Look ahead at the tides and wind and plan your paddle to see the sand dollar beds in Netarts Bay. They are awesome!
The Eccentric Sand Dollar (Dendraster excentricus) is an echinoderm, like sea stars and sea urchins. They typically enjoy warmer waters with higher salinity, but the slow moving, shallow bay with few rivers feeding it, allows for a dense bed of live sand dollars in the Eel Grass beds on the western side of the bay. Typically, the skeleton, or "test", of a sand dollar is found washed up on the beach. A prized possession if you find one intact. At the Netarts beds, there are thousands of living species, colored black or purple.
I visit the sand dollar beds a couple of times per year and typically find clear water to snorkel and photograph. They are found approximately 1000 feet from shore, in 4-5 feet of water, at high tide. To stay dry and see the beds of thousands of living sand dollars, plan your paddle for low tide. Then you will be able to cruise right over the animals and all the other invertebrate life the beds support. If you visit at low tide, know that you will have to paddle around sand bars and, perhaps, walk your boat or board through ankle deep water. Along the way you will see huge colonies of Harbor Seals (Phoca vitulina) either hauled-out at low tide, or swimming around you and investigating.