Each year during our Caribbean programs in Belize and the British Virgin Islands, our group is invariably drawn to the Caribbean Reef Squid, Sepioteuthis sepioidea. Even seasoned snorkelers become overwhelmed by the explosion of colorful activity found on a coral reef. Suspended in blue water, an erie feeling that something is watching you creeps into your consciousness. A quick glance around reveals a squadron of reef squid. Swim away and they follow. Move towards them and they quickly change color, a deep red if near the reef or pale if over sand, masters of camouflage.
They may even create false eyes on their posterior end as seen here. The eyes will instantaneously vanish once the threat of a predator is gone. Quite incredible.
The picture below reveals an unusual white blotch across the dorsal side. I have watched reef squid for decades and have rarely seen such coloration. It appears as though we may have interrupted the amorous intentions of a courting male.
Reef squid not only expand and contract the chromatophore cells embedded in their skin to conceal themselves, but do so as part of their mating ritual. Males may flash an impressive zebra pattern to the female who is revealing a blotchy saddle indicating her sexual receptivity. Mate selection is a serious business to a female reef squid. She will die soon after depositing her fertilized eggs in a safe corner of the ocean floor. Like most cephalopods, the life of the Caribbean Reef Squid is relatively short. They are thought to live for one year, mate and die.
Join Blue Water Ventures on a naturalist-led adventure to the reefs, rain forest, kelp beds and beyond!
Each day we have new discoveries during our yearly Baja Adventure to the Sea of Cortez and Magdalena Bay. Our Baja programs are offered each year late January through February.
Today we snorkeled among 100’s of Golden Cow Nose Rays…..simply magnificent!
Capable of detecting the weak bioelectric fields of their prey such as benthic clams, these incredible cartilaginous fish are amazing to observe at such close range. Related to the majestic spotted eagle rays, the golden cownose rays have a defensive spine at the base of their tale.
There are those teachable moments be it in a traditional classroom or in an outdoor setting, that both student and teacher will never forget. On the final day of Coastal Kayak Explorer’s Camp we shared one of those moments.
Each summer Blue Water Ventures based in Santa Cruz, CA offers a variety of marine science camps. Kim Powell, owner of Blue Water Ventures leads our summer camps. Kim has been conducting wilderness expeditions for students since 1985. She is a certified sea kayaking instructor through the American Canoe Association and Wilderness First Responder. Kim loves sharing her knowledge of the marine world through a fun and informative approach. She has been the Director of Marine Science Camps in several Caribbean locations in addition to Central California.
Here we go down under in Search of Sea Creatures.
Looking for a really unique experience for your students? During our adventurous field trip, we’ll slide off our sit on top kayaks to have an eye level experience with Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary! Using goggles or a mask/snorkel, take a look at the kelp forest or choose to remain dry and simply glide over the forest canopy searching for sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions and sea birds. Encompassing 5,322 square miles of ocean, our remarkable sanctuary supports one of the planet’s most biologically diverse marine ecosystems. The use of sit on top kayaks with the option to submerge into the water gives us an entirely different perspective on our ocean world.
This is a great fall field trip! In the spring, we’ll launch our closed deck boats searching the water for migrating California Gray Whales with their plump babies in tow.
Every February, a group of women head to Baja to snorkel with the world’s largest fish, the whale shark. In the last 18 months Kim Powell, owner of Blue Water Ventures has searched for whale sharks on 8 occasions and has swam with them each time. Join Blue Water Ventures as explore the Baja Peninsula, swimming with whale sharks, sea lions and reef fish. We then head to the Pacific side for extraordinary encounters with California Gray Whales in Magdalena Bay.
Our next all women’s adventure to Baja is January 28th- February 6th, 2012 followed by an optional whale shark snorkel extension. Check it out at: http://www.bluewaterventures.org