Thumbnail image of a structure at Point St. George with link to more information about Point St. George.

Agate Hunting in Crescent City

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Crabbing in Crescent City in 2011

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Point St. George and Crescent City - Collection Journal and Maps, 1966

Map showing intertidal invertebrate collection areas Crescent City and Point St. George in Northern California.

The area referred to here as the Point St. George area covered, as indicated on the enclosed map, the approximately 7-miles of coastline extending southward from the exposed sandy beach north of Point St. George down to and including part of the shoreline inside the Crescent City harbor breakwater. Within this 7-mile stretch, six separate collecting spots ranging from exposed sandy beach to exposed rocky coast to semi protected rocky coast to semi protected sandy flats were thoroughly covered. The general vicinity, located approximately 20 miles south of the Oregon border, was the northern most accessible collecting area in the state of California and the six collecting spots covered represent the most attractive accessible locations within this area. Each is described in detail below.

Area 7 covered approximately 1 ½-miles of exposed sandy beach that uncovered, at a good minus tide, a large amount of flat sandy shelf. As with most exposed sandy beaches, no rocks or algae were present and by far the most abundant and distinctive animal found here was the razor clam Siliqua patula, which was present in surprising abundance. On the morning I collected here, at least 50 people were busily digging for them and it definitely appeared that these clams occur in concentrated beds rather than being evenly distributed along the entire stretch of beach. The surf at the low tide edge was fairly rough and unpredictable even at the slack of tide on this windless morning and most diggers including myself got wet. As an overall rating this area was rich in razor clams but nothing else. No other clams were seen. The only other finds of interest here were Malacobdella grossa and Pinnixa littoralis, both commensal in Siliqua patula and Crago nigricauda and Arenicola pusilla.

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Map showing collection areas between Point St. George and Crescent City, CAlifornia.

Area 5 was the approximately ¾-miles of rocky area surrounding Point St. George itself. The amount of tidal zone uncovered at low tide was good and although the surf at the lowest tide edge was fairly rough even on this windless day, still good portions of the low tide zone were accessible. The rock material was mostly hard and some rocks of turning size were present but under rock life was at the best only fair. Most life found here was exposed or under rock ledges and in crevices. Little evidence of boring forms was seen. Algae growth was present in fair amounts including both Egregia and Phyllospadix but by far the most abundant algae was the long slick bladed species (?) characteristic of this northern most portion of California. As an overall rating, this area tied or possibly surpassed the stretch of rocky shoreline north of Dillon Beach as to richness of hydroid growth. Otherwise, it would be rated as only fair and then only in the lower most tidal areas.

Characteristically abundant species found here:

New species found here:

Species not found here:

Area 4 covered approximately 1-mile of hard rock shelf, which was to a considerable degree protected from direct surf action by a number of close off shore rocks and reefs. Access to the lower zone of the considerable amount of tidal area uncovered here at minus tide was the best of any outer coast area covered north of San Francisco. There were many rocks of turning size present but still under rock life, even in the lowest tide zone, was skimpy. Despite the very good amount of tidal zone uncovered, good access to the lower zone, good amounts of algae growth and abundant numbers of turnable rocks, this area could in no way compare in richness of under rock life to the Pacific Grove area. Still, it was the richest of the rocky areas covered in the Point St. George area. Once again, the large majority of animal life present was either exposed, under rock ledges or crevice dwellers.

Characteristically abundant species found here:

New species found here:

Species not found here:

Area 1 and Area 2 were similar in nearly every respect to Area 4. Area 2 covered approximately ½-mile of shoreline while Area l covered approximately ¼-mile. Both were made up of mostly hard rock material and had a good number of turnable sized rocks present. Algae growth was abundant, especially the long slick bladed species (?) mentioned before. Under rock life in both was fair at the best and then only in the lowest tidal zone. The water tended to be somewhat muddy in Area l and less so in Area 2. Both had a good amount of tidal zone uncovered at low tide and the surf action at low water edge was medium rough even on windless days of collecting. Both were about equal in richness of animal life but neither were as rich as Area 4. They both had about the same characteristically abundant species as Area 4 although Area 2 seemed to be particularly rich in Tubularia marina and both had abundant numbers of large, red, mature Cancer productus specimens present. Nowhere have I found this crab as abundant and as large as in these two areas. No abalone was found in either area and no distinctive new species were found in either location.

Area 6 was a ½-mile stretch of clean sandy shoreline inside the protection of the harbor breakwater. At minus tide, a good amount of sandy flat was uncovered here. Algae growth was present only on the breakwater riprap and no Zostera was seen at all. The surf at the water edge was fairly rough even at the slack of tide and the water level in the lower zone fluctuated considerably due no doubt to the open nature of the harbor mouth. Thus, the lower zone was not fully accessible for comprehensive digging. Some pilings were present but they did not exhibit rich animal growth. Other than the riprap, some scattered rocks were present but all were far too big to turn. This area was practically eliminated as a collecting spot due to the very large amount of sawdust and fine timber debris in the water and awash on the beach. It not only muddied the water but also hid any evidence of buried animal life. Despite this obstacle, a very distinctive and surprising find was made in the new species of cucumber Chiridota sp. ?

Characteristically abundant species found here:

Other new species found here:

Of the 185 different species found here, all were personally collected between the limits of the low low tide and the high high tide zones in the areas indicated and only live specimens found were included.

Point St. George on an overcast day.

Point St. George
This was my northernmost collection spot.

People digging for Razor Clams at a beach in Crescent City, CA.

Digging for Razor Clams
I saw at least 50 people diggning for clams at the beach just south of Crescent City the day I was there.

The old Garden Motel in Crescent City where I lived while collecting intertidal invertebrates in 1966.

The Garden Motel
My base of operations in Crescent City, CA.

Point St. George Information

Other Crescent City Related Pages on this Site

Point St. George and Crescent City, California

Thumbnail image of Cancer anthonyi (crab) - angle 1 with link to larger images. Thumbnail image of Cancer anthonyi (crab) - angle 5 with link to larger images.

Cancer antennarius

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