Even seashells are taboo. "Many times creatures are living on old abandoned shells," Hudson said, and when the shells break up and wash back into the sea, they release important nutrients.
If you're serious about tide pooling, you'll need a tide table, available at sporting goods stores, surf shops or tackle stores. It's a little booklet that lists the times for the two peak low tides each day and the height of the tide. Look for the minus tides, which are often shown in red. These are the lowest of the low tides and yield the best tide-pool activity.
Expect to get wet out there, so bring a change of clothes. Don't go barefoot; wear an old pair of sneakers or water shoes for climbing around on the rocks. Dab on some sunscreen, and most important of all, the experts advise, keep your eye on the waves.
For information on tide pools and outings, call these agencies:
* CITY OF VENTURA, 658-4726. Pre-registration is required. No strollers allowed.
* SANTA BARBARA Museum of Natural History, 682-4711. Pre-registration is required.
* CALIFORNIA Department of Parks and Recreation, Carpinteria State Beach, 684-2811.