Thursday, July 2, 2015

Have you ever seen anemones play, on Canada Day...down by the bay

The first new or full moon after the solstices typically bring the strongest tides of the year. Tonight's full moon signals the lowest summer tide (otherwise known as the lowest convenient tide - the winter one is about 2 inches lower, but it's miserably cold and near midnight) will be tomorrow, but with today being a national holiday, today was just as good.  So we set off with our tongs in search of some crab, with my eyes peeled for what other wildlife we might stumble upon.

Every time we visit Boundary Bay, we notice something completely new.  Today was no exception, though I'm sure we must've seen these before - they were everywhere - but I've never made note.  Conveniently, I was with someone who knew - I met Wanderin' Weeta who identified these as lug worm egg cases.  Lug worms are responsible for the coiled extrusions of mud (not only do they look like poop, they technically are poop) on mudflats that pique the curiosity of children and adults.  They digest microbes living in the mud and sand, but must excrete everything else.  They live in burrows reinforced by mucous (see the foreground of the photo), and seasonally create gelatinous avocado-sized egg masses that are anchored to the burrow itself.

Beds of sand dollars
Further down the intertidal zone, were beds of sand dollars, so thick I needed to watch my foot steps.  I should've swum down and covered myself in them to see what swimming in money really feels like.

Anemone pouches
This was the final destination, the concrete cairn marking the USA/Canada border (the municipal division between Port Roberts and Delta).  I wanted to get a good look at the starfish to see whether they were recovering from the starfish wasting disease, and this is where I met Wanderin' Weeta who had the same idea.

Starfish seemingly in good health, and the anemones happier to be beneath water

In a bay of mud, any anchorpoint, such as this metal pole, is prime real estate

On the crab front, they were probably enjoying the Canada Day festivities.  I saw only one large live crab, but it was quite lethargic, and was an inch too small to keep.  I noticed the water quite a bit warmer than last year, which might explain their absence.

Quite a few youngsters running around though:

"Where does the water go when the tide goes out?" "It runs towards the mountain to cause it to float."