Sand Dollars and Low Tide

Sand Dollars and Low Tide title=
Sand Dollars and Low Tide
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By Patti Gutshall

The King Tides are just magical on Faria Beach last week. Low tide, bubbles floating, and the reflection of the clouds so surreal just before sunset.

We usually find sand dollars on the beach.  They are dried out and hollow.  The King Tide exposed these alive Sand Dollars in the extreme low tide.  I was amazed to find that they were moving, leaving delicate lines behind them.  When alive they are feel fuzzy.  They will not survive very long out of water so we gently placed them back into the ocean.  Even when you find a dried out shell, there skeletons are calcium and important to remain in the sea.


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Bird Jan 11, 2022 03:59 PM
Sand Dollars and Low Tide

Familiar with them long ago on the east coast, I had no idea there were sand dollars here! Thank you for your pictures!

ZeroHawk Jan 11, 2022 04:46 PM
Sand Dollars and Low Tide

they are all over the globe....except in Europe and Antarctica. They sometimes find their way north along the eastern seaboard but they are not common up there. More so around the warmer waters near the south.

Bird Jan 11, 2022 07:15 PM
Sand Dollars and Low Tide

ZH, I used to see them on a beach north of Boston; they were quite plentiful, at least judging by the number of shells and sometimes fragments of shells. I rarely saw living specimens and wondered what they did in the winter when the beaches were often frozen for a while, at least.

OGSB Jan 11, 2022 07:02 PM
Sand Dollars and Low Tide

Funny story... I saved for over a year for a Hobie kayak with the hopes of catching some monster Halibut.
First time out and first catch...? Yeah, a Sand Dollar! (It released when out of the water and was fine, so don't get Edhat crazy!) I think I was too busy taking in the amazing views and not actually fishing!

Bluedog Jan 12, 2022 07:31 AM
Sand Dollars and Low Tide

Our family regularly visited Zuma Beach in the early 1950s. There were no parking lots then (side of the road only), and very few people, but immensely more sand in those days! It was a real hike to get to the water's edge and see a vista of breaking waves at least 200 yards wide towards the west, so that one could see five or six waves in various stages of breaking towards the shore, with a very gradual deepening of the water as one waded in. It was fantastic for children, and for sand dollars!

There would be dozens, scattered along the clean white sand; dead ones mainly, so that it was easy to gather stacks of 30-40 in five minutes or less. The live ones, with purple, urchin-colored short spins, were encountered further into the water and yes, one could see the tiny tube feet protruding on their undersides.

Sometimes, wave action would leave giant berms or cliffs of sand near the water's edge, often six feet tall or more, which we kids loved to "ski" down towards the surf. Afternoons, with the outflow of the tide, a water channel, flowing towards the south, 2-3 feet deep would be left near shore with flat islands of sand out of the water further in. What a glorious beach experience, which I shall never forget!

Bluedog Jan 12, 2022 10:58 AM
Sand Dollars and Low Tide

Thanks for noticing! :-)

Another thing I loved was the kelp. This was before the giant kelp-cutter ships made their appearance ca. 1960 and wiped out most of the plants. There really were *forests* of kelp growing in bands offshore. That enabled / supported communities of fish and other sea life. Shore fishermen were bringing in 30 lb halibut, etc. After a storm, one could find huge strands of kelp that had been uprooted, 35-40 feet and more lengths, often with their bases or holdfasts! Those were amazing. People who *knew* would cut them open, exposing a wriggling salad of small creatures that lived among the roots. I feel so lucky to have seen all this while it was happening. :-)

imarshell Jan 13, 2022 05:01 PM
Sand Dollars and Low Tide

The Sand Dollar is an echinoderm related to sea urchins and starfish. Needless to say they're not worth what they used to be ;<)

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