Negative tides

Negative tides

In the morning we wake to seals slapping the water and crows dropping clams on the rock nearby. At more than half our camp spots we are usually treated by a hummingbird buzzing the tent. It zips back and forth hovering above trying to find the nectar from the mother load of all flowers: a massive red and gray flower tent. And this day was no exception. The hummingbirds buzzed by all morning.

Hummingbird in nest

As we walked around the island looking out at the weather we came across a hummingbird nest. Camouflaged in the branch and made from mosses woven so tight it could be used as a cup to hold water and just big enough for the little iridescent bird to fit its body in. We look for just a moment, marveling at the architecture of its self built home and find a little egg resting on the bottom. It seems as though every day we get to glimpse into the life of an animal in a way that only occurs by a chance meeting, both of us happening to be in the same place at the same time, a gift only given to those who spend days on end in the wild, with eyes and ears open.

Paddling at low tide

That morning the tide is incredibly low in Clarence Strait at negative 3.8, which means all the fun sea life that normally stays well below water will be out clinging to the tall cliffs waiting for the water to return. We get to travel in this extreme low tide for the next couple of hours on the way towards Wrangle.

We can see where the barnacles stop at high tide line about 20 feet above our heads as we slowly paddle along, taking pictures and spotting small creatures that we have not seen before.
We find beautiful abalone speeding along the cliffs. Using their big suction cup foot to maneuver around. I scrape one off and hand it to Anna. She studies it and looks at the foot sucking back in to the shell. Anna lays it down on her map case and it instantly starts feeling around trying to turn itself back over. I would say that the abalone is probably one of the faster shelled animals that I have ever seen. We watch it flip itself over and crawl along the map case before returning it safely to the cliff.

Low tide with the sea anemones

As we paddle we see red and white sea anemones. They are incredibly beautiful underwater with their flower like petals out swaying in the water. Now at low tide they hang from the walls, closed up and slimy, dripping water as they wait for the tide to rise again. One wall must of had over 500 of them, reminded me of the gum wall that is a tourist attraction in downtown Seattle near Pikes Place Market.

We continue along watching starfish do flying yoga try to find the fastest way back to saltwater. Snail shells drop into the waters as they slide off the seaweed. We see a light purple lichen sort of plant that we’ve never seen above water. The shore cliffs are so colorful and interesting we barely make any miles, we spend our time pointing out one beautiful creature after another not wanting to move on but also excited to round each bend and see what might be next.


  1. Really, starfish doing flying yoga?? This I need to see. So glad you have each other to explore God’s creation with. He has created with majesty and beauty so that we will see Him.
    Anna, thank you for sharing the love of adventure with me! You are amazing, smart, and beautiful!


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