Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tiger Tail Sea Cucumber

Sea cucumbers are not the most attractive of sea creatures (consider that the donkey dung sea cucumber is named after the thing it resembles). Basically, they’re sausage-shaped sacks with a mouth and an anus, and they can evert their digestive systems when disturbed. See? Not attractive. However, the tiger tail sea cucumber is striking when you see it underwater. They stretch out from beneath rocks, reeeaaallly long. And they do look rather like a tiger tail. We saw this specimen while snorkeling between Big Farmers and Big Galliot Cays in the Exumas, Bahamas.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Yacht Spotting: Mimi

The motor yacht Mimi was anchored near us at Big Majors Spot near Staniel Cay, in the Exumas. A lovely 130’ long and 25’ wide, she carries eight passengers and five crew. The really unusual thing about this yacht, however, is that she’s NOT available for charter. We see lots of megayachts out here, and most of them are yours for the renting, as long as you have tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on a vacation.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Cambridge Cay, Exumas

Mr Mac in the Cambridge Cay mooring field, Bahamas
Spring of sargassum with cenophore at upper right
Cambridge Cay is in the Exumas Land & Sea Park, a beautiful stretch of islands along the Exuma chain in the Bahamas. It’s also one of the park locations with a mooring field, so we splurged for a night and picked up a mooring. First off, the water of the mooring field is absolutely gorgeous, sandy substrate and turquoise water. We dinghyed ashore and walked across the island to the Exuma Sound side. We also dinghyed to a nearby island, Rocky Dundas, that has some sea caves and terrific snorkeling. The tide was too high and the water too choppy to safely explore the caves, but the snorkeling was great! We watched a pair porcupine fish, each 2+ feet long, that swam all over the place, one clearly pursuing the other, so perhaps it as porcupine fish mating season. Also, there was a bloom of ctenophores, small floating jellies related to jellyfish but much prettier. They move by means of cilia, tiny hair-like bristles that reflect the sunlight in rainbow colors. Just beautiful!

Lovely array of corals, sponges, and sea fans

This was one big elkhorh coral (see Chris just behind it)

Laaarge grouper watching me warily
Chris following the conch-lined trail to the other side of the island