Archive for Sand Dollar
It’s really a shame I’m not a morning person. Everybody assumes since I’m an obsessed sheller that I’m always the first one on the beach every morning. Wrong! I’m a lazy bum in the mornings and I love to sleep in… but there are a few certain occasions I like to see the sunrise. One of those occasions would be a really low morning tide after some nice north winds. That’ll give me a little shove out the door every time.
Every single solitary time I’m on the beach to witness a new day as the sun rises up over a fresh new string of shells with a golden glow… I wish I was a morning person.
It’s the time to see live healthy creatures.
I didn’t even have to touch this SAND DOLLAR to know it was alive. I could see cilia (or what I call “fur”) lining the outside of its body as well as each of the key hole slits. So beautiful!
This live LIGHTNING WHELK had already done an excellent job of digging itself back into the wet sand to wait for the tide to soon cover him back up completely so I left him alone as well.
My sunrise morning trip to Gulfside City Park Beach to see the beautiful colors of dawn, feel the calmness and to pick up a few treasures was well worth hearing that alarm clock ringing in the dark. But when I think about it, every single time I’m on the beach whether its dawn, mid morning, noon, afternoon, early evening or at dusk… I find something that makes me happy.
A few minutes before I headed home, I admired my loot and realized that I didn’t need to take everything I picked up. So if my biggest decision of the day was to choose which shells made it home with me… life is good today.
Come with me on a shelling trip! CLICK HERE
As we celebrate new days watching the sun rise over the horizon at low tide in the new year on Sanibel…
We also shellebrate the gifts of the sea…
We also celebrate the gift of witnessing living creatures exposing themselves for just a short time as the water recedes.
With most animals, we are easily able to see if they are alive, healthy and breathing but with creatures of the sea that have washed ashore, it’s a little bit more difficult. We (shellers) take the time to to look for signs of life with respect. As soon as I saw this shell was occupied by noticing the body and OPERCULUM of the “snail” still intact, I gently placed it back in the water covered with sand making sure the opening faced down into to sand.
Even for some shellers, it’s hard to tell if a SAND DOLLAR is dead or alive so the best thing to do first is… slow down. Take a few minutes to look for any cilia which looks like fur or looks a little fuzzy in the edges. Any time a SAND DOLLAR is this color, assume that it is still alive… gently place it back in the water.
If a STARFISH is any where near the water or if the sand is still damp where you found it, always assume it is still alive too and let it be.
Shellers are very fortunate to have seen the miracles of Mother Nature as we comb the shorelines to discover the magic of the sea. We learn new lessons every day we walk the water’s edge. For most beach combers, we know the signs of life in sea creatures but inexperienced visitors may be overwhelmed with the beauty that surrounds them and not know to take the time to look for signs of life. Since I grew up on the water, I always assumed other folks knew shells, SAND DOLLARS and STARFISH live their lives close to shore but now I’ve learned that most people don’t know much about life in the ocean or gulf. First time visitors to the beach may have heard how amazing shell collecting is and unintentionally collect a live animal without knowing it. It’s an amazing experience to see the compassion on a new sheller’s face after learning they have collected a live animal then race it to the water where they found it to save its life. Most just don’t know… and are thankful to learn and appreciate the living ocean even more.
There have been so many live critters exposed during the morning’s low tide the last few days so with many newbies on the beaches, I’m sure I’ll get to see the amazement on someone’s face that just learned for the first time that shells, sand dollars and starfish are living beings and are still actually alive.
Come with me on a shelling trip! For upcoming dates … CLICK HERE
This is what a path to beach combing paradise looks like.
After arriving to the secluded island of Big Hickory on our iLoveShelling cruise with Sight Sea-R Cruises yesterday, we were welcomed by a shell filled beach and calm Gulf Of Mexico waters.
WORM SHELLS and beautiful pieces of CORAL were every where…
In less than 5 minutes, Andrea found an incredishell LACE MUREX. She is such a lucky sheller! I met her in March on Sanibel after she found masses of great shells but the one I remembered the most was a CABRITS MUREX so it was so good to see her again. (CLICK HERE to see that post)
The first shell Gita found was a beautiful ROSE PETAL TELLIN.
It was so much fun to pick through the many shell piles to find so many treasures.
David and Willow were enjoying every minute especially the second Willow found her ANGEL WING. It’s the one shell she wanted to find on her whole trip from Colorado.
Don, Chuck and Marti from Libertyville, IL found such a wide range of gorgeous shells and beach bling.
It was so much fun to hang out with Sue and Andrea from CT since they were thrilled to check off a few things on their bucket list like a CRUCIFIX SHELL for Sue and ANGEL WING for Andrea. They are birders as well as shellers so they checked off a few birds like the ROSEATE SPOONBILL and ROYAL TERN on their birding list on the boat ride over.
It was a great day meeting shellers like Steve and Becki from Ohio.
I caught up with Sanibel local Karen on the way back to the boat. Oh my goodness- She found 2 ALPHABET CONES!
As we got back on the boat to cruise back to Salty Sams Marina, it was the perfect time to peak at what other goodies this boat load of awesome folks like Anthony, Sonya (VA) and Sue (Alaska) found.
Shellzam! Sonya found 3 ALPHABET CONES! Oh… And look at all three of those FIGHTING CONCHS on the left. All three of them have bright purple lips. I think its always special to find just one with a purple aperture but to find 3 in one day is very cool.
Janet from Pennsylvania had great success too! She was doing most of her beach combing on the shore and her husband Paul said he pretty much hung out in the water the whole time. That’s about how Clark and I shell too!
Janet was a happy girl to find a KINGS CROWN, double SUNRAY VENUS and OLIVES without the tips to make bracelets. The FIGHTING CONCHS she found had jet black openings- so pretty too.
Birthday girl Shelly (love her name!) and her husband Mitch (AKA her boyfriend for 32 years) found some amazing treasures.
Happy birthday to you Shelly! 2 ALPHABET CONES along with so many other great finds- wow!
Happy birthday to Linda from St Louis too! The birthday girls both found ALPHIES! Congratshellations!
As I was hanging out with another Linda, her daughter Katie and granddaughter Emma (Missouri) looking at shells… Linda told me when she saw Linda from St Louis, she realized they went to nursing school together. Small world!
These were Emma’s fave treasures. Sweet!
Loved these to from Andrea and her family too…
Every minute of the 4 hour trip was such a pleasure to meet other like minded people and find hidden gems.
To experience the beauty of the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve and to see lots of DOLPHINS, bird and other wildlife on our way to and from the island on the boat is priceless.
I normally don’t collect anything while on the iLoveShelling cruises because I now enjoy the experience of sharing information and teaching others what to look for. I like that better than collecting more MUREXES, WHELKS or other shells that we have plenty of. But…. that being said… I found a treasure too yesterday! In the highest dry wrack line, I found a lovely pink ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHER. Ooooooo- such a treat!
Join us one of our next shelling adventures or Shellabaloo! CLICK HERE for dates and events.