Tidepool Magic

by Janet Koed

Gaviota Beach Hike – Photo Courtesy of Janet Koed

Tidepool Magic

On January 13, Gaviota Coast Conservancy gathered for a -1.38 low tide beach walk at Gaviota State Park with the goal of hoofing it up to Hollister Ranch. This hike is rarely accessible on the beach as there is a point that protects it from most foot traffic. This was King Tide time of the year and we didn’t want to miss a special opportunity. We were not disappointed.

The weather was sunny and stiff winds blew down the Gaviota pass. Because the lowest tide was at 5:30pm and the dark descends before that, we started at 3:00pm.

Some of us chose to wade around the outcropping in shin-deep water while others waited until the tide dropped another foot. The wind subsided here. We felt that we were in wilderness. Tidepools revealed bright purple, red and orange sea stars and giant tentacled sea anemones with brilliant turquoise centers. Some of us surmised that this area has such healthy tidepools because they are mostly covered by water and also because there is limited access for humans and dogs. Someone did report an individual, not in our group, carrying a “starfish” away in his hand. This is a very sad action as so many other tidepools in the Santa Barbara area and elsewhere are void of this kind of abundance. Sea stars are suffering.

These are places we need to protect!

Tidepool Sea Stars , Sea Anemone, and other treasures – Photo Courtesy of Janet Koed

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