Saturday, February 22, 2014

Where have all the starfish gone?

barnacles with lone mussel



half moon gate

what is this fish lurking beneath the seaweed? Best guess: sculpin. Ate another fish while we watched

whale gate

yellow fields..Wild shamrock?



glare during my eary morning run


passionfruit blossom


Some how I never timed going to the local tide pools right during previous visits. Well not this time. I memorized the low tides for the beach near here, conveniently one of the top five tide pools in California. Not all tides are equal..the super low tides only happen once or twice a month (best for viewing tide pools..on the flip side the super high tides occurred during Hurricane Sandy making things way worse).

But the day was perfect..warm, not windy. I had already run though tough running right into the rising sun, felt good to turn around. Other people can read tide tables too so we were not alone though people helped each other out finding creatures. Only one star fish!!! And it was in a dangerous area so I couldn't see it. They are dying from something known as star fish wasting disease. They have been dead for months points south and it's going up the coast killing every one of them. I hope it spares Oregon. We saw all variety of snails and anemones. A few crabs and that one strange fish looking like an elongated yellow toad. He was about 6 inches long.

So where are these good tide pools. Number one listed was in Laguna Beach. I've been to the town, not the tide  pools. I've been to the Asilomar tide pools in Monterey though not at the best time. There's some in Santa Cruz though not rated as highly as these, the ones in the Fitzgerald Reserve. But it was fun looking for interesting life. At one point the tide was coming in and I was afraid that Steve would be cut off by being on a cliff. The area right outside our viewing area is the home of the Maverick Surfing competition where 50 foot waves form. Not today though.

After lunch, we went exploring again. Back to the lighthouse to look for whales but it is the wrong time of year. The are in Baja California raising their young. Next month they will go by this point on their way to Alaska where the food is. The place is very pretty with lots of deep pink ice plant in bloom. The hills going there were covered with yellow shamrock..pretty. We took a break and went to Pescadero for fancy coffee and their garlic artichoke bread fresh from the the oven. Tasty. Then a long hike in my inappropriate foot wear to yet another harbor seal preserve.

We returned very tired especially me as I had been up since 5 am. the other side of the Santa Cruz mountains.

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