Flotsam and Jetsam at Goose Spit

We’ve been pretty much house bound over the last couple of days due to the weather here in the Comox Valley – high winds and lots of rain. We made a few short forays out for walks around the neighbourhood between squalls but for the most part hunkered down. When I woke up this morning I was stunned to see the sun since the forecast was for rain and more rain. We had a quick breakfast, bundled the kids up and headed for Goose Spit.

The beach at Goose Spit was littered with the flotsam and jetsam of the sea. The sand was scattered with seaweed and driftwood was piled high up on the beach where the wind and waves had left it. As we walked we poked through the seaweed and searched for the surprises that the sea often leaves for those who think to look.

Sunflower Star (Pycnopodia helianthoides)
The underside of a Sunflower Star (Pycnopodia helianthoides), washed up on the beach.

Sunflower Stars (Pyconopodia helianthoides) were washed up everywhere and the gulls were feasting. We saw over a dozen of these along the edge of the water and most were well picked over.

Helmet Crab (Telmessus cheiragonus)
The shell of a Helmet Crab (Telmessus cheiragonus).

I found the back of a Helmet Crab (Telmessus cheiragonus) on the sand and was fascinated by its colour and texture. These crabs are found in thick growths of eelgrass and kelp.

Eelgrass (Zostera marina)
Eel-grass (Zostera marina) washed up at Goose Spit.

In addition to the seaweed there was quite a bit of Eelgrass (Zostera marina), a flowering grass that anchors to the sand or mud with a rhizome.

Varnish Clam (Nuttallia obscurata)
The rich purple/blue inner shell of Varnish Clam (Nuttallia obscurata) is striking against the sand.

Shells of different kinds of clams were also common. The distinctive purple of the Varnish Clam (Nuttallia obscurata) was beautiful against the sand.

We spent an enjoyable 2 hours out on Goose Spit with the kids, exploring the beach and bird watching, before the clouds started to close in and it began to threaten rain once again. We were very happy that we had made the effort to experience  the day.