Our Trip to the Tidepools

Anna was at camp the last time our local tides were negative (that is, below a neutral tide line, revealing undersea creatures and plants that are usually covered by water.) So, when we learned about the minus tide last Thursday, we got up at dawn and went out to explore.

Our closest tidepool is Duxbury Reef in Bolinas. There is great tidepooling up and down the west coast. Directions to special Bay Area tidepool spots and detailed instructions on what to look for and how tides work are in my blog entry here. (The next minus tide will occur August 21.)

Summer mornings in the Bay Area can be foggy and cold, and we’ve shivered at Duxbury Reef before, so it was especially wonderful to be greeted with a relatively clear, pretty day at the beach. We threw on our aqua socks (you can wear sneakers), cuffed up our pants, grabbed guidebooks and cameras, and went down to the shore.



We went to the tide line and began looking around.


Sea life was everwhere — in the pools of water, clinging to rocks, and surrounded by colorful algae that seemed to breathe with the tides.

We found some glorious Giant Green Anemones.


This is a group of Aggregating Anemones. We learned that aggregates are offspring from the same parent. We gently touched their centers to feel them squirt and close up around our fingers.


This had to be to be the marquee creature of the day, the Ochre Sea Star, or starfish. We learned that starfish are omnivores and aggressive eaters.


This Hermit Crab appears to have made its home inside a Turban Snail’s abandoned shell. We got to see it walk.


A small Sculpin swam nearby. It was great to see so much evidence of a healthy ecosystem.


Anna made sure there was no Limpet living in this shell before she picked it up.


We found the algae to be very colorful. This looks like Coralline Algae.


.. And Surfgrass.


There were other people out tidepooling, but not many.


Anna was a real trooper. She had just gotten braces on the day before, and they hurt.



Mom, with the handy pocket guidebook.


.. And ubiquitous camera.



Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman and Anna Lipman

Other Slow Family posts you might like:

Tidepooling with Kids: Explore Undersea Creatures

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6 responses to “Our Trip to the Tidepools

  1. I slept through the WHOLE thing.

    Never again!

  2. Hi, I was doing a report on starfish and I happened to chance upon your blog. Your photos are very interesting. I just want to let you know that although the ochre sea star is an omnivore, not all are. Many hunt bivalvian mollusks and marine worms.

    Happy tide pooling!

  3. Hi Leah! I’m so glad you visited and enjoyed the pictures. What class is your report for? Are you near any tidepools and able to go visit?

    Thank you for letting me know more about starfish — they’re such amazing and beautiful creatures. So the ones that hunt mollusks and worms don’t necessarily eat other things?

  4. Pingback: Best Mommy Blogs in the Bay Area – 2013! - ChatterBlock in San Francisco Bay Area

  5. Pingback: Explore the Undersea World at Bay Area Tidepools - Slow Parenting

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