boite à outils

An outing on the seashore: isn’t nature brilliant?

Barnacles, seasnails, sand worms and even jingle shells – what on earth are they all about?

Don’t worry, you’re not at a high-brow conference on extinct species, you’re on the seashore at Carantec. And here to help you discover these creatures is your guide Yann, a member of the ‘Bretagne Vivante’ nature protection society.

Sortie nature, groupe, estran, Carantec, Finistère, Bretagne

First findings

Here we are at the port, where a group of twenty or so youngsters are setting off on the path to Île Callot, heading to an adventure but not knowing where it’ll lead… Half an hour later, they stop at one of the island beaches, chosen by Yann.

This lesson in the great outdoors begins with free time to explore among the rocks above the beach. Armed with little boxes, everyone has to find various species and creatures - dead or alive! It’s with considerable pride that the children return with their treasures, so that Yann can take a look and take an exact inventory of every item.
Sortie nature, enfants, estran, Carantec, Finistère, Bretagne

Did you know...?

Would you be able to tell a ’top snail’ from traditional periwinkle? The top snails have a pearly sheen on the inside, unlike the periwinkles – see, you’ve learnt something already!

Next comes the sea anemone then the barnacle, a small shellfish that spends its day sticking to rocks (and sometimes to whales or to boat hulls). Other than hurting your bare feet when you walk on them, barnacles are extremely intelligent, because when the tide goes out, they close up in order to keep in the water and not dry out.

A scary moment when one of the children brandishes a green crab! So - is it male or female? Its abdomen is triangular so that tells us it’s a male crab. Those aren’t especially tasty, unless you’re making crab soup...
Sortie nature, crabe, estran, Carantec, Finistère, Bretagne
Yann points out something unusual in the rocks on the beach, which have a lovely pattern of black stripes: this is the lichen that colonises and colours the rocks, marking both the points of high tide and low tide.

Ingenious Mother Nature

A few metres lower down, life is thriving and flourishing. Under the brown seaweed other species can shelter, and under the rocks, there’s a whole community of tiny crabs, goby fish and carnivorous seasnails. Here’s an anomie, a type of tiny oyster that was once used to turn into buttons.
Sortie nature, gobie, estran, Carantec, Finistère, Bretagne

The closer you get to the sea, the more life flourishes. As our explorers begin to venture into the sea and tide starts to rise, there’s still time to find young edible crabs and a murex snail, an impressive creature that won’t mind piercing the shell of other neighbours in order to devour them!
There’s one last curiosity on this outing: the mucus-based protective tube covered in shell debris that is produced by the sand mason worm.
Sortie nature, estran, Carantec, Finistère, Bretagne
So, what’s the conclusion of this outdoor science lesson? Certainly, it’s that nature is immense and really incredibly clever, and this stretch of seashore that we usually walk by without noticing is never going to seem the same again!

Practical info:

Seashore outings in the summer, at Easter and in the October half-term holidays.

For more details and to book a place, please contact the Tourist Office in Carantec:
Tel 00+33 (0)2 98 67 00 43 /