Memorial Day weekend brought gray skies and extra-low tides to the Puget Sound area. The conditions were excellent for beachcombing at Carkeek Park--foul weather kept crowds at bay, and the low tides revealed all sorts of squishy, squashy, scuttling, and secretive seashore creatures.
Life in the tidal zone is packed tighter than a subway car at rush hour. The first photo shows a limpet, which clings to a rock; tiny barnacles, in turn, cling to the limpet.
I especially liked the teeming zoo I found under a looseleaf-sized thin slab of red slate. It was dense with tiny mussels, hermit crabs the size of peas, and weird worms that I think were sand or pile worms. (A field guide suggested gently pressing the worm behind its head to cause it to evert its "sharp black pincers," a suggestion I found it easy to ignore.)
The best critter hidden under the slab was a rockweed isopod, a marine cousin of the pill bug and the sow bug (those little gray army-tank minibeasts that live in your yard and are sometimes called roly-polies or potato bugs). This one, as you can see, was bright olive green.
Apparently there is a similar species in the southern regions of the coast that looks much the same but has "round eyes instead of kidney-shaped" ones. Remember that if you ever go eye to eye with an isopod.