Islands of life

So there I was, walking the beach in the fog and drizzle.

Michelle and I had recently gotten home from a long weekend in Portland, and I just felt the need to walk the beach. After the sirens, yelling, horns, smells, protest chants and not so great smells, I needed a beach walk.

The fog was in, it was drizzling, but not all that windy. So all in all It was a good night to walk.

Who knew I would coin a new phrase…

As we all know, it is now October. The days of this at the ocean are probably over for the year.

The time has come for Gortex coats and rubber boots! Luckily this weekend, in the big city, I picked up a new rain shell at Mountains Hardwear! Bring on the rain!

One of the advantages of the gray drizzly day is that you get don’t get distracted by things like this.

As much as I love sunsets like this, there is SO much more to see!

As we all know I am a science geek. The more I live here, the more I wish I would’ve followed my high school and even college passion for science. Geology, biology, and astronomy are display here at the ocean every day! (Shoot, just last week, thanks to my buddy Michael, I saw the International Space Station pass over my house!!  How cool is that??)

Given my love of science, I don’t just watch the waves, I watch the sand below me as well. Sometimes I stumble over fun rocks that at looking at me

Please note I do NOT move the rocks I take photos of!

More so than just rocks, sometimes you spot life in the strangest places.

Barnacles can live anywhere

So there, in the middle of the sand where it seems nothing can survive, you find life. As soon as these rocks would be covered by water, the barnacles will open and chow down.

Sometimes it’s not just barnacles. Mussels join in as well

Here the mussels have been ripped from a rock, while covered in barnacles, but all are still alive. Just waiting for the water to come back in.

Or how about snails?


These guys grabbed on to something that left them high and dry on the sand. Unlike barnacles and mussels, I just don’t think these are as tough. Yes, I know there is a circle of life, but I moved these to the rocks about a half mile away to give them a fighting chance. Yes I know, I am going against my cold and callous claim to fame, but snails are cool…

Tonight though, was unique. I stumbled on something unique.

Two different types of barnacles attached themselves to this half a mussel shell. But look in the center. That is my favorite tide pool animal ever, a chiton. Normally you see them wedged against a rock

But the best this guy could do was a shell! Who knows how long he was being tossed around, curled in a ball, until he latched on to this shell. Then how long was a the shell tossed in the waves until I found it on the shore?

It hit me then, this was an island of life. This small shell was keeping these other sea creatures alive.

So you may be asking, “Did you leave it in the sand?”

Well the answer is no. I picked it up with my sand scoop and took them to these rocks

And deposited them into an easily accesses tide pool… Hope the chiton finds a good rock…

So, as New Stark would say, 

Who knows what I will find on the beach in the upcoming months. I am excited to find out!

But that science geek in me was amazed today. One little half mussel shell became an island of life for at least half a dozen other sea creatures. Maybe there is hope!

2 thoughts on “Islands of life

  1. Tony, many apologies – I managed to delete your last reply unintentionally, love the intertidle regions too. Not often you see chitons mentioned in blogs.

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