This morning I went tide pooling with a group of students from Watsonville, CA. I love rock pooling, its one of my favourite past times. Its very relaxing and you never know what you are going to find. Even though the students were on spring break, all of my new friends were excited to learn and teach me about their Pacific Ocean and the plants and animals that live in it.
The rocky shores and tidepools of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary are a great place to watch ocean life without even getting wet, well almost! They are a bit slippery.
We visited Point Pinos during low tide and were able to see tide pool sculpins (fish) darting away, sea stars clinging to rocks, and hermit crabs scurrying about. Bright green surf grasses and colorful red and brown seaweeds covered the rocks we were walking on and made them very slippery.
But life isn't easy in a tide pool. The water can get hot and more salty on a sunny day. Warm water also holds less oxygen. As the tide returns the temperature and salinity would return to normal - enough of a shock to kill many animals. Another day the water might be very cold or become diluted by freshwater when it rains. So the animals here look beautiful and often delicate but they are also very tough and well adapted to this ever changing habitat.
I have been promised a trip to the Discovery Centre before I leave so I will hopefully find out more about the fascinating animals I have seen.
Bye for now. Ed