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!