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      Shell collectors hit Grand Strand beaches in the wee hours after storm

      Hurricane Arthur had little impact on the Grand Strand, but did leave behind some excellent conditions for beachcombers.

      Dedicated shellers were out before sunrise at Cherry Grove Beach on Friday.

      They know shell collecting is a game of you snooze, you lose.

      "I heard they were out here at 3 o'clock in the morning with flashlights, looking. Sure did," said Mitch Hughlet of Little River. "I have no clue (what they found). I was in bed at 3 o'clock in the morning."

      "The shell searchers have got here early and found their lot and they're gone," added Hughlet's friend Billie Martin of Cherry Grove.

      It may seem like common knowledge that the best conditions for shelling are in the wee hours the morning after a tropical storm passes by, but one woman who's collected thousands of shark's teeth over the years is not so sure.

      "Not really. I think this tide is so rough, it takes them back out. But new moon and three days after, you get lots of big ones," said Pat McMickle of Little River.

      She said her collection of 15,000 shark's teeth include a couple of megalodon teeth that are thousands of years old.

      Some dedicated beach walkers say early morning shelling is about more than just coming up with the latest find for a collection.

      "It's just peaceful. You can come out with a burden and walk the beach and it's just so calming and soothing," said Angie Hicks of North Myrtle Beach.

      Friday morning Cherry Grove Beach also saw dog walkers, joggers and families getting an early start on a fun day in the sun.

      It was a surprisingly busy place at sunrise.

      "It's the beach. I mean, what can you say? It's perfect," McMickle said.