Exploring the tide pools at Argyle Shore

One of the things that most amazes me about the beaches on PEI is not the sheer abundance of them, nor their beauty (both of which are, indeed, amazing) but the vast differences in the character of various beaches. Each one we’ve attended (Brackley, Basin Head, Thunder Cove, St Peter’s Harbour, Covehead Harbour, Greenwich, and now Argyle Shore) has had its own personality. The first six are all on the north shore, known for wilder seas with waves and steep drop offs, but the southern shore is known for a far more gradual slope and its distinctive red sands. It’s also a lot easier to see the critters of the sea as the tide recedes and leaves little pools in the red sand where you can see crabs, tiny hermit crabs, mussels, snails and lots and lots of jellyfish.

Argyle Shore is a provincial day use park, which means no admission fees but on-site (and clean!) bathrooms, picnic tables, a parking lot, and in this case, play structures. No Argyle socks, though. We looked!

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As you can see, in the height of tourist season it’s as madly crowded as the rest of the beaches. I continue to be astonished by the uncrowdedness of the place, even in peak season!

There’s a steep set of metal stairs embedded into the red cliffs to the rocky shore below. To your immediate left, a little spring-fed waterfall tumbles merrily down the cliff. You can see them both about mid-way along the cliff in this photo.

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The rocks give way to sandbars with amazing ripple patterns from the waves. I was more fascinated by the ripples than by the critters in the tide pools!

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Argyle Shore-5

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The tide pools did make for fun with reflections!

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The forecast had been calling for thunderstorms and rain in the afternoon but with a relatively clear morning. As we drove across the Island to the beach, it had been grey and rainy and we made resigned jokes about a redux of our rained-out visit to Victoria by the Sea, which is just down the coast from Argyle Shore.

And yet, when we arrived, the heavy gloom lifted and we were treated to patches of blue sky, just in time for our picnic lunch on the shore.

Argyle Shore

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We are getting a LOT of mileage out of our picnic cooler this trip. It’s a great way to keep the expense of meals on the go under control and ensure the kids are only eating ONE serving of chicken fingers and fries each day. (Seriously, what IS it with kids’ menus at restaurants? Don’t get me started!) And there is something about food eaten outside in the fresh salty breeze that makes even the most humble sandwich a little more yummy. We’ve eaten ALMOST as much hummus and watermelon (not together!) as we have chicken fingers and french fries. Finger foods in ziploc boxes FTW!

So the idea behind exploring the tide pools was a bit of a bust. I’d hoped to find starfish and sea cucumbers, which we didn’t, but we did see an astonishing number of snails and the ubiquitous jellyfish. We saw tiny hermit crabs (I thought they were bigger!) and I may have shrieked like a girl when a palm-sized crab scuttled too close to my feet in a tide pool, but the kids weren’t as into poking around in the tide pools as I would have expected. The fishy smell of seaweed and rotting jellyfish may have biased them, as well. It was still a fun adventure, but the boys didn’t get into it as much as I’d thought they might.

Now we know. Next year, we stick with a cottage on the north shore. Because oh yes, there will be a next year on PEI. 🙂

Author: DaniGirl

Canadian. storyteller, photographer, mom to 3. Professional dilettante.

3 thoughts on “Exploring the tide pools at Argyle Shore”

  1. I love the North Shore beaches too, but it is South Shore all the way for me!

    so funny we spent 2 weeks exploring our beach there, and never saw a jelly fish! I guess it all depends on the weather etc.. though maybe I shouldn’t mention the “W” word.

    The tidal pools and ripply red sand defines PEI for me 🙂 ok, and lobster & Cows icecream too 🙂

    enjoy your last days!

  2. I was all over the sand patterns last year. I think I took at least a couple hundred photos as they seems to change shape every day. too bad it was a bit of a bust, but at least now you know what you want for next year. 🙂

  3. Darn Tristan where was your spear when your Mom was in danger from that crab. She could have brought it to the cottage, cleaned it and you would never see PEI again (lol)

    Miss you all

    Love Granny

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