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King Tides at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve

December 12, 2016 @ 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm PST

Join your nature journaling friends at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach CA to explore the exposed rocks during the king tides. The low tide of -1-2″ will reach its lowest at 3:16 PM. The best tidepooling will be in the hour before the low. There will be great stuff exposed for the hour after as well but some of the critters my retreat to more sheltered spots to get out of the sun and light. If you can not make it on the 12th, consider going out on the 13th. The low tide of -1-6″ will reach its lowest at 4:03 PM.

This is an informal field trip and not a group event. There is no structured demonstration or potluck. You can arrive as early as you want and leave when you are ready to go. Please share your sketches on our Facebook page.

A general strategy is to gently move out to the water’s edge when you arrive and then work your way out as the tide goes out. Then retreat as the water rises. Be sure to always keep an eye on the waves. A large wave can take you by surprise when you do not expect it. The big trick is to sit down and wait by a pool. Get low and keep looking. As you do, critters that hid when you arrived will pop out and continue their activities. Close focus binoculars are great at tide pools and keep your journal dry.

Dress in layers. Wear shoes that can get wet (but do not walk through the pools). Wear pants that you can get wet (from a splashes or from sitting on seaweed). A little waterproof ensolite sit-upon is nice. Have a change of clothes in the car for the ride home. Bring a little rag to dry your hand so you do not get your journal wet.

Ideas to try: A tide pool cross-section. Species account (dig into deep notes on your favorite critter). Diagram of zonation on a vertical rock.

Trip canceled in case of rain.

 Tidepool etiquette

  • No collecting shells, rocks, or animals.
  • No feeding tidepool animals.
  • No picking things up: observe them where they are.
  • No turning over rocks.
  • Step gently, taking care not to walk through the pools.
  • No placing animals into containers.
  • Say please and thank you to sea anemones.
  • Do not disturb harbor seals.  Stay a safe distance away from them.  If orange cones are present on the beach or reef, stay on the side of the cones farthest from the seals.


  • No running on the beach or reef.
  • No climbing on the fragile cliffs.  No digging at the cliffs.
  • Landslides are common; stay away from the bottom of the cliffs.
  • Always watch the ocean and be aware of the rising tide.
  • Rocks can be slippery. Don’t jump from one rock to another.
  • Do not claim that your beauty surpasses that of the Sea Nymphs.
  • The creek is polluted.  Please cross the creek, but do not play in it.  Proceed to the tidepools further south of where the creek enters the ocean.


December 12, 2016
2:00 pm - 4:30 pm PST
Event Category:


Nature Journal Club
(415) 310-7592
View Organizer Website


Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
200 Nevada Avenue
Moss Beach, CA 94038 United States
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