Friday, February 8, 2008
Had to cancel a seminar that I was to attend in Florida next week with Nicholas Simmons, one of the top water media painters in the USA. I'm still on steroids, still tire too easily, and am dizzy at times. And although I am not near 100% OK, I'm a million times better than when I came home early from Greece! With a compromised immune system, I think it best I stay off airplanes, away from strange cities, and just hang around my little Island home.
So here's a photo for you. I don't like to post without a picture of some sort. This is an Elkhorn Coral. They can get quite large, ten feet tall(3meters) This one is about five feet tall. They are one of the faster growing of corals, maybe a half an inch(2cm) a month. They break very easily, as they are quite brittle. Fish like to hang out in their shade, and snorkelling spear fishermen sometimes grab limbs of the Elkhorn, in order to stay still to aim and shoot, and accidentally break them off. I always want to build shelters for the fish designed so fishermen cannot get to the fish!
"When I buy St. Croix next year," is a favorite phrase of mine. If that Genie pops out of the bottle, my first wish would be for twenty trillion dollars! I could buy St Croix and make illegal to do any fishing at all! But people like to eat fish, so what to do? Make Tilapia taste really good, somehow. And make all my friends into millionaires! OK. Silly me.
This coral, along with Staghorn coral, is on the Endangered Species list. They fall prey to plant and soil diseases that have been washed into the sea by poor erosion control on land. Bonaire has some gorgeous stands of the much smaller Staghorn corals, but here in the U.S. Virgin Islands there is almost none left, boooooooo. But then I don't remember seeing Elkhorn in Bonaire, the other Island where I've done a lot of diving.
All the little white "Cheerios" in the water are tiny speck sized critters called Copepods(COH-pee-pods), sort of like crabs or shrimp. Teensie, you could put six or ten on the head of a pin. They are a basic source of food for corals and tiny creatures and newly hatched fish fry. Sometimes there are so many Copepods that they drift around in little brownish clouds on the reef, making it impossible to take photos! I like to think about how many there are, "Millions of billions!"
Today is for working on that sand I started yesterday, try to make it look like sand! haha The corals, fishes and rays will be more fun to do than little shadows and specks in the sand. I'm going to leave some brush strokes, so people ~might~ remember this is paint when they look!