I hadn't taken many photos of the beach critters, being more taken that day with the shapes of old stumps. But I found a couple, for comparison.
|8 or more crabs, 2 (at least) hermit crabs, several limpets, a tribe of periwinkles, assorted clamshells, and barnacles, all coated with green algae. In a couple of hand-breadths of the gravelly spit.|
|Helmet crab carapace.|
|Looking south towards the spit in 2010. The previous two photos are from this area.|
Over on Facebook, Fred Schueler was suggesting possible causes for the disappearance of all that life:
It could be from abrasion after really severe storms, maybe combined with winterkill - we were on Haida Gwaii for two winterkills-1985 and 1988 - and the first was mostly big rock-clinging invertebrates and the latter mostly fish and crabs - in 1985 folks were eating Octopus, and in 1988 Dungeness Crabs - the big slow-growing invertebrates just hadn't had time to recover in 3 growing seasons.
...or maybe rather than abrasion the spit had been buried in sand for a couple of years?
Or it could be just a feature of that tiny area of the beach. Or everything has dug in deep because of the weather. Or a slight change in the average temperature; climate change, in other words.
More investigation is needed.