When you enjoy the outdoors and comb the beaches on Sanibel as often as I do, every single day becomes a wonder. I wonder if there is going to be a magnificent sunset today? Oh yes. There often is. I wonder if dogs do the Sanibel Stoop while on the beach too? Oh yes they do. LOL
I wonder if I will ever get tired of watching people do the Sanibel Stoop? Oh no I won’t!
Those to Sanibel Stoop-ers I was wondering about were Lindsay (NH) and her mom Vickie from Georgia. They were watching in wonderment over the live LETTERED OLIVES making their trails through the sand when I caught them stooping on Gulfside City Park over the weekend.
I told them to keep going a few more yards to find some SAND DOLLARS and other shells that I saw Cheryl and Dick (Cape Coral) collecting…
I loved what they had collected…. seashells AND bling- SAND DOLLARS and a FEATHER. I know so many people get very concerned when they see folks picking up dark colored SAND DOLLARS but trust me, these were not alive. Cheryl even asked me to look over them just to be on the safe side before she put them in her bag. I’ve heard so many people say lately… “I wonder how you can tell whether a SAND DOLLAR is still alive or not”. I’ve found that it’s easiest to describe a SAND DOLLAR that is not alive as being “bald” (Mr Clean style!) so there isn’t any “hair” on them. Cheryl’s SAND DOLLARS may be dark but they were all “baldies”. LOL There was one of hers that still had some cilia/hair/fur around the sides but the complete front and back were completely bald ….. I’ll call that the George Costanza style! LOL The SAND DOLLARS breath through that cilia so if most of it is gone, they are not alive and you can collect them. So to sum it up…. Cheryl had about a dozen “Mr Cleans” and one “George Costanza”. hahahhaa
Yesterday, I checked out Blind Pass Captiva only to find a very sandy beach with just a few shells rolling up. You can still find shells in the water but you have to snorkel for them. There were so many fishermen near the jetty rocks, it’s a wonder how anybody could have shelled that area any way. Ack!
I walked over to the Sanibel side of Blind Pass near the old wooden sea wall and tree roots only to find lots of sand but a flock of beautiful IBIS birds. It’s such a wonder how the beach changes so quickly.
I’ve heard that the water is still filled with shells but you have to swim around and/or snorkel for them… but I didn’t have time to do that but I always enjoy my beach walk and I still have a few SAND DOLLARS of my own to clean up. So put on your suit and grab a snorkel if you want to find your own wonder-ful day!
Love your focus on nature, people and joy…and the wonder of it all! :-)
Hey Pam – can hardly wait….only 7 more days and we will be full-time residents of Sanibel!!!! Sure hope to see you around. Thanks again for all your beautiful posts and info. Couldn’t do without it! Johnnie
Wow Pam. that is the sunset to end all sunsets! Thanks!
And love those white ibis, they are just such gorgeous birds.
And the fluffy doggie doing the Sanibel Stoop really cracked me up! :)
FYI – you have to have a Florida fishing license to collect sand dollars. I was given a warning ticket last week on Lovers Key Beach for having 3 very dead sand dollars. The officers said even if they are dead you still have to have a license to collect them, and they consider any sand dollar that is not completely bleached white to still be alive (even though I agree that they are dead once the fuzz is gone)!
Huh? Ive never heard anybody say that before! Maybe it is Lovers Key State Park that enforces that- since they are a state park and have different rules. What kind of officer gave you a warning? Do you still have the ticket? I’d love to know more so I can be informed as well.
I found the ticket – it is an inspection/warning form fro the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Division of Law Enforcement – officer Adams. She said that there are signs posted (of which I saw none) that state that it is illegal to collect any sand dollar without a fishing license because they are an echinoderm. I asked if it was just in the state park and she said no – statewide law. Then I asked if the sand dollars that I had picked up had been bleach white could I keep them and she said not without a Florida fishing license. The ones I found were smooth (dead) but had green algae/staining on them, no cillia. The officers were in a 4 wheeler running up and down the beach all morning. Watched them check several people’s collections. They said they are watching more carefully for live sand dollar/shell violations. I was really surprised, I always check and double check my shells for signs of life and am careful about obeying the rules – this one caught me offgaurd!
I’m still in awe that you were given a ticket… Even if it as a warning ticket. I just searched the whole Florida fish and wildlife website and I can’t find one thing stating that. Of course I’m not doubting you… I’m just shocked there is a new law on sand dollars ( yes of course it’s an echinoderm) and they r giving tickets for collecting dead ones. I will try to get to the bottom of this! Thank you cindy for all of this info!!!
Cindy, I am very disappointed that you had this experience. In Florida it is legal to collect DEAD sand dollars without a Florida salt water fishing license. The Fish and Wildlife officers were misinterpreting the laws/regulations. Now, if there is some question concerning whether or not the sand dollar is alive or dead, that is another matter. However, if they are truly DEAD, then they are legal to collect. I have had this problem in the Florida Keys with overly zealous Fish & Wildlife officers misunderstanding the regulations or deciding on their own interpretation. You could fight the matter, but it is probably not worth your effort. As for me, I went to the offer’s supervisor and had him reprimanded for his abuse of power and misinterpretation of the regulations. Think about it. Does the State of Florida want to be seen as giving children tickets for picking up dead sand dollars on the beach. That would sure encourage tourism.
Cindy, MK and Karen- I have talked to the authorities and they are looking into it. I expect to hear the outcome of this by Thursday or Friday and of course I will post the answers here as soon I hear anything. We need the proper information!
I was also there that morning and my husband was instructed by the male on the ATV to throw a sand dollar back which was clearly dead. The female on the ATV said sometimes a sand dollar appears dead but once in the water is actually alive (compared it to snook) and that was the end of that conversation. Once I got home I called the main state park number and explained what had happened; that lady then called the manager of Lover’s Key state park. Long story short the people on the ATV were volunteers, and to put it nicely, lacked information on dead vs. live sand dollars. I was then told as long as the sand dollar is dead (white) with no cilia it can be kept w/o a fishing license. I visit Lover’s Key regularly and have never had an incident like this before; the only guess I have is they’ve had trouble with live shelling as of late?
This whole crazy thing has been resolved.
Taking DEAD “echinoderms” which are sand dollars, sea urchins and starfish are LEGAL to take on any Lee County beach including Lovers Key.
I talked to the Coastal Project Manager of Lee County Natural Resources and he said “Yes, you can take dead echinoderms (sand dollars) from the beach. I think where the confusion came in (in this specific instance) is live vs. dead. And, just for clarification, there were no tickets issued, only warnings.”
So I know after reading that, you might take offense (As I probably would since after reading all of your comments, you know the difference from the dead sand dollars and live ones!!!)… but I think it’s a matter of mixed communication with the officer and HER knowledge.
But being good stewards of the beach as most shellers like you and me, we maybe need to give HER (that officer that issued the warnings) a break and know that she probably got a BIG lesson that beach combers aren’t just a bunch of lost souls looking for a message in a bottle. We are knowledgable about the creatures that wash up on our beaches and are very environmentally conscious about what happens in the seas that surround us. I hope SHE becomes curious, more knowledgable and appreciative of our beaches and our amazing community of shellers.
Thank you Cindy for bringing this to table. I (along with Lee County) would be horrified if this had kept occurring to other shellers. You saved so many other shellers from experiencing such a “sour taste” in their day of shelling. THANK YOU!!!!!
Thank you for the follow up! Glad to hear that next time I visit I can take the dead ones – even without a fishing license!
I had this same experience at Lovers Key last week! Mine were deader than dead too and they said I had to have a fishing license. It was a guy and a gal in a 4 wheeler with uniforms on.
I bet it was the same two officers! These sand dollars were no doubt in my mind dead ( I am a veterinarian, and would never take a live one illegaly!). It just left a sour taste I’m my mouth the rest of the day, knowing I didn’t do anything wrong!
That’s what I thought too! And a girlfriend who shells there a lot has always taken dead one and never been stopped or questioned! What the heck?!?! Ok for some but not for others?!?
We just got to Sanibel Saturday, staying at Oceans Reach. So far no luck with finding many shells, especially olives. :-( just came back from lighthouse at low tide, nothing there either. Feeling discouraged. Any suggestions?
Hi Pattie, As Ive just posted, My suggestions are to get your snorkel gear on or swim around if the conditions are calm and go looking in the water. Also, I posted about gulfside City Park which is right next door to you- you have to just keep walking at low tide and enjoy the view on your way- Ive posted so much about that beach in the last weeks (along with video!)- I’m surprised if that beach is wiped clean? Remember its a treasure hunt. Look for clues. Enjoy combing the beach looking or unusual things you’ve never seen before- Its a wonderment out there! And OMG it is a BEAUTIFUL day.
Love this post Pam! I also want to mention a live sand dollar will leave a yellow stain on your hands.
@ Cindy, I too would be interested in the rest of the Lover’s Key story. We collected a few dead sand dollars there in October. We saw no one except the tram driver and the person at the entrance booth. Does an officer patrol the grounds? Did someone report you thinking you were taking live shells?
see my above reply to Pam
It’s Stoop Doggie Dog!
hahahhahaha Andrea! Oh I can’t quit laughing! I needed that today. Thank you! hahahah
Gorgeous sunset picture, Pam! Look forward to your follow-up information on the sand dollar debacle at Lovers Key. I’ve yet to find a dead one (seen plenty of live ones), but when I do, I’d like to be sure it’s not illegal to take it home. Thanks for all you do to keep up properly informed. ;-)
Great tip on the sand dollars. I didn’t know that. George Costanza!!! ROFL!