Sunday, November 4, 2007

Plumose and Sunstar


Eight hours ago I surfaced from the waters of Hood Canal, Washington, with my dive partner, Todd Olson. In our dives, day and night, we saw an army of shrimp marching across an undulating, muddy, moonlike plain seventy feet down; a fat, happy ling cod gilling in the wreckage of an old fishing boat; a billion phosphorescent motes whirling in slow motion through a medium 800 times denser than air; a confused young wolf eel; waving and swaying plumose anemones, and prickly starfish. Unfortunately some of the plumose anemones were wilted, and some of the 'sunstars' (like starfish, but with more arms) were exposing tender, orange tissues, also indicating poor health. These are due to low dissolved oxygen levels, at least partly a result of sewage and other pollution being dumped into the water (you can learn about this phenomenon on this short YouTube video. Once again, humanity uses the oceans as a garbage dump. The good thing is that we're aware of it, and today the canal is being cleaned up; divers are encouraged to report signs of poor aquatic health as part of the Hood Canal Diver Observation Program. Above, a photo of a healthy plumose anemone, by Todd Olson. As Steve Irwin used to say, 'WOT A BEAUTY!' And below, a sketch of a kelp crab. I'm building a slate that I can use to draw undewater, something I've wanted to do for a long time.


1 comment:

Iliana said...

I performed my first Winkler titration last week...free the iodine ions! Blog on.