Alien Crustaceans?

I duckdive and stick my head into a little cave. It’s covered in soft corals and weed and stinging hydroids. A flash of movement, and it seems to be a pair of claws waving about it, but it’s so well camouflaged it’s hard to tell. I get closer, and I recognise little eyes peering out at me.

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Eyes and claws. Is it a crab or some kind of out-of-this-world alien? Am I snorkelling on a reef in Thailand, or floating in space?

I swim over to another coral bommie. Bright orange and pink polyps cling to their limestone skeleton, and I have a moment of déjà vu. Movement. Eyes. I’ve found another alien crustacean hiding in the coral crevices.

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And so my morning goes. So many weird and wonderful sea-critters lurking amongst the rocks and coral.

(For more of our travels to Thailand and the cool stuff we’ve seen underwater, head over to our sailing blog, the Alpha Odyssey).

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Eternal silence

Silence is rare. Even at the quietest times, like the depths of night, or sunrise, or in the middle of the desert, or at the top of a mountain, there is still sound.

Insects humming.

The wind.

Our own breathing.

Cars travelling on a distant road.

But death is silent. It occurred to me when I came across some marine critters that had washed up on the beach. Alive no more. And eternally silent.

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For happier thoughts and more beach combing finds, check out my sailing blog: beach combing and bully beef…

Millions of years ago, a big coral reef covered much of what is now South East Asia. Just as they do now, coral polyps living in the reef secreted limestone as they built the coral, and other marine critters like shells and urchins deposited calcium.

Fast forward a bit and the tectonic plates below started to rub against each other and rumble. The continents started to move. The reef was thrust skyward by the movement of big slabs of rock and the sea level started to change.

Fast forward a lot more and where there was a reef, there’s now hundreds of little islands. Rock pillars jutting straight out of the sea.

Fast forward a bit more to present day. The islands in Phang Nga Bay in Thailand are spectacular. But it’s what is hidden within that is most impressive. Weather and time have carved their way through the limestone rock to produce caves and inner lagoons. Karstic formations ripe for exploration!

For more about exploring the hongs in Phang Nga Bay or sailing around Thailand, check out my sailing blog: the Alpha Odyssey.

Growth begins with a seed or an egg or a spark.

For nudibranchs (fancy-looking sea-slugs), their lifecycle starts with eggs laid in an intricate flower-like ribbon.

(To see what hatched out of these and for more about the nudi life cycle, check out this post…)

The Lost Thing

I stumbled into a regional art gallery while I was exploring. They always surprise me.

The Perc Tucker gallery in Townsville had a fantastic exhibition: behind the scenes of an animated movie, Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing. 

Amazing animation, cool collages, and a thought-provoking story-line. I especially loved the explanations of where his inspiration came from: signs that we recognise from everyday life.

I’m not sure where the exhibition is headed next, but look out for it. It’s worth a visit.

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Today is the tomorrow you expected yesterday.”

A symbol of incredible change is a butterfly. They all go through “complete metamorphosis”, starting life as eggs, then morphing into larva, pupa and finally emerging as majestic winged creatures.

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The delta from start to finish is a miracle of nature!

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