Rare Beach Beauties: Pansy Shells and Paper Nautiluses
There is nothing better than walking at the beach with sunshine and low tide! Mossel Bay offers a big variety of beautiful, unspoiled beaches in close vicinity. And if you go to Diaz Beach (about 8 minutes from Avenues Guesthouse), you might have the chance to find a Pansy Shell!
The Pansy Shell (Echinodiscus bisperforatus) is a fragile carcass of a sea urchin, which has a flimsy pattern of a Pansy on the one side. Alive, the carcass is crimson coloured and barbed.
The spines are used to move across the seabed. When the urchin dies, the spines are rubbed away from water, sand and stones. The carcass is washed ashore and is bleached from saltwater and the sun until it is creamy-white.
A little bit more fortune is needed to find a Paper Nautilus, for example at the beach between Rheebok and Great Brak River (about 15 minutes from Avenues Guesthouse). Paper Nautiluses or Argonauts (Argonauta spec.) belong to the family of octopuses. Just the females secrete the paper-thin, cream white eggcases which weight just a few grams. Useful hint: Never try to wash the sand off a Paper Nautilus in the sea. If the wave is too rough, the case can break immediately!