Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Clark Cove, August 11, 2010

 My husband wanted hen clams for chowder, so we packed up the family and headed to Clark Cove for the evening's low tide. My husband and son got their snorkel gear on and started hunting, the girls splashed around and shrieked a lot, and I wandered around with my fancy beachcombing kit (a plastic grocery bag.) I forgot my camera in all the bustle of swimsuits and flippers, so no beach pictures, sorry.

The slope of the beach is incredibly gentle in this cove, and the water stays shallow for a long way out. Forty feet from shore the water is still less than 2 feet deep. It is very clear water and a very mucky bottom, and as you walk you can watch the little mud cyclones each footstep pulls up. There were hermit crabs everywhere, dozens of them, all in similar inch-long shells covered in hairy reddish-pink threads, like fuzzy ping pong balls. (I did some reading and found out that although it looks like algae, it is a hydroid colony, and the common name is - surprise - Snail Fur. Hydroids are animals related to jellyfish and sea anemones. They grow only on hermit crab shells, not on live snails, which I find equally miraculous and mysterious. They also have tiny stinging tentacles, so I'm glad I didn't pick one up! Although I don't think they would have much effect on humans.)

There were big pale crabs, too, rock crabs or Jonah crabs, I'm not sure, just scuttling along the bottom. One got scared by a seagull and tried to hide between my feet. It was like walking through a saltwater aquarium! And of course as the sun started to go down there were no-see-ums and gnats, and it was time to go home for dinner.

In this photo: sea glass, clam shells, crab shells, mussel shells, sea brick, barnacles, driftwood, sea china, rockweed.

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