There are so many joys to rock pooling with teens. Don’t get me wrong. I loved it when they were little and busy discovering nature for the first time. There is nothing quite like seeing something through their fresh eyes and hearing the excitement. So much glee, but, hands down, teenagers pip them to the post. They allow me to lose myself in discoveries too.
edited: I feel I should define what rock pooling is, for the benefit of anyone outside the UK. Rock pooling is the exploration of the little pools and their trapped creatures, once the sea tide has gone out. Usually the water is trapped by the surrounding rocks as a pool, thus the name rock pool or tide pools. It’s a traditional summer pastime in the UK, especially for children, but definitely not exclusively!
Rock pooling with teens
For one, I no longer worry or nag them about falling in. Thinking back, did they ever really need me to remind them every five minutes. If they were going to slip, it would probably happen anyway, whether I kept my silence or not.
Secondly, as teens, if they do get wet, it’s their problem. They’ll dry.
Third joy of rock pooling with teens is that you no longer have to carry all their stuff. Oh my goodness, it added up. This includes dry/wet clothes and the inevitable beach finds. From this point on, anything I find months later in the depths of my pocket is totally on me. Sand and all.
Fourth joy of rock pooling with teens is that they know more. Not everything is new. They know what a sea anemone looks like, whether it’s in the pool or left high and dry as the tide retreats. This leaves more time to look for the creatures which are rarer and more camouflaged, rather than counting every, single red blob on the beach.
Lack of tech
Fifth joy of rock pooling with teens….is seeing them totally diverted away from technology. Pre-secondary school, my children really had limited use of screens. Next to nothing. No phones or laptops of their own, but as teens they do. Extracting them gets harder. Seeing them on the beach, crouching by a rock pool and totally absorbed, reminded me of those early years. A real joy for me.
I wish we had had longer and I’d remembered my rock pool book. We spotted the usual periwinkles, hermit crabs, red sea anemones, crabs and common blenny fish. Also a sea hare which I’ve never seen before and, until I looked it up later, I mistook for a sea slug. The front tentacles are meant to look like hare’s ears, giving it its name. My photo was taken through slightly rippling water, but the “ears” are clear. They have an internal shell too.
Also found the most beautiful pink and green sea anemone. The ends of the tendrils have a pinky/purple colour. Really quite delicate and mesmerising in the water.
I loved the caves. There was a definite tide mark on the walls to about head height and I’ve seen photos of people kayaking into the caves, which must be fun. I’d love to do it one day. There were rock pools to be found in there too.
The mini barnacles and muscles coat the walls making fascinating patterns, highlighting the changes in the cave wall surfaces. Just waiting for the tide to come in again and bring fresh food.
We really did enjoy exploring.
One last joy is sharing a passion for nature with my teens. They were even bolder than I was clambering over the rocks to find more rock pools. Sharing time with them and no one was bored or whinging. They were as enthusiastic as I was about searching the pools. I do love them being teenagers.
They even humour me when I show them dragons in the cave walls and funny muscle shells with mini barnacles for eyes.
Seriously. What’s not to love?