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!
Over 25 years ago I saw my first manatee mating event. I was leading a program for the Smithsonian Institute and I will never forget it. Since then, I have snorkeled among an esterous herd, a rambunctious gathering of amorous males in pursuit of a receptive female. Rarely have I witnessed the actual attempt to impregnate the female. While female manatees reach sexual maturity at 5 years of age, male manatees are later bloomers. Typically they are sexually mature by 8 or 9 years of age though sometimes earlier. This young male who we have named Romeo certainly gave it a go but O2 or lack of it got in the way.
Note in all 3 videos clips, the smaller male surfaces for air and then must start his amorous intentions over where he left off. Females are often forced into the shallows by the advances of an esterous herd and will be mated by multiple males. We witnessed such an event in another area of the river.
Perhaps this female realized that Romeo’s amorous pursuit would be futile or perhaps later in the day he succeeded. Either way, it was an unforgettable and fascinating interaction to observe. We have named the female manatee Cougar…Life as we travel through the south lands with http://www.bluewaterventures.org
Thanks to Margo Dean Productions for this video!
Our Women’s Kayak Camping Adventure at Loon Lake is offered each summer,
from a Thursday through Sunday). On the western edge of Desolation
Wilderness near Lake Tahoe, Loon Lake is a beautiful destination to explore
by sea kayak.
Join us for this great weekend with women! Snow capped peaks,
easy paddling, yummy food, cool swims and warm granite rocks
to bask on afterwards!
Cost $425 includes: 4 days of sea kayaking, instruction in kayaking
and low impact camping, permits and food (3 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3
dinners). We throw in a great bunch of women too!
Open to all women including those who have never kayaked or
camped….let our guides take care of the camping details!
This is a very popular trip and space is limited so please email Kim
Powell at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more details
Imagine a huge egg cracked over an indigo blue fry pan the size of a trampoline and you have found Phacellophora camtschatica, the egg yolk sea jelly! A savory meal for the oddly shaped Mola Mola sunfish, other gelationous creatures and sea turtles, this fascintating sea jelly resides in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. While out looking for humpback whales this morning by kayak, we paddled by numerous gelantionous species such as Chrysaora colorata, formerly Pelagia colorata and commonly known as the Purple sea jelly.
Acting like a submerged spider web, the egg yolk sea jelly’s convoluted tangle of tentacles serves to snare its prey.
Join Blue Water Ventures every September as we explore the sea caves, rock gardens and rivers of the Mendocino Coast. Our next 2011 program is designed especially as a trip for women.
Using Sit-On-Top kayaks, we’ll paddle into caves, rock archways and over kelp beds as we look for local residents such as harbor seals and river otters. First time kayakers with a sense of adventure welcomed! Join us! You will not regret it!
Soon we are heading to the reefs, ruins and rainforests of Belize, Central America.