– I’m Coyote Peterson. This is Aron Sanchez, and today we’re heading out into the tide pools of Northern California to see what sort of creatures we can find. (tribal music) The California coastline is an epic sight for any set of eyes, and I’ve always been fascinated by the rising and falling of the tide. And in the Half Moon Bay area, if you know exactly where to be at low tide, you stand the chance of finding some very interesting creatures. I’m pretty good at coming across animals on my own, but today I’ll be following the lead of a true tide pool expert. Aron Sanchez is a man of adventure, and since childhood, he has had a fascination with the ocean, and a love for its animals. Over the past decade, he has spent countless hours exploring intertidal pools, where he has encountered and photographed some sea creatures that seem as if they belong on another planet. How does this work, do we just go out there in the water and try to scoop things up into the bucket? – Well sometimes you will get lucky.We’ll walk around here, chances are we will see some organisms just kinda hangin out, because it is low tide, but what we really wanna do, is go to areas where animals have hidden underneath rocks. When the low tide is out, these animals are trapped. They wait here, when the tide comes back in they swim off and continue on with their lives. – Awesome well let’s head out there into the tide pools, and see what we can find. – (Aron) Let’s do it. – (Coyote) After less than five minutes of searching, Aron came upon the first find of the day. – Hey Coyote. – (Coyote) Yeah? – (Aron) Come check this out! – What ya got? – Take a look. – Oh wow, I know what that is! That is a starfish, right? – (Aron) Starfish is pretty common, but the correct terminology is sea star. – (Coyote) Really that’s crazy, I bet most people don’t know that. Every book I’ve ever seen calls them starfish. – (Aron) That’s pretty common, yeah. – Alright now can we just pick this up? – We can, he’s just kind of walkin along the surface here, so he’s fine. – He’s movin extra slow, isn’t he? – (Aron) Yeah. This is a Leather Star, and the reason it’s called a Leather Star, is because it feels actually like wet leather. – Wow, really does. Feels like a boot. – It’s pretty unique. – Doesn’t smell like anything, maybe a little bit like the ocean. I flip over on this side, look at that, yeah I can feel, wow all those little feet are really sticky! – (Aron) These are actually called tube feet, and this is how the sea star gets around. – Alright, well, it’s a pretty good start. Let’s put him back in the water and see if we can find somethin a little crazier. – (Aron) Sounds good. – (Coyote) The Leather Sea star was pretty incredible, but what we were really after is what Aron considers the holy grail of tide pool creatures, the elusive red octopus. I love a good challenge, so our search began. Ok so Aron’s walked up a ways there looking for creatures, and I just gotta show you guys, what it is that we’re walking through. Look at this, this is all kelp, and it smells, ugh, awful! But it feels really cool when you walk on it, almost feels like moon walking. How squishy and bouncy it is, it all feels like rubber, and it absolutely stinks. Alright, well I’m gonna catch up to him and see if we can find some more cool creatures. The tide pools were alive with all kinds of interesting, and alien looking animals. We found sea anemones, which might look like a plant, but are in fact an animal, related to coral and jellyfish. That feels so cool! All those little tentacles are so sticky. A nereid worm, which is the ocean’s version of living nightmare, and this one was just a baby, but they can grow to be nearly two feet in length. Um, no thanks. Then there were the crabs, tons of crabs. Including the purple shore crab, stripped shore crab, and one big Pacific rock crab. Trust me, you don’t wanna find your fingers in those pincers. Several hours of searching had passed, with no sign of an octopus, but all was not lost, when suddenly we came across another gem of the tide pools. Aron I think the toughest part about this, is all the terrain, it’s so slippery. – You gotta watch your footing. – Yeah, alright, you wanna flip this one? – (Aron) See what we got. – (Coyote) More crabs I’m guessin. Oh, look at that, that’s an eel! – (Aron) A lot of people think so, but these are in fact a fish called a prickleback. They won’t bite, they’re actually vegetarians. They mostly feed on seaweed. – (Coyote) Alright, let’s get them into the bucket, so we can try to get a closer look. Now you say I can just pick these up right? – That’s right, Coyote one thing people might not know, is that pricklebacks can actually breathe air. – Really, so they can be out of the water? – They can. – Alright so if I take one out of here and just hold it, it’s gonna be fine? – (Aron) He might be a little slippery, but yeah. – Alright let’s give that a shot, get one of these outta here.Alright, I’m goin for the big one, here we go. Come here big guy. Let’s move slow. Wow, that is one bizarre looking little creature. It looks like a mix between an eel and a mudskipper. I can see why people would think that these are eels. I mean I saw it squirmmin around and I was like, it’s an eel! But that’s so cool, this is actually a fish. I can see his lil prickleback stickin up there. I’m gonna touch that, and see if it’s actually spikey. Oh yeah! I can feel that. And so that’s pretty commonplace to just flip over a rock, and the low tide like this and find (inaudible) there. – At low tide it is, these guys are waiting for the tide to come back in so they’re just gonna be under these rocks. – Ok now this one to me looks pretty good size but this is not an adult you said. – No these guys can actually get to about two and a half feet. – Wow, that would be cool, and what are the odds of finding one that’s two feet here underneath the rocks in the tide pool? – Usually not so likely, the bigger guys are gonna be out at sea. – (Coyote) After admiring these bizarre looking fish, it was time to release them back into the ocean. Alright here we go, gettin the pricklebacks back into the ocean, oh, with the tide comin in. Alright guys, see ya later! Ah, there they go! Whew, wow that was awesome. Aron, thank you so much for having us out here to explore the intertidal pools. We saw so many creatures, sea anemones, sea stars, lots of crabs, and of course the prickleback fish. The one thing we didn’t come across was the red octopus. Which means we’re gonna need to head back out to California soon to visit our friend Aron, to see if we can find one. I’m Coyote Peterson, be brave, stay wild! We’ll see ya on the next adventure. To check out some of Aron’s amazing work, make sure to follow his Instagram account @WATERBOD or visit his website WATERBODYMEDIA.COM. And if you thought the creatures of the tide pool were bizarre, make sure to check out my encounter with the whip scorpion, and don’t forget subscribe to join me and the crew on this season of Breaking Trail. (tiger growl) (bird call) .