Everybody enjoys looking for shells while on the beach, walking slowly by the water searching for that perfect shell. Maybe it will be a rare find to add to your collection, or one with a perfect hole for creating a necklace, or a few to give to friends back home. Whatever you are looking for, it is always exciting when you find “the one”; no broken edges, perfect size, beautiful color! I often lose complete track of time and distance walked when engrossed in the “hunt”.
People have always said walking in the morning is the best – Not being a morning person myself, I took their word for it and let others have that best time, trusting the Gulf has plenty more to replenish those few missing beauties.
Recently, however, I decided to see what early morning shelling was all about… and it was more than worth it! I started out around 5 am, before the sun came up. With a full moon on the horizon, it didn’t seem dark at all. As I walked along in the quiet morning, I found many different shells that had just washed ashore. It was low tide and multiple starfish were caught up on the beach. After determining they were still alive, I returned them to their home. While hopes of finding a starfish to take home are common, those that still had a chance to live belong back in the water.
I was lucky enough to find a few intact sand dollars. These are very hard to find as they are quite fragile and normally get quickly scooped up if they do make it to the beach in one piece.
As the sun came up and the birds began to sing, it was time to head home for a cup of coffee. Shelling early in the morning has its benefits; finding shells that would be taken or crushed later in the day, enjoying the stillness of early morning and watching the sunrise. It’s an all-around great way to start to the day – even if you’re not a morning person!
Here is a good website for identifying shells found in this area of the Gulf.
Read some other great articles with local information about Anna Maria Island:
Bird’s Eye View!
Experience Bradenton Beach