How connections between the Moon, Earth, and the Sun play their part in unveiling the magic of life under the ocean, is a matter of science. But when this magic happens, I don’t dive into the scientific aspects, instead I let the child in me unite with the curiosity and wonder of my daughter, and together we venture out to take advantage of this phenomena, explore and enjoy the extravaganza.
High tides and low tides are not eventful enough to write about here but negative tides are something that tug at my heart, inspiring me to blog my experience with it. Last Sunday, December 3, 2017 saw this happen at the world-famous Maverick’s Surfing Spot-Point in Half Moon Bay, California. Tides were at an unusually low -1.4 feet. The tides went out for a couple of hours and we walked the reef for a bit into the Pacific Ocean. What made this event unusual was that it happened on a weekend during the day.
The retreating tides trapped so much sea life in the reef rocks that sea creatures and sea plants of various kinds were all about us as we maneuvered our way around them.
Sea anemones were the most common sight, making us nervous as we tried our best not to hurt any of them. The few tiny, orange anemones were a delightful treat this year. And then, tons of tiny snails and little hermit crabs kept popping out their little heads, pausing, hiding and watching out for intruders from the human realm.
The best was yet to come and for that we had a lot of walking to do, trying not to slip on trails of slimy kelp and sea weed. These made it difficult to keep our balance and though I had a few falls, we reached the awaited reefs – the place where our hearts beat faster.
For the past two to three years, the star fish population in this part of the Pacific Ocean was on a huge decline. It is believed that they contracted a disease which was killing them but this year the starfish were supposed to be making a come back.
Now, amidst the tons of mussels clinging hard to the rocks and to each other, our eyes scanned and examined the tide pools for our favorite find – the Starfish.
To our delight, right at the bottom of one of the tide pools, we spotted a huge, purple guy who clung camouflaged to one of the rocks. And then, a few yards aways, lay a carefree leather starfish in gray and orange.
And the starfish in the rocky reef were surrounded by neighbors from a different family – the sea urchins.The sight of so many purple urchins sitting snug and discreet, in small depressions in the rocks was a bonus to us.
Hesitantly, my heart bid adios to my underwater friends, just in time before the earth was blanketed by the darkness of the sky.
As we headed out the bay, another wonderful sight greeted us face to face. As if to celebrate our joy in finding our starfish friends after their long absence, Super Moon seemed to come down in very close proximity for a few seconds before we went around the bend heading towards home.
Suddenly I am reminded of the book ‘Goodnight Moon‘ by Margaret Wise Brown, and I wish to say,
” Goodnight sea anemones,
Goodnight sea snails,
And goodnight moon,