Sunday, March 20, 2011


I don't walk on the beach every day...but I do try to get out there several times each week, often 5 or 6 times. Dolphins are generally in evidence, especially in the winter, and if you've been reading this journal recently you know there have been a few whale sightings lately.

Every now and then I find a whole seashell. The photo below shows a small collection of the highest quality shells I've found in the last year or two.

(Click on photo to view a larger image.)

I found the sand dollar a couple of days ago. I had walked south...and the tide was falling. Shortly after I turned around I noticed that this sand dollar had washed up right at the tide line.

The shell at the bottom, near the center, is a small helmet shell -- one of the less common, but beautiful, univalves we occasionally find on our beach. The dark item near the top is not a seashell at all. It is a sea bean, a seed from a vine that grows along rivers and coasts. It's outer shell is thick and durable to keep seawater from penetrating. Sea beans sometimes drift for hundreds of miles before they wash up on shore. The other items are a starfish, two scotch bonnets (the NC state shell) in the middle, two lettered olives, and a small scallop shell.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a list of traditional island remedies. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous10:08 AM

    Thanks for posting pics of your treasures! I found a seabean while I was there in Jan but had no idea what it was! I thought it was some sort of unique seed and held onto it. Love your scotch bonnets! Stumbled upon 3 of those and was proud! I found quite a few sand dollars down at South Point. Also these little bitty things, a local informed me, called sea biscuits, which are light as air and have the same design as a sand dollar on them. Love lookin for treasures on Ocracoke!

  2. Anonymous10:52 AM

    Visiting Ocracoke for 25+ years I also have a beautiful seashell collection. My husband & I enjoy walking the beach to search for seashells, driftwood, etc. Our screened porch has numerous baskets, glass jars, & pottery filled with our seashell treasures - they are such happy memories of our beloved Ocracoke. Philip, thank you for sharing your seashell picture. We'll be visiting in April.

  3. Lovely treasures form the sea. ;-)

  4. Anonymous8:50 AM

    Ocracoke Island has always been the only place for me to find the best, quality shells, but you really found a treasure chest this time, Philip! Your Scotch Bonnets are exquisite. Last October, I discovered one Scotch Bonnet that was in "perfect shape" and many which were broken. I treasure my sand dollars and olive shells.

    What a "kick-up-your-heels" feeling I get when I discover a beautiful and complete seashell of this caliber.

    Keep hunting for those "diamonds in the rough" and keep sharing with your faithful bloggers!


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