Sometimes when I walk on the beach I think about the things that wash up. Then I think about how many people not as familiar with Edisto and beach-life probably wonder what in the world came out of the ocean.
One thing that washes up on the beach during high tide and stays behind as the tide goes back out is the cannonball jellyfish. They resemble giant eyeballs or globs of jelly. They feature a cabbage-shaped head and a short stalk. The head has a whitish hue along with a darker red or purple ring around the edges and on the stalk or tentacles. These jellyfish don’t sting, thankfully, because it is nearly impossible to not give one a little tap with your toe.
To see one of these jellyfish, simply go to any beach access and go for a walk during low tide. It is likely that there will be at least one cannonball jellyfish washed up on the beach. (A word to the wise: Don’t let your dog roll on one unless you like cleaning stinky dog fur).
Another strange looking ocean-dweller that washes up from time to time is the sea urchin. Sea urchins are related to the sand dollar, but unlike their smooth cousins, they are spiny and globular in shape. The spines can actually deliver a painful prick to human skin, so avoid handling a sea urchin on the beach.
While these aren’t as common on the beach as the cannonball jellyfish, they do wash up time to time, especially near the groins.
Many visitors are excited when star fish start to wash up; after all, people pay for star fish in gift shops, so it’s a special treat when they present themselves for free on the beach. But, make sure any star fish that are taken from the beach are actually dead first.
Star fish sometimes wash up in large amounts after particularly rough storms. After these storms, it’s common to see hundreds of live star fish on the beach. During low tide they can be found all over the wet sand before being swept back out into the water during high tide.
Odds and Ends
Aside from the marine life that washes up there are all sorts of other things that can be found on the beach. Fossils, shark teeth, sea glass, various shells, drift wood, and weathered items from boats and houses can be found in the sand.
Decades ago, there was another town on Edisto Island known as Edingsville Beach. This area had several fine homes that were destroyed in a hurricane. Although many, many tides have come and gone and much of what was taken by the ocean will never be recovered, I’ve always liked to think that some of the artifacts from that time period could wash ashore.
Post photos of your best beach finds here or tell us about it in the comments section of this post.