Searching for Sole

Last weekend I took off my sandals and, 4 year old son in tow, headed out onto the sand flats at low tide. We had some fun checking out the Fat Gaper siphons and then ventured into the shallow tidepools at Miracle Beach Provincial Park. There is always something interesting in the pools but often a little patience is required. While Alden was more interested in drawing in the sand I did my best to wade quietly and slowly through the warm water looking for fish.

I was amazed at how well the fish blended in with the sandy bottom. I saw a few Sandlance swimming but by the time I could get close enough they would bury themselves into the sand and were gone. Sculpins used a different strategy, often shooting off at right angles before settling again. They were very skittish and I wasn’t able to get anywhere near them.

The Sand Sole (Psettichthys melanostictus) were a little easier, not to see, but at least to approach. Once they stop moving they’re almost impossible to see against the sandy bottom and I think that they know it. Can you see the outline of the cryptically coloured fish below? Click on the photograph to see a larger image.

Sand Sole (Psettichthys melanosticus)
Sand Sole (Psettichthys melanosticus) are common in shallow tidepools on the sheltered beaches on the east side of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. They blend in extremely well with the sandy bottom.

It was quite rejuvenating wading ankle deep in the warm tidepools of the Salish Sea looking for fish and other sea life. I guess you could say that searching for sole is good for the soul!


  1. Wow, what a neat fish! That’s such a cool picture, being able to see the outline of the fish, yet he blends in so amazingly well.

  2. What an amazing capture! I tried to capture these at Boundary Bay Regional Park (Centennial Beach) in Tsawwassen where we frequently go, but my D3100 with its’ kit lens couldn’t do it very well. Your photography is stunningly beautiful, and like you, I love taking my boys (home learning, ages 9 and 5) out to just be with our natural world to discover something new to us. Such fun and wonder for kids of all ages 🙂

  3. Hi Erin,
    Thanks for stopping in! Shooting this fish through water was pretty tricky and I had to time it so that the bubbles/surface froth that was drifting over the fish wasn’t in the shot. I used my Nikon 105mm macro lens to capture the image – it’s great for closeup work but a little bit pricey. Well worth every penny though as I love using it!

    If you haven’t checked out Wanderin’ Weeta’s blog you should. She’s in your neck of the woods and often writes about Boundary Bay and marine life. Look for it at



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