Thursday, June 7, 2012

Beach Breakfasts

Sometimes one of us will awaken just before daybreak and decide it would be a good day to pack our breakfast and take it to the beach, we stop at Starbucks for a coffee on the way.  The best times are when low tide coincides with this spur of the moment decision so we can do some exploring of tide pools.  
Other than some beach glass or broken shells, the best thing to take from a tide pool is a photograph. 
We always see the little hermit crabs.Hermit crabs don't make their own shells, you know.  They take advantage of abandoned shells, mostly those of the sea snails, and move in.  As they grow they crawl out of these shells and move into larger digs.  I've read that certain species of hermit crabs will form what is known as "vacancy chains".  A group of crabs will surround a vacant shell.  They'll line themselves up from largest to smallest and once the largest crab fits himself into the shell the next largest crab fits himself into the newly vacated shell and so on to the smallest crab in line.  Hermit crabs aide in keeping the water nice and clean and clear by scavenging dead animal and plant materials. Not much goes to waste.  The fact that they don't make their own shells is one good reason to limit the collection of intact shells. 

Another fact about the Monterey Bay and the Central Coast in summer: it's normally cold, damp, and foggy.  Summer is the Upwelling season when the winds blow on shore off the Pacific.  The force of the wind causes an upwelling of the cold, nutrient rich water from the bottom of the bay up to the surface. The current water temperature is 49 degrees F.  This is wonderful for the kelp and the marine animals living in the bay.  This is their bountiful time of the year. However, the cold air coming off the ocean hits the warm inland air creating a blanket of fog along the coast. This is sometimes disappointing for people visiting for the first time expecting to find the legendary sunny California beaches. That's generally south of us.  
This year we actually haven't had as much fog as usual, so far.  We even had a rainstorm the other day which is pretty much unheard of after the beginning of May.  So, it leaves me wondering if this is an unusual weather event, or further evidence of climate change?  In bocca al lupo. m & v


  1. Very nice writing and photos!

  2. Loving your photos, my dear, but then I think we definitely share the same esthetic sense. You live a life of rich enjoyment; it's fun to tag along, warming, and you're a natural sharer. You know what? You're a good mom!

  3. Oh, btw, when I was in the 4th grade, our teacher, Mrs. Hoelscher,
    a dedicated ocean/shore lover, took us to the beach. We anticipated this huge adventure for weeks! We dressed with our bathing suits under our clothes, packed a bag lunch, and were carted off to the beautiful Santa Barbara shore by bus. She gave us many a lecture beforehand, including the story of the hermit crab. I found a treasure: a shark's egg casing! What an exotic prize! I've never forgotten that day; it made a deep connection to the ocean in me. m-e

  4. You found a mermaid's purse! How lucky! I've never found one of those. m