Life on a tropical island is magical. Our skies change from blue to pink to orange to grey any given moment bringing rain showers to cool off from the heat of the day which produce rainbows and picturesque reflections.
On my beach walk at low tide just before yet another stunning sunset, I found a few treasures on the gulf side near Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach.
Milt and Jenna from New York found about the same sweet little minis I found walking toward the lighthouse.
After making a turn around the tip of the island heading towards the fishing pier, we saw lots and lots of people.
If you were lucky like Bryce from Kansas, you could find TULIPS and WHELKS half buried around those old concrete slabs. (For the history of those slabs CLICK HERE)
Hmmm…. I don’t think Bryce was the only lucky one. I’m sure everybody who sees beauty like this feels very lucky.
Join me on a Shelling Adventure! For me information and dates CLICK HERE
The teeny tiny SAND DIMES are back at Gulfside City Park!
Yahoo! There’s gold in them that SEAWEED hills. I found these sweet little white SAND DOLLARS high on the dry beach mixed in with the wrack line dry SEA WEEDS…. so far from the water. Dollar days are back.
I just followed the wrack line to find the money trail.
I walked down to the water’s edge to find hundreds of live SAND DOLLARS washed up in the low tide.
As the tide turned and the water started covering them up, all of the live ones all along the tidal line dug themselves back into the sand where they will hopefully grow into adult SAND DOLLARS.
Mother Nature had other plans for this fist full of dollars. She was giving out SAND DIMES by the dozen in the high dry wrack.
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.
Oh, and I took a short video of a cutie little juvie LIVE SAND DOLLAR to show you how they move those little hairs around. I hope this helps![youtube]https://youtu.be/enozi-3lWZg[/youtube]
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.
I always flip flop when I try to decide which I like better… SAND DOLLARS or ANGEL WING shells.
Some of the lucky shellers on our iLoveShelling Shelling Adventure with Sight Sea-R Cruises found both!
They were mixed in with WORM SHELLS and double SUNRAY VENUS shells too.
Loved hanging out with Shannon and Mark from Minnesota. The were happy to find their first ANGEL WINGS…
Lookie at these cutie shellooties Ellen, Paige, Melissa and Gail from Oregon all dressed up in their iLS gear. Love these shelling sisters!
It so much fun to see so many familiar faces like cutie Mary. She was finding lots of perfectly dried HORSESHOE CRABS and WORM SHELLS.
Awwww and Michelle had her FLAT SCALLOP necklace on again to bring back lots of fun memories. She brought her sister Patti this time too so it was so much fun to hear their shelling stories together.
Michelle found a nice ALPHABET CONE to go along with her ANGEL WINGS and other BEACH BLING.
I met another set of sisters Lyn and Lucy from Iowa at my Shellography Photography opening earlier in the week so it was so good to see them again.
Lyn loves the minis too so these were her faves. This was the first time that I’ve seen anybody find a MORTON’S EGG COCKLE (bottom left of the ROSE PETAL TELLIN) on Big Hickory Island. Hmmmmm…. I know what I’ll be looking for next time I’m there!
Gary and Pam (Hi Pam!) found their first ANGEL WINGS too.
Along with Kathy and Bob from Mayaka, Florida…
Who’s cute flip flops were those in the first photo? They were Linda’s! She and Jay from Cape Coral found those SAND DOLLARS, ANGEL WINGS and that big LIGHTNING WHELK in the high tide wrack line.
Since Linda was afraid she was going to break her SAND DOLLAR before she got back on the boat, she saw Sight Sea-R’s Captain Phil combing the beach and checking the water conditions. He offered to “baby sit” her SAND DOLLAR to get it back to the boat in one piece. So nice! I guess he was her Shell Bank- a place to keep her DOLLARS safe.
My friend Robin Draper from Authentic Florida was on our cruise too along with her husband Mike. Woohoo! We might be seeing an article about this shelling adventure soon- if we do, I’ll post it here when she sends a link.
As on every iLoveShelling cruise, each passenger received an awesome $25 gift certificate from my fave jewelry store on Sanibel… Sealife By Congress (inside Congress Jewelers). They are fabshellous to the shelling community!
It was such a fun day meeting so many incredishell shellers and hanging with so many familiar faces. I’m over the MOON SHELL.
Join us on an iLoveShelling Adventure… CLICK HERE
To be by the sea collecting seashells is an amazing hobby/sport/therapy/obsession.
Sharing a shelling experience with a boat load of other people who’ve become friends after collecting shell on the beach together or meeting new friends, we all feel the same way…
It’s abshellutely scrumpshellous!
As soon as the Sight Sea-R Cruises shelling boat landed on Big Hickory Island, we saw that the beach was covered with mini shells.
Ooooh and I was thrilled to see that so many other people love the minis like I do.
Jenny showed me her favorite mini shells…
Jenny (on the right) was with Jenny and John (VA) who showed me the awesome plastic pipe connector contraption John made for his shelling scoop so that he could break it down to put in his luggage. Brilliant!
We didn’t find just mini shells, we found lots of SAND DOLLARS…
Well…. I should say Diane (Sanibel) found lots of SAND DOLLARS and FALSE ANGEL WINGS.
Helen from Indiana found a beautiful assortment of shells. She not only found this SAND DOLLAR she’s holding up but her other favorites were displayed in the first photo up top. Exshellent!
Omigosh and I loved Lolly’s (NJ) arrangement of precious little treasures.
Roger, Charlie, Dawn (WI) and Jan (Iowa) came back with some treasures as well. Jan was happy she found a beautiful big ANGEL WING.
Dawn found all sorts of fab shells like the little DUSKY CONE in the middle.
Charlie faves were TINTED CANTHARUS, ROSE PETAL TELLIN, GAUDY NATICA, FLORIDA CONE, MOSSY ARK, SAND DOLLAR and ….WORMIES (!).
Quite a few other people found GAUDY NATICAS too like Amy from VA.
Here she is (on the left) with the other cutie shellutie Virginia girls Donna, Rene and Susan.
Amy especially wanted to find an ALPHABET CONE … and she found an adorable one. Congrats!
Even though we all found treasures on the beach on our shelling trip, Sealife By Congress gave every single person on our iLoveShelling cruise a $25 gift certificate to their store on Sanibel. So generous!
It’s so much fun to meet people around the world on shelling cruises like this! On our last Sight Sea-R Cruises iLoveShelling shelling adventure, Steve Stephens from Columbus, Ohio was aboard with his family. Steve wrote an extraordinary article for the Columbus Dispatch that explains our day on our shelling trip to Big Hickory… its fantastic! Its so cool, you have to read it – CLICK HERE.
Join us on one of my next iLoveShelling Shelling Adventures- for more dates and more info CLICK HERE