Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Clouds of sandpipers

We could have almost walked across Boundary Bay. Almost. If we were as light as birds, and could jump a couple of rivers, we probably could have.

On Sunday, the tide was the lowest I've seen it at Crescent Beach. We walked right out to water's edge, probably about a mile out; the beach had been flat all the way out, but there, it dropped off sharply into deep water.

The Google satellite view shows the intertidal zone; we started at the "B" on Crescent Beach, and walked straight out to the tip of the green triangle. It's about 10 kilometres over to the Boundary Bay beach on the other side of the bay. All that greenish-blue, stripy, finny sea-monster thingy on the northeast is mud flat, also exposed at low tide.

From about half-way out, looking South. Shallow pools, less than ankle-deep. The point of land at the far right is the tip of Point Roberts, across the border.

Looking straight across the mud flats to South Delta farmland.

Southwest; the hills on the left are in the US.

It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day, and the water in the tide pools was warm. The sand steamed. A mist rose up, about waist-deep, all across the upper intertidal zone. It made distant figures shimmer and break up; many appeared to be walking on air. Our photos turned out vague and greyed, but that is what we were seeing, too.

Steam, walkers, and something in the distance that looks like a sailing ship. It isn't.

Looking back towards the shore, and the hills of Ocean Park. (Imaginative name, eh?)

A couple and their dog, far ahead.

More ghostly walkers.

But look closely; see the sandpipers? Far out in the bay, several flocks played an elaborate game of follow-the-leader, skimming the surface, then soaring, wheeling, drifting as if wind-blown, or suddenly reversing direction. They were barely visible, just a dancing greyness in the mist.

Runner and sandpipers. With a probable heron or two.

What we found in and on the sand, next post.



  1. Isn't Point Roberts an unusual place? I looked about purchasing property there before we decided to apply for residency. We thought it was the closest we could get to living in Canada, but after our two year wait we got something even better. A full-time home in Powell River. I love your shots of the mud flats. When we ride the bus from Vancouver to Bellingham I always look out to see what is happening when we pass the bay. - Margy

  2. Unusual is the word for it. A small town belonging to one country, on a spit of land in another, with no land access, except across an international border.

    It's a nice place. We dream of moving down to just this side of that border. The whole area has a friendly, "small town" feel to it.


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