A couple of weeks ago, I took my parents to the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Amelia Island, FL as a gift to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. It was part gift on my part, but also part vacation, too, since I tagged along and intended on doing as little as possible the time we were there.
One of the nice aspects of the hotel (other than the fact it was incredibly luxurious with great service) was that it was on a private beach that was never, ever crowded. In fact, one morning, I had decided to go for a run on the beach and turned around to realize I was the only person there. All you could see were footprints behind me in the wet sand. It was calming, but scary at the same time. Had I tripped and twisted an ankle or something, I would’ve had to crawl back alone with no assistance. And there you have some insight into how my mind works: I go to the deep, dark place of worst case scenarios. Anyway….
Each morning, the ocean dragged in an abundance of seashells onto the shore in a wide variety of earth tones. Instead of a random shell, there would be thousands of them waiting to be rummaged and picked through. Which led me to the question: Is it OK to collect shells?
The overwhelming consensus seems to be that it’s OK to collect shells in moderation, and only shells that can not be reused by living creatures like hermit crabs. So, shells that are clamshell shaped and are “dead” are legal and safe to collect. But, again, in moderation.
Many of the shells I was sorting through had this perfectly drilled hole at the edge of the shell. I couldn’t figure out if that was the inherent design of the shell or if someone with a Drimmel drill had made them. I assumed the first. But it turns out there are certain types of mollusks and snails that feed on what’s inside the shells, drill the holes, and eat what’s inside. That kills whatever was living in the shell and thus, it ends up in piece up on shore. What I saw was an opportunity to just collect the shells that had these pre-drilled holes.
So, I cleaned out an empty coffee cup from the trash with sea water and filled it with shells that had this hole. At home, I strung them with orange hemp string one by one….
And now I have a collection of shells strung on the door to the craft room. It’s a small reminder of my trip to Amelia Island and it was something very easy and simple to do. Instead of throwing some shells into a bowl, I can do something a bit more organized and interesting with them.