Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Sharks, Shooting Stars, and Ctenophores
I almost forgot! One of our last days in the
was just terrific. When snorkeling, we’ve seen sharks every now and then. Nurse sharks we’d see fairly often, but they’re fine and we’re not bothered by them. Other sharks, however, we’re just not used to. They’ve got this way of approaching you, then going away, then approaching again, that’s rather unnerving. Well, on our last day of snorkeling (when Chris caught the aforementioned hogfish), we were swimming along and saw a shark, but it paid no attention to us. Great! That gave us the opportunity to follow it, which was really cool. Anne was so glad that she was finally able to make herself stay in the water with a shark around. Chris wasn’t quite as thrilled. Then that evening, we had shooting stars crossing the sky, always a treat. Finally, there were fireworks underwater as the current brought ctenophores (they’re adorable and one of Anne’s favorites; see http://faculty.washington.edu/cemills/Ctenophores.html for more info; photo courtesy of NOAA Photo Library) by the boat, where they became agitated by hitting the side of the boat or a wave, and biolumenesced. We saw this as explosions of blue light (about two to three inches diameter) in the water. What a great way to end a great day!