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June 14th '98
Expedition

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Dike Rock
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Tidepools and Towns

enlarge Dike Rock was beauty in a time window. We only had a few hours, and it was the tide coming in that forced us away. The dark rocks are only about 12 million years old, forced up through the more ancient sandstone, which dates about 50 million years old.

This was our first Digital Expedition with children. Nothing could take away from the pleasure we felt watching the girls getting grossed out by the big, slug-like Sea Hare. Faced with this natural niche in all its complexity, our brains shifted into a different mode, since of course it was too much to take in all at once. We envied the marine biologists - Jana and Isabelle - who understood so much more about what we were surrounded by than we did. But we knew even for them there was so much more to know about the life in these rocks.

This tilted funny shot expresses patterns of the beach.

Oh, what a big Sea Hare we found!

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Rob Lindstrom was reminded of a Twilight Zone episode in which two space travelers found a little patch of life on a barren planet. Within this tiny square, there existed people to whom the astronauts were Gulliver-size, god-like creatures. The power of our children's giant hands, lifting and examining - totally disrupting - these small life forms was such an intense difference in scale between the marine life and us.

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Here is a poem Phil wrote a week or so later about Dike Rock:

Below the much-occupied cliffs of La Jolla,
Below the soaring metallic whales of the Birch Aquarium fountain,
and just a little below the busy collective researches of Scripps,
lies Dike Rock.
On a beach too little unaffected by the tripling commercial rents above,
too little unaffected by its beauty for the humans here,
on a portion of the coast where fine weather draws like magnets
Californians to the beach.
The flicker of our little group on rocks once molten,
ten or twelve million whips around the sun,
pushed slowly skyward to lie below sand cliffs, in millions
about fifty.
Our newest tools, our toys, our selves, a passing wave
upon that beach.