For years now, I've been wanting to visit Fitzgerald Marine Reserve at low tide and check out all the critters there. But tides are quirky things. When we had free time, the tide wasn't sufficiently low, or it was super low, but only at 4 a.m. More often than not, I just didn't think to look.
But on Monday evening, I happened to check a blog I sometimes frequent and there was an invitation to go tidepooling...for earlier that day. Of course, I'd missed that opportunity, but it just so happened that the kids had Tuesday off for a teacher in service. Not only were the tides nice and low, but they were even lower than they'd been on Monday. And what a fabulous place this is!It was a beautiful day. It's January, so it wasn't exactly balmy, but beaches in Northern California are rarely balmy, so it was lovely. My mom joined us. Admittedly, I was a lousy caretaker, often forgetting that she's not so stable on the slippery rocks...getting far ahead of her and then going back to get her. Each time, she seemed pretty happy with whatever tidepool she was looking at...only reinforcing my lousy daughterness.There were all kinds of critters to see...and parts of critters. This must've been one mighty crab before it became someone's meal.And it's always exciting to find an intact sea urchin shell or two.I got to watch for a few minutes while this great blue heron fished in the shallow water. He was pretty successful!And then there was this thing:It's not one of my prettiest pictures, but I'm glad I managed to capture it. It looked like a long, pink centipede with a pointy head and when I touched it, it disappeared in the blink of an eye. I asked the ranger about it and her best guess (not having seen it herself) was that it was a clam's feeding tube. If anyone out there has better information, I'd be curious to know!
We ended up running into some good friends from school...a big surprise since I didn't think tidepooling would be on their list of family activities. And you know what they say about assuming. Yup. That's me. I'd even thought about asking them to go earlier, but decided that a quiet afternoon with the four of us would be nice. It ended up being the seven of us having a lovely time in the late afternoon sunshine and thankfully, my friend did a better job of helping my mom out than my mom's own daughter was doing.Mam had basketball practice at 5 and it was getting chilly, so we forced ourselves out of the tidepools and trudged back up to the mommymobile to dry off and eat some cookies. I really need to make a bigger point of doing these things more often. I'm still not convinced that tidepooling is my friend's bag, but getting wet and looking at cool critters? I'll take a whole suitcase of that, please!