Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jellies






I found these on the shore.
Some jellyish critters ... or their body parts.
I just uploaded them to add some colours to my blog ; )

Sunday, June 22, 2008

No beach today

I didn't go to the beach today.
I woke up, did my washing, had a brunch and did some reading for the paper that I am trying to churn out. At midday, I went to the uni pool for a swim. The weather is really beautiful today. Blue skies and 15 degrees Celsius.

After I returned from the pool, I had my lunch and then continued with my draft again until now. The reason why I just couldn't continue writing is that my neighbors are talking too loud. Even that is OK if they could speak without using the word "F**K" or "F**K**G" at least five times in every sentence. It is distracting. Not to mention distasteful.

Anyway, I went to the beach again yesterday after 3 pm. I was hoping that I could find different things at the beach at different times of the day. If there was an early bus, I would probably get there at 5 or 6 am one day.

I didn't find anything interesting. But I still enjoyed taking photos and walking on the beach.




Lots and lots of seagrass and seaweeds were washed ashore. You wouldn't have seen this on the South Cottesloe beach a few months ago. Of course, amid and around the seagrass and seaweed wracks, you would find small marine animals, like sea squirts, sea tulips, blue bottles, etc, and the skeletons of dead sponges and cuttlefish.




The Indian Ocean sunset

By the way, thank God my neighbors have decided to be kind to me and have stopped talking. Now I will go back to my work. Phew!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sea urchins

Beachcombing (or rather walking on the beach with your head down, searching for surprises) sometimes seems like a mere search for dead or dying animals and plants for me. That's why snorkeling would make a more enjoyable hobby for me.

Anyway, sometimes even dead things can be quite interesting or even unnerving, like these two sea urchins (actually their skeletons or tests) .


I have never seen a purple one before this. It looked really nice in purple. In fact, it resembles a piece of furniture or some wall decoration that you would find in a trendy living room.



When I turned it upside down, I could see its teeth - all five of them - made of calcium carbonate.
And where is the anus? On the upper surface.
(In other words, this animal sat on its mouth with its anus pointing upwards.)


Its remaining spines


When I first saw this, I thought of a jewelery box. I don't' know why.
This one really looked a bit unnerving to me. It just looked like it would burst open anytime, revealing some big, muscular tentacles that would dance in the air or worse still, shoot towards my face!



Again, upside down, teeth showing.

It probably won't find a place in a trendy living room, but in a horror movie.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A walk on the South Cottesloe beach

This morning wasn't an ideal time to take a walk on the beach. The only reason why I headed for South Cottesloe was that I was curious about what I could find on the beach after some rainy weather.

The wind was really strong. So strong that even a leisurely walk was no longer an effortless walk. Sometimes, you would feel the wind trying to sweep you off your feet!

Adding to the chilling winds was the misty drizzle that kept going on and on. It was a really light one but enough to wet your glasses and camera in a few minutes that you would have to wipe the moisture off again and again.


Just look at the waves that hit the Cottesloe beach and you will get an idea.
This is a photo of the Cottesloe groyne. There's a surfer in the photo too. Compare the size of the surfer and the waves and you will immediately understand why I didn't see any swimmers (or snorkelers) at the beach : )


Another shot of the waves near the Cottesloe groyne.
I took this photo because the waves looked beautiful.


Surfer ready for a great time


Looking towards the South Cottesloe Beach from the groyne


The ones who were having a really great time today must be the kiteboarders. There were quite a number of them at South Cottesloe. Watching them having fun makes you think whether you should learn kiteboarding too.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Beachcombing finds at Cottesloe

I now realize that it's not easy to maintain a blog that is only about my snorkeling experience. Sometimes, there will be nothing to write about : (

I did snorkel today. But there was really nothing interesting except those fishes that I have photographed before - the banded sweep, banded toadfish, and a few others whose names I couldn't recall now. And some garfishes too. I haven't shown their photos here. I have seen them so many times in shallow water. They are usually in a school of at least 5. Today I saw a school of at least 15 I think.They just swim too fast for me to take a proper photo.

If it wasn't for the turbidity, I would have taken some photos of the winter underwater landscape too. It really looks different.

Anyway, let me show you some photos I took on the shore.



Green alga.




This animal (has to be) has the wire weed grown through it. I wonder why...



This must be one of those calcified algae. It looks like it was carved out of a precious stone.




I have never seen the sea urchin in the first two photos underwater. It is more flattened compared to the common one (red, the third photo), and its spines are clearly thicker. The red one is the one that you will see again and again amid the drying or decomposing wrack on the South Cottesloe beach.




I took the photo of this sponge because it had a dead brittle star on it - the white sea star-like critter. It differs from sea stars in a few ways. For example, it has no anus. And it can move much faster than a sea star using its flexible, slender, long arms. But just like the sea star, the brittle star can regenerate a lost arm.

By the way, I tried looking for that tree trunk that was covered in barnacles, which I wrote about in my earlier post, but it was gone. Hopefully it was washed back into the ocean. I don't think those barnacles can last too long before they get baked and killed in the sun. Having said that, they certainly don't look pretty enough to tempt anyone to take them home : )

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Wobbegong on South Cottelsoe Reef

I went snorkeling yesterday at South Cottesloe. Bright midday sunlight was helpful. I could see some fishes although photographing them was still tricky.

What did I see? Red-lipped morwongs, tarwhines, herring cales, toadies, banded sweeps, and a few others that I can't remember. But the special find is a carpet shark, or wobbegong. Well, it hid itself beneath a thick layer of wireweeds in water that was less than two meters deep.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any good photos of it because the fast-waving seagrasses and the strong waves just were helping. But the creature must be at least a meter long!

Until I get another chance to bump into one again, I can only show you what it looks like on an information signboard at the South Cottesloe Beach.



The South Cottesloe Reef almost never stops giving me surprises!

By the way, if you're not familiar with the four seasons in the southern hemisphere, it's now winter in Australia and the water's really, really COLD!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

The season of the green algae

Winter - the season of the green algae.
This is the time of year when those rocks at the water edge at the North Beach, which were rather bare before this, became coated with green algae.




Sunday, June 1, 2008

Beachcombing finds at Cottesloe - unknown (?)

Beachcombing is the only thing I could do at the beach for the last few weeks. It really worries me to think that I might have to give up snorkeling for the winter.

Anyway, let me show you the photos of some unknowns. These animals were washed ashore at the South Cottesloe Beach. Except that they are animals, I don't really know much about them.


Unknown No. 1:
This one is 5-7 cm in length. It is basically a mass of soft flesh to me. And it squirmed when I touched it with a twig.



Unknown No. 2:
This one is probably 10 cm across. A mass of flattened tough flesh. It is about 2-3 cm thick. And it didn't squirm. In the second photo, you can actually see those small holes all over the animal's body - for breathing I guess.



Unknown No. 3:
This one is 5-7 cm in width and probably 10 cm in length. I think the light brown part is the body of a sea squirt and the tough, dark crusts must be another animal.

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