SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — A new and full moon is approaching - making it a good time to take advantage of the low tides in La Jolla to explore the spectacular tide pools showcasing some unique sea creatures from sea stars to lobsters.
The very low tides are giving beach-goers a close look into marine life otherwise difficult to see.
"This time of year in the winter, we get our lowest low tides for the whole year,” said Delanie Medina, Birch Aquarium education specialist.
The Birch Aquarium Tide Pool Plaza puts the unique marine life on display from snails to sea urchins. In the man-made tide pools with a machine that generates its own waves, visitors spot fish like Garibaldi and Abalone.
Medina says “tide pooling” is the activity of exploring the local tide pool habitat. In the contained area, one can gently touch the sticky tentacles around the mouth of green anemones and feel the smooth edge of shark egg cases and the slug-like sea cucumber.
In some deeper pools, visitors will be able to see chiton, lobster, eels, sea hare, ghost shrimp, rock crab, and octopus.
“There is a lot of unique biodiversity in a tide pool. You want to really be patient. The animals are not going to be right there the second you get there,” said Medina, who has worked for Birch Aquarium for seven years.
Along the rocky shoreline of La Jolla Cove, Marty and Maddie Flaherty of Idaho were on a crab hunt.
"There's a ton of fish. We've been doing this for about one hour,” said 12-year-old Marty as he balanced his feet on the big rocks.
The brother and sister collected some cool sea treasures for their short visit to San Diego following volunteering at an orphanage with their church.
“There's a ton of little of hermit crabs getting away and hiding from us,” said 10-year-old Maddie while holding a handful of seashells.
For more information on tide pools, the Birch Aquarium offers Tide Pooling Adventure Tours with a trained naturalist to describe all the cool creatures.