I mentioned in our previous post that we have just had a science week and we try and include some sort of scientific outing in our science weeks. Luckily where we are we are spoilt for the great outdoors and most of our scientific outings are related to natural factual observations. There are few better escapes than a couple of hours spent rock pooling.
- Where to Go: We are spoilt for good places to go rock pooling. Beside every sandy beach there is a rocky outcrop… and rocky outcrops are good spots to go rock pooling. Certainly next to most Tidal Pools in Cape Town you will find some excellent rock pooling. We have had great success rock pooling in front of the Shark Centre between St. James and Muizenburg and of course in the Cape Point Nature Reserve.
- Check Out the Tide: Low tide is the best time, google “tide table and your location,” and you will find the time of the high and low tides and be able to plan your outing accordingly. Basically it is low tide in the morning every other week and low tide in the afternoon the weeks in between. If you head out rock pooling during full moon or new moon then the tide will be even lower. Keep in mind that low tides reveal slippery and slimy seaweed on the rocks and tread carefully.
- Special Equipment: Goggles are fun… but the real winner is a clear plastic tray from the recycling. The deeper the tray the better, push it into the water and you get a close up underwater view of the interesting things you can find in your rock pool. Otherwise a magnifying glass is fun and a couple of ziplock bags, petri dishes and sealable jars are great for examining tiny things. Just be sure to put back the things that you pick up and look up.
- Respect the Animals: If we do pick up an animal to look at, then we put it exactly back where we find them… some of these little animals spend their entire lives in a a carefully chiselled out little nook in their rock pool… it is only right to return them home. If an animal is firmly attached to its little piece of rock then leave it there.
- Time Flies When You Are Having Fun: You will be amazed at how time flies when you are taking a peek into a different world. Take hats and clothes to cover up in… and also water. You can get really hot and sticky while rock pooling and with so much water all around you, there is nothing to drink… it is very much a case of bring your own.
- Pick One Rock Pool: And explore it carefully, some sea-life likes to bask in the sun and you may not see them camouflaged on the rock pool floor… and others really enjoy the shade. If you to carefully move stones around to look around then carefully return them to their original spot. Often times you don’t need to move anything, just lying on your tummy and quietly peering into the pond will reveal a lot.
- Take a Good Guide Book: You will discover things that you have never imagined… it is fun to look them up in a good local reference book is fantastic for finding out about local ocean critters.
- Document Your Findings: Many folks take clipboards down to the shore and sketch their discoveries. We do take our notebooks for quick sketches but we have found that we do better observing at the shore and taking photographs and then draw our findings afterwards at home. As close to the outing as possible.
And the Se7en + 1th thing…
Other Beach Fun Posts
The stunning rock pool featured in this post is the Venus Rock Pool at Cape Point Nature Reserve.