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MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2010

Ocean Tides along the Coast of British Columbia

Vancouver's seaside locale sees a twice daily display of its intertidal zone along the shores of coastal British Columbia. Low tide brings new sea creatures to the surface which were once hidden by the ocean - Crabs, Mussels, Eels, Starfish and Sea Anemones can all be spotted in pools, under stones and fastened onto rocks to be admired and gently touched. Explore the shorelines of the Lower Mainland (and beyond to locations such as Bowen and Vancouver Islands) to appreciate British Columbia's varied sea life and the birds and animals who depend on it.

Low tide brings many interesting sea creatures for people to touch and admire such as this red starfish off the coast of Tofino's Pacific Rim National Park.The tide is ruled by the phases of the moon, and along the coastline of British Columbia - people are lucky to see this twice a day occurrence of receding and increasing water fluctuations, uncovering the interesting intertidal zone that are usually hidden under water.Low tide unearths many interesting tidal sea creatures such as this Starfish.

There are two types of tide - the first is neap tide which occur after the first quarter moon and the third quarter moon which result in weak tide range, and the second is spring tide which occurs after a full moon or no moon which results in a high tide that is higher than average and low tides which are lower than average, bringing a wider range of the intertidal zone to the surface to explore. There are many ideal locales to see this phenomenon:

> VANCOUVER: Stanley Park's rocky shoreline offers the best place to explore during low. You can find Dungeness and Hermit Crabs under rocks and maybe even small eels and starfish during spring tide. An abundance of birds and wildlife looking for a meal can also be spotted such as Crows, Seagulls, Barrows Goldeneye and even Otters.
> WEST VANCOUVER: Whytecliff Park on the western edge of West Vancouver is an ideal low tide locale. A popular marine habitat, divers are often seen exploring the waters and the Park's island - Whytecliff Island - can only be accessed when the land bridge is uncovered during low tide. Starfish, eels, crabs and other sea life can be spotted here as well as a Centennial Beach in Delta in Boundary Day Regional Park has a low tide which goes far out into Mistake Bay.wide range of birds. Horseshoe Bay is also a place to check out as the pier sometimes has Common Sunstars (which have 12 arms) clinging on its wooden supports.
> PORT MOODY: Connected to Indian Arm, Port Moody has an impressive low tide where the entire inlet is drained. Here, hundreds of birds crack open mussels on the rocks and visitors can stroll on the muddy plains and see remnants of an old shipwreck and enjoy views of the surrounding mountains.
> DELTA: No where is low tide more spectacular in the Lower Mainland than in Boundary Bay Provincial Park in Delta, along Centennial Beach, where it recedes almost a kilometer into Mistake Bay leaving small pools of reflective water as far as the eye can see. Further out, beachgoers can see thousands of birds which feast on the newly uncovered treats.

> BOWEN ISLAND: This island is a twenty minute ferry ride from the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal. Its dozens of rocky beaches are home to a wide range of intertidal residents ranging from purple and orange starfish to echinoderms, crabs and eels. A fantastic day trip, there is no shortage of interesting things to find along Bowen Island's shores.

Diagram of the sea life which lives in the British Columbia intertidal zone.VANCOUVER ISLAND
> TOFINO: Tofino and nearby Ucluelet located on the edge of the Pacific Ocean offers some of the best shoreline to explore in British Columbia. Rocky tide pools, sandy shorelines and the stunning Pacific Rim National Park offer tide exploration unmatched anywhere on the Island. Crabs, jellyfish, Sea Anemones, a wide range of Starfish and other intertidal residents can be seen, touched and in some cases, gently handled.

View tide predictions at the Government of Canada Hydrographic Website which offers a seven day forecast of the time and height of the low and high tides in various regions in British Columbia.

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