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Low Tide Walk: Me-Kwa-Mooks to Alki Point, Aug 31 2020

This low tide snuck up on me. My adventure associate had to get a real job and I was unmotivated to go on a hike without her. On a whim I checked my tide app and to my great fortune I had been granted a -.8' tide for my Monday off. Looking at a map, the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal caught my eye. After the wonders I had seen at Bainbridge Ferry Terminal I was curious to see if other ferry terminals provided equally magnificent lookings.

I headed down a charming path just right of the terminal labelled "public shore". Just to my left was the dock. It was absolutely barren, save a few barnacle colonies and roosting pigeons. There were no lookings to be had. It was around 8:30 am, low tide would be about 10:30 a.m. Time for plan b.

I pulled up the map on my phone and looked for a potentially better location. Nearby was Constellation Park, a location that I had been working to add to this site. If I approached it from the south I would cover a new section of beach and finish my walk at the apex of low tide. I drove along the waterfront until I got to Me-kwa-mooks Park. Not wanting to waste time, I parked and scrambled directly down the rocks to the beach. This is where my real low tide walk would begin.

The terrain was fairly monotonous- many medium-sized rocks covered in seaweed, aggregating anemones everywhere. The level of aggregating anemone density throughout this entire walk was disconcerting. They sprouted from every surface and I often encountered individuals attached to small rocks. It would have been absolutely impossible to avoid stepping on them, but I went to great lengths to avoid doing so. This made for slow travel.

The lookings remained consistent all the way past a dock (another barren disappointment) with some sort of housing on it, pictured below. A few large tires laid upon the beach that were fun to look inside where the water had pooled, other than that it was fairly monotonous. Things started to get exciting as I approached what, from my perspective, appeared to be a giant wall made of rocks. This is perhaps the best feature on the entire beach.

There are numerous stars, anemones, cucumbers and other organisms packed inside the crevices. The wall can be viewed from every angle and provides a different landscape in every crack. It is worth spending some time here looking at everything as this feature has the most colorful sites on the beach. I crept around it for some time, enjoying being the only person out there. The aggregating anemone density was less around the feature, facilitating easier access to other organisms.

After examining the wall from every angle, I moved on to the next enticing feature. Two concrete pipes tempted me from only a few feet away. As I got closer I remembered the pipes from a previous expedition. The one on the left appeared newer and did not have openings to peer into. The one on the right was much larger and had numerous gaps. Reflecting upon it, I would guess that the smaller pipe replaced the larger one, yet the larger one was never removed. Peering in to the pipe there were no large organisms visible near the opening, only implications of them in the shadows further away than I could access. Still, the pipe was its own fascinating ecosystem, worthy of the brief exploration.

Low tide was rapidly approaching so I pushed further along the beach toward Alki Point. Around here I started to notice numerous rough piddock clams in the water, their siphons protruding. They always remind me of creature froms Star Wars. As I kept going the terrain changed into a rocky bed that was intricate with pools and folds. At this point walking had become quite stressful as aggregating anemones emerged from every surface, with the occasion cluster of feather duster worms thrown into the mix.

As I approached the lighthouse at Alki Point I had one final treat. A harbor seal had chosen to lounge on a rock mere feet from the water's edge. I did not get very close so as not to disturb him but got plenty near enough to take all of him in, in all his sea-sausagey glory.

After watching him for an extra moment or two I decided it was time to leave. Low tide had peaked and although I still had plenty more time to explore, small groups of people had started to emerge on the beach and that was my cue to exit. It was exhausting trying to avoid stepping on the anemones so I walked back along the road to my car, satisfied with the day's lookings and with plenty of info to finish off my Constellation Park page!

This was the first expedition where I tried using my Panasonic Lumix DC TS7 underwater camera. I did not do very well with it above the water as I had a difficult time trying to stay steady enough for the camera to focus. Oddly, this was far less of an issue when I used it underwater. The zoom above water was far superior to my camera phone, so I was satisfied with that. The following are from my first trials with the camera:

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