We were so excited to arrive at one of our usual beaches and find the tide unexpectedly low. (The water usually comes right up against that cliff on the left.) I wasn't sure how quickly to expect it to come in, so right away, I left the littles with my generous husband and called my oldest three to take a long walk down the cloudy shoreline.
The main part of this beach has a very man-made look: colorful shops and parking right along the sand, lots of surfers year round, kids and umbrellas in the summertime. But just around the bend of the cliffs, a route usually covered by seawater, it's a whole different world. Layer upon layer of shoreline, each with a different texture, usually underwater but exposed that day for us to explore.
Next working inland: a dark stretch of sand scattered in wrack, with washed-up crabs, clams, vellela, and more tucked within.
Beyond that: rocks upon rocks upon rocks, full of eerily smooth holes or fossils of bivalves and crustaceans. They are truly breathtaking. Sagging anemones hunched along the bottoms of these boulders, waiting for the water to return.
Next: a broad swath of pebbles of all shapes, textures, and colors. We gathered a small handful of favorites. We tried digging down to see what was underneath: more pebbles. They kept going on for at least a few inches deep.