Thursday, April 29, 2010

Full Moon Tide at Fort DeSoto Park

The tide was so far out that the water was only ankle to knee deep. The water was clear and there was a lot of sea life to see. It was like snorkeling without having to swim in the water.

A spring tide happens every month at the full and new moon and has nothing to do with seasonality.  That's when the tides are at their highest and lowest levels.  This evening's tide is about the season.  It's a springtime low tide and sea creatures have gathered to mate.  Walking at Fort DeSoto Park tonight was like walking through an aquarium.

The trail of a tulip snail was easy to follow through the clear water.  Once springtime is over we'll only find remnants of their striped shells.

We found all sorts of starfish.

There were crown conchs everywhere.  At low tide the smaller animals gather to find their own kind.

At high tide the predators come out to feast. We found a small octopus clinging to a pen shell.

The octopus was in a pool of water around an old stump.  It must have been left behind when the tide waters receded, because we rarely find them at the beach.  There were a lot of other creatures around tree roots in the water such as sea urchins, fish, conchs, and tulip snails.  We nicknamed this area the habitat.  It was teeming with life.

A nearby crab was hunting for munchies.

The pink ruffles on the pen shell are tulip egg casings.  The little pink spots are embryos.

Sunset colors reflected on the water in tiny waves and ripples.  The ultraviolet light reflected as deep blues and purples.  Yellow, amber, orange, and red contrasted against the blues.  The colors flickered in the water like a psychedelic festival.

People continued shelling after sunset.  We laughed when a woman screamed when a fighting conch suddenly emerged from a shell she was carrying.  As we drove home we saw people shelling in shallow areas with blue flashlights.  It looked like blue fireflies hovering over the dark water against a sky still dimly lit with sunset colors.

More photos of April 2010 Full Moon Tides

How to Clean Sea Shells

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