Monday, August 20, 2012

Tidepools on the Maine Coast

First of all, a big thank you for all of your wonderful thoughts and comments regarding my latest finish, Found on the Beach.  It feels great to finish a project and even greater when folks show up to the party to help celebrate.

I wish I could have answered you all personally but, right after I hit the "publish" button, Jim, Jack and I left on a one week road trip to Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park in Maine.



We expected to be hiking and biking through gorgeous scenery but we hadn't even considered the one thing which delighted us the most.

Tidepools.


Our first ever.

Until now, our seaside discoveries have all occurred on sandy shores so we were overjoyed to discover the beauty of rocky tide pools.



Tide pooling became one of the highlights of our week in Maine and clambering over rocks to see what wonder was in the next one gave us one of the biggest thrills of the week.  It was treasure-hunting at its best.

The challenge was getting close enough to peer into these miniature aquatic ecosystems without being scraped by barnacles or slipping on seaweed and being swept into the sea.



When successful, we were rewarded with vignettes of all type of sea life in microcosm and close-at-hand...



Red algae, periwinkle snails, dog whelks, urchins, seaweed...each one was its own composition of color and design.

The tide pools exist in the intertidal layers...the area between low and high tide.  The first layer below the high tide mark is the barnacle layer.


Since I had already been researching barnacles a bit for my last project, I was over-the-moon excited about getting to observe them up close.

When the tide drops leaving the barnacle layer exposed, many of them close up shop and wait for the sea to return.  They can survive for a few days on water they conserve inside their homes.

Barnacles that are empty have most likely fallen prey to micro predators, eager for a meal.



In this tide pool, take note of that extra-large, open barnacle just underneath the blue mussel...



It was alive, opening its trap door and extending its feathery feet to feed.  I tried to catch the feet on camera but all you can really see is a bubble indicating movement.

Below the barnacle layer is the rockweed layer.

From far away it looks like a mass of greenish brown...


But as we climbed down to get a closer look, the varieties of life were more evident.


I liked to imagine all these plants standing straight up when the sea returns, held afloat by their air bladders.


The colors and textures just blew me away.  

I am still working to identify a lot of what we saw but below you see a few periwinkle snails, red algae and what I believe is coral weed?


Periwinkle snails are very common in the intertidal zone, feeding on algae.  

This guy, with his foot and mouth extended,  looks like he's crawling across a barnacle "flower" garden...


Such variety of life.

Blue mussels...


Green urchins...


Silver-spotted anemones...


And a colony of dogwinkles drilling holes in barnacles to feast on the little shrimp-like animal barricaded inside...


This rock crab is munching on a bit of irish moss...


Notice all the other invertebrates growing on his shell...like the ivory barnacles and the little tortoiseshell limpet on his right claw.  And isn't his blotchy, purple shell a feast of color?

And speaking of feast, this colony of blue mussels is quite the meal for birds and other shell-drilling predators...


Even the rocks were gorgeous with red striping caused by iron sulfate and other minerals.  


The geology of Mt. Desert Island is equally as interesting as the marine biology and I find myself coming home with more questions than answers and tons of pictures.

And this guy...


Wants to thank all of you for his Happy Birthday wishes.


It's good to be home.

Happy Monday everyone!

27 comments:

Nana said...

I tell you, you being a guide it´s like seeing the world with new eyes.

Nana

coral-seas said...

Welcome home! I won't ask if you had a good time, I can tell from this post alone that you did.

Many of my childhood holidays were spent on the most idyllic beach you can imagine that had amazing rock pools. A part of every day was spent investigating them. Happy days :-) Thanks for bringing back some wonderful memories with this post.

Laurel's Quill said...

Great pictures...lots of inspiration. Been kinda lazy these days with blogging, so I will have to go back and see the finished square. Have a good week.

Linda H said...

Hey Elliotts!! Glad you are home safely. It was sooo great to see you on Wednesday - I guess the rest of your trip was as much fun as the first few days. Those tide pools ARE pretty intriguing.. a whole different experience than the shell beaches of Florida for sure! No doubt you got lots of inspiration for a future project...
Go easy on the maple syrup! lol
Hugs, L.

Laurie said...

How beautiful. It's amazing the life that we don't see everyday, if ever. These pictures are so awesome. I really need to get to the ocean!

Mary Ann said...

I miss the ocean very much. Your pictures have brought back many happy memories.

Sweetpea said...

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY WISHES TO JACK!! WOOT WOOT!!

Susan, what a wonderful time I've had this morning tripping along the tide pools with you ~ they are exquisite in their mini-worldness, aren't they?! So much rich color (different from the colors here) and you've done an ace job identifying the species. I think you must have been a researcher in another life, HA! That must have been *after* you were the court embroiderer in a long ago royal time....

Beauty abounds!

gracie said...

Wonderful pictures, thank you for sharing.

FlowerLady said...

What a great little vacation you all had. One filled with beauty and wonder. Thank you for all the fantastic photos. I feel like I went on a little field trip.

FlowerLady

elmsley rose said...

Thankyou for a beautiful photo essay. It sounds like you had a brilliant time ~smile~

SharoninStitches said...

How totally fascinating! I love the sea!

Suztats said...

Wondrous creatures to see. Thank you for sharing.

Wendy said...

What an awesome vacation getaway! I have never seen an actual tide pool, so your post on today is so wonderful! Thank you for taking us along on this journey of discovery with you. The crab is just glorious in his color! Such interesting life in the tide pools! Nature is so beautiful if we take the time to explore new things. Just wonderful, thank you.

Catherine said...

You have just been to one of my favorite places, although it has been years since I have been there. Thanks so much for sharing your fabulous pictures and bringing back memories from many, many moons ago!!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

You show me things and places I didn't even know I wanted to see until I saw them with you. Such a contrast from the Florida coast.

The pic of Jack on the rock should be framed. Jack on the background of a vast and mysterious Universe pondering what is just beyond. You certainly have a knack of catching him in terrific moments.
xx, Carol

Jillayne said...

Happy Monday back!
your Found on the Beach piece is amazing and I have loved coming back again and again to look at it - so beautiful. So creative. it's a beautiful piece so full of inspiration and i have enjoyed following along with you - can't wait to see what's next.

Lilli said...

Thank you for a such fantastic pics!!!!

wendy said...

Maine is on my list of places I want to go. I love your pictures and have always loved looking at ocean life.

Rachel said...

Rockpooling was one of the great delights of summer holidays on the coast when I was a child - I'm glad you've discovered it now!

Heather M. said...

Susan, I thought you'd seen that kind of coast before. It's what we have here on the West Coast of BC and into Washington and Oregon. I love the tide pools and the exploration that can go on. I don't know how you find out what type of creatures and plants you are looking at. I have to admit to not knowing most of what we have here. I'll have to do some investigation.

On another matter, I hope you will forgive me for stealing the term Wrack Line from you for my latest embroidery. It's so very different from yours, though.

Linda said...

Happy belated birthday to Jack! If you all ever make down to San Diego, be sure and check out our tide pools. We have a lot of lovely ones, especially in Point Loma. And if you're in Point Loma, you can see the old lighthouse (I know, not a rarity) and it has a breathtaking view of San Diego.

I've so enjoyed following your blog. I just found you recently and love your work.

xo Linda

black bear cabin said...

wonderful pictures!!! ive always wanted to go to Maine...and now i know why :)
Love the last photo the best though! :) hugs~

liniecat said...

Rock pools were a major joy in my childhood holidays and at my pensionable age Im still a sucker for them lol
They are an eco system all of their own, fascinating and for those of us with textile and stitchy leanings...........a feast of inspiration.
And lets face it, they are free and healthy places to spend your time! Nice to think you all had such fun and together!

Marie Alton said...

Susan ... now that was awesome! It was way cool to see all the wonderful things you discovered in this natural eco-system ... so many incredulous things happen outside of our norm! Great adventure to see them up close & personal.

I'm willing to bet that at some point you'll present a stitched interpretation of this adventure ... and can't wait to see it!

After all ... nature is sooo inspiring! We mere mortals can only observe and respect ... and translate into an artform that that captures what we see! You have a special talent for that ... & I enjoy watching how you do that.

Thanks ... & Hugs ... Marie

Kate said...

Thank you for the beautiful photos, I really enjoyed them.

Elizabeth said...

So very glad that you got to Maine! it is one of my very favorite places>??? Did you go in the water??? A far cry form Florida temps but Very Exhilarating!!!!One year we must get you to Cape cod! Would love to have you come to stay at my brothers place in the fall- water still warm and no one about- heaven!!! So glad that you all had such a great time! now I am off to check in on Found on the Beach! I have just finished up a very big deadline and have not done much blogging, so I missed the big reveal! :(

char said...

Thanks for sharing your great adventure in and around the tide pools. Great photos and comments. I enjoy visiting your blog.

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