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Low Tide Highlights

Low tide reveals new places to explore and discover. As the waters retreat, they leave behind secrets of the sea. Underwater tunnels become damp passageways, caves become picnic spots, and pockets and pools, filled with life and unusual creatures, speckle the shoreline.

The tide rises, the tide falls,

The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;

Along the sea-sands damp and brown

The traveller hastens toward the town,

      And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,

But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;

The little waves, with their soft, white hands,

Efface the footprints in the sands,

      And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls

Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;

The day returns, but nevermore

Returns the traveller to the shore,

      And the tide rises, the tide falls.


~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Headphones in, I hop from rock to rock with the ease of a giant covering miles of land in the sweep of a step. From above, just a mere puddle; from within this tiny basin, a whole world is buzzing.

As I crouch for a better look, frightened creatures scatter from my looming figure. With the glimmer of the surface now shaded from the sun, I can see dozens of different species crowded in these tiny, occasional ponds.


The colours of the coast are vivid. An underwater rainbow is revealed when the liquid cover is pulled back. From seagrasses and seaweeds, anemones and shore crabs, sculpins and bryozoans, I found a smorgasbord of sea life at my feet. Huge boulders are buried beneath tightly packed mussels and the tiny mountains of calcite within which barnacles are barricaded.


To me, the most fascinating and easy to spot coastal creature is the sea anemone (specifically the green surf anemone as seen above or the common pink-tipped anemone). These seemingly innocent squishy mounds are truly fierce predators within the inter-tidal zone and beyond. Resembling a delicate flower, these creatures are actually territorial, carnivorous clones, feeding on any unsuspecting animal that gets too close. Although harmless to humans, harpoon-like stingers found in their tentacles subdue prey that is then eaten whole. When out of water, these tentacles are tucked away to avoid drying out. When the water returns, the battles and feasting begin again.


The peninsula is the perfect place to find tide pools and treasures. With long sandy beaches running from one end to the other, a low tide connects many independent beaches into one giant stretch.

The number one rule of venturing out at low tide is to know when the waters return. The Pacific Ocean is not one to mess with and finding yourself stuck in an isolated area at high-tide is a predicament worth avoiding. My trek from Chesterman Beach to Cox Bay left me with sand-filled sneakers and soggy socks. Lesson learned! 

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