Aqualife and death

On Saturday morning, at dead low tide, Axel and I walked across the near empty cove to inspect whether the mussels that Roger and Axel had transplanted from Ipswich some two weeks ago, had settled into their new home. We found them happily sticking to rocks and each other. The experiment seems to have been successful and we are proud of our mussel heroes: they are tasked with repopulating the cove with their species. We are ready for phase II – another transplant.

The clear water allowed us to inspect the aquatic life in the cove. We saw new kinds of seaweeds, one that fills like a bladder when under water, with a bubble of air providing a bright contrast at the top of the green slimy thing. It’s everywhere now where three years ago there were none.

A kind of snail shell, maybe another variety of the hermit crab, is also more abundant than before and then there is the invading red algae that are choking some of the other seaweeds in the cove.

We were happy to see two small lobsters poking out from under a rock, menacingly raising their tiny claws up to us in a defensive attack stance. One medium sized crab walked across the bottom with a small squid under its arm – the large eye of the squid looking like a jewel on a white gown.  Unfortunately the crab met another crab without a squid and a deadly attack (for the squid) ensued. I could hear them screaming ‘It’s mine, I found it,” and “I want it and I am bigger than you so I will take it away.”

Hordes of little hermit crabs converged around the fighters. They knew that in the end they would be the winners, catching the shreds from the poor squib that was torn into pieces as each crab was trying to gobble up as much of the squid. Soon there would be nothing left to fight over.  We left the crabs to themselves and headed back to shore for a breakfast of freshly picked Swiss chard mixed in with freshly laid eggs from a nearby chicken farm. Life is good and about to get even better.

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July 2012
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