West Seattle Sea Life

22 06 2013

We watched sailboats skimming the calm waters in Elliott Bay this morning with a backdrop of wispy clouds and I’m in the middle of reading a book about a couple’s adventure to sail around the world together.  The combination of that and the fact that I just came back inside, hot and sweaty from the sun, with my skin prickling with probably  just a little bit too much sun, makes me feel like I just came back from a day of sailing.  It wasn’t too long ago that the best thing to do on a day like today (75 degrees and sunny) was to go for a sail on Lake St. Clair.  Summer tunes, cold beer and fried chicken, made for a great day on the water.  I was good for a 4 – 5 hour sail, any longer than that and I would arrive back at the dock, thankful to be back on solid ground and demanding to be rewarded with an ice cream cone.   But there’s nothing like coming home (or getting back to the hotel) after a day of sailing – fresh air, sun-kissed skin and salty lips.

I reminisce a little to tell you that although we didn’t spend the day on the water, we did spend the day kind of in the water, and enjoyed the crazy life that’s left behind when the tide goes out – and it was equally satisfying.  Today was the lowest low tide of the summer, and the sea life showcased its finest.

We walked around Duwamish Point and walked under the pier to find this little guy.

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We walked along Alki Beach to be greeted by a Bald Eagle patiently waiting to steal some crow/seagull’s meal, and an enterprising Great Blue Heron that coiled up like a spring and caught two fish while we were watching him.

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And then we found the crowds, and the real showstoppers, around the point and at Constellation Park.

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Constellation Park at Low Tide

Purple and orange star fish hiding under rocks and seaweed.

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The Sunflower Star – which freaked me out at first when I saw it showing its underbelly.  But then as we took off our shoes and explored deeper into the water, found out that these little guys were all around us.

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Although we didn’t see any Moon Snails, we did see their distinctive sandy egg collars all over the beach, which looked as smooth as pottery, but are really made out of a combination of sand and moon snail mucus, and can hold up to 500,000 eggs.

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And let’s not forget about the Red Rock Crab.  This guy was trying to bury himself in the sand.

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Essentially, we saw a lot of crazy stuff.  I think the parents were more excited and captivated than the kids were during the family trips that we saw.  Although my thoughts are that these sea creatures are a lot closer to children’s imaginations than to an adult’s reality, so these 18-legged creatures and organisms that look like melted rainbows, are just same ol’ same ol’ for the kids.

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Fish Eggs….or….Masago!

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Mottled Anemone

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4 responses

25 06 2013
Deb Platt

What an amazing series of photos and all so colorful! I was really surprised to see the eagle at the seashore. It just had never occurred to me that this was part of its habitat. I had never heard of moon snails before, and I thought it was interesting that they left collars laying around.

25 06 2013
tracilee

Thanks Deb. I was so surprised at the sea life we had so close by. It looks like we went on an exotic trip – but really just a walk from the house. So much fun!

25 06 2013
Deb Platt

Just a walk from your house? Amazing. Is it always like that, or does it have something to do with the tide being at its lowest for the year?

26 06 2013
tracilee

A longer walk, but still a doable walk along the seawall. It was the lowest tide of the summer, so everyone was out in full force to enjoy the sealife. They even had guides from the Seattle Aquarium there to explain what people were seeing.

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