During a kayaking vacation in Johnstone Strait along the shores of Vancouver Island, an acquaintance asked if I would like to spend a little time to explore some of the many tidal pools of the small island we were camped on. Without hesitation I accepted her invitation.
Weather had been ideal the entire time we were on the island so before late afternoon tilted toward evening we set out and began to play together as children do, searching the shallow waters for movement or color, gasping and shouting at one another "Hey come look at this!" then giggling together over the shared find.
We were surprised by how much life we found in the pools beyond mere mussels, barnacles and periwinkles.
My playmate was much bolder than I was about reaching in and grabbing creatures moving around beneath the water or scrambling over rocks and sand.
We were also surprised by how colorful some of the inhabitants of the tidal pools were.
Our guides had mentioned an octopus living in a nearby cove that was curious enough about humans that it sometimes came out to watch them doing their thing on shore, but we never saw it.
Engrossed in our play, we almost missed a stunning sunset. The afternoon had vanished too quickly, as it does for all children playing outdoors in exciting new places.
Begrudgingly, we started easing our way over rough, rocky pools back toward camp.
Wishing we had started our explorations earlier in the day but aware the tide would not have been low enough to expose much of the pools to explore as they were during the time we had, we enjoyed a few final finds along the way, very aware that it had been time well spent.