Tide Pool Life on Poipu Beach - November 2013

I didn't make any hard plans to go tide-pooling on Kauai because we wanted to just relax and not have to abide by any tide schedule. Also, when I was on Maui I didn't really notice a lot of flat rocky places that contained much tide pool life (mostly it was beaches or cliffs).

Which made it even nicer when we stumbled upon some interesting tide pool creatures while just walking the beach a couple of times.

The first time was one evening when we were trying to reach the Makawehi Lithified Cliffs next to Shipwreck Beach in South Kauai. The sun was setting and we didn't want to lose the light so we decided to pull off early near the Point at Poipu resort and just walk to the water. Here's where we ended up:

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We found some beautiful sandstone cliffs and poked around a bit in the rocky area nearby finding crabs, shingle urchins, and sea cucumbers (my first time seeing them!). Supposedly there is a lava rock arch here (Makahuena Arch) but we didn't see it.

Here are a few photos of the cliffs and the tide pool critters:

Thin-shelled Rock Crab (Grapsus tenuicrustatus) and Shingle Urchins (Colobocentrotus atratus)
White Scroll Alga (Padina sanctae-crucis)
Black Sea Cucumber (Holothuria atra)
White-spotted Sea Cucumber (Actinopyga mauritiana)
According to the Wikipedia article for sea cucumbers:

A remarkable feature of these animals is the "catch" collagen that forms their body wall. This can be loosened and tightened at will, and if the animal wants to squeeze through a small gap, it can essentially liquefy its body and pour into the space. To keep itself safe in these crevices and cracks, the sea cucumber will hook up all its collagen fibres to make its body firm again.

The second time seeing tide pool animals was our last evening on the island. We decided to just walk east from our hotel (the Sheraton at Poipu Beach) again at sunset. Here's where we were:

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Again, we stumbled upon some tidepools seeing many more sea cucumbers, a type of urchin I hadn't seen before as well as a couple of large cowry snails (also new to me).

Sea cucumber of some sort. Maybe Holothuria lineata.
Juvenile/sub-adult Humpback Cowry (Cypraea mauritiana)
Rock-boring urchin (pink and green) (Echinometra mathaei)
We walked to the area of Poipu Beach Park where the water comes in from both east and west, sometimes meeting in the middle. It was cool to see and the sunset was unbelievable. Here are a few photos:

For more pictures from our trip to Kauai see my Flickr set.