by Donna Amis Davis – @donnaamisdavis
Fall and winter in San Diego is Tide Pool season. The lowest tides of the year are perfect for exploring one of the local tide pools.
Tide charts help you find the best day and time of day for the necessary low tides. You need to go when a negative or minus low tide happens during daylight hours. Check the time for the low tide, then you have about a four-hour window, the two hours before, while the tide is receding, and the two hours after, while the tide is returning.
We checked the charts and picked an afternoon in late January to take our three-year-old and four-year-old grandkids down to the beach for this local ritual.
Wear sturdy shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. You’ll be scrambling over and around rocks. Bare feet, or water shoes will feel every sharp rock.
We chose False Point, at the end of Sea Ridge Drive, at the south end of La Jolla. The tide pools there can also be reached from Tourmaline Surfing Park, by walking along the beach at Tourmaline to the far northern end.
Our most exciting find were some anemones — little sea flowers.
The grandkiddos loved searching the pools for creatures. We saw lots of hermit crabs.
After all the tide pool searching, the kids had fun running off some energy on the sand. I was relieved to get off the rocks for awhile, too.
Shore birds love the tide pools. We saw several varieties hanging out and picking along the pools and rocks — gulls, of course, as well as sandpipers and curlews.
The sun sets early in January. It was just starting to go down as we left, and then we were treated to one of those fantastic, lasts-so-long extravaganzas of a San Diego winter sunset. The sky was still blazing after we packed up, and drove up to Clairemont for an ice-cream-cone-end to a really good day.
For more information:
The Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma has protected tide pools. Their website is full of great facts and ideas on tide pooling.