Monday, July 7, 2008

Exploring Owens Beach

Last Wednesday, we met up with some other homeschoolers at Owens Beach. The tide was very low, which provided plenty of opportunities for sea creatures, of which we found many.

Our first major find was this 10-armed sea star. The kids got a kick out of watching it because it was waving its arms around. They have never seen a sea star actually moving. They knew they moved but thought they went about it extremely slowly and this little fellow was not all that slow.

Then we ran across this sea star. A couple of interesting things we noted about it was that it was covered with translucent white bristles topped with little ball tips and he was missing part of an arm. They remembered that they can regrow their arms so we weren't too worried about him.

This guy was probably the highlight of the day. We saw this small octopus washed ashore. I think it was an Octopus rubescens as they are common in this area. Another thing I learned in my search for information is that they have a painful venomous bite.

Here's Mika and Sammy checking out a third kind of sea star. This one was just off shore in the water.
Here's a close up of the sea star the kids were observing in the above photo. It was a nice bright red color and only had five arms. It didn't seem to mind the little waves at all.

Here's Mika with a couple of the other homeschoolers (their faces are blacked out for privacy since I didn't get permission to post their photos). As you can see, we were turning over rocks to see what we might find. You can't see it in the photo, but but the boy who's bent over has a tiny sea star in his hand.
If you look closely, you'll see a small eel-like creature in the water. We saw dozens and dozens of these. They seemed to be under every rock and in every pool of water. I think they are High Cockscombs, a type of fish.
We saw two species of crabs in various sizes from dozens of just hatched ones to this larger one. He was about 4 inches across so we steered clear of his pincers. He was pretty cool to look at though.
We walked a ways down the beach exploring as we went. At one point Josh has fallen asleep in my arms as I walked. It wasn't long after that we found an area populated by geoducks ("gooey ducks"). Well, my first indication that they were in the area was when I stepped on the sand in which one was buried and found myself shocked at the sudden gush of saltwater up my dress. After that, we started seeing these geoducks spitting every where. It was not a safe place for keeping dry!

We headed back to our starting place and let the kids have some time to just play around. After a total of two and a half hours on the beach, we headed home for lunch.

On the way home, we took the scenic five mile drive through Pt. Defiance Park. There are several overlook areas. I caught this nice photo of the Narrows Bridge at one of them.

The kids and I enjoyed our time exploring Owens Beach. We saw more than I expected and enjoyed meeting some homeschoolers that we hadn't previously met. Ironically, after not visiting Owens Beach in several years, we ended up back at Owens Beach four days later with another group for a picnic. I think we won't stay away for so long next time.

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Montserrat said...

Oh man this brings back wonderful memories. I lived part of my childhood in Miami and we loved to explore the beach. I even went on a sea camp for a week that was so terrifically fun.

The kids sure look like they enjoyed exploring!

Daphne said...

Nice pictures and good commentary! I was so sorry I couldn't join you at Owen Beach, but your blog game me a nice sense of what the day was like.
Hope to see you soon.

~Mary~ 4boys4me said...

wow - what a lovely day. We never see that many cool creatures when we go to the beach (once a year or less for vacation).

Brumbemom said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. The pictures are wonderful. We lived close to the beach last year and I so miss being able to make short little trips over there for the day.