Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A bit on snorkling, as I am feeling better

I need to mention the octopus pic on the previous link.  The friday before we left Israel Mark and I did some snorkling, I stayed in the water MUCH too long, maybe about 4-5 hours. I got very chapped and burned on the face from the salt, and although my face was always in the water, the suncreen had to have worn off as well.  It was cold and I am glad we got the wetsuits. They said the mouthpiece and goggles were sanitary, but I didn't believe them and so I used soap and hot water to give both mine and Marks a good scrubbing.  They were really busy, so we were kind of on our own, which was okay for me, because I have gone numerous times.  Mark had to put vaseline on his moustache to get a good seal, so this is the first time he was actually able to go, (of course in Israel LOTS of men have beards, so they would know how to fix this leaky problem)
  Mark swam for about an hour or two, then waited on me.  We saw lots of really large fish, and I actually got deep enough for the worm thingies that stick to the sandy floor, like a forest of beige worms.  A lot of the coral was dead.  But the ones that were living were beautiful, bright lime greens, soft whites, lavender/pinkish hues. Many moving easily with the motion of the water.  I don't know any of the fish there, but I do know they had a lot of huge Parrot fish, different kinds, sizes, brilliant colors, making sand as they finished their meal of dead coral.
  It was toward the end of my last lap around I found my rather large octopus. He would radiate, almost vibrate pale gray to blue to greens, pinks and lavender. They were instant pulsating motions of color.  This would happen as he went from crevice to crevice, trying to hide from the cat like fish that were following him, probably wanting some leftovers.  From what I understand they are basically night feeders, and prefer to stay tucked in during the day, unless they happen to have a great meal pass their little nook.  He would after a moment of swimming, grab something, and instantly blend in, not even taking seconds to do so, going quickly through a pattern of colours as if holding up samples to see what matched his surroundings, and then he would disappear into the rock below.  I never wanted to get down far enough to get a closer look, this was all from above. I would have had to make a quick dive, since I didn't have an air tank that would allow me to sink, and would have spooked everyone.
 There were only three of these fish at first, two different species, and then a fourth fish joined in the harrassment, even taking a poke at the delicate tendrils, as my rather large friend tried to tuck himself in.  Finally they headed into the area we were not allowed to go, (I got yelled at earlier, I didn't notice the ropes.)
  That was a good time to go ahead and quit, since my face was burning quite badly by then...Next time I shall apply something to my face that will be a bit more protective and stay on longer.
  A bit about the snorkling in Hawaii.  This was much different, deeper waters, much larger fish, and a much bigger variety of them as well. LOTS of them.
  But in Hawaii, I got to swim next to very friendly Green Sea Turtles, one who had a shell that went from my knee to my neck, this did not include the head or fins of this turtle.  We saw lots of turtles.  And I got to see the very rare Hawksbill Turtle, who has people monitoring it, making sure no one is harassing it.  They aren't nearly as big as the Greens, but I was told the female Hawksbill I was looking at, was actually an ancient girl, and still laying eggs.  There were some fun places to snorkle in Maui, which is where I have been two times now. And we were not limited to the small area that we were in Eilat (I thought it quite small, considering what I had been used to in other places.
  That is it for now. I will next write up my post on the Lichtenstein Sand Grouse, and other things, I am behind on housework now!

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