Last Friday morning I decided to explore the coastline at low tide and drove over to the Wonderland Trail on the quiet side of the island. Since this is a popular “tidepooling” spot, I was expecting company and was not disappointed! However, there is ample shoreline here making it possible to meander among the rocks and pools without feeling overcrowded.
Last year, I mentioned a book called “Living on the Edge” and wrote a small post about some of the plant life found in the austere environment along the edge of the ocean. This time, my focus is on the tide pools. As the tide recedes twice each day, small pockets of ocean water become trapped by the rocks along the intertidal shore. The marine life that inhabit these pools must endure harsh environments as the ocean comes and goes – at low tide the pools are exposed to increasing temperatures, low oxygen levels and predators like wading birds. At high tide, the crashing waves cause friction and another set of predators in the form of ocean fish descend on the submerged pools.
I sat and observed several of these tide pools and was amazed at the diversity of plant and animal life thriving in this rugged habitat! It was so much fun! The more I explored and watched, the more I “saw.” It is definitely addicting!
After visiting Wonderland last week, I checked out the book “Living on the Edge” and re-educated myself on some of the animals living in the tide pools. I am going back to Wonderland again and this time I’ll be on the look-out for sand dollars, sea cucumbers, star fish, sea urchins and tube worms!! Hoping to spot some of these now that I know what to look for….