Jul 3, 2011

Tidepooling @ Half Moon Bay

View Half Moon bay Tidepools in a larger map

Being a Piscean - I love anything to do with water.. specially fish. My dad loves fish, has a large fish tank with live bearers specially black mollies, guppies, red sword tailed and a couple of others. It is such joy to see the baby fish swimming and hiding amongst the rocks and plants fearful of the other big fish. I just love their colors and I can sit for hours together watching them.

Sea Weed

At the California Academy of Sciences, the Steinhart aquarium has the Phillippine Coral Reef Gallery and the Northern California Coast Gallery which encompasses exquisite exhibits of live coral in the world, sharks, stingrays and colorful reef fish. The 100,000-gallon Northern California Coast tank replicates the habitats of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. A walkway along the surface allows visitors to smell the seawater and witness the filling and draining of tidepools along with a window reveals the eels, anemones, sea stars, rockfish, herring, sardines, and urchins that live beneath the water's surface. Its great to see these sea creatures in large aquariums.. but it was more exciting to see the tide pools in real life, within arms reach during one of the low tides at the Fitzgerald Marine Preserve in Half Moon Bay.

Located in Moss Beach, CA, about 40 minutes south of San Francisco on Highway 1, or 15 minutes north of the city of Half Moon Bay. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is in a no-take Marine Protected Area.
  • The best time to visit the reserve is during a zero or negative low tide, when the rocks are exposed. 
  • Use this ONLINE TIDE GUIDE to find a good time to visit. Its a great place to introduce kids to the diverse marine life and get a hands on experience. 
  • The area is slippery due to the moss so be careful when walking on the rocks. 
  • Do take a brochure from the visitor centre to know what you are looking for.                                                                                                    

We saw harbor seals, orange ochre starfish, anemons, nudibranchs , birds, and hermit crabs. If you are lucky you may get to see octopus and others too. Its well worth the 45 min drive from Santa Clara. We had a great time tidepooling and I'm sure you will too.


From here, we decided to drive south on CA1 to Santa Cruz pier. It was as always a lovely drive along the coast. The weather was just perfect and the cool wind blowing through the window was so refreshing and relaxing. We stopped on the way to photograph the pigeon point lighthouse. A big bowl of chowder, fresh fried fish sticks, fried calamari and bread was all that we needed after a great morning!

CA 1 Drive to Santa Cruz
Pigeon Point Light house

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