Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cabrillo National Park Tide Pools (Day 2)

The next morning, one of the things we did was visit the Cabrillo National Park - just in time for low tide. And, it was a very low tide. In fact, they were expecting their lowest tide of the year in only 3 days! I have never seen a real tide pool before and this was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. I was suprised at how hard it was to get around on the slippery rocks, though!

Above is a chiton - it is a mollusk with 8 hard plates.

This was one of my favorite finds. It is probably about 4 or 5 inches long and is a Key Whole Limpet. Limpets browse on algae along the cliffs and some return to a "home" spot during low tide.

This is a green sea anenome. There were LOTS of sea anenomes around. I'm glad someone pointed one out to us as we arrived, or I would not have recognized them. When they aren't in water, they close up and they're covered in little pieces of shell. (This one is partially closed.) The volunteer told me they are covered in shell to prevent themselves from being dried out!

On the left is a green sea anenome which is opened, and on the right (the whitish "tube") is a tube snail. The tube snail starts its life with a coiled shell, but as it grows, the shell straightens.
(I got a lot of my information froma sign they had near the tide pools.)

A photo of Alexandra out on the slippery rocks. I was really timid at first, but my sil kept helping me along. After awhile, I was getting around pretty well!

Goose-Neck Barnacles - I was surprised at how big there were -
they were bigger than a quarter at their base.

My sil and Alexandra, who were both usually ahead of me!

Another sea anenome which is out of the water and therefore closed.
It looks like it has a round bone in its center! Can you see how easy these would be to miss unless you know what you were looking for?

Hopefully you can find this fish. (His face is towards us in the lower, middle of the photo) My sil found it. It is a sculpin, a "master of disguise." He was probably about 4 inches long.

I should have probably enlarged this, but this is one of MANY hermit crabs we saw. They were one of the few "active" animals we saw.

In the back are California Mussels - filter feeders. Hiding in front is a little Lined Shore Crab.

More Goose Neck Barnacles - they were everywhere.

And, my absolute favorite "find" - a sea star!!! The volunteer told me it was a knobby sea star and that they don't see them very often around this beach anymore. Unfortunately, the photo doesn't show the colors as well as in real life. He had beautiful blue spots with yellow, raised centers. Gorgeous!!!


  1. Wow! What great and rare finds! I loved reading all of the information also. Your photos are great! Kudos to you girl!

  2. What lovely pics. Alex is getting so bit- you guys take such amazing trips.

  3. Those are AMAZING photos. We would have been in heaven. Wow

  4. Great pictures, Dana. The first one scared me because I thought you had found a jawbone and those plates looked like teeth! The last one does look beautiful. It looks just like an elaborate pearl piece of jewelry.

  5. What fun! Tidepooling is one of our all-time favorite things to do. I could spend day after day exploring them. As a matter of fact, when we lived in Kodiak, I did!LOL!

  6. What a wonderful nature time! These are great photos. I realize there is so much of nature out there that I haven't been able to experience yet, but would love to! Thanks for sharing.


  7. Wow! That makes me want to visit California and camp out by a tidal pool! Have you all read Pagoo by Holling? It would go perfectly with your trip.

  8. I enjoyed catching up with your blog today. I linked to this entry from my marine biology Squidoo Lens.

    You will have to check it out. If you have any other places or suggestions for study in the San Diego area, could you email them to me?

    Thanks so much for sharing your day,
    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  9. I am coming really late to this, but I love the photos on this post! Our few times of exploring tide pools and low tide are some of my best beach memories. What fun!

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