|Sunshine at the beach at Lesser Slave Lake, about a year old|
I arrived early at the beach with Sunshine and Lily. Smuggler's Cove really is a small cove, with a long expanse of rocky shoreline, blanketed with kelp, as the tide slowly retreated. We gawked at the mansions on either side of the beach, watched the sailboats cruising effortlessly past the opening of the cove, and clambered over the barnacle-encrusted rocks.
Then the teachers arrived, pointing out the blue wading pool they'd filled with water and sea life. I was surprised to find out that we were encouraged to catch whatever we could find—the pool was bustling with crabs, blenny fish, a fat purple starfish, several nearly transparent jelly fish, shrimp, snails, an anemone and its rock, and other beach life I couldn't identify.
|Lily "napping" at Smuggler's Cove|
We spent two hours combing the beach, looking in tide pools and under rocks and watching the crabs scuttle sideways around the wading pool. I turned over one rock and discovered two palm-sized red-backed crabs hiding in the sand underneath; with a stick, I convinced it to show more of itself so that I could take a picture. At the end of the day, we gently released all the creatures back into the ocean. It was the most fun I've ever had at a beach.
I'm now the Victoria Beaches Examiner at Examiner.com. Throughout the summer, I'll be posting articles there about the beaches we visit.