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Just outside the beam

The ochre star (Pisaster ochraceus) is sometimes called the purple sea star and is probably what comes to mind for most of us in the Puget Sound when we hear "starfish". Photo: Jeff Adams

A couple weeks in but happy new year! Every year, I enjoy new shoreline experiences and marvel at all there is to know and all that is unknown. 2010’s treasures were a couple octopus. I wonder what this year will bring?

I wanted to write a short note to  draw your attention to a pair of upcoming (this Saturday!) beach walks and share a couple images from January beach walks past.

Please join the Kitsap Beach Naturalists at one of two locations Saturday (January 15) evening from 7:30-8:30pm (click here for flier). Dress appropriately and bring some form of portable light.

Bainbridge Island, ferry dock – meet @ BI Senior Community Center on Brien Drive

Bremerton, Evergreen Park – meet at the park boat ramp

Our final winter beach walk for the season will be February 15, 7:30-8:30pm at the Manchester boat launch. We’ll meet at the library and head down to the beach from there.

Sunflower star (Pycnopodia helianthoides) cruising the beach on water powered tube feet. Photo: Jeff Adams

I always rave about how fun and fascinating these events are. Winter minus tides are pretty smooth sailing for intertidal organisms – no sun, no heat, no light (for predators), little activity on the water and beach. With waves and cold as their biggest concerns, they’re generally just care free chilling until the tide returns.

For the next week, we’ll have good low tides between 6:pm and midnight (the low gets progressively later each night) so take an evening stroll on the beach whenever you get the chance. Don’t forget to go slow, look around and enjoy the nightlife. You never know what lies just outside your beam.

Jeff Adams is a Washington Sea Grant Marine Water Quality Specialist, affiliated with the University of Washington’s College of the Environment, and based in Bremerton. You can follow his Sea Life blog, email to or call at 360-337-4619.