My wife and I spent a few hours at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve on a cool, overcast March afternoon, which was our first visit. I’m from the east coast and when telling folks back in Maryland afterward about our time at FMR, across the board, I discovered tide pooling was an unfamiliar activity. Tide pools are small bodies of seawater contained in rock or reef structures, deep indentations along sandy shorelines, or in other natural basins. At high tide, these substrates are submerged, however, at low tide they are often completely exposed, to reveal the myriad homes they provide for an array and abundance of marine life, mostly invertebrates. Situated just off the beach of a quiet, secluded neighborhood between San Francisco and Santa Cruz, and hidden behind a cluster of coastal residences, FMR is a local open secret and in fact is regarded as one of the better places on the west coast of the United States to explore this type of fragile marine environment. Readily accessible from Highway 1, there’s even a station on site, staffed with knowledgeable rangers able to answer any questions one might have about the reserve or its inhabitants. If you do plan to visit FMR, just be sure to check the tide tables before you go. Low tide is your best time, if not your only time, and the lower the tide is the better. As an erstwhile marine biologist, I’ve had this on my list of places to see for a long time and my only regret is not coming this way sooner.
Photos taken March 4, 2019