Exploring Titlow’s tide pools

One of my favorite classes in junior high might surprise folks if they know me well. I would never say that science was a strong point, as I was happy to just get a passing grade in those classes.

But in junior high I voluntarily took marine biology twice as an elective. For a brief three months I thought I was going to be a marine biologist, but those problems with science ended that idea.

Anyway, the thing I remember the most about those classes all these years later was early in the semester we would take a field trip to Seattle to the ocean at low tide to collect specimens to keep in tanks in the classroom.

Cat enjoyed playing in the tide pools more than looking for critters. Titlow Beach features some cool tide pools inside of old pier postsI’m guessing this is looked on a little different these days, but back in the mid-90s we didn’t care about the environment or something.

We collected all kinds of creatures: crabs, starfish, clams and one kid even got lucky and scored an octopus.

The class would then spend the semester keeping the salt water levels viable for the creatures and getting hands on learning.

I wonder what the teacher did with the creatures at the end of the year?

A Great Blue Heron flies over the Puget Sound with the Narrows Bridge in the background.

Anyway, ever since we moved to Tacoma I’ve been wanting to go to the tide pools to see what I could find. While we don’t have sandy beaches in Tacoma for the most part, we also don’t have beaches that are good for tide pools.

Chambers Bay Park’s beach which is close to our house is rocky, but they are small rocks. Owen Beach at Point Defiance is sandy and doesn’t have rocks at all close up. Ruston Way’s rocks are too big. Enter Titlow Beach. I love Titlow because of the views of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and a fun short hike you can do to Hidden Beach.

Cat saw something apparently, though I’m not sure what.

With the full moon and the strong spring tides in effect, I figured there is no time like the present to go check it out.

So, Catarina and I geared up and headed to the beach. I dreamed that Cat would find all kinds of fun critters and come away enamored with the sea, much like I was 23 years ago.

She did pick up a small crab, but it promptly pinched her and she threw it away, and then refused to touch anymore – even dead ones.

She seemed to enjoy jumping in the tide pools more than looking into them, but that’s OK too. It was still fun to introduce her to a different world.

There wasn’t much to see except for crabs and a dead starfish, or maybe I had built it up too much in my head.

Cat enjoyed tromping around the muddy, seaweed covered beach.

We did see a blue heron fishing and a bald eagle being chased by some angry crows, as well as some guy walking around playing an accordion (welcome to Tacoma!).

I have no idea if Cat will ever want to be a marine biologist or not, but it was still fun to pass on an enjoyable memory. Next time maybe we’ll have to go to Seattle or a more rocky shoreline.

– Craig Craker

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