Low Tide in Seattle

sea My daughters’ recently-rekindled passion for the sea and all creatures in it has sent us reeling toward more oceanic experiences lately.  The staff at the aquarium know us by name and my 10 yr old is tracking the time it will take for her to reach the age of volunteering. We’re looking into diving classes, but they’re super expensive and probably not in the budget any time soon.  In the meantime, we’re getting our kicks at low tide.

We live ten minutes from Richmond Beach Saltwater Park, they have free parking and a play structure and plenty of driftwood for building impromptu structures, a fair amount of sand for your picnic blanket and families of sea lions that play in the water and sometimes come on shore.  We especially like going during low tide, so the kids can check out the sea creatures. They lift up rocks, squealing when the crabs scoot to safety, count the barnacles on everything, feel the silky smooth skin of the anemones (and apologize when they scare the water out of them), marvel at all the different types of seaweed and listen to the birds squawking.


The years we spent living in Eastern Washington were difficult for many bigger reasons, but one is because it was sort of a desert.  Here in Seattle we have forests, mountains, wetlands, lakes, streams, rivers and ponds all within a ten minute drive.  OK maybe not mountains, but I’m not a big fan of snow anyway.  The entire time we lived there, I fantasized about getting over to this side of the mountains. Something happens in my mind and body when I cross the floating bridge into Seattle on i90. It always feels like home deep in my bones. Like I exhale a little deeper and smile without realizing it.

The moss and the fiddle neck ferns in the forests are peaceful and grounding, to be sure, but there’s something deeply soothing about listening to the waves crash as the tide is getting higher. Each one is a teeny bit louder than the one before. It’s invigorating and energizing. I hope the time we’re spending at the beach is filling my kids with a sense of wonder and curiosity about the ocean.


To quench their thirst for understanding, we’re using the NOAA Multimedia Discovery Missions, of course the aquarium membership (which expires soon), materials from the National Parks Service, The Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History,  PBS, BBC Wildlife, plus books from our home library and Animal Planet and other TV documentaries.  (We say TV still, don’t we? Even when it’s Netflix or Amazon Prime don’t we still call it TV?)


Since parking is free, it’s close to home and it smells so much like heaven, I think we’re going to be spending a lot of time at the beach this summer. And since I’m old and jaded and not nearly as energetic as my kids, I will probably lie on a blanket and finish reading books. That is, after I’ve sucked the last bit of juice out of my phone’s battery working online. I should bring a hula hoop.


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