One of our favorite activities in Shelter Cove with the kids is the tide pools. It is fun to watch your children as they discover the unique creatures that are exposed when the water recedes. Adults enjoy tide pools too as you never know what new species will be spotted. We included a few of the species below. The Tide pools are exposed at low tide and are best accessed via the stairs by the lighthouse. You will want to check the tide tables (see link below). Tides change 4 times per day. Basically as the moon moves around earth and pulls the water, creating an egg shape, you get a high tide.. The narrow parts of the egg (earth) are the low tides. So as the moon moves you get tidal changes every 6 hours.
Check out this great video
Description – Sea urchins are very unique animals in that their bodies are covered with spines. The spines serve multiple purposes including protection, feeding and making a home. Urchins have a hard outer shell called a teste. Spines are attached to the test along with tube feet. Urchins like sea stars have many tube feet that they use for feeding and moving. The spines are different lengths. Contrary to popular believe, they do not have an venom in the spines.
This is the most common sea star in the tide pool environment. These sea stars appear in a variety of colors including orange, browns and purple. They live in the lower inter tidal zone and almost always found near mussel and barnacle beds. They may appear higher in the tidal zone wedged inside cracks and nooks where they can preserve moisture and stay cool. When the tide is high they will start moving around looking for food. It has been estimated that an adult Ochre sea star will eat about 80 mussels in a year. Adults are usually between 8-12 inches but larger specimens can be found.
Probably the most common larger snail found in tide pools. The shells are typically about ½ - 1 inch in diameter. The lower part of the shell is black and the top part of the shell is a light brown or white color. They feed primarily on algae and found in the mid inter tidal zone.
Solitary Anemones are the most common non-aggregating anemones. The colors range from bright green, to pale green and even grayish and yellow. When under water, the tentacles are exposed and visible. When the anemone is exposed to air or disturbed, they will close up and sometimes have lots of small bits of shell and other objects attached to the body. ( other names: Sunburst Anemone, Starburst Anemone )
These are the most commonly seen crabs in tidepools. They have a dark red and greenish colored shell with legs that have white patches. Shore crabs are very good at detecting predators and are usually seen scurrying away at the first sign of movement. They will hide in small cracks and under rocks. Shore crabs are typically one to two inches wide with larger specimens seen on occasion.