Have you heard? The island of Cayo Costa has the best PANCAKES in the world! But save the butter and maple syrup because this is a PANCAKE SAND DOLLAR, baby.
It looks like a KEYHOLE SAND DOLLAR without the slits, right? Well wait until you see the side view because it really looks like a pancake with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
This is a really big find. Not only is it about 6 inches round but it is a very rare find here! It has one little crack on the top but other than that, it’s unbelievable.
I am so thrilled for Jan who found it on Cayo Costa last month. She said she was wading out at low tide to put a beautiful live horse conch back in the water and looked to her right in about knee deep water to see this beautiful find. I think it was Mother Nature’s way of saying “Thank you”. It was a first for her and honestly, this is the first one that I have seen too so I was thrilled to see it in person. Here’s Jan and her PANCAKE…
I met Jan last year at the Sanibel Shell Fair and as we were talking, Bill Geist and the CBS Sunday Morning Show crew started filming us. It’s a moment we will never forget so we became fast friends. Jan and her husband Bill are volunteers at the Cayo Costa State Park so Clark and I were invited to visit them on Sunday. They greeted us at the dock with a warm smiling welcome…
Just so you get your bearings straight, on Saturday’s iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa, we were on the south tip of the island but on Sunday we were visiting Jan and Bill on the north side of Cayo Costa. Here are the four of us… Bill, Jan, Clark and me.
I’ve only been to this part of the island one other time which I blogged about it HERE. So we felt so lucky to be able to ride in a golf cart because unfortunately the golf carts are private… don’t rent them on the island. It really is a secluded place so that’s what makes visiting here so wonderful.
The first stop was to see their shell collection from the past couple of months. This is where she showed us the PANCAKE SAND DOLLAR but Jan also collects a few of her favorites or odds and ends. Look how big those SHARK’S EYES are.
This is the prettiest CANCELLATE SEMELE !
Look at this rich purple color on the inside…
I love that she likes to find the unusual shells like this damaged “FREAK” SOUTHERN QUAHOG (well that’s what the large white shell with the dent in the middle looks like to me). AND she found three MACULATED BABYS EARS. The brown ones are so hard to find!!!
I could have ohhhed and ahhhed over all of her shells since each one she collected has a little something different about it. But we moved on because they wanted to show us her shell identification board she finished making this month. Wow! It’s beautiful. We got so tickled because she chose just about the same shells to put on her shell board that I chose for my seashell identification card. (It was St Paddy’s day so I had on my green)
We met Resident Ranger Mary on her day off having fun. It was great to meet you Mary and thank you for everything!
On our way to the beach, we passed the small island cemetery with the plots lined with shells.
Then we hit the beautiful beach. This is on the north side of the island so behind Bill and Clark, you can see Boca Grande.
You know we were looking hard for a PANCAKE SAND DOLLAR but no such luck. It was high tide and she said she found it near the camp ground beach. But I was happy because I found a SHARK’S TOOTH…
We had a fantastic day exploring Cayo Costa State Park ! Thank you Jan and Bill for inviting Clark and me to hang out with you on your day off. It will be another special day to remember forever. And congratshellations again on your PANCAKE SAND DOLLAR! Way cool.
This looks like such fun. I would like to try a cabin overnite next time we are down. Would love to see her shell board. Would we have to rent a boat for access?
Check out Captiva Cruises’ schedule. They take passengers to Cayo Costa State Park as well. http://www.captivacruises.com/index.html
Thanks! This will be a new adventure for us!
i look forward to your glogs havent been down since oct.2011
Corly, you can take a ferry to Cayo Costa: http://tropicstarcruises.com/
Thank you, Lisa. We’ll look into it!
That sand dollar is amazing! And unless the perception is off in the picture, the angel wings look hunge too. How great for Jan to be able to volunteer in the State Park and get to spend so much time there. Maybe someday…..
Wow. What a great sand dollar. How exciting. Someday maybe… I will find one too. I can not wait. less than 2 months until we are in Sanibel. I can not wait.
My husband and I have been visiting Sanibel in Spring or Summer and Cayo Costa in the Winter for the past 25 years. We absolutely LOVE staying in the cabins on Cayo Costa. I shell and he fishes, and we keep coming back for more. Still haven’t found a whole Lion’s Paw, but I have beautiful examples of everything else, and somehow I can’t stop collecting. I’d love to meet you sometime when we’re visiting. I really enjoy what you’ve done with this website!
That is awesome….
Wow, what a find! I’ve been a shell collector my whole life and have NEVER seen a pancake like that! I have decided, thanks to all your awesome posts, that my next “big” vacation will be to Sanibel, and now Cayo Costa as well. Is this the best time of year to visit, or does it just depend? I used to hang out in Pensacola, FL when I was a kid and always found nice shells there, too.
You just never know, so come when you can fit it in your schedule…. and look at the iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa days and work it in your trip :)! http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/iloveshelling-events/
What an awesome day and I love that sand dollar!! Wow!
Those are some large sand dollars!
Mmmmmm..Pancakes…makes me think of the Lighthouse cafe….best pancakes I ever had…
There’s a good reason for those half hour plus waits to get a seat during high season. did you get one of those cute little maple syrup jugs to go with those cakes? That place is a gold mine!
we head down there next Saturday and will stop in for eats a couple of times. wheee!
Uuuummmm…. I hope you know I was just making a funny about the ihop? Just to make sure you know, there’s no ihop on Cayo costa OR on Sanibel. Errrr … I hope I didn’t mislead anybody!
I have never seen a sand dollar that large. It is pretty neat! Looking forward to my next trip to Sanibel!!
Wow! To have a tenth of that collection and I would be in paradise! Oh, wait I AM in paradise-just need to shell MORE!!! Lol! Thank you so much for making these trips a reality for those of us that dont have their own boats. Should have, could have, would have is now, been there and done that! ;-) I do plan to join you again in the future.
Pam, as you state, the “Pancake” is a pretty uncommon/rare find on the beaches of southwest Florida, especially one in such good condition. I enjoyed your IHOP comment, which is even more clever than your usual clever comments. For this echinoderm the latin name is Clypeaster subdepressus, but I prefer the name sea biscuit or pancake urchin, or pancake sanddollar, if you want. In the Florida Keys we find many of its cousin, Clypeaster rosaceus, which the queen helmets enjoy eating. Your echinoderm book has a picture of this test on page 248, item J. It appears the “keyhole” in the central, dorsal surface is actually a small defect, rather than the way the skeleton was when the animal was alive. You probably knew most/all of this, but maybe some of it is helpful.
MK, first of all, I’m tickled you enjoyed my IHOP “joke”. I was giggling the whole time I wrote the post so it makes me happy I could make someone else smile too! LOL Jan is the one who called it the “pancake” because I had never seen one here before so I did the research and found it in that echinoderm book…but of course they dont use common names often. I did eventually find it in FLorida’s Fabulous and they had it named as “pancake”… which of course I love the name. You’ll be proud of me, I did name the first photo on the post by the latin name. But I missed the part that the queen helmets like to eat pancakes…thanks for that info… I could have gone wild on that one. LOL
I love Florida’s Fabulous Seashell book. The stories are so interesting. Several years ago a friend gave me a sea biscuit that she got in the Bahamas. That pancake sand dollar is unbelievable!
And the cancellate semele looks like a Scottish tartan.
I love the pancake sand dollar, and it is wonderful to know there is something else we need to look for. But, I am most envious (green for St Pats?) of the gorgeous cencellate Semele! A complete shell, and oh so beautiful inside and out! They are my favorite shell, but I have never found one that gorgeous. Congrats, Jan!
Absolutely fabulous paired cancellate semele with such rich colors! Amazing! Didn’t know they could ever be so colorful!
Also fantastic brown baby’s ears in great condition; here on Nevis (I’m on vacation now) they live offshore, and so you only find them quite rarely and after a big blow.
I could not believe that cancellate either! both side were just as fabulous. We rarely find the brown babys ears too so thats what made her THREE so incredible. Have a great time on Nevis!
Your blogs are so helpful. I didn’t even know there was a Cayo Costa State Park! :-) My husband and I will check it out the next time we are down in Sanibel.
Have you ever considered that you are already in Heaven?!! Thanks for letting the rest of us have a glimpse!
That pancake sand dollar is really something to drool over, wowee! I’d be afraid to shuffle in the surf in my bare feet for fear of getting urchinized! Am I a wimp?
regarding the cemetery, what a lovely place to live after earthy life. I’ve already told my husband that I want my ashes spread on Sanibel, and thereabouts.