Staying Safe and Staying Green

Welcome to part four of our five part blog series (see part one and two, three and five) on the best ways to enjoy San Diego’s very own ASBS and Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve. La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores are both protected areas — the Cove and Shores are both classified as Areas of Special Biological Significance and La Jolla Shores is also a marine reserve known as the Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve. These posts will show you how to enjoy these special places while not harming those that live there. 

In the last post, we went through some ideas to protect the environment while tidepooling!  Today, we will see some tips on how to protect ourselves during our explorations while still being envrionmentally friendly.

Safety Guide

Tidepooling is usually a safe activity, for all ages; however, you can get yourself hurt if you are careless. Here are some safety tips, based on my own experiences in La Jolla Shores, I would also like to share with you:

  1. Stay away from the cliffs.
    La Jolla Shores is a special place, and one of the things that make it special are the cliffs. They are dangerously beautiful – rockfall is a constant threat.
  2. Watch out for waves.
    They can hit you by surprise and can even sweep you off your feet! Always keep an eye for the sea; La Jolla usually has short waves, which lead to a false sense of safety. Don’t stay near rock edges.
  3. Wear closed and sturdy shoes. 
    Rocks, mussels and barnacles can be sharp – protect yourself. Wear comfortable clothes.
  4. Know the tides beforehand.
    You may became stranded by the rising tide.
  5. Mind the algae.
    Some algae are very slimy, therefore slippery, don’t step on the algae or you can fall.
  6. Protect yourself from the sun.
    Apply sunscreen often and generously. Wear protective pieces of clothing and don’t forget your hat.
  7. Go in the winter!
    Take advantage of San Diego’s mild winter, when you can enjoy the lowest tides. You will be able to see so much more!

Greener Habits Guide

Now that you know how to be safer in the tidepools, it is time to be greener! What you bring to the beach is a big part of this, and choosing environmentally friendly alternatives to the products you usually bring. It is noticeable that while advertising tries to sell us the most expensive and high-tech, the best solution is often cheap and/ or homemade.

Sunscreen that is good for you and the environment. 
You already know that you have to use it and probably how to use it effectively. Yet, some heavy chemistry goes in this products to defend skin from the sun, and there is evidence that this can cause harmful effects in wild organisms.  You can choose biodegradable sunscreen or avoid high toxicity components to minimize effects.  Environmental Working Group has compiled a list of toxic components. Sprays and powders spread chemical particles everywhere – creams are a better option. You can also avoid very high SPF, as it can be more toxic.

Reduce single use plastics 
Snacks like cereal bars are handy, but they can contain high levels of sugar and come individually packaged, often with non-recyclable materials. Fruit is often the best solution-healthy, tasty, and biodegradable. I prefer reusable bottles for water and/or homemade juices instead of sodas and juice boxes with those individually wrapped plastic straws that often are gone with the wind.

It’s tidepooling time!

Now that you have your backpack ready and know how to be safe in the pools, it is time to go outside explore the wildlife of the shore. Just don’t forget the tidepool rules we learned on the last post. With this information, you will be up to a great time, without causing much impact on nature. Experiencing natural habitats is great way to create an environmental conscience. It is everybody’s obligation to protect these habitats, so we all can visit and enjoy.

Written by Thais Fonseca Rech