I had another day off this week when it happened to be sunny and beautiful AGAIN! What is this weather, honestly. I wore shorts today, in April, in Seattle.
We didn’t feel like going very far today, but there are plenty of great places to explore outdoors even in the city. I noticed that low tide today fell around noon, so we decided to head to one of our favorite tide pool spots – Brackett’s Landing by the ferry dock in Edmonds, WA.
Almost every beach in Puget Sound has some great opportunities to view tide pools or tide flats in some way or another. Some beaches get more crowded than others, especially during the super low tides around June (Alki Beach in particular attracts a lot of people). We have found a few favorites that tend to be a little less busy and a lot more full of interesting sea creatures. Brackett’s Landing is at the top of our list.
It’s a small beach next to the Edmonds-Kingston ferry and it doesn’t look like much at high tide, so not a lot of people come from outside of the area to visit. However, it is the site of a popular underwater marine park for scuba divers, and if you’re out on the weekend a diver will occasionally bring up an octopus or something else from deeper water to show the kids on the beach! On the regular, though, you can still expect to see a lot of amazing sea life without too many other people scaring it away. The small cove has a sandbar that becomes exposed at low tide, which traps animals in a shallow pool of water behind it. The cove is also lined with large rocky wavebreaks which keep the area from being too disturbed by crashing waves, and which themselves accumulate anemones the size of soccer balls, sea cucumbers, tube worms, and other cool underwater friends.
We wear boots to this beach so that we can wade through the whole cove without getting our toes pinched by the gigantic rock and kelp crabs that are absolutely everywhere. Seriously, this guy was probably 9 inches across. and he crawled right over my foot.
Anemones are also everywhere, from tiny green ones nestled in the sand to gigantic Christmas anemones in between the rocks.
Somehow, whenever we come to this beach we find something we’ve never seen before. Today it was a baby flounder (can you spot it? It’s very well camouflaged on the right side of the sand in the shell), and we also found some pretty huge chitons, flowery looking tube worms, a black and white tide pool sculpin, a horned grebe and a large flock of Brandt geese which came right up to shore where the kids were playing. In the past we have almost stepped on eels and rainbowy-irridescent bristleworms. And then, of course, there are the usual animals you can find at every beach, like moon snails which leave their eggs on the beach in big rings in the summer, piles of shore crabs under the rocks, jellyfish, sea stars, an occasional harbor seal swimming by… the only thing this beach is really missing are sea stars, sadly.
We absolutely recommend this beach for anyone who likes to explore tide pools. With a little patience and a careful eye, you will find some amazing creatures. And, if the little cove by the ferry isn’t enough for you, there are two much larger beaches on either side of it to wander along for hours.
Places explored: Brackett’s Landing – Edmonds, WA.
Species observed: Crabs (rock, kelp, shore, hermit), Fish (green sculpin, tide pool sculpin, baby flounder), anemones (aggregating, Christmas, moonglow), tube worms, California sea cucumber, chitons, frilled dogwinkles, Horned Grebe, Brandt Goose, Glaucous-winged Gulls, Red-breasted Merganser, Surf Scoter