Asilomar State Beach – tide pools

by Kaylah Stroup

The one thing I was REALLY excited about along the coast was visiting tide pools. I feel like I know quite a bit about mammals, I can identify the vast majority of things that live on land but the ocean is another story. It’s a mystery to me, and for that reason I am beyond intrigued by it. I’m not landlocked in Ohio. I’m less than a mile from Lake Erie, but like I’ve mentioned more than a few times we don’t have cool things living in the lake. We have some fish, I guess, but in all the time I spend wandering the beaches I really just find trash. So tide pools were my priority on this trip!

I did a bit of research on tides and the best places to go along the coast; one name I kept seeing listed was Asilomar State Beach. As luck would have it the timing worked out so that we’d be pretty close to there around low tide.

I couldn’t get out of the car, and down to the water to rip my shoes off fast enough. We were in what I thought was the perfect spot to find things. It was rocky, and the tide was low but it was actually too low. Everything that I was finding wasn’t covered by water and really just looked kind of gross. It was exciting but a little bit of a let down since I had hyped tide pooling up so much in my mind. I thought it would be this activity I would just go crazy for and instead I was just like “Oh, that’s cool but it looks disgusting…” I poked around trying to find these vibrant, lively looking anemones that I thought the area would be full of but eventually gave up deciding maybe tide pooling isn’t as easy as photos make it look and it wouldn’t be something I’d get to experience on this trip.

We eventually got back in the car, and moved on down the road a bit hoping for better luck. Jeff could tell I was bumming and was insisting we keep on looking despite the fact I was just ready to get to our next destination. I was disappointed (read – crabby) that everything I was finding was either dead, wouldn’t let me near it, or like at the last spot, gross looking because it wasn’t under water. I was shooting the little dude above when Jeff shouted “Kaylah! Get over here!” I was all “Don’t yell me! Gosh!” I walked over to where he was to spot this insanely beautiful starfish. I let out my squeal of approval to which Jeff gloated “Is it okay I yelled at you about that?!”

This was my very fist time seeing a starfish in the wild, not in an aquarium, and excuse me if I sound dramatic but it was magical. It’s so crazy that that’s a real living thing. Nature is wild, y’all! From there things picked up. The starfish was definitely the highlight but I also finally found some anemones who were actually under water and they were every bit as beautiful as I had imagined.

The tide came in a lot quicker than I had hoped and it was time for us to move on so I didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted checking out the tide pools. Moral of the story here I guess is that tide pooling is all about timing but when you get it right the reward is so great!

This really, truly sparked a love! I’m already researching hot spots to check out along the Washington and Oregon coast (hopefully we’ll get there sometime in the next year or so). I am dying to get back and immerse myself in this world of critters I know so very little about. I feel like I just got this tiny taste of what’s like and I want to learn so much more.

You can find more posts from our road trip under the “travel” tag. 

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