Wading pools are set up on the beach at a Moonlight Beach Adventure in Edmonds to show see creatures such as sea stars brought to the surface by divers. (City of Edmonds)

Wading pools are set up on the beach at a Moonlight Beach Adventure in Edmonds to show see creatures such as sea stars brought to the surface by divers. (City of Edmonds)

Edmonds’ Moonlight Beach Adventure makes landfall Saturday

See underwater critters up close and watch a live video feed from the offshore depths.

It’s called a beach adventure because it’s a chance to glimpse a view of sea life that only scuba divers see.

Divers bring along a video camera to narrate what they’re seeing under water. You can ask questions as the dive and exploration is under way.

The Moonlight Beach Adventure on Aug. 24 has become a decade-long summer tradition in Edmonds.

“It’s really one of the highlights of our summer,” said Jennifer Leach, environmental education and sustainability coordinator for Edmonds. “I think the community looks forward to it every year.”

The event can draw up to 400 people. But don’t worry, she said. There’s plenty of room on the beach.

The evening begins with a ranger putting on skits, playing games with kids and telling them about beach etiquette.

A tent is raised on the beach where a series of children’s wading pools are set up. Creatures such as sponges and sea stars are brought to the surface so you can get an up-close view — critters that they may not typically be able to see because they’re beyond low tide, Leach said.

When it gets dark, a team of up to 14 members of the Marker Buoy Dive Club in Seattle work to rig up a video camera, light up the underwater area and hook up a live video feed. The images are projected onto the beach tent.

“We start out in the shallows, so it’s a fair amount of small perch and common fish,” then crab, shrimp and a range of flatfish, dive club member Randy Williams said.

Susan Tarpley, a lead beach ranger and naturalist, calls that glimpse of underwater life one of the evening’s highlights.

Williams brings up the creatures that are displayed in the wading pools. “We make sure the animals are getting the right amount of oxygen and the public is not mishandling them,” Leach said.

Although sea stars are often displayed in the pools, a wasting disease, first detected in 2013, has led to a huge die-off in their population. “We are seeing more sea stars around, but that’s not saying much,” Leach said. “They got down to nothing.”

All the creatures temporarily on view in the wading pools are only kept there a short time. “We do everything we can to keep the animals safe during the program,” Leach said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

If you go

Join Edmonds beach rangers and naturalists for a Moonlight Beach Adventure from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at Marina Beach, 470 Admiral Way S., Edmonds. The free event goes as scheduled, rain or shine. Dress warmly and bring a flashlight.

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