Tidepooling at Ruben Tarte!

June 11 – Outdoor Odysseys employees took a few hours to explore the tidepools of Ruben Tarte with Geneva Mottet, a marine invertebrates geek who served as our guide for the day.  Geneva brought us some handouts with her own illustrations of local creatures we anticipated finding, and she led us through the slippery-slimy boulders of a perfect low tide.  We soon discovered that there’s a lot to be found under the seaweed and cobble…

Henricia sp.

Blood star (Henricia sp.)

Blood Stars delight me…it’s such a joy to lift up a wad of mucky green sea lettuce and find a tiny, bright red sea star!

We all reached under rocks, grasped at small crabs, and shrieked with delight at the discovery of brightly-colored invertebrates amid the green sea lettuce slime.  This juvenile Red Rock crab puzzled us and I was later able to identify it from some field ID cards I picked up at the Whale Museum.

juvenile Red Rock crab (Cancer productus)

Ochre stars, I found, can be yellow, purple, or a combination of the two like this one!

Ochre Star (Pisaster ochraceus) & Sea Lettuce

I think I actually squealed upon discovering this Christmas anemone…I’ve never seen such a brilliant, striped anemone as this one.  I only hope to see one in all of it’s colorful glory underwater one day.

Urticina crassicornis

Urticina crassicornis (Christmas anemone)

This one is possibly the Northern red anemone (Urticina crassicornis) but it’s hard to tell…it was hiding in a small tidepool-crevice under some boulders.

Possible Northern Red anemone (Urticina crassicornis)

Barnacles are plentiful here, and we have all different kinds!  Here are a few:

Anthopleura elgantissima (Aggregating anemone) and Balanus nubilus (Giant acorn barnacle)

Pollicipes polymerus (Goose-neck barnacles)

Colonial anemones are plentiful here too…and are found in a wide array of colors.

Anthopleura elgantissima (Aggregating anemone)

Limpets are usually attached securely to the substrate they’ve chosen, but we managed to pry this one off of a boulder without harming it.  It’s easy to see why they can suction so well…

Limpet, possibly Lottia pelta (Shield limpet)

Moon jellies don’t live in tidepools, but they are often found washed up ashore in rocky intertidal areas such as Ruben Tarte. This particular one had been beaten up by waves crashing it on shore and its tentacles were long gone, so we were able to hold it without being stung.

Aurelia sp. (Moon jelly)

That was a small taste of the incredible tidepool life that can be found on San Juan Island…more to come later!

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