Yesterday we went tidepooling. Not growing up by the ocean, I had never heard of the term before. But I’m quite sure that we have discovered a new hobby.
Going to the beach has always been a sandy and wet affair, with lots of work involved for mom and dad. Dad in our family does not nearly get bothered by the work as much, though he takes his fair share. The need to pack towels, swimsuits, dry clothes and lots of snacks (oh the snacks) and then lug more than one can reasonably carry. All while burning feet that have lost those cute flip flops long before we even get half way across the beach.
Then it takes a professional multitasker (aka mom) to keep track of who has been sunscreened how long ago with a continuous awareness if everyone is still safe. While being overly self-conscious in a bathing suit that does not match up with the other beach bikinis around. No, summer beach visits are not my thing.
Cool weather beaches
What a revelation to discover beaches when the sun does not melt a popsicle before you’ve eaten even half of it. Beaches in Spain during the winter, when they are empty but still so much fun to play at. For kids temperature is no issue, as long as you are dressed for it. This is a great time to build those sandcastles, collect shells and pretty shiny rocks.
In Alaska this summer we are experiencing exactly the same. Cool weather for the most part, and we are lucky when it is clear and we have a view. The view on the mountains across the bay is stunning and we can stroll and watch all day. Rocks are available in every size. The children collect them, especially if they sparkle. Or you can make pretty stacks and see how they hold up.
When we were in Homer a few weeks ago, a new friend told us how tidepooling is a favorite way to experience Bishop Beach. Although we explored the shore, we were not there at the right time to be able to check out the little pools. This time around we checked tide charts in advance and made a plan.
Once we were at the beach, the tide was pretty low but still had a couple of hours to go. We all had boots on, since it was not a warm day. The kids splashed around getting soaking wet up to their belly buttons. At first sight not much was visible in the little pool that we inspected a bit more closely. But when we started gently removing rocks there was an astonishing amount of life.
Better prepared we would have seen a lot more, of that I am sure. But just the experience of roaming the waterline so low-key, to dig in the sand and enjoy new discoveries is so freeing. It is so easy to get carried away with the adult responsibilities that life throws at you, that it is easy to move away from the curiosity you had as a child. That is such a shame. To look at the world through a child’s eye, makes you see the world in a fresh way, giving you all those wondrous feelings of excitement.
Tidepooling was a reminder for me to take the pressure off and just enjoy what you see, instead of always looking for what you would expect to see. When you drop the expectations, life all of a sudden brightens up. Are you up for a challenge? Can you let go of your expectations and freely experience?