Having heard about the history (read pt.1 here and pt.2 here), and seen some seaweed and an ochre sea star, I thought we had probably already seen most of what we were going to see on our Tidepool Tour at Bob Creek, despite what I thought was a pretty ambitious list of pictures on the board at the start of the tour.
After doing some initial research beforehand, I was able to recognise a great many of the creatures on these photos, but I had almost no expectations – I thought we might see an anemone or two, possibly even an urchin, and maybe a sculpin would flick past. I expected there would be speedy crabs, possibly a limpet or two.
I just assumed that the photos in the Pacific Coast Tide Pool & Beachcombing Identification & Appreciation group were the result of experts finding the perfect tidepools on the perfect day, and that there may or may not be a few things to see. Let me tell you this: when it comes to things to see in a tidepool, Oregonians are spoilt ROTTEN.
Almost immediately, I spotted MANY giant green anemones (they are the big green blobs hanging from the rocks, too); aggregating anemones (the ones that kind of look like beds of moss until you get closer); lots of tiny barnacles, snails, limpets, hermit crabs, some more ochre sea stars, and, excitingly, coralline algae!
As you may know, this research trip was to get context for my new game, Intertidal Survival. I have a list of things to draw, including the main characters, but didn’t really expect to see any of them close up, or be able to draw from my own photos.
|Common name||Scientific name||Organism type||Player colour|
|Katy’s Chiton||Katharina tunicata||Mollusc||Silver|
|Red Sea Urchin||Mesocentrotus franciscanus||Echinoderm||Red|
|Rockweed Isopod||Pentidotea wosnesenskii||Arthropod||Green|
|Coralline Sculpin||Artedius corallinus||Fish||Pink|
|Purple Shore Crab||Hemigrapsus nudus||Crab||Purple|
|Opalescent nudibranch||Hermissenda crassicornis||Gastropod mollusc||Orange|
I also have a host of other threats and benefits to draw for placing on the cards, goals, and board, and hoped again to get context for them, maybe even see a few of them so I could see how they connect.
|mosshead warbonnet Chirolophis nugator|
For the board, I want to illustrate it to look like a tidepool seen from above, with some of the following outside the playing area:
|Ochre sea star|
Let’s see what we got pictures for, then, shall we?
Sea lettuce, rockweed, surf weed, sea palm, sea cucumber, coralline algae (both upright and encrusting), kelp, green algae – yup – plus something mysterious that might be a sponge or a hydroid…
Then we DEFINITELY nailed the sea anemone and sea star categories – it seemed like there were epic constellations of ochre stars on every surface! We also found purple sea urchins (no green or red this time, though), many hermit crabs, mussels, acorn barnacles, goose-neck barnacles, limpets, and snails, and a few other mysteries.
But the most exciting part for me was finding (and recognising) a rockweed isopod, which was much larger than expected, several chitons, which were much smaller, many crabs, and even the elusive sculpins!
Rockweed isopod – Pentidotea wosnesenskii
At first, we were stoked to find even these tiny ones, which took a lot of catching, but when Jamie managed to catch the big one, that was really exciting. For me, anyway – not sure the sculpins were that thrilled. But intertidal creatures are pretty tough, and they got on with their day pretty promptly upon their return to the water.
So out of the six categories of creatures that make up my main characters, we were able to find and observe 5 – that’s pretty impressive. I can also fairly confidently claim that we found and identified at last 15 of the Tidepool animals from the chart – and that’s pretty awesome! Nudibranchs would have been an absolute thrill, of course, as would and octopus encounter, but with my very realistic approach to the day being completely blown out of the water anyway, I certainly wasn’t disappointed!
Here are a couple of small bonuses to finish the post:
We finished our tour by exploring a cave at the end of the beach, then a man who was searching for agate was kind enough to show me his stash.
I simply cannot articulate how beyond amazing this whole experience was for us. It might just seem like a walk on the beach to some, but let me tell you – when you are new to a country and people go out of their way to give up their Saturday to take you on a personal tour of anything, it’s pretty amazing. And the level of expertise that Katy and Jamie shared with us was simply priceless.
Katy, Jamie, I feel inspired, supported, and energised to create the very best game I can, to honour the time and investment and trust that you have placed in me. Thank you so much!