We were swimming in the sea not so far from our house, when Aya shouted that she’d found a weird shell floating in the water. At first we thought it was a plastic toy but it seemed to be natural, although it was unlike any shell I’d ever seen. After going home, we looked in our sealife book and found out that it was the egg-case of a Greater Argonaut, which is a kind of octopus. The female produces this papery egg-case, which makes it look like a nautilus. There’s an interesting Wikipedia article about it: here.
I think this is probably one of the most beautiful objects, natural or artificial, I’ve ever seen.
Mollusca: Cephalopoda: Octopoda: Argonautidae
Greater Argonaut = aoigai
Location: Beach near Kanezaki (Google map)
Went snorkelling with my friends Bob and Chris in a different place to usual, near a small lighthouse just up the coast from Ashiya. Link to map and aerial photo here.
We immediately realized our mistake of swimming in the jellyfish season! The sea was quite choppy and the waves seemed to have concentrated lots of the little buggers in the cove. I thought I’d be OK with wetsuit, hat and gloves, but still managed to get stung on the face. Also stupidly caught a jellyfish with my gloved hand, which was OK, but then after letting it go I wiped the water from my face and found that the stings were embedded in my glove = not very pleasant at all. By the way, these jellyfish are a kind of box jelly (andon kurage) but they are not so venomous. They can leave a nasty welt across your skin but don’t do anything more serious. However, this will be the last day we get in the sea until next year!!
1) Box jellyfish (2.96MB)
2) Ray (1.48MB)
Phylum: Cnidaria; Class: Cubozoa; Order: Carybdeidae; Species: Charybdea rastonii
Despite the hundreds of jellyfish, the choppy water and the poor visibility, we found quite a few interesting things. When I have time, I’ll try to get around to identifying them:
I came across this big octopus (tako) while snorkelling today. It was the biggest octopus I’ve seen – at least 50cm from outstretched arm to arm. It was a bit deep (4m) for me to get a decent picture and it also slipped under a rock as soon as it spotted me. The amazing thing was that it changed not only its colour but also it’s shape/texture. When it was sitting on top of the rock it had white spiny bumps all over it’s body, but then it became smooth and reddish brown when it was under the rock. I wanted to catch it but there was no way it was going to allow itself to be pulled from under that rock!