Monday, November 8, 2010

Crazy Cat Lady

I walked across the street to the docks today to eat my apple and enjoy the late afternoon sun. It is still getting into the 70's here but that temp is only reached in the afternoon for a few short hours. I have been trying to take advantage of any spare time I have to soak up the last of the remaining heat before winter sets in.
When I reached the farthest dock (which is the one I set on so that my view of the channel flowing into the bay is unobstructed) I noticed that the water level was very low. I was able to sit with my legs dangling and my feet not touching the water. As anyone who as ever had their legs dangle freely off pretty much any surface, the natural thing to do is to start swinging them back and forth. So there I sat, eating my apple, soaking up the sun, and swinging my legs. Done with my apple and not content to just swing my legs, I scooted my bottom to the edge of the dock till my feet touched the water. NOW I was happy. Swinging my legs back and forth, IN the water and splashing. (How old am I..??? ) I just couldn't resist!! Out of the corner of my eye I catch movement. Stopping to inspect, I see floating towards the surface several jellyfish.
I have spent most of the hot summer months here, swimming or paddling around in the bay. I have run into (literally) several different kinds of jellyfish. Some that have stung me, some that have handled, and some that have intrigued me to almost falling in fully clothed! As Monday would have it...these where the one's that intrigued me.
Taking the necessary precautions (taking cell phone out of my pocket and sun glasses off my head) I laid on my stomach on the dock to get a closer look. Yep. These guys where the Comb Jellyfish. The late afternoon sunlight bounced off their bodies making the 8 rows of cilia pulse creating a luminous glow.  I saw some that where the size of my palm all the way down to the tip of my thumb.
Now picture this. I am a forty something women lying on my stomach, with my head hanging over the side of the dock. I am scooting forward, backward and side to side just to watch these jellyfish move about. Of course that is still not enough for me. Just like any kid I know, I have to TOUCH them! What a site I must have made. Hanging over the side, with my hands sticking in the water "fishing" around.
I held several in my palm, not taking them out of the water. Above all my child like curiosity, I respect nature and do my best to not leave my footprint upon it. Only after realizing that the time was late, did I pick up my things and head back to the house. At which time i noticed that my neighbor and her daughter where stopped in their car trying to get my attention. Taking my iPod out of my ears I heard the daughter ask me what I was looking for. Smiling sheepishly, I said the first thing that came to mind. "Playing with the jellyfish".
With that, she looked at me like I have two heads, said "OK" and off they went.
After my daughter got home from work, I had to fess up to my afternoon adventure, neighbor and all. See, my daughter works with the neighbor gal, and is friends with her daughter. I KNEW that was getting back to her!  My daughter just looked at me and sighed. (she is pretty much use to me) Laughing she gave me a hug and said "mom" with an attempted adult look, while trying to hide her amusement.
I told her "Hey..! At least you wont have to worry that I will end up the Crazy Cat Lady at the end of the block when I get old!!"

Here is a couple of picture's so you can get an idea of what they look like.

The bigger ones I found had more of a brown on the outside of them like this one below

Abit more info on these amazing creatures.
"Ctenophores are free-floating creatures and inhabit almost all the marine waters of the world. Except for one particular species which is parasitic in nature, all comb jellies are carnivorous by nature. Their primary diet usually consists of microscopic plankton and zooplankton. But, comb jellies are also known to consume some young fish, larvae of other animals like crabs, clams and oysters, copepods, worms, small crustaceans and even some species of the Cnidaria phylum"

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