Sunday, January 31, 2016

Cave dwellers

The morning brought a faint hint of sunshine, a promise of more. I loaded the camera, grabbed my coat, and hit the road. By the time I'd run a couple of errands, it was raining, but not too hard. I drove down to the shore to look at the water from the shelter of the car.

The waves were high and pounding in; as soon as I parked, I could hear them roaring. Rain or no rain, I had to be on the beach.

Waves, and a duck, resting calmly in the trough..

The tide was out farther than I've seen it so far this fall and winter. I went down to the water's edge, turned over a few rocks: crabs, crabs, crabs, and tiny barnacles.

Barnacles on the bottom of a rock. One limpet, one mussel. The crabs all ran for cover.

Sandpiper, just out of reach of the waves.

It was raining a bit harder now, but off in the distance, I could see the strange sandstone formations we had explored in bygone summers. I sheltered the camera under my coat and went to look at them.

Round rocks, and a dark row of flat sandstone, on a dark, rainy day.

This part of the beach has a solid underpinning, not sand, but flattish sandstone, with occasional "tables" fringed with seaweeds, rimmed and topped with small round indentations, up to about an inch in diameter. In between the sandstone tables, smallish, round stones  cover most of the lower slab. Large rocks are scattered randomly across the whole area. An unusual mix.

Sample arrangement.

This one got tipped on an angle. How, I don't know; it's heavy.

Holes around the rim of two tables. They remind me of cave dwellings I have seen on a Mexican mountainside.

When we investigated rocks like these a few summers ago, most of the pits were occupied by small, green anemones. I couldn't see any now, in the winter; instead, small periwinkle snails are hiding there. Maybe the anemones are underneath them, waiting for warmer weather.

Barnacles out in the open, snails in the tubs.

Anemones in sandstone pits, summer of 2010.

The rain picked up, and my camera was getting wet. I clutched it under my coat and hurried back to shore. I'll be back, next sunny day at low tide.


  1. ceratina2:33 pm

    Great shots, and a lovely place. Do the anemones make the holes? They all fit so well.

    You need a raincoat for the camera. You can easily make one from an appropriately sized plastic bag and a rubber band. You should also use a good quality protective filter to keep water from getting in behind the front lens. A hard hood (as opposed to folding rubber) can help with rain hitting the lens, too.

    Or you can buy them, from cheapish semi-disposables to fancy ones (they still need the filter or a good hood):

    I used the Optechs for awhile (I'm in Seattle), but now I have rainproof gear (olympus micro 4/3) and life is even better.


  2. Hi, Ceratina. Yes, I do have a plastic rain shield for the camera, but I foolishly left it at home in the drawer. I should really store it permanently in the car, I guess.

    I do have a protective filter. I wouldn't head to a beach without it; besides the salt water, there's always blowing sand to worry about.

  3. Wayne and I went kayaking in the Gulf Islands quite a few years ago, but I remember the beautiful sandstone cliffs along the way back to Nanaimo. - Margy


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