Saturday, August 6, 2016

Four, maybe five!

For those of you who are new to my blog, my main interest is octopus. Since returning to Kauai, seeing even one octopus was a hit!  But today, I saw 4...maybe 5!!!

Major excitement!  And the "maybe" is because one was in a different place, but it was the same size.  I tried to find #1 again, to see if it was still there, but couldn't locate it.  So it could have moved and become #maybe 2.... Ya can't tag 'em!!!

 OK, I'll admit NOT easy to see!   But it is between the 2 biggish rocks more or less in the middle of the shot.  

And here's a cropped shot of #maybe 2:

 Aw so cute!  I also think it might be a new, #2, octopus because it acted differently.  Now I'm not saying that octopuses have personalities (even though I think they do but cannot prove it), but this one was more out of the den, so less scared.  But again, that doesn't prove it's a different octopus. 

And this was def #3:

In a totally diff part of the pond and up in the middle of the rock.  And it stayed in its den....didn't move, didn't change color. 

And lest you think there was nothing colorful today, ...a blond chicken:
 And in case you think the blond shows up by its stupidity in standing behind a car, the car was parked, so Blondie was in no danger of getting backed over. Not that the chicken knew that.  Well, maybe it did.  (And since I am also a blonde and don't feel dumb, I am definitely not buying into the dumb blond stereotype.  Even if my blonde comes from a bottle...) Have I mentioned that Kauai has a lot of chickens?  Oh yeah.  And they let you know when they think the beginning of the day is...

 Yeah, I sneaked in not only a rainbow, but a CLOUD rainbow.  And a palm tree. So there you go: 3 in one.  Oh and I forgot the ocean, too.

Here's one of the pretty damsel fish.  I didn't see any cleaner wrasse working on them, but they were milling around near the spit.

Oh and you might not know about the spit.

 It's a bit of sand that goes out onto the rocks.  So it splits the ocean into two "ponds", so I go out on the harder side first (to the right).  Harder because it has deeper water and makes you actually pay attention to the water. Not to mention that the Paddle Surfers are on that side, so it's always a good idea to pop up and make sure they aren't drawing down on ya.  Since snorkelers are usually flat on the water, it's sometimes hard to see them until you are right up on them.  

So my usual practice is to start in the righthand side "pond" and then about an hour later, switch over to the Kiddie Pond.  You might think there's no reason to worry in the Kiddie Pond, but that's where I saw the Scorpion Fish the other day.  In other words, don't walk on the bottom if you can avoid it. 

Should have had this one for the Immensity post the other day:

 Sometimes you just can't get the whole thing in one photo!  

Octopus #4:
 OK, you might have to trust me on this one.  The really exciting thing is that there were a couple of octopuses today that were not only young (which I really enjoy finding) but also, they were apparently digging into the bottom to make their homes.  As you can see from #3 above, mostly they use holes that already exist.  But in this case, I'll bet they had to dig (move rocks) or blow sand out of the proposed den.  I could be all wet, of course, (HA) but that is how it appears to me. 

Its eye:
 No, really!  Look in the indentation of the rock, about mid-photo.  The dark part is its eye.  

And I collected lots of operculum today.  Very exciting.  But also saw two hermit crabs in the shells:
 Please do let me know if the photos let you click on them to enlarge.  Suffice it to say, the crab has orange legs.  And 2 blue eyes.  Who says God doesn't pay attention to color?  We KNOW He does...He just doesn't love people more or less because of their color.....

I also saw at least 3 eels, most of which were Snowflakes.  Well, I probably saw 3 Snowflake eels, but they were the same size, so, again, it could have been the same one cruising around.  Also one that was white with brown small spots, and one brown with small white spots.  

And another pretty cowry:

Just another of God's great creations.  Love the purple, which was on each end. Probably alive, so obviously, I didn't collect it.  Even if I thought it was empty, I wouldn't have picked it up, because being in such great shape, it could easily have become someone's new home...

Almost forgot!!!  I saw a Flying Gurnard!  Well, it wasn't actually flying, but I knew it could. HA
 It is SUCH a cool animal!  The "legs" on either side can spread out, so that's what gives it its name...The wings are really pretty blue, too, so just another reason to enjoy this animal.  I also like that it doesn't seem to care that I followed it for a few minutes to take pictures.  It has claws on the front, so it can scrabble through the bottom looking for prey.

 Yes, that's its head in the center of the photo.  This is #5, by the way.  I do love how they interact.  You can def tell when they see you.  This one didn't seem to care, but it didn't come out to play, either. Nor did it turn angry dark brown.  Just kept watching me, to make sure I didn't pester it.

My Octo-Theory is that they blow sand out underground and have a place to hide, out of sight.  Can't prove that, though. Not yet, anyway.
 Cone shell.  The number of variants of cone shells is quite amazing.  Don't touch these, if you find them, by the way.  They have prey stunning poison and can inflict a nasty bite on humans.  If you must pick one up (although I can't see why you would HAVE TO), pick up by the fat end.  But really, trust me, you don't need to. 

And may I slip in a plug for a marvelous book?  It's a picture book of marine animals without spines.  She called it Spineless.  The author/photog is Susan Middleton.  DO pick up a copy or ask your library to get one. (Yes, libraries do still exist...)

Final thought: I have been thinking of diving versus snorkeling.  It would be easier to stay still in the water if I put on all that gear, but the expense and limitations of tanked air outweigh the calculations for me, at least so far.  I'll keep you posted. 

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