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Mild Adventure - Moonlight Meander Starlight Stroll

Friday, 05 May 2017 03:42 Written by  Judy Dixon
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Despite the threat of rain guests arrive and we set off on a wonderful STARLIGHT STROLL. As we were enjoying the antics of the ploughsnails during their feeding frenzy of the root mouthed jellyfish I had just thrown for them, three fishermen marched past, bearing huge fishing rods and the dreaded octopus catching equipment. Such a pity that the law is not known/implemented: NO SHELLFISH TO BE COLLECTED BETWEEN SUNSET AND SUNRISE!! I suffered the usual depression when I saw them so imagine my delight when I discovered a young female octopus stranded on the sand as we progressed down the beach towards Gericke’s Point. Tenderly picking her up, I rushed over the rocks to the nearest pool: she was very pale, a sign of stress.

As she landed in the water, she sent out a jet of black ink and swam swiftly towards the rocks on the edge of the pool. She then settled on the sand and swiftly her colours became vibrant, a sign of recovery. We watched her for a while as she tentatively stretched out an arm...and then Herman noticed something in the beam of his torch.

Another exciting sighting: it was two tuberculate cuttlefish which separated and swam through the crystal clear water, ruffling their skirts as they sped after prey. Suddenly two arms were shot out and in the blink of an eye the tiny fish was caught and devoured. The group were entranced...they had never seen this fascinating (and MY favourite!) animal.

Satisfied that our octopus was fully recovered and with the memory of the cuttlefish, we continued our stroll. The rock pools revealed the usual colourful anemones, seastars, crabs, fish, seaweeds, and urchins but it was in another pool that we had a pleasant surprise. Tucked in to a depression was a beautiful blue seastar but I wondered at it’s form...the arms with their spiny protrusions seemed to be curled instead of straight. Closer inspection revealed the truth: it was not a seastar, it was an octopus!! Obviously the intelligence of these animals has been recorded many times and i have witnessed some amazing evidence of their brain power but never have I seen such clever mimicry and my biggest regret is that none of us had a camera to record it. So it remains an image imprinted in my memory......Another memorable evening in our precious marine environment!!

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