Fall tides are not very nice people. Uncooperative, I would say. Summer tides are much better people. They go nice and low at noon, not midnight like some tides I know. But with the fall, the tides turn nasty and midnight is the low tide. So slaves to the ties we are to study benthic organisms in tidal flats. What does this mean? Night fieldtrip aka leaving from Fernauld Lab at 10pm, which happens to be my standard bedtime. Sleep deprived students plus dark, slick surfaces is a recipe for disaster in my cookbook. You can look it up. It is in the index. Tidal pools plus sea anemones plus bare fingers equals awesomeness. Not to be confused with sea anemones plus morphology diagrams, which merely equals awesome. But I digress. I, personally, have only encountered tidal flats once before and that was last summer in the Netherlands. The Wadden Islands. That trip resulted with me in kneed deep mud and pushed over by my brother. My shirt is still stained. And that was in the middle of the day! Minus a brother, but plus darkness? My math equation is looking a little jumbled.
We had a slow start. First one of the van batteries failed, so we had to reshuffle in Emily’s car and the other van. Then, at False Bay, it took four of us to figure out how to open a shovel. It is another example of brains verses brawn. Cough Cough Mike Cough. We were released on the land to dig up worms with our headlamps aglow. But first we paired off in buddies. Liza was mine. I was Polo and she was Marco. It was only appropriate because we were heading off into the unknown. My pervious formula (or recipe, rather) proved to be wrong. Digging up worms was the coolest thing ever. A variable I forgot. Those suckers are fast. There is nothing better than beating them at their own game. Well, harassing sea anemones might be better. In short, the trip was a success. But what was next was even better. We did discover awesomeness. Unfortunately, awesomeness was guarded by super slippery green algae. Also the sea anemones appeared to be anchored in the mud. Thank god for the shovel. There was a rock under that mud, which my little pretties were attached too. They were none too happy to be picked up and jostled around.
I failed to bring my camera, so I will finish my blog post with images I wish I could have captured.
1. The flow of the tide of over the mud
2. The orange glow of Victoria
3. Two tankers communicating with Morse Code lights
4. Foot prints of a large Blue Herring
5. The ghostly glow of headlamps seeking the edge of the bay in the dark