When we went down to the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, we checked out the boat launching ramp area because there were cool sea critters there the last time we visited three years ago. And for anyone that thinks the Chesapeake Bay region is too far north for “tropical” sea life, feast your eyes on these beautiful sponges that were growing on the pier! To be accurate, there are also reputed to be sponges in the Potomac River, though I have yet to actually see any of them myself.
There are also whelks — which I normally think of being way down south — all over the place. Most that were visible around the ramp area were broken and buried in the sand, but these had been caught by someone and placed in a gunny sack that we found just above the low tide mark under the pier. I doubt any were still alive because the mass was seething with crabs when I first arrived.
Everyone knows that coral in the continental US is all down in the Gulf of Mexico and around the Key West region, right? I don’t have any photographs that I took myself, but Cindy captured this one of some locally growing Astrangia danae coral. We also get Florida manatees that come up here on occasion. Don’t believe me? Check out “” for yourself in these Google the Manateeimages.
So if you want to see cool critters, just open your eyes and look — there’s bound to be something of interest right in front of you.