We were out early at Drake’s Beach in West Marin, California, under changeable skies. It was low tide, and we were the only bipeds around – the parking lot completely empty, no stray campers or hikers, we had the place to ourselves, at least when it came to other humans.
And while there were fewer shorebirds than I would have expected, there were a multitude of large crabs. Mostly intact, mostly dead.
And then we started noticing more remnants of life – traces that reflected the retreating tide in broken shells.
Something I haven’t seen before, countless sand dollars, most of them still alive, scattered at the ebb line. Those small, flat sea urchins with the lovely star patterns that we usually see bleached white – these were still pink and moving.
Some clearly were trying to find their way back to the water, leaving elegant script of their flight. (These two were still very alive, and we put them back in the water.)
Other creatures weren’t ready to give up even an inch of territory, no matter the cost. This palm-sized crab was as fierce as they come.
And then there were those who were neither in fight nor flight mode: They were lolling.
It’s not terribly clear from this image (the better camera had given up by the time we got to the bottom of the lighthouse steps), but this small cove below the Point Reyes Lighthouse had a number of seals, all sizes, doing lazy loops while a mother humpback took her calf through its paces, back and forth.
There wasn’t much to do after that then head back to Inverness for a good dinner. Not before having a seat in the empty lighthouse keeper’s chair, though – someone needs to sit there now and again, since the lighthouse was automated forty years ago.