Naturalists from the Seattle Aquarium will be stationed at several beaches, masked up and ready to show people around, from a distance, said Charlotte Spang, a field outreach coordinator for the aquarium.
“We see some amazing things from tiny nudibranchs laying eggs, all the way to this morning, [when] our beach naturalist spotted a humpback whale,” she said.
Tides are forecast to be out to -3.9 feet on Thursday and Friday. Then -3.4 feet on Saturday and -2.5 feet on Sunday.
Only one other day this year, June 25, will see lower tides at -4 feet.
Naturalists will be at several beaches in Seattle — including Golden Gardens Park, Carkeek Park and Pocket Beach in the Olympic Sculpture Garden — as well as a handful outside Seattle. They can be identified by their blue hats and Seattle Aquarium vests.
A full list of locations where naturalists will be available for four-hour windows, as well as times for when the lowest tides of the day will take place, can be found on seattleaquarium.org.
Here’s what to know if you venture into the intertidal zone:
Tread lightly and leave no trace. Low tides are the most stressful time for animals on the beach, Spang said. Be careful not to walk on eel grass — which juvenile salmon use to hide — and know that turning over a rock could mean ruining a shore crab’s lifelong home.
Leave the bucket and pails behind. Critters become accustomed to their homes and cold temperatures. An animal carried around in a bucket may become too warm and will have to find a new home when returned to the ocean.
Touch wildlife gently. Spang said if you do want to touch something, make sure that your finger is wet to protect the wildlife. “Touch it as carefully as you would touch your own eyelashes,” she said.
Be curious. With low tides, more of the intertidal zone will be exposed than in other times of the year. The Seattle Aquarium has an online guide to identify plants and animals.
Wear a good pair of shoes. They should be able to get wet and ideally have some grip, Spang advised.
Can’t make it? Don’t worry. There are another set of similarly low low-tide days from June 23 to 27. Naturalists are also scheduled to be out on the beaches in August, though less of the intertidal zone will be exposed.