Almost high tide, in a weedy spot.
But this area is not as much used by people as the rest of the shore. Maybe that's because there is no road access, no "official" trail, and no sign at the top of the steps, which, besides, lead only half-way down the bluff face to a lookout point. From here, through a gap in the railing, a narrow path, unimproved, muddy, and treacherous in places, scrambles down to the beach below. This Saturday, fewer than a dozen people were within sight.
And on the first patch of sand, we found a starfish:
The rest of us are over thataway ...
More, many more, were waiting for us among the rocks.
In a two-inch-deep puddle beside a rock, tentacles sprung directly from the sand. An anenome, buried up to its mouth.
At the edge of the puddle, something moved. Something very tiny. It was a black and white striped fish, barely bigger than the shrimp nearby.
See them both?
A large rock was home to a chiton, as well as a mixed colony of anenomes, rich brown and white.
The chiton is that oval grey shell at the bottom of the rock. The white twisty things off to the left are the tubes of some type of marine worm.
Another look at the anenomes, closed up tight against the air.
Each rock and crevice seemed to house different types of creatures. The seaweeds were green (sea lettuce and eelgrass), yellow and brown (rockweed and a knobbly, hair-like growth) red, and dark purple. At a distance, I saw also a bright orange patch on a rock; the tide was coming in, and I couldn't get to it to investigate.
The seagulls had been using some areas as dining rooms, and they were littered with broken clam shells and crab pieces. And starfish clutching at the crabs.
An armful of crab legs.
I started photographing pools of water and sheltered rock sides, whether or not I saw anything of interest in them at the moment. At home, I blew the photos up. See what I found!
Assorted snails, in different shapes and colours. Broken shells, including mussels and barnacles. Limpets, holding tight to the rock. And an wonderfully camouflaged fish, a sculpin. I can find it, but when I look away and look back, it seems to have disappeared; I have to search for it again. Can you see it?
Here's another little pool:
The red "petal" seems to be a piece of broken crab pincher. Most of the area is covered in seaweeds, but look up in the top left corner. What is that?
Here's a close-up.
Tentacles! I haven't seen ones like this before, with white markings on the tentacles themselves. It's probably another kind of anenome.
And Laurie took this photo, of seaweed, he thought. But did you notice the large sculpin?
This piece of shore is like the beaches I grew up on; alive and thriving. We'll be back, at low tide, early in the day, and carrying lunch.