Shellebrate this beautiful day…
In this glorious time…
Of this colorful life.
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. Not only was it dark brown, 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
As our year of 2012 is winding down, Sanibel Island is bustling with tourists this week shellebrating the holidays with sunshine, clear skies and plenty of empty souvenir seashells on our beaches. At sunrise, low tide exposed a “whelkcome” mat of large live WHELKS, CONCHS and TULIPS at Gulfside City Park this morning to view these magnificent living creatures for just a few minutes before the incoming tide covered them up again.
A true gift to see the miracle of a living MOLLUSK.
After almost 2 days of high north/west winds, I bundled up in my warmest clothes then hit the 45 degree beach this morning. I know some of you are experiencing much lower temps than that ….. but geeez….the wind chill was killer. My finger tips almost froze off! This poor guy was not too happy either rolling in the surf but he was still healthy and kicking.
I was a little surprised but there was only a few left over shells at the jetty rocks on Captiva…
One side of the sand bar in the pass had a few COCKLES and CALICO SCALLOPS…
The other side had no shells but still had a beautiful view…
Then I went home. Late this afternoon, I couldn’t stand it. I went back to Blind Pass to scout out the beach again thinking the shells were finally coming in.
Not yet still! But I did find Susan from Fort Walton Beach, FL. She found a few treasures including this double ALTERNATE TELLIN…
There were a few LETTERED OLIVES, FIGHTING CONCHS and COCKLES to brighten the day. I also saw lots of HORSE CONCH EGG CASES…
Tomorrow, the mercury will start to rise. Oh thank goodness. And maybe we’ll see some shell piles too!
Walking out on the beach before sunrise is a special feeling. It has an extra special feeling when it is a very low tide of -1.0 AND it’s Christmas weekend.
I thought my eyes hadn’t focused when I took this next photo of Clark. Whatever happened to it (too early in the morning?)… I’m so glad! It came out like a beautiful impressionist painting…
As the sun was rising near the Sanibel lighthouse, the sky turned golden…
We saw lots of live shells and washed up sea life like this poor LINED STARFISH that took a beating but wouldn’t give up despite losing all of its arms. It survived al of the elements and started growing each of its arms back. What a survivor!
And you thought all SEA PORK was ugly, right? Well look again! This one looks just like an orange with its bright orange peel.
My best find was this rich in color nice sized TRUE TULIP…
Clark had the find of the day with this WAY cool tiny shell I have never identified before. It’s a COFFEE BEAN TRIVIA…
We both tried to rub off those brown smudges…HA! Silly us, those brown spots are part of the shell! That would be like trying to rub off the spots off a JUNONIA or SCOTCH BONNET. Silly!
Hmmmm…. whaddaya think? Look like coffee beans to you?