Tippy toes

starfish on tiptoe

I spotted this starfish at the beach today. I’m not sure what was going on with the whole tippy-toe thing. My best guess was that a gull dropped it, as it was well above tideline, and it had died and flipped into that position. But it was actually adhering to the rock, so I guess it was alive.

I picked it up and put it back in the water. It only seemed fair.

Like amber

jellyfish on beach

Have you ever seen new sap, the kind that catches the light and glows any shade from pale honey-gold to deep orangey-red? That’s not what this is, though it reminds me of it. This is a closeup of part of a red jellyfish, washed up on the beach, catching the morning light.

One, two, three…

I was down at one of our beaches at a very low tide and was tentatively picking my way across some seaweed (slippery) to a patch of mussels when I noticed a pile of snail shells behind a rock. Not the wee periwinkles, bigger—about an inch and a half in length. Ah, I thought, must take a picture.

Then I realized the shells were moving.

They weren’t snails at all—it was a confabulation of hermit crabs. I turned one over and poised my camera, and this is what happened:  Continue reading “One, two, three…”

Under a rock


An early post today, as I know I’ll be busy later.

Turned over a beach rock yesterday and found a passel of flatworms. My, they can move quite expeditiously when they’re worried.

I’m not sure what kind they are; to be honest, I’m not really that interested in the subtleties of aquatic worms. But I did like the generic description provided by Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest: “dorso-ventrally challenged.” (Great book to have, by the way—it’s a wonderful photographic encyclopedia.)

Rock and reflection

rock and reflections

This is to soothe us after that rather unsettling previous post.

I’m actually more taken by the abstract shapes of the lighter areas than the rock itself.

Moon snails

moon snail sand collars
Moon snail sand collars

Last week when the tides were low I took a stroll way,  way out on the mudflats. Lots of sand collars there—these are the egg cases of the moon snailEuspira lewisii. When the snail produces the eggs in a mucous mixture sand is incorporated into its composition, producing these rubber-like rings.

moon snail shell
This snail shell had unusual colours—I expect the green is some kind of algae, but I’m not sure about the red.

Also found a couple of shells. No signs of actual live snails, though I’ve found them on other local beaches from time to time.

closeup of sand collar

This webpage has a lot of interesting details.

One of the things I found in reading on the subject is that they can indeed pull their entire bodies inside their shells if they really need to—quite unbelievable when you see how big the extruded foot is in relation to the shell!

Skeleton Shrimp

skeleton shrimp

This is the oddest thing I’ve seen at the beach in a long time. It was very tiny—maybe half an inch long—and it only caught my eye because it was paler than the seaweed around it and it was wiggling.

So when I got home I looked it up. It’s some variety of Caprella, a skeleton shrimp. If it’s Caprella mutica, it’s invasive, so I hope it’s not that one.

Sky rock barnacles

white sky, pink and ochre rock, then barnacles at the bottom

Canadian World Oceans Day is June 8th, but Gabriola celebrated it yesterday. I thought it made sense to post a photo relating to oceans yesterday in honour of the event and I think I’ll just keep putting up ocean-related images through the 8th. (Why not make it Oceans Week? Oceans Year? Heck, make it Oceans Lifetime. Someone’s got to do it, since the government clearly won’t.)

In any case, today was grey and showery but also had a very, very low tide (0.0), so I headed down to the shore to see what I could see. At a very low tide you can walk way out on reefs and mud/sand flats at Descanso Bay.

In the middle of the uncovered bay, resting on the lower sandstone reef, is an enormous boulder. The bottom is covered in barnacles, and, on the north and east sides, mussels. The top has layers of lichens. The middle is apparently no-man’s land. A nice combination of colours and textures.

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