sand dollar

fish, Snorkel

Sea Biscuits and doves of peace

It does not happen often, so we were excited to find a live Sand Dollar making it's slow but sure way across the sands of the North Sound during a recent snorkelling stop. Much like starfish, it is enthralling to witness such little creatures attract the awe of children and adults alike. 


These little fellas are most widely known as Sand Dollars but enjoy different names in various regions. "Sea Biscuit" is the Caribbean name, whilst South Africans call them Pansy Shells. Although thought of as a shell, this treasure usually found on the beach is the skeleton of a type of urchin. Alive, they are considered to have "endoskeletons" ("inner skeletons"), as their bodies (known as the Tests) are covered with fine silky spines and are all encompassed in a "skin".

Sand dollars feed on plankton which is pushed to it's mouth on it's underside, using the spines and cilia like a conveyor belt. These same spines can be used to bury themselves into soft sand, their preferred habitat.

Some love to believe that these sun-bleached Sand Dollars are coins lost by mermaids, whilst others are warmed by stories of the Christian symbolism this little creature carries, not least the doves of peace

Us? We just think we are so very privileged to share the creatures and the beauty of this tropical island and never tire of it, nor the effect it has on it's visitors.

Snorkel, Captains Log

21 January 2015 - Heads down during a tropical storm

Tour Time : 11:45am

Guests from : Carnival Dream Cruise

Star Stingray : New comer to be named

No Shows : 7

Quite a bit of chaos and upset at the terminal in George Town today, with the Carnival Dream arriving way past the expected arrival time. Our initial meeting time had been arranged for 8:45am Cayman Time, but Captain Mario eventually left only at 11:15 with our guests who did attend. We had 7 no shows which is very hard for a small company like us to carry. Reservations that are not honoured do cost the operator money - perhaps the larger companies can absorb this, but for the small local operator it is particularly tough. In our confirmation reservations, we always remind guests to please let us know if they do not want to attend (it gives us a chance to accept other reservations), but this still does not seem to respected.

Despite a rough start, the tour was enormously fun! The crew had a great time telling island stories and chatting with our excursion guests about the caribbean creatures. Captain Mario did a marvellous job of skirting the tropical squall which tried to wet everyone the entire time!

Ha! Captain Mario managed to outrun this tropical squall the entire tour!

Ha! Captain Mario managed to outrun this tropical squall the entire tour!

Some utterly gorgeous snorkelling was experienced at our "secret garden" - this is a snorkel site which Captain Mario has discovered a little out of the normal route. Beautiful coral formations and loads of fish are always to be found here, and we were blessed with sun creating some gorgeous effects for photos. 

 Best snorkelling sites in Grand Cayman
 Best snorkelling sites in Grand Cayman

We have been visited by some newcomer stingrays at the sandbar lately - today again! We believe that these are stingrays coming over from the Deep Stingray City and have not yet had enough contact with them to learn their personalities and name them, but that won't last long! 

And a sand dollar for luck!

And a sand dollar for luck!

This was a great trip all round and it was sad to say goodbye to everyone. We hope that they enjoyed the rest of their cruise and come back soon!