Tidepooling: Another Simple Pleasure

As gadling reader Caz noted in a comment on one of my creek wading posts, folks in California and parts of the Southwest are hard pressed to find a creek to wade in this time of year. Tidepooling was suggested as an option. After looking for tidepooling possibilities, I’ve discovered that tidepooling is for people who live on a coast–any coast, as wading is for people who live near creeks.

I’ve been tidepooling before, but not often since I’ve never lived on a coast. I was happy to be reminded of those times. The most memorable was near York, Maine. When my daughter was small we wandered along the places where the ocean had left pools of water when the tide went out. We wandered along the craggy edges of barnacle covered rocks looking for treasures in the seawater left behind. Maine is a terrific place for tidepooling. Here’s a link to tidepooling at Acadia National Park. There is useful how tos and what to look for information. The tidepool in the photo posted by choirbell on Flickr is off the coast of Monterey, California along 17 Mile Drive.

Another place I found with tidepooling options is the Rouge River area of Oregon. According to the Web site, there are tidepooling activities for kids at Sunset Beach State Recreation site. There are also detailed descriptions of what you can find if you tidepool here.

If you’re in Southern California, check out north of Torrey Pines State Reserve. This is one suggestion from the San Diego Natural History Museum. The museum lists several others.

If you do go tidepooling there are guidelines to follow. Here are the major ones.

  1. Like with wading, wear closed-toed shoes.
  2. Like with wading, watch your step and avoid slick rocks.
  3. Don’t turn your back on the ocean–big waves come when you least expect them.
  4. Don’t wade in the tidepools since you can do damage to the sea creatures there. Walk around the edges to do your observing.
  5. If you find sea creatures under rocks and moss, make sure you recover them.
  6. If you move anything living, put it back where you found it.
  7. If you have a compulsion to pick up a live creature, don’t pry it loose. You might do it harm.