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Tide Pools at Northern CA Coast

California boasts over 1,100 miles of coastline and with it, some of the world's richest tidal life. Cold, nutrient-rich waters and rocky shorelines provide the perfect habitat for hundreds of species of plants, from microscopic diatoms to huge seaweeds. The plants in turn, support a multitude of wildlife normally hidden beneath the waves. At first glance, the wave-swept rocks may seem void of life, but the rocky pools exposed only at the lowest tides contain a rich stew of plants and animals plastered so thickly together that very little of the rocks show. An amazing feat considering the harshness of this wave-battered environment.

Imagine the challenge of surviving surging waves, scouring sand and the drying sun at low tide. While you're trying to keep from getting bashed about in the surf, you must hunt for food, hide from enemies and reproduce. As you think of how you would survive the elements, consider how each tide pool animal has adapted to these harsh conditions. Some species like the barnacles and anemones permanently attach themselves to the rocks and wait for the waves to carry them food. Snails and seastars clamp down on the rocks during low tides and crashing waves, but move about in search of food at high tide. Soft-bodied sea slugs and fish tend to be the most active hunters and retreat to protected coves and deep water during storms and low tides. Part of the fun of exploring tide pools comes from trying to guess why the animals look and act as they do. Nowhere else on earth can you see such diverse methods of responding to this rugged world.

To be a good tide pooler, you must also be a good detective. On land, it's easy to tell a plant from an animal, or an animal from a rock. Not so in the tide pools, especially at low tide when animals clamp down to keep from drying. Many species are masters of disguise, using camouflage colors and shapes to hide in the pools. For those willing to poke and probe in the pools at low tide, a world of bizarre animals in a vast array of colors, textures and shapes awaits you.

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  • Below is a list of articles with the most recent ones listed first.
    Tide Pools
    Find beautiful Tide Pools in lowest tides.
    Tide Pool Viewing
    Where to find Tide Pools; how to view them; and safety in enjoying.
    Displaying 1 to 2 (of 2 articles) Result Pages:  1