Missive From Tybee Island: Thirty Sand Dollars and Sexy Silk Skirts

The rain eventually quit.

Dying for a walk and a swim and a day outdoors, Rowan and I went to the beach on a gray afternoon. We’d waited all day for sun and couldn’t take it anymore.

We walked by the jetties for an hour and I wandered into the surf, too rough for swimming. You could get in the water safely, but the waves were rough and sucked and jerked and slammed you all around, ripping at your clothes, ducking you underwater and yanking you backwards with barely time to take a breath.

After about 45 minutes, the sun finally won its battle against the clouds. It’s been sunny ever since.

We played on the beach all day yesterday, from just after breakfast until nearly dinnertime. I learned my lesson about sunblock, and will come home with a few angry red burned spots.

Note to readers: if you are going to wear a shirt to the beach because you are fair, which is not a bad idea, put your sunblock on, all over, before your put your shirt on.

Your shirt, when it gets wet, will hang differently and the 1/2 inch of skin around your neckline with no sunscreen on it will get a proper baking unless you have sunblocked yourself before you put your shirt on.

And don’t forget sunblock on your lips, because you can indeed get sunburned lips. They don’t turn red since they are already pink, but they will get burned and hurty.

I’ve got that unpleasant prickle-pain on my burned shoulders that I think is from my skin dying. I think I will peel. Sigh…

I chose to play hooky from the beach today, as just the feel of the hot sun through my t-shirt on my sunburn is uncomfortable.

But I had breakfast with my girlies at Sunrise this a.m., a little beachside bacon and eggs joint, and then went shopping for postcards, sunglasses (don’t go into the surf without your dang croakies, either) and some sinus meds for Rowan, who felt like she was either coming down with a summer cold or having a bad allergy attack.

Well, vacation, a debit card and the presence of her girlfriends does funny things even to a science girl, and we left a Tybee tourist trap about $150 lighter when we all discovered Kariza Designs and bought ourselves gorgeous 3-layer wrap skirts made from old sarong fabric.

Here in a minute after I take the blog for a walk I’m going to wash dishes, straighten my room, write some postcards, plan dinner, eat lunch and go visit briefly with everyone down on the beach.

I am making a Flickr set of my friends’ tattoos and have to ask if I can get Maggie’s sea creatures and Patrick’s brand-new absolutely badass Pi tattoo, which I saw this morning and which is awesome.

Then I’m off to the post office and grocery store, then back homeyhome for a final roundup-of-leftovers dinner and a dolphin tour. The couples are splitting tonight for Friday in downtown Savannah, so the singles are staying in for, presumably, board games, smokes and mango-rum cocktails.

I really recommend Tybee Island. Our beach house is reasonably priced, restaurants are affordable, dolphin tours are $15, and there’s fishing, parasailing, history and lowcountry marshes, all 20 minutes from beautiful downtown Savannah, a city I really find romantic, appealing and fun (I am a total sucker for the South).

It’s my second time here, and the beaches are popular but clean and not crowded, the water is clean and sand dollars are EVERYWHERE. (Yesterday we saw two cute little yellow stingrays, too.) I have now taught nearly everyone in a 12-mile radius the art of finding live sand dollars in the surf, and me and Rowan and Jimmy found over 30 yesterday.

We put them back; we always do.

For those of you who do not yet know:

How to Find Sand Dollars at the Beach

Find a place where the water is deep enough to swim in and the ocean floor is smooth and not made ridgy by the breakers. Low tide is best.

Walk along, shuffling your feet as you go. If you feel something rough and hard with your feet, explore it to be sure it is not a crab and pick it up with your toes. The waves will try to drag you away, so once you find a sand dollar, try hard to keep your foot on or near it.

You may also kick over sand dollars on their sides embedded in the sand edge-on, so if you think you felt one and kicked it over, try to find it again and grab it with your toes.

You can play with a sand dollar as long as you want if you keep it wet and aren’t rough with it, which will break off its little spines. I think the tiny crabs you see clinging to it are crab larvae it has caught and is going to eat.

When you are done showing it to your friends put the sand dollar back on the ocean floor, ideally near where it was before as sand dollars live in groups, and where you find one, you will always find more.


Off to nuke some lunch and try to find my peeps on the beach and take pictures of their tattoos. Tybee rocks and this was just what I needed. Wish you were here. Jen out.

2 responses to “Missive From Tybee Island: Thirty Sand Dollars and Sexy Silk Skirts

  1. Wave to the dolphins for me!!

  2. Aborsben Jr. The roll on thingie , is good for sunburned skin.
    My daughter , after spending the night with Grandpa , whom works for hotels on the island. Announce how she was tanning ! My redhead child. Hmmm during lunch I just smiled as she told me of her grand walk on beach by herself , sans sunscreen. We still have the baggy pajamas I had to buy on way home from wall -mart. we also use Noxema on her skin.

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