Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Do you see what I see?

Last weekend, Cam asked me if I wanted to plan our outing. My first thought was just to pick Angel Island or Muir Woods, a couple of places we've been talking about going but haven't been yet. (Sam and I have been to Muir Woods but not with Cam.)

But after telling my mom about out outing to Sculptured Beach, my mom had asked why we hadn't seen tide pools. I wasn't sure. I just knew they hadn't been there. So I started searching and read about Agate Beach. At low tide, Agate Beach, near Bolinas, exposes over 2 miles of coastline covered with tide pools.

I don't know what I expected. I had fond memories of being amazed when my mom took me to see tide pools once before but it seems like it was a very long time ago and my memories are hazy. I wasn't sure we'd see anything but right away, we saw lots of very impressive sea life. (See Cam's blog for more pictures of the creatures we observed.)

Initially, we had planned not to touch anything. But as Cam mentions, just by being there and walking around, we were impacting the area. We tried to tread gently and walk on hard clean surfaces whenever possible but I too felt some crunches. Fortunately, there were a plethora of snails. (Oh gosh, I just had a flashback from the movie "Three Amigos" with Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short. We watched it the evening after the tide pools and El Guapo asks if he really has a plethora of pinatas.) I am sure there were a plethora of snails but still, we didn't like stepping on them.

The first time we saw a starfish, Cam exclaimed that he had never seen a starfish in the wild before. We talked about if it would be ok to touch it and decided to just leave it alone.

We had the beach almost to ourselves except for one other family. Shortly after we arrived, they approached us explaining that the little kids had caught a crab that they wanted to show us. They had it in a bucket. We hadn't seen a crab yet so it seemed like a pretty generous offer and if maybe we wish they hadn't put it in a bucket, they already had it in a bucket. What was the harm in looking at it?

Before we knew it, they were handing us starfish. Since it was already being passed around, I was happy to hold it. I noticed this one was eating a snail.

Sam held it too then carefully put it back into the water on a rock.

The people who joined us on the beach asked if we'd touched a sea anemone yet. I remembered touching them as a child with my mother and being fascinated that they would grab on to my finger. I'd wanted to show Sam but hadn't out of concern for the creatures. But this woman insisted, "Here touch one."

I don't know how we will behave next time. We did have lots of fun wandering from pool to pool exploring.

I like the picture Cam took of Sam in front of an enormous rock wall.

I like this one of Cam too. Happiness.

Around the bend of the beach, we found whole trees that had been washed ashore. Sam enjoyed using them as balance beams.

Cam found a little hideaway for us.

No complaints about the weather. I expected exploring tide pools to be cool, windy and wet. I brought an insulated jacket and wore my waterproof snow boots. They kept me warm and dry. The mild wind and temperatures helped too. Lovely.

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