Centennial Beach was almost empty; the sensible people were staying inside, in the warmth. The pond was iced over.
"Thin Ice," a sign warned. I tested it, following Hugh's example, throwing rocks onto it. It didn't even chip. Not so thin.
There was no ice on the bay; the water was too bouncy to freeze.
A colourless day, grey and chill. The tide was high, just starting down. A few seagulls bobbed up and down offshore. The only sound was the incessant "Swish, swish, swish" of the waves.
We walked along the edge, poking in the eelgrass for goodies. Laurie found a small clam, and a ring of limpet shell, just the rim. I found an empty snail shell. Nothing else; the waves were tying everything loose up in tight knots of eelgrass. There was no sea lettuce, not surprising in mid-winter, of course. I did pick up a few pieces of kelp with holdfasts; the crabs swarm over those, poking into all the crevices for choice edibles.
Water for the barnacles, good stuff, full of stirred-up nutrition; I uncapped my bottle and dipped it in a spot where the shore slopes down steeply. An extra-large wave caught me unprepared, soaked my jacket sleeve and threatened my ankles. I gave up, with barely a cup of water. We were half-frozen anyhow.
A hint of colour and form on the way back across the dunes.
Sculpture. Needs a name.
At home, I decorated the aquarium with kelp and eelgrass, poured the cup of water over the barnacles. My offerings were enthusiastically received with waving cirri and snatching pincers. I rinsed out the plastic bag, and checked the bit of detritus for amphipods or miniature snails. A micro-dot of a critter was dancing along the bottom of the bowl. Even with the hand lens, it was still a speck; I got out the microscope.
Critter. 0.75 mm nose to tail. That's 750 micrometres (µm), or 1/30 inch.
I don't know what it is. Some sort of larva, maybe? Or an animal too small for my books to notice? Does anybody know?
I also found this little shrimpy thing.
I would say it's an amphipod, since they are plentiful in this water, except that the tail doesn't curve under. Help!
All in all, a productive afternoon, even though there was no sea lettuce.