Low Tide Walk: Deception Pass, August 20, 2020

For my final series of "good" low tide explorations for the year I chose Deception Pass State Park as our destination. I had only done one low tide walk at Deception Pass previously, earlier this summer, and wanted to return with a companion. The beaches I visited the first time were somewhat tricky to access and having a partner would help me focus on the creatures instead of worrying about a safe return.

We set out earlier than necessary and treated ourselves to a short hike around Goose Rock trail on the south side of the pass before getting down to the business of tide pooling. We then drove over to the north side and parked at Rosario Beach at around 9:30 am anticipating our lowest tide (-1.2") to arrive at about 11:30.

Tide pool at Rosario Beach

I would not recommend parking here if you have seen Rosario Beach before as you will waste some time getting to the good locations. Amanda had not seen Rosario before so we took the quick walk around the area designated at the beach by a permanent rope. There wasn't much to look at and since the entire walk was above the tide this early there wouldn't be much point in returning. Afterwards we headed over to Bowman Bay where we headed down the Lighthouse Point Loop. We skipped over a lot of beach territory on my way. It wasn't very enticing- the sand was sludgy and featureless.

Heading down the left fork of the Lighthouse Loop we walked past a muddy tidal flat, through the forest, until we came to a rocky beach. There was a minor amount of scrambling involved to get to the shore. This would be the easiest beach to access.

The left side of this beach had a rocky formation where the water would normally flood in. The narrow inlet would have funneled the seawater fairly high, as you can see in the left image. On the right side of the beach there were numerous rocks to explore, mostly covered in the slippery seaweeds. This beach was absolutely crawling with rock louses, some of which were obscenely large. The folds in the rock walls were teeming with all sorts of life. Plumose anemones dangled from rocks, often tightly packed together. There were numerous large painted anemones, both in and out of the water. Looking closely in the cracks of the rock we frequently spotted a very small type of sea star that never seemed to get much bigger than 5" across. I have not yet been able to identify it. It was often tightly packed into the rock wall.

Heading back along the path, I kept my eye out for the way down to the second beach. It was hidden in the bushes to our left and the route consisted of a steep sandy "path" made out of tree roots with a rope tide to it. This one would be more difficult to access.

Amanda climbing the root & rope