17 September 2008

Last day together

After all the months of waiting for this Road Scholar trip and now on our ninth day with the group, here we are on the final morning and making preparations for our return to Portland. Breakfast was scheduled to be later than normal -- 8:00, since we have all day to get to the Hotel Vintage Plaza. Our coastal study leader, taking advantage of low tide, invited those who wanted to get up early to participate in a 7:00 field trip to the basalt outcroppings just outside the first floor of the hotel.

Her essential point was to help us notice the hierarchy of life on those rocks. Sea creatures work their way as high as they can onto the basalt -- and still survive the hours of low tide, all in an effort to get away from their predators, most particularly sea stars (formerly known as star fish). Never did I dream I'd be introduced to so many creatures I'd never seen before -- or at least gave a good look to -- in less than an hour.

A few photos ...

Anemone in an intertidal pool

Chiton (the little armored-looking thing in the center)
at the low-tide line

Acorn barnacle near the high-tide line

Sea stars among (and probably eating) mussels

The Inn at Spanish Head is an unusual hotel. Ten stories high, the restaurant is on the tenth floor and the lobby on the ninth -- at street level, street level being Highway 101. The first floor opens onto the beach. The entire structure is bolted to the basalt cliff. And, yes it is in the tsunami zone. This is a post-breakfast view to the south from our balcony on the 6th floor.

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