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Down By the Bay….

One of my favorite things to do at Cape Cod, which I haven’t gotten to do in years, is to walk out into the Bay on low tide.  I used to do it with my dad every year and he taught me tons of things about the bay wildlife.  So, one of my very first stops when I got to the cape was down at First Encounter Beach to see what time low tide was.  The first day we were there it was 7:50.  Perfect!  We could go to the beach and then come back to the bay and walk out around 6 with the tide!  I love sharing my infinite wisdom with others, so you can only imagine how happy I was that Ben was actually willing, and excited to go on a science adventure with me.

We got to the Bay around 6 and started walking out, of course it was a slow start, but then again, it always is.  None of the “good stuff” is around until you’ve walked out into the water at least a half mile.  So we kept on walking and walking and ended up seeing everything from razor clams to spider crabs, and most things in between.  I will say that although I love seeing and touching all the cool things in the ocean, I do scream from time to time when crabs “chase” me, and I don’t like putting my hands in places where I can’t see them, nor do I like walking through the weeds.  I know that’s where lots of cool things hide, but it just kind of creeps me out not knowing what my poor feet are going to land on.  I may or may not have basically jumped into Ben’s arms a few times as I got nipped by those feisty crabs, but that’s ok, he probably secretly enjoyed it

The few things we didn’t see that I wanted to see was a horseshoe grab, a huge moon snail, and whelk.  Ben has seen a horseshoe crab before, but not a whelk, so it would have been cool to discover one in the wild.

Here’s all the cool stuff we DID see:

One of the first Hermit Crabs we found. Hermit crabs are cool because they will live in just about anything. Unlike moon snails, they are unable to produce their own shells, so they scavenge for shells as they grow. Without a shell they are pretty much defenseless and would be eaten by something in a snap.

Spider Crab! Spider Crabs are awesome because they look really scary, but they are totally harmless. Don’t let their tough and rough exterior fool you. Their pinchers are so small even the biggest one couldn’t hurt you. One thing to be careful about though, is their legs are very pointy and somewhat sharp at the ends, so be careful if you’re going to rest it in your hand.

Scallop Shell

Clam: I was really excited to find this because my and dad and I go clamming every single year. We never go in the bay though because it can be much more difficult to find clams in the bay, as opposed to in a salt point or inlet. I found a bunch of these this year though! (We didn’t take any, though, because they were all too big – oh, and we had hundreds at the house already!)

Skate Egg Case: These egg cases are pretty tough. Skates, which are a type of ray, hatch from them and the cases many times wash on shore.

Fiesty crab ben caught

Ben with his crab

Two crabs mating. A little biology lesson for you! haha! These crabs were extremely calm and didn’t try to attack us at all. I guess because they were…uhh busy! hehe

Me holding a HUGE spider crab! Even though I knew it couldn’t hurt me, I will admit that I was nervous to pick this bad boy up!

Oyster! On a side note, I actually tried oysters this year for the first time. Delicious! tastes like clams but not chewy at all…yum!

We finished our walk at the bay right at sunset…awww how romantical.

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