely back in the water and she gave the other “hairless” one to her mom for safekeeping.
Most days you will see sun bleached SAND DOLLARS just like this…. Hairless! Furless! Completely “Bald”! haha
So next time you see a SAND DOLLAR while walking the beach, remember to leave it alone if it’s dark and hairy but if you are unsure if it’s alive… take your time to inspect this amazing creature before you assume it’s a “keeper”. Look for any signs of hairs, fur or velvety skin.
Now you can bet your bottom DOLLAR you’ll know when to leave those sweet living SAND DOLLARS alone…
and when you can jump for joy when you find that keeper almighty DOLLAR.
PS- Most of these photos are from articles I’ve published in the past, just click on each photo to be linked to those posts.