Exploring Nature’s Ocean Theatre -> Tide Pools Of The OR Coast

Green anemone above water. Gotta love those colors

I’ve always had a fascination for the small and hidden things in life. Little gems that you find on the road, beauty in the minutiae and discovery of the wild. Nothing quite brings the three together like tide-pooling. Give me a good set of tide-pools and my trusty camera and I’ll be happy as an ocean clam basking in the low-tide sun. Indeed, if I could color myself purple and crawl into the rocks with the starfish I’d be THERE baby.

Mini barnacles

Thankfully there are easier ways than starfish transmorgrification to enjoy the tide-life of the sea. All you need is a few good lenses, inside info on where to find the spots and a timetable on when to go, all of which you can find right here on the Oregon coast.

Seaweed tufts left by the tide

Now for those not “in the know” tide-pools are small rocky pools filled with seawater that “reveal” themselves at low tide. They contain a unique set of ocean life specifically adapted to the changing tides. The Oregon Coast abounds with tide-pools and the you can find both a map of locations, and daily tide-tables at any of the State Parks. Plan to arrive around an hour ahead of low tide and then enjoy the performance unfold.

Starfish wall

There are no less than 8 excellent spots within a short drive of our home here at Bullards Beach State Park and I’ve been hitting several of them over the past weeks, basking in the wonder of life that lies right beneath our feet. When my cousin was in town we explored the excellent pools at Cape Arago (lots of mini-crabs and anemone), and this morning I loaded both Paul and Polly in the car to roam the extensive pools at Coquille Point right around the corner in Bandon (masses of starfish and seaweed).

Each site has hundreds of hidden gems from weird seaweed to fascinating barnacles and colorful starfish. The fact that all these creatures survive both the changing tides and exposure to air, wind (it’s alwayswindy on the coast), sun and rain only make them all the more fascinating. Top it all off with the fact that you get to enjoy a splendidly sunny day on a truly magnificent coast and you really can’t get much better than that.

Alas my words do but poor justice to the picturesque splendor of these wonders and my camera merely manages to grab a fleeting look. All I can do is share what little I brought back in pictures and encourage you to come over here and see for yourself.

After all this is free ocean theatre and no-one should ever pass up a good performance.

A lone shell
Anemone captured in low water
Gorgeous “baskets” of nature
An orange beauty
Starfish close-up
Unusual growths in a crevice
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. says

    The tide pools were one of our highlights of the Oregon coast. Haystack Rock was FABULOUS when the tide was out. We saw so much life in the pools. I think this is one experience everyone should have.

    • libertatemamo says

      Totally agree it is SO much fun. I didn’t manage to do the tide-pools at Haystack Rock when we were there last year, but will put that on my list for when we go back. LOVE that area!

  2. Sheryn says

    Oh Nina!! How absolutely beautiful!! Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, as beautiful as the Oregon Coast. May I ask what lenses you would be using for these photos? Also, how do you keep Polly’s nose out of these tide pools? ;~) Hope Paul’s back is mending nicely.

    • libertatemamo says

      Sure! I pretty much always use the same set-up. For close-up shots I use my standard 50mm lens and my set of handy dandy extension tubes. It’s my “cheap macro” set-up that I wrote about in this post:
      Capturing The Perfect Shot-> Cheap Macro
      For larger shots I use my 18-200mm or my pocket camera (Canon S95). The extension tubes are my "secret ingredient" though and I carry them everywhere. If you're into photography I highly recommend them!

      As for Polly she's pretty good about being patient and just hanging around while I take shots. She does it often enough that she's become an excellent "photography assistant" :)


  3. Sally says

    What a wonderful seaside adventure you’re having! On a practical note, given the damage that salt water can cause on vehicles (body and components), what are you doing to prevent corrosion to your coach and car?

    • libertatemamo says

      Ahhh…that’s a tough one. Really the only practical thing to do is keep the coach & car waxed and rinse them every now and then to remove any salt water. I don’t have any other magic tricks for that one.

  4. Spencer Dickey says

    Great Photos Nina…. Many people don’t take the time to look at the small stuff. There can be so much going on in one small area. I take people out sailing and snorkeling here on St. Thomas and it’s great to see a turtle or a big parrot fish but I try to get people to take their time and look at all the tiny little fish and coral. Amazing what you can see if you slow down….

    • libertatemamo says

      I am SO with you on the small stuff. Hubby and I are both long-time scuba-divers. When I first started going underwater I was all about the big fish, but over time I’ve really come to appreciate the small stuff. I LOVE checking out the mini-shrimp, little fish and other hidden gems.

  5. says

    Tidepooling is one of my favorite things! So looking forward to the ability to spend time doing that as you are. Those cooler Northern waters hold so much more life than the warmer SoCal waters. We leave San Diego on August 7th. The Metamorphosis has begun! Lisa

    • libertatemamo says

      Oh, how exciting!! You’re right around the corner! Looking forward to you getting on the road!

  6. says

    Ah yes, I (Jerry) remember the wonder of tide pools from my childhood days, Suzy and I enjoyed them for a short while on our honeymoon at Cannon Beach, and we have seen them off and on during our trips to the Oregon Coast. Thanks for the revisit and your splendid photography!

    • libertatemamo says

      It’s a great pass-time for kids and I’ve come to re-appreciate them as an adult. Glad you enjoyed the memories!

  7. Douglas Hinman says

    I really enjoy you pictures of the Oregon Coast, we live in Oregon and have visited those areas many times but Havent seen a lot of the things you show us in your pictures. Our favorite State Park is at Bandon. If you want to get a great photo of the Coquille River Lighthouse go over to the stack of driftwood by the parking lot and look for the lighthouse thru some of the driftwood that is stacked up there. you have to bend down to see the photo Op.
    thanks, Doug H


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