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Vashon’s annual celebration of sea life returns to Point Robinson

Beachgoers check out a starfish during last year
Beachgoers check out a starfish during last year's Low Tide Celebration at Point Robinson.
— image credit: Natalie Johnson/Staff Photo

This weekend Point Robinson will teem with life, not only because one of the lowest tides of summer will reveal a multitude of sea creatures, but also because of the many visitors expected to turn out for the eighth annual Low Tide Celebration.

The celebration, which in past years has drawn upwards of 1,000 visitors from Vashon and beyond, will take place Sunday afternoon, when an extreme low tide of -3.4 feet will unveil tidepools and varied beach habitats.

Vashon Beach Naturalists, who organize the event, say beach-goers can explore two dramatically different shoreline habitats at the well-known beach. The sandy point holds large tide pools where colorful sea stars, anemones, crabs and fish make their homes, while at the cobble beach to the north, hermit crabs hide under rocks, moon snails peek above the surface and clams squirt water.

Special signs will mark the locations of interesting animals, and volunteer beach naturalists will be on hand to identify creatures and tell about their lives.

In addition, the Point Robinson Lighthouse will be open for tours and a new exhibit will be on display inside the lighthouse. “Whistles, Horns and Lights” will highlight the equipment used at the point since 1885.

Festival food will be for sale and several environmental organizations — such as the Vashon-Maury Audobon Society, Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust and the state Department of Natural Resources — will staff informational booths.

In what has become a well-loved tradition at the celebration, local Native Americans will row the Blue Heron, a traditional Salish canoe, across Puget Sound from Federal Way to Point Robinson.

Also as in past years, Odin Lonning, a celebrated Tlingit artist and educator, will lead a beach walk where he will describe traditional Native American uses of shellfish and other shoreline resources. New this year, colorful Low Tide Celebration T-shirts designed by Lonning and incorporating the lighthouse, sea creatures and Native designs will be for sale.

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