BAJA SUR TIDE POOL LIFE OBSERVATIONS
March 7, 2007, Tidal pool life, John Snow, San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico:
Today I spent the afternoon at El Tule, Km. 17, San Jose del Cabo at the tip of Baja working the last quality low tide of the month. I wandered around for a while noting that several of my pals were present and accounted for, reviewed three tidal pools I had bailed before, and was studying a new one of about 55 gallons with interest.
As I approached this pool, I heard the clatter of a Sally Lightfoot crab hell bent to get away from me. They either run like hell or submerge and hang onto rocks underwater until the coast is clear.
I started looking into the tidal pool to see what I might be able to collect from a new species perspective.
Out from my side of the pool comes a very large Octopus which does a spread eagle, changes from black to tan with white spots, and envelops the Sally Lightfoot. Next, I see two clouds of black ink and, poof, they were both gone.
Noting some rather large blenny types in the pool, I set up my new mega-sized siphon and wandered off exploring other areas of the now exposed “reef.” If your tidal pool is 10 feet above sea level and two feet deep and you siphon into a stream like body of water that is 9 feet above sea level but runs to sea level, how far down will your tidal pool go before the siphon stops?
When I got back I had to hand bail for about 30 minutes before I got to the bottom of the tidal pool.
Then it was sit and wait and see who checks in. Answer: all three species of the Brittle Stars, some of the most amazing animals on earth, a whole bunch of various microscopic snails, and a few blenny types that I collected and will work up tomorrow.
Then I see an already dead Sally Lightfoot being pushed out of a cave. I collected him, the world's best surf bait, about 1.5 inches with a 4.5 inch wing span and a pair of nasty pinchers, and later in the day utilized him to put a three-pound Mexican Hogfish, one of those crazy bisexual Wrasse types with this one being very much a male with an enormous bump on his forehead, onto the rocks.
I put one of my shoes in the water to block the entrance to the cave to keep the blennies from seeking shelter. Next thing I know, my shoe is getting attacked by the Octopus. With great agility and dexterity and some guerrilla tactics utilized in hand-to-tentacle combat, I captured the Octopus, who was large, mean, and ugly, and a definite candidate for a role in the next Jules Verne movie. I put him in my 5 gallon bucket with a little water and he immediately shot ink all over everything. Life in a tidal pool. I just know one of those Moray Eel type characters in going to be sitting in one of the caves in one of these tidal pools, just waiting to make lunch out of me!
What is the black tar-like substance that coats, to one-quarter of an inch, portions of these tidal pools? My guess some kind of plant material.