I’m in Mendocino visiting my parents, as I often do over the holidays. We timed a visit to Virgin Creek Beach, north of Fort Bragg, for a particularly low tide on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve. So here’s my first batch of photos for the New Year, from that trip.

Virgin Creek

The low tide left a wide expanse of sand exposed, but also created plenty of tidepools filled with mussels, anemone, limpets, tiny whelks, hermit crabs, and even a sea star or two, recovering after a disastrous crash in their population from a 2013 outbreak of sea star wasting disease.

Orange Sea Star

Although the last shots of the set look like sunset, they were actually from around 3:30 in the afternoon, around the peak low tide and 1 1/2 hours before sunset. (Don’t believe the times reported from my camera; I seldom bother to set its clock accurately.) A late afternoon storm blocked the sun and gave us some spectacular lighting.

Stormy light over Virgin Creek Beach