Tidepools: Pillar Point Half Moon Bay

Posted: January 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Pacific Ocean | Tags: , | Comments Off on Tidepools: Pillar Point Half Moon Bay

We arrived an hour before the lowest tide hit -1.42 feet at 3:37 PM December 30, 2009. Negative tide reveals a whole new world to explore at Pillar Point: Massive mussel beds, starfish, sea urchins, sea anemones, abalone, crabs, snails, clams, a variety of seaweed, microcosmic universes, and the most vivid colors. As you can probably make out by looking at us, we aren’t professionals divers. So we got the best snorkel gear for beginners we could find just as a backup if one us wanted to do some snorkelling nearby. We were just outside of the Marine Park so we also brought our CA fishing licenses in order to legally take some yummy mussels.

The yellow shading indicates the James V. Fitzgerald State Marine Park.

In the future, new legislation will probably extend the park into where we were exploring. That would make this area a no-take zone, and no mussel collecting.

Here you can see how far you’re able to walk out on negative tide.

So close to the big waves of Mavericks.

Collecting mussels.

Alien universe.

Starfish beard.

No starfish were harmed in the making of this shot. He was carefully placed back in his home.

Grumpy fish.

Baby Uni

SuperStar fish!

Baby Rockfish? Cabezone? Monkeyface eel? or just little tide pool fish?

Mussels Mussels Mussels.

We go after a medium size.  December they are tasty and safe. Steam them in some coconut milk with some lime, or cook them in a paella. Yum, yum, yum.

Make sure you check with CA fish and game for up to date regulations. You do need a current CA fishing license, never harvest between May 1 and October 31, and never harvest in a protected area.

Postelsia, also known as the sea palm or palm seaweed

Underwater Uni

Can you spot the Abalone?


Abalone are delicious. You can buy farmed red abalone in Half Moon Bay harbor, but this wild little guy is off limits. Take of wild abalone South of the Golden Gate Bridge is prohibited. North of the Golden Gate, you can take abalone, but you must have a CA fishing license, and an abalone punch card. Plus all abalone must measure over 7 inches. This little fella is too small even if he did live North. (Diving for Abalone UD post, coming soon.)

One more underwater shot.