Friday, July 06, 2012


Facebook changes everything.

I had a birthday today. A rather scary one; the 70th. Normally, when a milestone like that comes up, I hide in a corner until I've somehow dealt with the implications of it. Not now. Not in the age of Facebook. The first birthday greeting came in shortly before midnight Wednesday, and before breakfast today, I'd heard from friends, family, Facebook friends, relatives I've never met in person, other bloggers, past neighbours that I haven't seen in years ...

Privacy is a thing of the past. And I wouldn't have believed it a while back, but I'm loving it. My world is expanding, and it's full of wonderful people. And my world is shrinking, so that distances are almost irrelevant. (My first b'day greeting came from Australia, the next from Mexico.)

If you sent a message, thank you! You made the day great!

Now, on to the beach ...

The tide has been hitting low lows this week, and we went out early to catch one of the lowest at White Rock. We found parking near the centre of the promenade, and walked towards the pier and the eel-grass beds.

A beautiful summer day, a quiet beach, blue water. Perfect!

They set up the chairs and supplies (the adults, that is), added landscaping and boundary markers (children, I assume), and then left it all behind to get their feet wet.

Tubeworms, a couple of inches high, barely underwater.

This big stranded crab was lethargic, but responded when I poured water over him. I tried to pick him up to move him to the water, but he grabbed at me with those sharp legs, and I eventually dug a hole for him, shoved him in, and covered him with wet eelgrass.

A bunch of kids were wading through the eelgrass, looking for crabs. One of the younger boys, possibly around 8 or so, showed me how he had no trouble picking up a big crab. "Just grab it by a back leg; he can't get you that way." He demonstrated, then replaced the crab in his bucket and stroked the carapace. "They lie still when you pet their heads like this."

Sliding down a wave

Weird reflection!

Near the pier and the drop-off into deep water around the wharf, I found this sculpin, belly up but alive, possibly dropped there by a gull who found him too big to handle.

A golden belly, decorated with rows of pearly beads. (Worth a click to see it full size.) 

Flipped over.

He seems to have some bruising on the skin, but he was definitely alert. I grabbed him with a plastic bag to shield my hands; those spines are sharp! Even through several layers of bag. When I released him in the water, he righted himself and swam off, a bit lopsidedly.

Boats at the breakwater, just a few metres from where we stood on the beach.

Laurie watching a school of sculpins.

Wonderful colours under the pier.

Kids fishing off the small dock.

Dangling seaweeds, exposed by the low tide.

Detail of a piling. Mostly mussels, a few barnacles.

Amazing how far a gull can open his beak. He flew away like that, beak wide open carrying the heavy clam.

Heading back, Laurie discovered a tidepool full of tiny swimmers, with barely-visible legs and antennae:

Shrimp! This one is about 4 cm. long, not counting those body-length antennae.

Beach pea, back at the shore.

And I brought home a few inches of eelgrass with hydroid "fur" to examine. It turned out to be loaded with microscopic snails, a tiny red mite-like creature, and a few polychaetes, also almost microscopic.

The perfect birthday! Now, if the number were only a bit smaller ...


  1. Happy Birthday! What a great way to spend it too, exploring the beach.

  2. The beach there is spectacular. So full of life. Wonderful photos. Glad you had a great birthday. Roger will be celebrating his 70th in August. Looking forward to as fine a time as this.


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