Monday, September 29, 2008


Finished a week's business, office to office, buying a house, and getting taxes done.  Brother and I finally got wet, went for a snorkel.  I didn't take my camera.  Somebody kick me!  I cannot show you the Burrfish we found trying to hide under a mini-ledge in three feet of water.  I occasionally go without the camera, and ALWAYS regret!  sigh and owell.  Back to painting today or tomorrow for sure.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Coral Polyps

Great Star. Hungry. I love these little guys so much. The world and life that we know would be vastly different if everyone loved them.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Great Star Coral

These are Great Star coral polyps. Since this photo was taken during daytime, they don't have their tentacles extended to catch food. I would love that. Just sit there and do my thing, and have food just float by. A cheeseburger floats by, OK, catch it and stuff it in my mouth, haha. These guys make me think of how Japanese subways are so crowded at rush hour.

Many sources say that coral polyps hide down in little holes. That couldn't be more wrong. Polyps are so soft-bodied it's hard to imagine. Their skeleton is formed underneath them, like people have bones inside them. And coral skeletons are sharp as razors. The lightest human touch pushes coral's flesh into their skeleton, causing much harm.

Polyps grow from one single baby polyp that, once old enough, "buds" little polyps on their edge. Sort of like how one little bit of grass spreads. They are always connected like a rug, and they share food and bodily fluids. This 'rug' of polyps lives covering the hard white part of the coral that you find for sale in some stores, ugh. Skeletons as ornaments?

Here's a photo of another coral that had some sort of sand dwelling critter move in close by. The sandy guy built a little mountain of sand that covered part of the coral colony. I happened by, and dug away the sand, uncovering the lower polyps that had smothered. This is a side-by-side comparison of the healthy polyps and their siblings' skeletons.

Here are the same polyps, ten weeks later. They're making babies, clones if you will. And some have their tentacles extended, waiting to catch passing food. The bare skeletons have been overgrown by algae.

The polyps are a little pale because the sea was too warm when the photo was taken.

Thanks for stopping by, time to go for a dive and see what I can find...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Reef Scenery

Here's a blue photo for you, this is why I need to paint intead of click a camera.  The water filters most of the colors from the sunlight.  Red is absorbed first, then yellow.  This scene is in about thirty feet, ten meters of depth, off the north shore of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, in the Caribbean Sea where I live.

These fish, Black Durgons, have a striking white line at the base of their dorsal fin.  The way they swim, going through the water looking for bits of floating things to eat, they undulate their dorsal and anal (top and bottom) fins to move through the sea.  As they slowly swim, they lean over on one side, and then the other.  Dancers, they are.  They usually stay up in the water column, high over the reef.  But I guess on this day, here is where they found their prey, tiny jellyfish?  I don't know what they eat.

At night, they sleep down in crevasses and cubbyholes in the reef.

I'll get back to painting soon.  Thank you for stopping by.