More Ocean Creatures

Saturday was a beautiful relaxing day, and perfect for going to the beach! We packed up our towels, books, and sunscreen and headed down to the mouth of the Hopkins River Estuary near Logan’s Beach. Logan’s Beach if famous for its observation point where you can see Southern Right Whales when they return to their nursery area to give birth to their calves. This usually happens between late May and early October, so hopefully I’ll be able to take my telephoto camera lens down to the beach and get  a few good photos of the whales! For now, we settled for the beautiful ocean, blue sky, and waves.

Ocean!

Ocean!

This part of the beach has some awesome rock formations, created by the constant pounding of the sea. ONe of the really large rocks had a “cave” that had been carved out through the middle.

Cave Created by the Waves

Cave Created by the Waves

I kinda wanted to crawl through, but knowing that the tide was still quite high and that half of the animals in Australia seem to be venomous, better judgement prevailed.

We saw some cute little snails on the rocks. They were everywhere here. After looking at my handy-dandy Marine Biology book, “Life on the Rocky Shores of south-eastern Australia,” I’m willing to bet that they’re Austrolittorina (Nodilittorina) unifasciata, also known as Periwinkles. According to my book, they can be up to one centimeter long, though the ones we saw were not nearly that big. They scrape algae and lichens off the rocks at high tide levels, where they spend their lives, and can withstand long periods of no moisture. To reproduce, they release capsules of eggs into the ocean, which hatch into larvae. They’re interesting little fellows.

Blue Snails

Blue Snails

Austrolittorina (Nodilittorina) unifasciata

Austrolittorina (Nodilittorina) unifasciata

The kelp and seagrass here is also pretty crazy. I’d probably be more accustomed to them if I had spent my entire life living along the ocean, but as a land-locked Wisconsin girl, I find them somewhat fascinating. Leather kelp is especially large!

Leather Kelp

Leather Kelp

It’s the massive chunk of kelp in the middle. When you spread it out, you could literally use it as a blanket (though I wouldn’t recommend it). The blades can grow to be up to a meter long (about 3.28 feet for the Americans out there)! There are so many other mysteries the ocean holds and with classes beginning on Monday, I can’t wait to explore! In the words of Russell (from Up), “I’ll unleash all my Wilderness Explorer training!”

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