The interface between the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean and the North American continent is what makes Point Lobos such a special place. Offshore, the ocean stretches for thousands of miles and plunges to depths of two miles, and even deeper in some places. It is an ever-changing environment populated by fish and other creatures, some which live in specific areas depths, and some which travel from one shore to the other and migrate vertically from near the surface to great depths.
Along the Point Lobos shoreline, the ocean plummets rapidly to several thousand feet in depth. Due to this topography and the prevailing weather conditions, we experience a phenomenon known as upwelling along the California central coast. This is the rising up of very cold, nutrient-rich waters from near the bottom of the ocean to the surface. From a biologist’s point of view, this phenomenon contributes to an astounding diversity of sea life along the coast. It also results in very cold water and the persistent fog that can often be seen and felt in the area.
The constant motion of the tides and waves creates an ever-changing margin along the coast. As the water advances and recedes, it leaves pools – tide pools – in the rocky intertidal zone. At lower tides, these tide pools offer visitors an opportunity to view a variety of sea life up close.
The brochure “Weston Beach Tide Pools” is great to bring with you if you want to go tide pooling. It tells you more about intertidal zones and the sea life you might see at Point Lobos. It also has helpful information about how to keep you and the tide pool animals safe and tips to make the experience more meaningful for children.
Tide pools, areas along the margin between the ocean and a rocky shore, often provide an opportunity to see sea life up close. They are also great places to let kids see creatures in their natural environment. The best time to go tide pooling is near a low tide, the lower the better. And the best place to go at Point Lobos is Weston Beach, about halfway between the parking lots at Sea Lion Point and Bird Island along the South Shore road and trail.