Tidepools...what are they?
Laguna Beach beaches you'll find out.
Several paid staff of tidepool curators are on location with pocket guides to
help you learn about the local beaches and ocean. They offer suggestions, point
out the beach's famous stars and tell you that it's OK to gawk and take pictures
of these local celebrities. Of course what they are referring to are not the
famous celebs that have lived by or visited the sea at Laguna Beach. Bette Davis
was one famous actress who lived up the road in a large house overlooking the
The curators give free information to
famous and average vacationers, explorers and even school kids who come to learn
about the ocean treasures next to one of the most upscale hotels in
California---Montage Resort. When building the hotel, which was years in
planning and approval, the stipulation (and there were many), would provide
public parking and for one of Laguna's finest beaches, Treasure Island Beach.
Tidepools are pools that are left behind
when the ocean (or any body of water) recedes at low tides. You'll most often
find them in places with rock formations on the shore. Sandy beaches without
rocks generally do not offer best viewing for tidepools. In California the tides
are around 6 hours apart. You'll discover two high and two low tides per day.
During low tides you may see many plants
and animals in the pools and around them. Some may be there all the time, and
some may be trapped in hollows of rocks when the water recedes.
When exploring tidepools, you should never
remove animals, sea life, shells and rocks or you will disturb the natural
environment. Furthermore, kids love to grab for sand crabs and other moving
objects. Watch children and teach them not to touch the animals, nor move them
around and poke them with sticks. Don't turn rocks over to see what's underneath
them, either. By simply being an observer of this treasure, you're helping
foster and maintain an ecosystem that others can also enjoy.
Your travels to an aquarium will offer
hands on opportunities to see and explore intertidal zones. One aquarium that
does an exceptional job of teaching children and adults about this is Monterey
Bay Aquarium, where kids can touch and explore the interactive displays that
teach about the ocean.
Four zones have been delineated for
specific characteristics and plant life observed. High tide zone, low tide zone,
middle zone and splash zone all offer different plant and animal life to
Easiest to discover in a healthy, active
tidepool are barnacles, Hermit Crab, Black Turban Snails and Sea Anemones that
look somewhat like the top of a thistle or inside portion of an artichoke next
to the heart. Shore crabs are the cute little critters that scamper rapidly,
even though they have what seem to be two big claws with pinchers in front.
Mussels, kelp snails, rough limpets and sea lettuce are usually within the
easy-to-find zones of the tidepools.
But when the water recedes and you look
closer, within the pools you may notice things that are small, interesting and
exciting to explore and study. Rock louse, gooseneck barnacles, coralline algae
and even sculpin fish make be observed if you study the waters and rocks
On a recent visit to the tidepools located
at Laguna Beach's Treasure Island the "on location" curator (person who tells
people about the tidepools), pointed one of the items she'd become fascinated
with that propelled her into days, weeks and months of research about it. Chiton,
little beetle-shaped green sea life took her curiosity to new heights as she
began to study them. Doing this on her own time as a matter of interest, one
previous paper she researched and wrote has been used in many programs about
tidepools and the nearshores of California.
When you begin to search for the more
hidden treasures, you may discover sea hare, sand castle worms, sea fingers, sea
urchin and tube snails. Giant keyhole limpets, Opaleye (fish), wavy top
turban shells, purple olive shells and sea palms all offer delight to those who
never thought about, looked close and new they exist right under one's feet.
The most hidden are rare items to observe
in the tidepools include stars and octopus. The most popular star used to
promote the sea is the ochre star with its clearly defined five points. Brittle
star looks frail with its hairy-looking tentacles that grasp and cling to rocks.
The bat star holds a web, much like duck feet. And then there's abalone, the
shiny mesmerizing creature that allures with its metallic silver and sea blue
colors, though its outer shell can appear dull and with hairy fibers.
For more information call Crystal Cove
Conservancy (949) 240-3957
Tidepool curators in
Laguna Beach show tourists and visitors the intricacies of a
simple pool of water, and simple it isn't!