Monday, June 6, 2011

WHAT’S A MERMAID’S NECKLACE?

Pictured here are three different items. Do you know which one is an egg case?

It’s a sunny day and I’m walking along the beach minding my own business and a few feet in front of me I spot what is in the following picture.   I said to myself, what in the world is this. Actually I used different words than that, but never mind. So I picked it up and what ever it was it did not bite so I felt,so far so good.  So I’m standing there looking at it and people are stopping and asking “what do you have there?” I answer “I have no idea.”  

Well my first mistake was to hang it on my “Official” Government approved shell collecting basket. I continued on my beach walk and as people were passing by not one of them asked me my name or who I was, it was “what do you have there?” I kept repeating my answer over and over, “ I have no idea”  to the point that I was thinking about letting the ocean have it back, when all of a sudden a woman passing by said “I see you found a Mermaid’s Necklace!” So before she could get away I yelled at her “a Mermaid’s what?” She replied, “A Mermaid's Necklace, egg cases. Inside each one of those disks there can be as many thirty or more baby Whelk Shells”.   I was grateful for the answer so I continued on my beach walk and when people asked “what do you have there” I answered “A Mermaids Necklace, there can be as many as thirty or more baby Whelk Shells inside each one of these disks.”, as if I was now the authority on the art of shell collecting.    
So back to the question “Which one is an egg case?” The answer, all three!
Baby Whelk, Baby Tulip and an empty egg case from last weeks breakfast.

I guess some of you would like to see what they look like once they are removed from their egg cases .( Before I go further I do not collect these egg cases if they are in the surf, I only collect them if they are dried out up on the beach.)
Pictured here is a Whelk case with few of the baby shells removed along with what they would have grown to be if they had matured in the Ocean.
Pictured here is another type of egg case called a Tulip with babies removed and a matured Tulip Shell.
So now when you take a stroll on the beach you can point and say to your friends. “That’s a Mermaids necklace!” But if you pick one up and carry it along as I do people will come up to you and ask all kinds of questions about “what do you have there.” So I came up with a quick answer! They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I glued the answer to my beach hat.
Last but not least, since I learned that what I was carrying was a Mermaid’s Necklace, I made a point of going to the beach earlier and earlier each morning, even at times with a flash light. Sadly she leaves me her necklace on the beach but is always gone before I arrive!

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