A Tide Pool on the
San Juan Islands

Rock algae, San Juan Island, Washington. A tide pool is the little puddle of sea water left in the crevices of rocks when the tide has gone out. Lots of little plants and animals live in those puddles and crevices and can stay put even when the water recedes. Chitons, limpets, sea stars, sea anemones, hermit crabs, sea urchins, and sculpins are only some of the creatures you could see while exploring.

Examine it. Look carefully at every corner, every nook and cranny, and you constantly find new things. Carefully move that seaweed and see what's hiding underneath! There's a hermit crab scuttling away, dragging its shell into that crack. Sculpins zip into the shadows and lie flat on the bottom, camouflaged against the colorful sea lichen. Look closely, what can you find?

Tide pool, San Juan Island, Washington
Please observe proper beach etiquette when exploring the beaches. While walking across rocks and boulders, try to put your feet on bare rock to spare any animals that may be attached to the rock. The less impact you make, the better. If you want to see what's underneath a rock, be sure to put the rock back just the way you found it -- animals living both on and under rocks could be killed by the disruption.

Checking out the tidepools at Lime Kiln Point State Park, San Juan Island, Washington.
Also, while San Juan Island has always been pristine, it's always a good idea to carry out any trash you happen to find. As they say, take only pictures (or trash!) and leave only footprints.

Sea stars, san juan islands washington.
Common Etiquette:
Look carefully and touch gently.
Don't take anything home.
If you move anything, put it back where it was.
Take only photos (or trash!).
Careful where you step!

It's also a great idea to know what the tides are doing so you can get to the beach on a low tide. Consult a tide guide before you visit! (Tide guide courtesy of Farmers' Almanac.)

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