Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Shopping in ankle-deep water

My hermit crabs love seaweed. The bushier, the taller, the more tangled, the better. They eat it, climb it to rest clinging precariously to a waving tip, socialize on it, survey their territory from high points in it (they're always so interested in everything!) and hide under it.

When the rain started, I had been planning an expedition to replenish their supply, but I didn't want to venture out in the weather. By yesterday, they were down to a couple of blades of rotting eelgrass. I had given them a piece of lettuce, which my aquarium books said they would like. The crabs nibbled at it some, but the hermits ignored it and climbed the eelgrass, taking turns for lack of space.

This morning, I finally dug out my rain jacket and warm pants and dressed for rain. And the sun came out! I hurried down to Boundary Bay while my good fortune lasted.

A perfect summer day. I discarded my jacket on a log. Looking south to Point Roberts.

The sea was empty; even the birds stayed on board parked boats. Two gulls here.

And a half dozen on this yellow cataraman.

It was a good afternoon for seaweeds. Perhaps the recent weather has ripped up more of the tide flats than usual. In the first few minutes, I'd collected all the sea lettuce I could handle, and several handfuls of excellent, fresh eelgrass, one plant with roots and all.

I was looking for a tiny piece of kelp; the crabs love it, but it rots quickly, so it becomes a treat for a day and then gets tossed. I found some, and brought home a chunk with bryozoans for added protein. And along the way, I found several varieties of branched red weed, green rockweed, three kinds of hairy red seaweed, a ribbon sea lettuce, Turkish towel, and a rubbery sheet of red algae. From a boat a man and a boy were trailering, I harvested a handful of fine green algae; good to freeze for the next rainy day. And there were umpteen oak leaves, maple leaves, and one geranium stalk, blown out to sea by the wind, brought back in on the tide. (I didn't bring any of these last items home; good for the garden, but coals to Newcastle and all that.)

Small leaf of big-leaf maple, tied neatly with brown eelgrass.

Faded Turkish towel, red algae, eelgrass live and dead,  and brilliant green sea lettuce.

A blade of well-aged kelp. Interesting patterns; I see in there an old flyer or postcard, much yellowed with age, with part of a face visible on the front.

Another view. The "postcard" has disappeared.

The fog settling down again, all the colours blue-shifted.

Back in the car, as I turned the first corner towards Tsawwassen, the rain started again.

Oh, and the critters approved of my "purchases".


  1. Maybe the kelp poster was advertising a literal Circus of the Spineless?

  2. It's hard to predict the weather this time of year. I'll take a sunny day any time I can get it. You are so good to your critters. - Margy


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