Thursday, June 27, 2013


Supermoon Yields Super Low Tides

One year ago, I was at Golden Gardens beach, and was a little worried that the extreme low tide possibly meant that a tsunami was imminent. Nope, it was just the day following SUPERMOON.

Saturday night was this year's return of Supermoon, which means that there were super low tides on Sunday morning. This is the prime time of the year to go tidepooling, which is simply the activity of walking around in the tide pools that result from low tide and viewing the creatures that are too ill-informed about Supermoon to understand the consequences of staying in the shallow water.

There were quite a few other humans that got the supermoon memo, and were out to scope out the aquatic wildlife which normally hides in the seaweed.

Here is what my friend Arielle and I encountered.


Sea snail (or sumthin).

Jellyfish-like gelatinous blob and a shell.
Either a symbiotic relationship, or maybe I just set them beside each other.
Maybe they hate each other. I really don't know.

Old rotten pilings. 
These things were living in the rotted-out pilings.

Arielle helps point out the wildlife. 

Scale: about 10 inches.
Still, this is some Planet Earth shit right here!

Sea floor

anemone. an enemy. 

Opportunist. All the birds were having a good day.

mad crab.


I don't think you're ready for this jelly.

Tidepool Mediators 

There were about 10 naturalist volunteers associated with the Seattle Aquarium out on the beach answering questions, explaining things, and reminding everyone about the fragile ecosystem we were all tromping through. 

It was really cool to have them out there, educating people about the creatures and how to properly observe them. I learned a lot from this nice volunteer.

Thanks Seattle Aquarium volunteer naturalists! 

Here she was answering my question about which creatures are most  fragile.
Nudibranchs: sea slugs. We didn't see any.
Anthropogenic Impacts

She told us that this particular sea floor habitat used to be in bad shape, but has made a significant comeback in the last nine years after being designated a preserve area, which basically means no harvesting or any intrusive recreational activities. That made me feel better about walking around in the sea grass, worried that I was contributing to the demise of the very creatures I was there to see.

She said that the volunteers themselves debate whether the benefits of their presence outweigh the habitat impacts. Overall an individual’s impact is negligible, but when you consider the collective impacts of hundreds of people, you can see their point. But given that this ecosystem is making a healthy comeback, I feel OK about carefully traipsing about.

The day was overcast, which greatly reduced the stress on the ecosystem, so that also helps mitigate things. I would imagine a hot sunny day following Supermoon basically turns the tide pools into gumbo.

Basic guidelines for tidepooling are all pretty much common sense.
  • Be gentle. Don’t stress the creatures. 
  • Don’t pick up anything that's attached.
  • Return them to where you found them.
  • Don’t be cruel.
  • Don’t be an idiot.
  • Etc. 

Garbage or Aquatic Structure?

I kept seeing these weird things, which I thought were some kind of gasket (potentially for boat septic tanks. Haha). I found out (from the volunteer), that these are actually called sand collars and are made by sea snails! They take sand, combine it with mucus, and place their tiny eggs between layers. They work the sand between their ‘foot’ and their shell  to extrude this crazy structure (like one of those play-dough toys).  The eggs are protected by it, and it disintegrates in about a week. 

So tidepooling was pretty interesting and sea creatures are cool. See you next supermoon!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The 25th Annual Solstice Parade

Its summer and it’s the Solstice, so it’s time for the Solstice Parade! I’ll let you refer to my post about the festivities from last year’s Solstice Parade if you are interested in my description of the bizarre goings-on of this cherished event.

It was a beautiful sunny day. Perfect for any parade, but especially fitting for the Solstice! It was a wacky, colorful, beautiful, and joyous day. It is almost an absurdly happy occasion, where the masses gather to marvel at how fun humanity can be when you take peculiarity to the extreme. I really love this parade. I love how silly it is and I love its low-budget visual appeal.

 As a supplement to last year’s coverage, I’ll share a few pictures of the highlights of this year’s parade!


Monty Python and the Holy Grail tribute
Donations to the Green Hat.
The ultimate donation gathering rig.

Love this turtle!

Sol Train

This lovely lady made it to the parade this year! Yay!

The Hug Patrol.

These things are freakin  me out.

This whale was impressive.

This was awesome.

These balloons were a brilliant touch!

Can't wait for next year!