First Day in Oregon!
At 5:30 am, I grabbed a quick breakfast consisting of a bagel and some hot chocolate mixed with coffee. South Cove, our destination for the morning, was about a ten-minute drive, which was just long enough to fall back asleep in the back of the van. Our schedule revolves around the lowest of low tide in order for us to study the intertidal species, which forces us to get up at very early times.
This was my first time seeing the Pacific west coast and I had no idea what to expect. First of all, the shore is about a 100-foot drop from the road where we parked the van. It’s not like the east coast shore where it’s flat and you just walk out to the beach. After walking down the steep and narrow path to the shoreline and then hiking over huge piles of of washed up logs, the first thing I noticed was that the rocks were covered with seaweed. The coast line at Oregon is very rocky, which provides great amounts of diversity for marine organisms. I was surprised to find such high amounts of diversity on a single rock! My group and I found a giant green sea anemone, red coralline algae, purple sea urchins and much-much more. One of my favorite observations was when Dr. Lord pointed out the sea urchin pits. It turns out that the urchins drill into the sandstone rock to create little homes that protect them from the waves and floating logs. Below is a picture of Giant Green anemone and red coralline algae.
After we had explored most of the intertidal zone, the tide started coming in very quickly. Most of what we previously explored was already underwater as we made our way back to the shoreline. Dr. Lord demonstrated how to use bull kelp as a trumpet and it really does sound like a trumpet! The bull kelp was another type of species I thought was cool because of its long stem and broad leaves. Before we left, I tried to swing it over my head like a helicopter, but the kelp was too heavy to get a good swinging motion going.
It was a very enjoyable and educational first day.