Wednesday, August 08, 2012
snap crackle pop...
if you've ever walked a rocky shore at low tide, you might know what i'm talking about. all the barnacles exposed as the water crept away make a noise very much like the breakfast cereal i enjoyed as a child. with that white noise to accompany me, i did a fair bit of exploring along the sand and rocks of our northwest island bay. the outer coast of the island is generally much more rugged and windswept than my east side home, and although there are many creatures in common (like that purple ochre star at top) there are also guaranteed to be some i'll only see out there.
along with the giant green and moonglow anemones we see on the inner coast, a little tide pool exploring revealed smaller pink-tipped anemones unfurling under the water. if you've never had the chance, it is amazing to run a gentle finger along those delicate tentacles and feel the gentle tug in return as the anemone both retreats and tries to take you with it. chitons clung to the crevices and alien gooseneck barnacles clustered together amongst the large acorn barnacles. back in the sand along the high tide line, i found two mermaid's purses abandoned after their owners hatched and moved on. (remember the one i made?) the larger one here is from a big skate and the smaller is from a longnose skate, the two main species we have in this area. and while the hermit crabs are quick to take over abandoned snail shells, a quick survey of a small area still yielded up a plethora of giant western nassa, purple olive, and other assorted shells.
while paddling in the bay, we saw dozens of fried egg jellyfish pulsating below. these fellows are aptly named, with a white-ish body punctuated by a golden yellow middle. there were a few small ones, but many were 2 feet + in diameter, with long trailing tentacles behind. at the time, i couldn't remember the status on their sting, but i was not inclined to find out (thankfully while playing in the surf we didn't have any run-ins). i've now learned that they have a relatively mild sting, but probably still not something you want to play with. anyway, all that to say i didn't get any shots of them in the water. my big camera stayed safe ashore as we explored the coastline. i spent a bit of time with the gopro mounted to my paddle just outside the surf zone as i tried to capture some underwater shots of one of them, but between the swells, the opposing wind waves, low underwater visibility, moving jelly, and moving me on my board, i wasn't very successful. oh well. early the next morning when i wandered the beach i found many had been left behind by the receding tide. you can compare the scale of the one above (and squint to see the tentacles trailing out) with my sandal beside it.
how's your week going?