See sea stars by the seashore

This past Friday, Skippy and I were sent across Kachemak Bay by The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, on assignment. Our task was to photograph and video the 4th grade class from West Homer Elementary as they explored the tide pools of Peterson Bay during a -3.5′ tide (that’s pretty low).

We rode over on a water taxi with Mike Allen, a CACS board member and also, since this a small town, a friend. We spent the first couple of hours carefully making our way around the slippery rocks, shooting photos and video, while listening to the guides talk about what was being found. Take a look:

A sunflower star

A Christmas sea anemone

Sea stars

An Ochre sea star

A nudibranch

How about this classroom, huh?

Another nudibranch

Barnicles and chitons

Even a baby octopus!

Afterwards, we hiked back to the field station where the kids had lunch, and we took a tour with Mike.

Peterson Bay Field Station

The kids reconvened for a final tally of creatures and a short lesson. Then, it was time for clean up. At Mike’s suggestion, we vacated the station and went for a hike on a trail that looped around to a lake and back.

Currently, we’re getting about 15 hours of sunlight a day. However, it is still only hitting the mid-40’s in temperature. In places where there are a lot of trees, that means there is still a good deal of snow.

Roughly half of our journey to the lake involved stepping though knee-deep or deeper snow. This snow was anxious to melt, so we punched through with every step, filling knee-high boots with ice, making the worst sno-cones ever. After a grueling 1.5 miles, we reached the lake. It was pretty. It was still mostly covered in ice.

Lost and Found Lake

On the way back, we hit a bare spot on top of a ridge, and it started raining. Also, the sun was shining. Across the next ridge, it looked like it was snowing. Alaska!

The view from up here.

We returned to the field station in time to help load up the dock with gear, and then hopped on board the Rainbow Connection for our ride back to Homer.

2 thoughts on “See sea stars by the seashore

  1. Amy Russell

    Your photos of Peterson tide pooling are amazing! Will show the kids in the morning, they will be so impressed-a baby octopus?!!!
    You sure keep busy…
    Your appreciative mac client, Amy Russell

  2. Ryan

    Thanks, Amy!

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