The best time to search for sea animals at the tidal flats is, of course, at low tide, when the ocean’s water is shallow and has slipped away from the shore. However, if you wait for a spring tide, when the Moon is either full or new, the low tide will be extremely low, uncovering even more of the sandy bottom than at other low tides. This is because during spring tides, the Moon and the Sun line up with the Earth, causing their gravitational pull on the ocean’s water to be extremely strong. (The name spring tides has nothing to do with the Spring season, even though the name might indicate that it does.) The worst time to look for sea animals on the tidal flats is during neap tides, when the Moon is quartered, and the Sun and Moon are at right angles to each other. With the Sun and Moon being perpendicular to each other, their gravitational pulls cancel each other out, and the tides are weak.