Inventor Dan Roberts from Eccleston George created a strange interactive sculpture to give a the ‘sea squirt experience’

As it turned out, it could have been a lot wetter but it really couldn’t have been any better at Under The Pier on Friday afternoon.

Arc and Vectis Housing’s Wild About Wight teamed up for this end of summer sea safari which was funded this year by Down to the Coast, a Heritage Lottery funded programme which focusses on celebrating and conserving East Wight.

Over 120 people and still to be counted marine species could all be found congregating under Ryde Pier for the unusual shore-searching experience. As well as exploring the amazing sea life that lives under Ryde’s 200 year old pier, those who took party in the event were able to sandcast a starfish or sea anemone; enter the experimental sea squirt experience; listen to sandpools with a hydrophone and build a shell gallery or make giant beach art on the sea walls. There were marine safari experts, artists and inventors from Arc, Ecclestone George and Artecology all on hand to help visitors have fun and learn new things in interesting ways.

Article continues below this advertisement

a green sea urchin Psammechinus miliarisThe star attraction of this year’s event was a green sea urchin, Psammechinus miliaris – not something you see every day and a first for the event. There were also many species of crabs, amphipods, anemones, ascidians and the bright globular alien life forms on and in the older pier struts… the sponge gardens.

Ian Boyd from Arc explains:

“Built infrastructure… be that marine or terrestrial… can support a range of species; marine life doesn’t just colonise the pools at the base of the pier, it makes its home on the pier itself on its struts and columns. The older, broken pier struts have become superb habitat and you’ll find a collection of sponges including the beautiful vase-shaped Sycon ciliatum with vibrant velvet swimming crabs, American clams and the like tucked away”.

Maria Wilkinson, Community Team Manager at Vectis Housing saidL

“The Under The Pier sea creature bunting created year by year by hundreds of children was hung along the Pier and so children like Hector, Alife and Angela were able to come along and see their artwork displayed above them as they rockpooled for the real thing!  A great way to celebrate our first year of Wild About Wight”.

Article continues below this advertisement

Arc will be running Under the Pier next year too and, thanks to  Ryde Town Council, Arc will also be creating an Under the Pier website.

An Under the Pier exhibition will be held at Ryde Library for Isle of Wight Day on Saturday 24th September.

Don’t miss another story! Get the Island’s latest news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up to our daily newsletter here.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.

Join our daily newsletter