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A Visit to Salt Creek Tide Pools

Not too long ago, we drove out to the Salt Creek tide pools that are along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The only tide pools I had ever explored prior to this were those you find in a science center or living history museum - the kind of place with "touch tanks" and dozens of little kids running around sticking their hands in the water to touch the sea stars. I had no idea such incredible marine life could be visited so easily out here near to home. 

The best access point to the Salt Creek tide pools is through a campground.  We parked and hiked along a trail through the campground, then down a long set of concrete stairs to the shore.  

Walking this shoreline is somewhat difficult as it is covered with rocks and shells.  Never had I seen so many shells along a shore.  The diversity of sea life here is incredible.

My daughter and husband spent the past year volunteering with a local marine interpretive center, and so they could easily identify the different sea creatures by name.  How lucky I was to have my own private tour guides on this trip.

We stepped carefully along the shore, stopping to explore pools of water along the way.

Mussels and barnacles covered much of the ground we walked along.

Snails, chitons and hooded limpets hide out in the sea grass.  More barnacles cover the rocks.

We explored pools filled with anemones, enormous barnacles and seaweed in varying colors.

We found a sea urchin shell - the urchin has "vacated" this one.  My daughter explained that when the urchin dies, it's spikes fall off.

Getting down to the tide pools takes planning, as you need to watch the incoming and outgoing tide.  Once the tide comes back in, the entire tide pool area we walked across will be covered with water.  The tide was coming in, and so we had to make every minute of our exploration count.

More seaweed and goose neck barnacles - we marveled at the size of the barnacles growing here.

At the furthest point we explored, we came across a raccoon that was fishing. (Note: You may need to click twice on the video below for it to start.)