Our Life in the Pacific Northwest

Extreme Low Tide. Edmonds Wa.


“Crawling Sun Starfish”

**This photo was chosen for “Seattle Times Reader Photo of the Week” and will be featured in the NW Weekend section of the Seattle times, and at seattletimes.com on Thursday May 29, 2008

 More legs than the Rockettes-Seattle Times

** My photo of the “Crawling Sun Starfish” also won an honorable mention award for the Seattle Times Photos of the year for 2008!!

Photos of the year-Seattle Times


I love low tide. It’s one of my favorite activities here in Washington. I used to rush the kids to Mukilteo Beach everytime there was a really low tide, and now that they are older I think the enthusiasm has worn off. I, on the other hand, will cancel any and all plans just so I can experience the extreme low tides that come only a few times a year. During extreme low tides here the most amazing sea life is uncovered.


(Sun Starfish on the side of a structure that is usually underwater)

I mentioned in a previous blog that a friend of mine had brought me to a beach in Edmonds, Wa. during a really low tide once.  That particular day I was amazed at the amount of large Sun Starfish which I had never seen before. I took dozens of photos but unfortunately my daughter dropped the camera into the water and the photos were all ruined. I had no evidence to show everyone that I had actually seen these incredible creatures. Since then I have been trying to get back to this beach at a low enough tide to uncover these enormous Sun Starfish. The abandoned pier is just north of Edmonds Beach (the Kingston ferry terminal).


 (This is the abandoned pier in Edmonds)

 A few weeks ago the tide in Edmonds was supposed to be at a -3.8 which is quite low. The last time I went it was only a -2.1 and even though I did get to see some fascinating invertebrates, it wasn’t low enough to see the Sun Starfish I had been waiting so long to see again. On May 8th 2008, I climbed down the boulders (refer to this blog entry for details and descriptions Edmonds Beach Low Tide) and was delighted to see what I had waited years for. Under the pier and on every piling there were Sun Starfish, Anemones, Ochre Sea Stars, chitons, crabs, clams, mollusks, etc. You name it, it was under there!

(A Sun Starfish waiting for the tide to come in. A hungry heron waits in the distance)


I had my camera and I also brought my Mother this time since the kids were busy. She was also amazed at the amount of sea life under there. When I describe a low tide to someone who has never experienced one I usually say “It’s like someone pulled the plug on the ocean.” To me it’s like visiting another world. Now I understand why diving is so popular.

 (A piling with an array of sea critters hanging on ’till the tide comes back) 


Of course to see everything I had to wear shoes that could get wet. The tide was out quite far but when it starts to come back in the water gets pretty deep. At this point you have to be careful where you step since there are invertebrate creatures everywhere. In the end I ended up getting soaked almost to my waist. The water was cold but I was enjoying myself too much to mind. 

(A Northern Red Sea Anemone)


 (Quite a few Ochre Star Fish)

I saw something I found to be incredible that day. I didn’t realize that starfish crawled along the sand when they were out of the water. I saw at least 4 different sunstars on the ground with tracks behind them. I thought the one below had the coolest pattern. You can actually see how his legs moved and the remnants of the clam he ate along the way. Amazing!




This small sun starfish was upside down so we came to his rescue and flipped him over. I bet he was grateful.




This anemone was completely closed and transparent. If you look closely you can see the tentacles inside. Don’t you love low tide?? 


 So, the next extreme low tide, head out to Edmonds and check out this amazing place. I might see you there!! You can click the link on my blogroll to see the tide predictions. I believe the next really low tide will be the first week of June 2008 and then again the first week of July.

**Parking is limited but I have always found a spot on the street. This is not a public beach so be respectful to the people who live near there. Also be aware of the railroad tracks, take caution when crossing them.

Use the map below for directions. Click “View Larger map” underneath the map to be able to scroll in and out for more detailed directions. The pier is at the top of the map where you see “Meadowdale”. If you have any questions or “comments” leave me a comment. 🙂



 **Please enjoy my photos but don’t use them without notification or my permission. If there is an image that you would like to use or would like as a print, please contact me.

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10 thoughts on “Extreme Low Tide. Edmonds Wa.

  1. MARY ANNE DOOTSON on said:



  2. I love the photos!!!
    I will have to go check it out next time it happens!



  3. Lisa on said:

    Great photos! Because of your website, I went to this spot during the July low tide. It was great!!! I saw so many of the sun starfish, I was in awe. We were also alone on the beach, which was great! Thanks for posting this. I will definitely go back next time tide is super low.



  4. SunshineGurl on said:

    Now that we are past the first week of July, and I missed it, when is the next extremely low tide? My boys can’t wait and I think it’s soon…?!


  5. Hi SunshineGurl,

    The next low tide isn’t extremely low but it is a -2.9 which is pretty low.

    August 1st- Low 11:17 AM -2.9
    August 2nd- Low 12:02 PM -2.3

    Make sure you get there well before the time listed since this is when the tide will be at it’s lowest and will start coming back in quickly. I think you’ll have to wait until next May/June/July until they get back into the -3’s and -4’s.
    -2.9 is pretty low so you will see some cool stuff. Have fun!

    *This is the link if you want to check the tides. http://www.saltwatertides.com/pickpred.html


  6. SunshineGurl on said:

    Thank you so much! I really enjoy your page. Keep up the good work 🙂


  7. Eve Chen on said:


    I really like the photo of the sun starfish crawling on the sand. I went to watch the low tide in Edmonds a few days ago but didn’t get to see any sun starfish. I did see a lot of other sea creatures and they are amazing! I would like to send some photos to my friends in Taiwan and wonder if I can use that picture of yours, thanks!



  8. Sadly, there has been a 6′ chain-link fence put up at the old boathouse making it impossible to access the beach. One can still park there and walk about 1/2 mile north to a security gate and continue down a narrow road to the Ranger’s quarters and on to the beach. A little over a mile in all. An inconvenience brought on by far too many accidents on the tracks.


  9. markielaurenLuna on said:

    wow how amazing the things we find in the ocean its breathtaking and wonderous i love it and never can get tired of the ocean. i always look forward to going and i love the lion fish its beautiful and poisonous lol these pictures are awesome and that is so cool nothing is not cool in the ocean.


  10. Wonderful photos!

    I too love the great Pacific Northwest. We’ve traveled many places and have found we have the best of everything right here in our back yard!

    Low tide is my ultimate favorite time to romp the beaches! I’m getting ready to head out as I speak. I’m a member of the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe and we strongly urge folks to enjoy the beautify and marvels of nature-but at the same time-be responsible to ensure it is available for generations to come!



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