Friday, June 30, 2006

Cape Cod: The Flats

Baby periwinkles (Sea snails).

The very best thing about Cape Cod are the flats. When the tide is low, the ocean recedes from the shore for over a mile, leaving behind a "seeming to never end" landscape of sand bars and tidal pools. It is our favorite time to visit the beach, because as you walk out onto the flats you discover many sea creatures:
(Click on subtitles if you want to see bigger versions)

Underside of a periwinkle. When you pick them up their "foot" is huge, but then it quickly shrinks down and is pulled inside the shell.

Spider crab

Horseshoe crab. Notice how far from the shore we are!

Green crab.

Also, hermit crabs, fiddler crabs, star fish, shrimp, minnows,worms (careful, they bite!), clams, and mussels can be found, with a bit of digging, in some cases.

It's great fun, but I must admit I wear water shoes because of all those crabs!

When you finally get out far enough, you catch up with the sea. The water seems so much clearer out there. We then have a great time splashing, chasing schools of fish and trying to teach our dog to swim.


  1. Yeah, I'd say shoes would be required for that. It looks like fun though, and your kids are brave.

  2. What a perfect vacation! I can't wait to show Liam all those cool sea creatures! What a fun time!

    I answered your question over at my place! Have a great weekend!

  3. WOW what a great adventure. Brought back memories of the field trips in fifth and sixth grade to the tidel pools. Did you ever go on one of those? Your kids are really brave. Mine would turn and run. HAGD.

  4. Beautiful pictures!
    I so need to go there. I love the ocean, I was born in a beach town, on the Gulf Coast, so I LOVE the smell of the sea.

    I'll wear sandals, the "worms" sound scary =:O

  5. Oh this reminds me of a little beach in Washington that I would visit frequently. At low tide, we would go out and find Gooee-ducks, clams, and other such things. Once in a while we could even get close enough to a otter!

    Wonderful pictures!

  6. I'm telling you Nettie, you should go into business. You take FAB really have a good eye!

    I'll let you play with all of the sea creatures...anything that feels like slime is NOT up my alley! You are a cool mom to play with them.

  7. What fun creatures!! I am impressed that E and M played with them. I think my kids might run...although they might surprise me and just love touching them! (Like when I found out M was throwing worms at the neighbor boy!) I want to come with you to Cape Cod someday. It looks like a beautiful place.

  8. I love exploring the flats when the tide is out, we just always had to be aware of when it was coming back in so we didn't get stranded! Did you experience the no-see-ums? UGH! The year we were in Brewster (2003), we were swarmed every single night at dusk. Those little bugs were brutal!!!

    I love the pictures.

  9. I have never even heard of a flat. It sounds really cool. What a special experience your kids are having. And such a great place to teach them about new and exciting things! I'm glad that ya'll area having a great time!!

  10. I have never experienced such a thing, but it sounds like oh so much fun! I would love to explore something like that some day.

    I really liked the pictures. The crabs are kinda freaky. I would wear shoes too!

  11. The horseshoe crab photo is AWESOME!

  12. Oh, I loved our visit to the Cape. We have some friends that have a home there, and they keep asking us to come out for a visit. Seeing your pictures really makes me want to come.

    Looks like you had a great time.

  13. Wow, great pictures. I love the ocean. We used to live very close to it and I miss it! It was just such great fun to go the beach and play for the day.