Held here in tide pools, covered by only inches of clear ocean water, until the surf returns and they are, once again, hidden from view.
Waiting for its reviving freshness, safe within rocky walls.
The rugged shoreline of the Olympic Peninsula, with its towering sea stacks and tumbling sea stones scattered across broad sand and pebble beaches is 73 miles of protected wilderness. In many cases, reached only by hiking a narrow trail weaving its way through miles of dense evergreen woods, the shores are rimmed by weathered silver beach logs, piled high, just beyond the water’s high mark.
Here, the exposed tidal pools hold treasure.
With each wave’s passing, the basins emerge.
Then, a slippery path from stone to stone, upon piles of lifeless seaweed.
Until the last foamy finger of cool water slips into gently rippled sand.
This is low tide. And we have been waiting.
At Clallum Bay on the northern shore, we walked out to Slip Point, its large pitted rocks, jutting from piles of smooth, brown sea stones.
The deepest blue of the ocean, bright, beyond a shadowed shore.
We found carved basins and hidden pockets beneath the rocks, filled with mussels and barnacles—
Hermit crabs battled furiously in arm-to-arm combat, hurriedly retreating as my shadow darkened their pool. Tiny blue feet, barely betraying their presence here.
Their shelter, a small cast-off shell.
A Purple Sea Urchin and well-camouflaged Sculpin rested, motionless, in the next.
And, peeking from beneath the shadow of a large rock, bright orange arms!
Further west at Ruby Beach, long, sloping sands surround sea stacks, remnants of the rocky headlands, eroded by the strong ocean waves. At low tide, the sides of these small islands are exposed.
Sea stars and closed anemone cover the surface, waiting for the water's return.
In a shallow sandy pool at my feet, open tentacles.
Translucent fingers feed.
An entire wall of the wave beaten rock, encrusted by mussels and barnacles, again.
Their white mozaic shells against blue, striking in the late afternoon sun.
Fed by the action of the water as it surges past.
In this place, seemingly vacant, long shores without life, I have found it.
In colors a vivid contrast to the muted sands and sea.
Waiting for the tide to come in.
all photos click to enlarge
participating in Camera Critters