Time-Lapse Tidepool

Teeming with anemones, giant greens if you want to get specific, it’s a pool with a lot going for it. Its water is clear as crystal, and tucked away, sheltered from winds, there isn’t a ripple. Its strangest characteristic, though, is its see-through surface, free of diabolical reflections and all the better for surveying its willing population of Anthopleura xanthogrammica. The photograph below is from my first meeting with with this gem of a tidepool. The distance between me and that first encounter is just shy of six years.

I visit whenever my schedule and the tides permit. Below, is a sequence of images, from a similar vantage, celebrating the pool and its inhabitants over time.

June 17, 2015

May 28, 2017

July 4, 2019

There is something happening here and it’s startling. The anemones, many of them, are the same in all the images. They look fragile, ephemeral almost. Flashy but vulnerable. Don’t fall for it, anemones are famously long-lived.

Professor Ashworth tells of several anemones that were donated to the University of Edinburgh in 1900 by a woman who had collected them, already fully grown, 30 years before. She had kept them throughout that period in a round glass aquarium, strictly observing a daily rite of aerating the water with a dipper and a weekly rite of feeding them on fresh liver, which she believed they preferred to anything else. When they came into the possession of the University they were fed, possibly not so regularly, any scraps of protein that came to hand, such as shredded crab meat, or even beefsteak. Nevertheless, these anemones continued on in the best of health, annually producing clouds of sperm and eggs. Unfortunately, this experiment in longevity was brought to an untimely end after some 80 years by the ineptitude of (we understand) a botanist; but there seemed to be no reason why the animals might not have lived a century or more

Ricketts and Calvin- 1968

Discovering the distance between myself and the shore.


Ricketts, E. W., and J. Calvin. 1968. Between Pacific Tides. 4th ed., revised by J. W. Hedgpeth. Stanford University Press.