There are days when hundreds of COCKLE shells… or DOSINIA shells… or PEN SHELLS wash up on the beach. Well, this past week (and lots of random weeks this year) there were hundreds- if not thousands- of SAND DOLLARS washing up on the beach.
Lots of them were still living (!) but some were perfectly bare of cilia and spines which means they can no longer be alive.
If you have any doubts whether a SAND DOLLAR is alive or dead, please leave it where you found it. But if you want to learn how to tell the difference, please CLICK HERE for my post How To Identify Differences Between Live And Dead Sand Dollars.
Local sheller Karen knows the ones she can keep and was as dumbfounded as I was to find gazillions of them scattered all over the beach.
So many in perfect condition.
If you look closely at this next photo, you’ll see those dark spots throughout the sand- most of those were still the live ones dotting the beach.
It always feels like such a special day to just see one, so I was feeling like I won the SAND DOLLAR lottery.
We have a nice collection of SAND DOLLARS already so I don’t normally pick them up any more… but… I had a few events planned this week to visit with friends so Clark and I gathered a few up to give as gifts. We placed them overnight in a bleach solution then rinsed them off in the morning. CLICK HERE for a more detailed tutorial for cleaning SAND DOLLARS.
We then placed them in the sun all day to dry out. They made for wonderful party favors for my friends that evening. Gifts from the sea.
We just had some strong winds move in this morning so all of these sweet beach bucks might get covered back up with the wave action. We always have to remember not to take anything for granted- they’re here one day and maybe gone the next. It happens that fast!
I’m working on new dates for our iLoveShelling cruises. I hope to have dates very soon so I can see y’all when you come to SW Florida to visit! I have through January… so CLICK HERE to join us!
Gorgeous photos Pam!
Hi Pam, i will be in the Sanibel Island area over December 27th through December 30th. I was very much hopeing to take a shelling trip on one of the islands during this time. …what will be available during that time of my visit. Thank you, Sandy
I personally don’t have any cruises that week (dang it) but check out the links and phone numbers to the best cruises I’ve provided on my blog… http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/iloveshelling-events/
Jim and I could not believe the number of sand dollars on the beach. Incredible!!! We were kinda hoping for a Junonia day 😎
I’m with you Annette about the Junonia Day!! I never have found one.
Hahaha Annette! Me too!!! I’ve just added that to my bucket list. #10- find Junotopia. lol (Hi to Jim)
Since i have moved away from the Florida area, was. Curious what if you would what would it cost me to have you send out roughly 25 of them sand dollors….i need them for my wedding
Pam,we visited last week and found so many sand dollars washing up! I learned so much about sand dollars and read about a fascinating research project done by a young woman from Sanibel sea school. I watched the live ones as the got covered with sand as the waves washed over them. It was so relaxing and yet invigorating. I carefully wrapped about 50 of all different sizes to bring home to make holiday gifts and ornaments but much to my horror realized and my husband inadvertently threw out the entire bag of them thinking they were recyclable trash! He felt so terrible but I assured him that even though we don’t have the real sand dollars but we have many happy memories and learned much about sand dollar that it is almost just as good. But we’ve decided we’ll just have to come back for another visit and hope the sand dollars are there again :-).
Oh how cool. I wonder if there are any left???
I bet all the sand dollars on the beach was a spectacular sight!! Thank you for including the cleaning tutorial. They look so beautiful and white!!
Thanks for the tip, Pam. We just arrived last night and headed down the beach to Gulf Side. The sand dollars are still plentiful this morning, though it was painful to see some folks just gathering up every one in sight (mostly still alive). On an unrelated matter, I tried to access your link to the tidal charts. There was nothing there. Maybe when you upgraded the page that link got left behind? Hope you can fix it. See you on Tuesday’s shelling cruise.
omigosh- i see it was wacky- i fixed it. Thank you for telling me!!!! can’t wait to see y’all
We were at the beach near Nerita St and were amazed at the tons of sandollars we saw everywhere. They were so plentiful in the ocean it was impossible to walk without stepping on them. There were all sizes to look at and observe. What a treasure to see!! Can’t wait to see you Pam on our shelling cruise on Tuesday and here’s hoping that we all find a shelling bag full of treasures from the sea!
God bless, you’re such a ray of sunshine!
Are you selling the sand dollars?? I would be very interested in buyin !!!!
No Deb, sorry, I dont sell Sand dollars or any other shells.
Love your website, have been there many times. Your viewers might be interested in my book, “THE HEY YOU FIDDLER CRAB” which can be found on Amazon. Billy Fisher
Hello Pam. Everything you do is so inspiring, educational and beautiful. I have wanted to join you for Shellaballoo ever since you started but unfortunately have not been able to. I want to make arrangements to make that happen…Do you have any dates planned ??
My wife and I planned a shelling trip to Southwest Florida six months ago around the morning low tides ago using your tide charts. Our first stop Saturday morning upon arriving on the island was Gulf Side Beach. Live sand dollars were scattered all over the beach all the way to the high tide wrack. We know not to take live marine life, but we soon found dozens of dead sand dollars to collect, silver and white with no fuzz closer to the water. We were wondering if the live ones would make it in the Florida sun till the next high tide. There was so many of them everywhere. It was not surprising to see people collecting live ones out of ignorance. More surprising was there were people not collecting any at all knowing how difficult they can be to find, especially for occasional visitors like us. Ironically, just before we left on the trip, I brought a few sand dollars out of storage that I had collected shelling with my grandmother on a Boca Grand sand bar nearly 60 years ago. They had been in storage that long and still in beautiful condition. I recently learned how to make double sided glass picture frames from recycled frames found at flea markets and yard sales to display them, and mentioned to my wife how nice it would be if we could find a “few” more sand dollars for my frames on this trip. The big challenge was getting them all home on the airplane in one piece. They are so fragile. We wrapped them individually in paper towels and placed groups of them in hard plastic food containers in a separate bag that went under my seat on the plane. I am pleased to report they all arrived home in good condition last night. It was a day we will never forget, like the day I still remember shelling with my grandmother all those years ago. Sorry we missed you by one day on the beach.
i love your story PhilT! Memories of the beach stay with us for ever and it seems we always find those beach days in our minds when we need it. Thanks for sharing :)
Just returned from trip to Sanibel and southwest FL. Love, loved, loved it!!
Please add me to your mailing list. I want to learn more…
thank you for the great work you are doing
Hey Pam I was in Sanibel November 1st thru the 15th didn’t see you on the beach darn, anyway wanted to tell you I bid on your beautiful sand dollar photo at the event Crow puts on and I won it I was so happy…also went into Macintosh Books and bought another it was the shells on the beach with the sunset behind it love that one it says “Sanibel” to me. I have a 200 square foot little building in the back of my house dedicated to the ocean they will both go in there…again thank you for those beautiful photos…take care Georgia Gordon
Georgia Gordon! Omigosh I am thrilled that you you won the sand dollar canvas!!! And I love to know it went to a good home and for a good cause. Don’t you just love MacIntosh books? Sweet little shop with good folks. I’m so sorry I missed you on the beach and thank you so much for this sweet note :)