We recently went to the Cabrillo National Monument in Southern California. It’s home to some of California’s most famous tide pools, and it’s not too rare to find an octopus, marooned in a larger divot by the retreating tide. Unfortunately, no octopi that day! But we saw a shrimp, some turban snails, and countless varieties of limpets, barnacles, and chitons.
The rocks were covered in what, at first glance, looked like little piles of broken shell. Not even wondering about these perfectly normal phenomena, I took no care to keep my bare feet off of them. I soon learned, however, what they truly were when my toes made contact with an unpleasant squelch! Shells shouldn’t feel like that!
These small piles made to grab me, their unsuspecting prey, with their sticky blue fingers, and I pulled away, finally realizing: They were a cleverly disguised form of anemone, a form which sticks onto stray bits of shell as a costume. I carefully avoided stepping on any more of the little traps, as the strong adhesive on each tentacle makes for a very unpleasant surprise.
I still hadn’t stuck my finger in one, however, and I must admit I wanted to, just a little. I tested it by inserting a small stick right into the cavity of one of these strange beasts, to see what it did. Nothing except curl up around the twig. Alright, I’d try it. I found a large one, under water so it was both more active, and stayed open, revealing its gooey blue inside. Slowly, I applied a finger, and squealed. What a feeling! Quickly ripping away my finger, before the anemone had time to swallow it whole, I laughed. What an animal that was. They’re very strange.
Cabrillo has a lighthouse, too, that we visited. It’s a tall, narrow house, like any other old-fashioned lighthouse, with only two bedrooms, a sitting room, and a kitchen. It was a very beautiful old house, with a winding staircase that is equip with both satisfying acoustics, and superior picture opportunities (you may rest assured I used both to the fullest extent). Read Gordon’s post to find out all about that!