Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ring in the new year at a tidepool!

I am sure that you can't get enough of your kids and don't feel a need to get them out of the house. But, if you are a bad mom like me, you might want to divert them for a while from their electronic toys.  Why not take them out to the clamber about on dangerous and slippery wet rocks?  Throw in some big waves that might drag them out to sea.  With any luck, they might not come home with you.

See the full list of tidepooling posts for more pictures of what you can see at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park.  The tide pools there are exposed whenever the low tide is -1.0 or more feet below the mean low tide.  (0 means the low tide that day is the same as the annual mean low tide.)  The NOAA 2009 and 2010 tide tables for Los Angeles yielded this information.
12/29/2009 Tue 01:59PM LST -1.1 L
12/30/2009 Wed 02:40PM LST -1.5 L
12/31/2009 Thu 03:21PM LST -1.7 L
01/01/2010 Fri 04:00PM LST -1.7 L
01/02/2010 Sat 04:42PM LST -1.5 L
01/03/2010 Sun 05:24PM LST -1.1 L
01/26/2010 Tue 01:03PM LST -0.7 L
01/27/2010 Wed 01:42PM LST -1.3 L
01/28/2010 Thu 02:21PM LST -1.6 L
01/29/2010 Fri 02:58PM LST -1.8 L
01/30/2010 Sat 03:35PM LST -1.6 L
01/31/2010 Sun 04:12PM LST -1.3 L
02/01/2010 Mon 04:48PM LST -0.8 L
02/26/2010 Fri 01:54PM LST -1.3 L
02/27/2010 Sat 02:29PM LST -1.3 L
02/28/2010 Sun 03:03PM LST -1.1 L
This is our lucky week because the west coast of the US is experiencing some of our lowest daylight tides of the year and school is out!

Don't live in LA?  No problem.  NOAA has the tide tables for the entire US right here.

Here's a blurb I wrote for Iris' school newsletter:

Tidepooling with Kids at Abalone Cove
Did you know we live near one of the best tide pool areas in California?  The tide pools of Abalone Cove, near Point Vicente on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, are exposed whenever the tide is 1 foot below mean lower low water (low tide).  These especially low tides occur during daylight hours mainly in the winter months.

If you look at the NOAA tide tables for Los Angeles, you will see that tides lower than    -1.0 (feet below mean low tide) rarely occur during daylight hours. Yet, those are the only conditions that expose the tidepools at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park. Take a look at the gorgeous photos in Steve's slide show.

The park is a nice place for a picnic any day of the year.  But, on days with especially low tides, it pays to get there at least an hour or two before the lowest tide time.  This ensures enough time to park and walk down to the rocks.  (Get there even earlier and you will have time for a picnic before scrambling on the rocks.)

The highest tide pools will become exposed about an hour before the minimum tide, and you can watch the sea anemones close as the water recedes.  As peak low tide approaches, more and more sea creatures will become exposed to view.  Our family has found octopuses, sea hares, limpets, mussels, sea urchins, sea stars, brittle stars, sea worms, hermit crabs, and myriad birds and sea plants.

Wear sturdy shoes that can get wet.  The rocks can get slippery so you want to wear shoes with a good grip.  Protect your family from the sun with hats and long-sleeved shirts, but leave the chemical sunscreens at home.  Those contain chemicals that make the sea creatures sick.

You can find more info about Abalone Cove from the park website:
Park admission is $5 per car; this is a cheap excursion if you carpool.

Abalone Cove is a protected area, and it has made a little bit of a recovery since the 1970s from the heavy pollution in that area.  But the tide pools are in jeopardy from poachers and ocean acidification from increased CO2 levels.  Don’t miss this opportunity to show your children this ecosystem while we still have it.

“Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footsteps.”


  1. I've always loved tide pools. When we got lazy (which was often), we'd just go to the Monterey Aquarium and look at the starfish pool there. ;)

  2. I've been there! We went while I was at UC Irvine doing my biology work. I love the tidepools. We also used to go to some in Newport, but I forget the exact spot since it's been 20 years

  3. This is one of my favorite spots in the south bay. My aunt and uncle dutifully took all of us out-of-town kids there during our childhood visits. It reminds me that it has been too long since I have gone!


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