This is no beach for a casual stroll, nor for basking on the sand drying out after a swim; the beach below our motel demands close attention. The first thing we notice at the bottom of the stairs (we have already been exclaiming over the view on the way down) are the rocks.
Looking north towards Stories Beach.
The first rocks, in "Zone 1", have been tumbled and washed by the waves until they are smooth and rounded. There is no sign of life here; no seaweed, no broken shells, no tangles of eelgrass. Nothing but large stones, rolling and slipping underfoot. Unlike the rocks of our Lower Mainland beaches, they are all of a kind, grey or blue-grey granite.
A few metres down the beach, the going gets easier. We're in Zone 2. Large slabs of sandstone, water-carved into gentle, almost organic curves, provide solid footing.
Sandstone and beach stones.
Where indentations hold water, the colours of the stone show up.
Layers of pink, grey, and tan in a broken chunk of sandstone.
Zone 3, coming up. The stones become bigger, a bit rougher, the slabs of sandstone are no longer polished. The beach comes alive.
The borderline is visible as a change of colour.
A sprinkling of barnacles, like icing sugar on a pound cake, highlights the curves of the rocks. On this one, the layers, sediments laid down by ancient bodies of water, are easily seen. The wave action isn't as intense here as it is higher up on the beach, or these would have been sanded down, too.
Most of the rocks at this level are pitted, as if they had been pelted with hail while they were still soft. I don't know what causes this; the snails and barnacles that populate the holes, the loss of pebbles from the mix, or those hailstones (lava stones?)
Craters and pits in a large rock.
And every crater that holds water has its tiny community.
And where the barnacles and snails drill away at the rock faces, the sandstone floor has fractured into cobblestones. I call this "Zone 4".
Then, in the next zone down, where the seaweed starts, things get really interesting. I'll get to that tomorrow.